President and CEO
Susan Taylor Batten has more than twenty years of experience in directing, evaluating and advising both public and foundation-related efforts to improve outcomes for children, youth and families.
Ms. Batten joined the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) as President and CEO in January 2009. ABFE’s mission is to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black Communities and counts among its members some of the most influential staff, trustees and donors of grantmaking institutions in the U.S. Under her leadership, ABFE has expanded its membership base to nearly 400 individuals and has extended its reach outside of Black foundation professionals to Black donors and philanthropic civic organizations. Signature initiatives that have come to fruition during her tenure at ABFE include:
- Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities: A training curriculum now offered to foundation boards and staff on strategies for increasing the impact of their investments in Black communities;
- The Black Philanthropic Network: A coalition of 10 regional Black professional associations to strengthen ABFE’s ability to move a national agenda;
- Leverage the Trust: A concerted effort to mobilize 100 Black foundation trustees to be strong advocates for the Black community;
- The Black Male Funders Learning and Action Network: An affinity group of 20 foundations that invest in Black male achievement organized to leverage their investments; and
- Smart Investing: An effort to provide access and opportunity for minority and women-owned firms to manage foundation endowments
Prior to joining ABFE, Ms. Batten was a Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. At Casey, Ms. Batten served as staff in the Community Change Initiatives Unit which provides communities and other partners with information, resources and supports to help transform neighborhoods into family supportive environments. She also coordinated a portfolio on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In that role, she worked across the Foundation to strengthen its focus on addressing racial disparities in its grantmaking. Her duties also included assisting Casey in its efforts to build and employ equitable and inclusive management and administrative practices (workforce diversity, grantee diversity, vendor practices, etc.).
Prior to Casey, Ms. Batten served as Vice President at The Center for Assessment and Policy Development where she directed projects for national foundations in the areas of leadership development and supports for young parents and their children. While working with the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, she oversaw national evaluations of federal child nutrition programs and helped to increase access to food programs for the homeless population. Prior to USDA, Ms. Batten worked for several years for the Government of the District of Columbia on comprehensive children’s initiatives and, in particular, efforts to coordinate early childhood programs and policies across the city.
Ms. Batten was a member of the inaugural Class (2005-2006) of ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows, a program designed to foster the development of mid-career African American leaders in the field of philanthropy. In 2008, she was named Change Agent of the Year by The Schott Foundation for Public Education. In 2015, Ms. Batten received the Pacesetter Award from the National Association of Security Professionals for her work to diversify the field of endowment asset management. She is a co-founder of the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group and also serves on the board of the Forum for Regional Association of Grantmakers. Ms. Batten received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Fisk University, and her Masters of Social Work degree from Howard University.
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