After 16 years, the Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia chief steps aside - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 26, 2017 11:52 am

After 16 years, the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia chief steps aside

Executive Director Ina Lipman will leave by April to continue her work in educational advocacy — though she, purposefully, has no specific plan for next steps.

Ina Lipman.

(Screenshot via Vimeo)

Editor's note: This story's headline has been updated to more accurately reflect its content. (10/30, 12:02 p.m.)
Ina Lipman is stepping down from her role at Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia (CSFP) after 16 years.

The executive director of the nonprofit, which funds scholarships to private and parochial schools for low-income Philadelphia students, is leaving to pursue new professional challenges — though she’s not sure what exactly that will entail.

Echoing a sentiment we’ve heard before from outgoing leaders, Lipman said the impetus to leave was that she “just knew it’s the right time for new leadership.”

“I had gotten the organization to the place that I more than envisioned, and we’re at the point where we know what our next steps are going to be and not just remaining at scale,” she said from a vacation in Portugal on Wednesday evening.

Under her watch, the $10.2 million organization has served an estimated 22,500 elementary and middle schoolers and consistently earned a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. Most recently, CSFP received a nearly $500,000 grant from William Penn Foundation to train its parent ambassadors to educate other parents about quality pre-K, and to help it connect pre-K centers with the resources to meet Keystone STARS requirements.

It’s been a good run. And that’s why she’s out.

“I did not want to overstay my time at Children’s Scholarship Fund and to ever not be fully engaged,” Lipman said. “I’ve seen burnout leadership and it always made me angry” — that is, when an executive stays longer than they’re excited about their work. “It can take down a system. I wanted to leave before that process happened.”

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Before her term at CSFP, Lipman, who earned her JD from Temple Law, worked as executive director at The Peggy Browning Fund, a national nonprofit serving law students and worker rights groups.

When asked about her next step, she laughed.

“I laugh because, it’s always a little daunting when you’re not quite sure what that next step will be concretely,” she said. Whatever is it will likely entail educational advocacy, though.

The search for her replacement has already started, with help from search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Lipman won’t be directly involved in the search but will stay on as long as it takes to find someone, with a goal of having a new leader in place by April 2018.

“In the short time I have served as Board Chair, I have seen first-hand the impact that Ina has had on this organization, the people in it, and all of the families we have touched,” said Patrick J. Burke, the new chair of CSFP’s board of directors, in a statement. “We are all sad to see her go, but are looking towards the future with excitement to find a successor that will continue to propel our mission forward and be as passionate as Ina in providing quality education to our city’s students.”

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