Introducing the Dodge Foundation’s two new senior leaders

January 11, 2021

We are excited to welcome today Marianna Schaffer as Vice President of Programs and Jennene Tierney as Vice President of People, Culture, Equity — two new senior leaders who will help guide the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in embedding racial justice and anti-racism within the organization and achieving its vision of an equitable New Jersey.

“Dodge’s transformation to become an anti-racist organization and design a new model of philanthropy is a testament to the resiliency, self-awareness, and dedication of its staff and board and network of partners,” said Tanuja Dehne, Dodge’s President and CEO. “We are thrilled to have Marianna and Jennene join the Dodge team and help us explore ways to build the new, live the new, and change the rules as we work to better equip ourselves, the nonprofit sector, and our communities for activating people for social change and racial justice.”

As Dodge’s Vice President of Programs, Marianna (she/her/hers), a philanthropic leader with nearly 20 years’ experience, will lead our grantmaking activities as we transform our program priorities to focus on equity, anti-racism, and justice. She will work to create new ways to power build and share decision-making, as well as develop and implement new program areas and initiatives to expand the Foundation’s reach and impact.

The New York City resident and mother of two was most recently Director of Artist Initiatives at Creative Capital working to diversify its network of artists and practitioners. Prior to that, Marianna was a program officer at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and a program director at the David Rockefeller Fund.

“I am excited to embark on this journey with Dodge toward the bold, new world we are creating in New Jersey and in the philanthropic space,” Marianna said. “This is an incredible moment for philanthropy to center racial justice and equity and direct resources and trust in new ways. I am thrilled to be grounded in New Jersey and learn more about where my grandparents lived and where my father grew up.”

Jennene Tierney (she/her/hers) joins us as our new Vice President of People, Culture, and Equity to oversee the Foundation’s human resources, culture building and internal and external communications strategies. In this role she will guide the implementation of an overarching diversity, equity, and inclusion vision, ensure continuous learning and values alignment within the Foundation’s culture and practices, and work in deep collaboration with staff and leadership as the organization continues to evolve and adapt its capacity to center equity and justice in all that we do.

Jennene brings more than 20 years’ experience leading talent and organizational development functions within global and national non-profits and philanthropies. Most recently, as a Vice President with Koya Leadership Partners, she led executive searches to help identify and place diverse, mission-driven leaders in many critical social change organizations. Prior to that she worked as Vice President of Human Resources at the Arcus Foundation and in various talent management and development roles with international NGOs, including UNICEF USA, International Rescue Committee, and CARE USA.

“As a Montclair resident and mom of two school-age children, I am excited to be part of a team that is focused on building a more equitable, creative, engaged, and sustainable New Jersey,” Jennene said. “I believe that strong leadership and a healthy nonprofit sector are key levers for the kinds of social change we seek. I am committed to helping people learn and develop and to helping organizations meet their growth edge so that our communities thrive. There’s a lot that we can and must do together right now — new skills, new voices and perspectives, and new ways of working are needed to create a more just future for all. To that end, I am, thrilled to join Dodge as it continues on its journey of transformation.”

Diversified Search Group assisted with the search for the two positions, both of which are newly created roles. After adopting a strategic plan two years ago with a revised vision, mission, values, and an explicit equity commitment to guide Dodge’s strategic direction, we have been working to align the Foundation’s resources to address historical, institutional, and structural impediments so that New Jerseyans of all races and communities have what is needed to realize a quality life. By centering our work in equity, we are bringing our deep knowledge of New Jersey and program-specific perspectives to address equity issues in the state, ever mindful that championing equity is a way of being, not a new strategy or trend.

Established in 1974 through the generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, the private Foundation partners with and supports the nonprofit sector, comprised of valued and trusted influencers for sustainable change, with a commitment to elevating the voices and power of communities most affected by systemic marginalization and exclusion from investment and opportunities. Dodge has provided over $500 million in grant and technical support to nonprofit organizations throughout New Jersey, often working with state and national philanthropic partners on special initiatives. Its current program areas are arts, education, environment, informed communities, and poetry, in addition to a technical assistance initiative that builds grantee capacity. It also presents biennially the largest poetry festival in the country, which this past year brought together the world’s most acclaimed poets in the first virtual festival.

Diversified Search Group, the largest woman-founded executive search firm in the country, is comprised of Diversified Search and its member firms of BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search. DSG is the official U.S. partner of AltoPartners, an alliance of international search firms offering global search capabilities across 34 countries. Ranked fifth in the 2020 Forbes list of the top 200 executive search firms in the United States, DSG is a recognized leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion, and known for its strong track record placing leaders serving mission-driven organizations, educational institutions, corporations, healthcare organizations, and on boards of directors.