Steve Seleznow is a community-centered chief executive known for his leadership across multiple sectors: philanthropy, large public education systems, and higher education. His career is characterized by sustained public service that immersed him in the communities and states he served across the US. Seleznow is recognized nationally for his ability to manage complexity, lead institutions during crises and in times of uncertainty, drive growth, innovate at scale, oversee comprehensive digital conversions, and successfully turn around organizations.
Most recently, Seleznow completed 13 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Community Foundation, the largest charitable foundation in Arizona, and one of the 25 largest community foundations in the US. Under Seleznow’s leadership, the foundation’s assets under management grew by $1 billion, new donors increased 1000-fold, and total grantmaking over this period eclipsed $1 billion. Over his tenure, the foundation was rated consistently in the top 1% of charitable organizations nationally for fiscal stewardship, effectiveness, and efficiency, and became known as an innovator and leading voice on national, state, and local issues, and social finance.
Seleznow served as program director and deputy director of US Programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading implementation of a $2.5 billion investment strategy focused on education reform in states, districts, and networks across the US. Seleznow was a pioneer in venture philanthropy serving as partner and Chief Investment Officer of Venture Philanthropy Partners in Washington, DC, one of the nation’s first charitable funds to apply the principles and best practices of venture capital to investments in the non-profit sector.
Seleznow served on the Visiting Committee of the Board of Overseers for the Harvard Graduate School of Education and held appointments as associate research professor and special assistant to the dean of the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. He also held top leadership posts of two of the nation’s largest school systems, one among the nation’s best (Montgomery County, MD) and one considered, at the time, the nation’s most broken (Washington, DC). In both instances Seleznow earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for children and public schooling, a courageous innovator relentlessly seeking reform, and a leader of unshakeable integrity.
Seleznow earned doctoral and master’s degrees from Harvard University, a master’s from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s from Boston University. He has served on numerous boards and commissions focused on improving lives and building equitable communities.