Transforming community through philanthropy.

Paula Hickman to Retire as Executive Director from The Community Foundation

Posted on: Friday , July 28 , 2017
Posted by: 
Jennifer Steadman

Replacement to be announced in September

Paula Hickman, executive director of The Community Foundation of North Louisiana, has announced her retirement to be effective January 1, 2018. The Foundation’s board of directors are in the final stages of selecting a successor. That announcement will take place in September.  

Hickman joined The Foundation in 2003 as the development director and succeeded Dorothy Gwin as executive director in 2004.

During her tenure, Hickman led The Foundation’s investment in our community’s philanthropic infrastructure, so that today local donors and policy makers have access to data on our area’s quality of life in an annual report card, Community Counts. She was responsible for creating LINCC, on online platform that provides immediate up-to-date information about local nonprofit and civic resources. She also developed the concept of Community Central, a meeting space for community groups to work together and oversaw its construction. 

Other Foundation milestones achieved under her leadership include the implementation of new ways of supporting local nonprofits, from Give for Good Day, a 24- hour day of giving, to the creation of giving circles such as the Women’s Philanthropy Network and Community Leaders Change Fund. Hickman also began a Community Speaker Series to spur conversation on ideas and issues important to this community. 

Numerous successful community initiatives began under Hickman’s guidance, including: the Arts Congress, Work Innovations in Northwest Louisiana, Healthy Green and Into the Outdoors, Speak Your Peace and Step Forward. 

“We are grateful for Paula’s leadership, dedication and vision she has had for both The Foundation and the community as a whole. Her passion for making North Louisiana a better place for all is undeniable and she will certainly be missed,” said Tom Murphy, current Foundation board chair.

During Hickman’s tenure The Foundation assets grew from $32 million to $125 million today. More than $55 million has been granted from The Foundation during the same period. 

“It has been my honor and privilege to have worked with our wonderful donors, board and staff to help encourage a generous spirit within our region. All of us have something to give, whether time, talent or treasure. When we join hands with our neighbors in giving to make our community a better place, we connect to something greater than ourselves. And it is in this connection that we are all strengthened,” Hickman stated.  

Prior to coming to The Foundation, Hickman practiced law in the area of trusts and estate planning.  She served as chairman of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s section on Trusts, Estates, Probate and Immovable Property Law.  She was recognized in 2008 by Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations as “Louisiana Heroine” and in 2009 as Outstanding Fundraising Executive by Association of Fundraising Professionals. Most recently she was awarded the Clyde E. Fant Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by the United Way of Northwest Louisiana. She has served on more than 15 nonprofit organization’s board of directors and was a cofounder of the Volunteers of America LightHouse.

Hickman will work side-by-side with her successor the remainder of the year to ensure a smooth transition. 

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