Celebrating the Appointment of Deborah Aubert Thomas as President & CEO of United Philanthropy Forum

Celebrating the Appointment of Deborah Aubert Thomas as President & CEO of United Philanthropy Forum

United Philanthropy Forum (the Forum) is thrilled to announce Deborah Aubert Thomas as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 24, 2024. 

After a rigorous national search in collaboration with Axis Talent Partners, Deborah emerged as the standout candidate. With a remarkable career spanning over three decades in philanthropy and nonprofit management, she brings a rich tapestry of expertise and visionary leadership to her new role. 

Deborah joins the Forum from Philanthropy Ohio, a Forum member philanthropy-serving organization (PSO), where she has served as President & CEO since 2019. During her tenure, Deborah provided strategic insight, pioneered transformative initiatives, and fostered robust collaboration within the philanthropic community. Her advocacy efforts on behalf of philanthropy in Ohio have been instrumental in shaping policy and driving meaningful change in the state. 

"I am excited to bring my vision and leadership to a network I find dear and vital for a courageous philanthropic sector. Having been a funder and PSO member, a part of the leadership team and most recently as CEO of Philanthropy Ohio, I have always found extreme value in the sharing, learning and collaborative work in this network," said Deborah. “It was at my first Forum conference in Baltimore in 2015 that I knew I had 'found my people' and now I have the honor and pleasure to lead this dynamic network.

Before serving as CEO at Philanthropy Ohio, Deborah's journey was marked by dynamic roles, including Vice President of Programs & Learning at Philanthropy Ohio and Director of Grants & Programs at Princeton Area Community Foundation. Her diverse portfolio also includes work at Rutgers University's Institute for Women's Leadership, where she championed programs dedicated to women's leadership and social change. 

Deborah's academic achievements are equally impressive, with a Master of Arts in Media Culture and Communication from New York University, a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from the New School University, and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing/Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. In addition to her numerous professional and academic accomplishments, Deborah is a passionate advocate for advancing racial equity and justice within the philanthropic sector nationally. She currently serves on the board of United Philanthropy Forum and is Chair of the Racial Equity Committee. Deborah also lends her expertise to the board of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and previously served as Board Member and Programs & DEI Chair at The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. 

Deborah has been a dedicated leader in Ohio and nationally serving on the board of the United Philanthropy Forum and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO),” said Amanda Andere, Forum Board Chair and CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness. “In her new role as CEO of United Philanthropy Forum, Deborah will continue to champion the Forum's mission of promoting effective philanthropy and amplifying the sector's impact on communities nationwide. Her strategic foresight, collaborative ethos, and unwavering dedication to racial equity will undoubtedly propel the Forum to unparalleled heights of success.

Please join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to Deborah Aubert Thomas on her appointment as President & CEO of United Philanthropy Forum.