Humboldt Area Foundation Executive Director Patrick Cleary to Transition to New Role in 2019

This is a press release from the Humboldt Area Foundation:

Patrick Cleary, credit Catherine Wilkes Photography

(Bayside, Calif.) The Humboldt Area Foundation board announced today that executive director Patrick Cleary will remain with the foundation until 2023 as part of a long-term succession plan. Cleary will retain his role as executive director while a national search is undertaken by the board for his successor, then transition to a new role as Director of Community Prosperity and Investments in mid-2019.

“Patrick has put us in a strong position so the upcoming transition is one we see as an opportunity to move the Foundation to the next level, one that will benefit the entire region and all the organizations, donors and people we serve,” said board chair Kathryn Lobato.

Cleary initially announced his intention to retire to the foundation’s board last week, but the board ultimately convinced him to defer in favor of a new position advising and managing complex gifts and community investments. “The executive director position a big job, and I am ready for a less rigorous workload,” said Cleary.

During his six years of leadership the foundation’s total assets grew by 62%, to more than $128 million. That money was reinvested into projects such as the recently opened Fortuna Open Door Community Health Center building. Under Cleary’s tenure the foundation took on projects as challenging and diverse as helping finance the Carson Block renovation project in Eureka’s Old Town, the formation of the Equity Alliance of the North Coast and economic development initiative Humboldt Made. Cleary successfully developed bridges that strengthened the foundation’s financial resources and created local investment opportunities to create jobs and develop nonprofits in Humboldt, Trinity and Curry counties. This is work the Humboldt Area Foundation plans to continue with Cleary’s guidance and mentorship.

Board Finance Chair Charlie Jordan said: “The board worked with Patrick these past weeks to create a position that takes advantage of his financial investment expertise to continue the growth seen under his leadership.”

In addition to local investments hundreds of grants to community organizations and scholarships are made each year. HAF has also worked behind the scenes and as a convener to bring people together to talk about challenges within our communities.

“Patrick’s commitment to engaged and active philanthropy has allowed us to take a leadership and convening role in talking about sensitive issues like race, equity and inclusion, all topics important to address in building a healthy community for all,” said board member and Program Strategies Committee Chair, Zuretti Goosby.

“The Humboldt Area Foundation is a truly special organization that has real and profound impacts on the people we serve. Our scope is large, our approach is thoughtful and empowering, and our staff is top notch and incredibly committed and talented. Over the last six years we have accomplished so much together to make our community better, and I know the foundation is poised for even more growth in the future,” said Cleary.

“The transition plan we are working out means we do not have to say good-bye to Patrick. He will be here to assist us as we move forward together in a thoughtful and intentional way,” Lobato added. “The proposed new position for Cleary also allows him to devote more time to his family and personal life. Work-life balance is something we believe in and support.”

For further information, please call Kathryn Lobato at (707) 223-4300. You may also email

About Humboldt Area Foundation:

Vera Vietor established the Humboldt Area Foundation in 1972. Since then, more than $80 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded in Humboldt, Del Norte, Curry and Trinity Counties. Humboldt Area Foundation promotes and encourages generosity, leadership and inclusion to strengthen our communities.

For more information on services provided by the Foundation please visit the Humboldt Area Foundation website at or call (707) 442-2993.



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