Tanuja Dehne named new Dodge Foundation President and CEO

August 7, 2019

After an extensive search, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is pleased to announce Tanuja M. Dehne will become the fourth president and CEO of the Dodge Foundation effective Sept. 9. She succeeds Cynthia Evans, chief financial officer, who assumed the role of interim president following the retirement of Chris Daggett last September.

“We are thrilled to introduce Tanuja in this new role for Dodge,” said Preston Pinkett III, Dodge Board of Trustee chair. “Tanuja’s skills in management, her creative mind, and her leadership support in developing the Foundation’s strategic plan and vision for an equitable New Jersey will help ensure we press forward in a powerful way.”

Dehne, a former Dodge trustee, will lead the Dodge Foundation at an exciting time in its history. Adopted last June, the Foundation’s strategic plan envisions nurturing an equitable New Jersey through creative, engaged, sustainable communities. Over the past year, the Foundation has been developing program-level theories of change to inform and shape the next phase of the work – building collaboration among its arts, education, environment, informed communities, poetry, and technical assistance programs.

“I am excited and inspired to be embarking on this new adventure and joining Dodge’s dedicated team to advance the Foundation’s new vision and theories of change,” Dehne said.

Dehne’s background spans both corporate and nonprofit leadership. She has been an attorney, human resources professional, and community volunteer, and is an expert adviser on board governance practices. Dehne serves on several nonprofit boards of trustees, including New York Public Radio and Lafayette College, and served as senior adviser to the global nonprofit The B Team. She formerly chaired the board of Young Audiences Arts For Learning New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, and also served on the boards of HomeFront of New Jersey and Sustainable Jersey. A former chief administration officer and chief of staff at NRG Energy, Inc. she serves on the boards of directors of publicly traded companies Granite Point Mortgage Trust and Advanced Disposal Services. Dehne holds a B.A. from Lafayette College, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Syracuse University. She lives in West Windsor with her family.

The Dodge Board of Trustees hired Sally M. Sterling Executive Search, an outside firm, to guide a national search for the position as head of one of New Jersey’s largest philanthropic organizations.

“As a board member, Tanuja was instrumental in helping develop the Foundation’s strategic plan, and we will now look to her to help move forward and bring it to fruition,” Pinkett said. “The Foundation would like to thank Cynthia Evans for her steady leadership as interim president.”

“Dodge is well-positioned to be a leader in the field aligning our resources to advance our vision for an equitable New Jersey and supporting the nonprofit sector to influence social change so that communities that have been historically and systematically excluded from investment and opportunity have more power and voice,” Dehne said. “I am excited to build upon the work of the Foundation and leverage the expertise and experience of the staff, board, and our partners so that people of all races and communities have what is needed to realize a quality life.”

Established in 1974 through the generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, the Foundation has provided nearly $500 million in grant and technical support to nonprofit organizations throughout New Jersey, often working with New Jersey and national philanthropic partners on special initiatives. It also presents biennially the largest poetry festival in the country, bringing together the world’s most acclaimed poets including numerous U.S. Poets Laureate and winners of virtually every major poetry award.