Target Executive Laysha Ward Elected Board Chair of Corporation for National and Community Service

Jan 9, 2012

Ward Also to Serve on White House Council for Community Solutions

Washington DC – The board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has elected Target executive and longtime service champion Laysha L. Ward to serve as chair.

As the nation's largest grant maker for service and social innovation, CNCS engages more than five million Americans in meeting pressing community needs through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and other programs, and leads President Obama's United We Serve initiative.

Ward is president of Community Relations for Target. She oversees the corporation's domestic and international grant making, community sponsorships, cause marketing initiatives, volunteerism and other civic activities. She is also responsible for the Target Foundation.

The bipartisan board, whose members are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, sets overall policy and direction for the agency and its programs and provides guidance to the agency's CEO. Ward was appointed to the CNCS board by President Bush in 2008.

“The Corporation for National and Community Service and the organizations and volunteers it supports are making an important investment in our nation's future by solving local problems, supporting vulnerable citizens, and strengthening communities throughout the United States,” said Ward. “Throughout my life I've seen how volunteers can make a powerful impact, and I am honored and excited to take on this role at a time of growing need and momentum for service in America.”

Ward was also named to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions, established by President Obama in 2010 to bring together resources from the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors in communities across the country. With a near-term focus on connecting youth to pathways to employment, the Council will provide the President guidance on the best ways to enlist more Americans and leaders across sectors to catalyze change within communities and make progress on our nation's greatest challenges.

Ward thanked outgoing CNCS board chair Mark Gearan, President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, who served three terms on the CNCS board, including board chair since June of 2010. “I join all of the board in applauding Mark for his outstanding leadership for many years. Whether promoting service abroad through the Peace Corps or at home through CNCS, Mark is one of country's strongest champions for service.”

“We are grateful to Laysha and Mark for the significant time and effort they have put forth and the wise counsel they have provided for so many years. This board is a shining example of what can happen when people work together to get things done,” said Robert Velasco, II, Acting CEO of CNCS. “Laysha is a national leader who brings decades of experience and a passionate commitment to service, and we are fortunate to have her as chair as we increase the impact of service on tough challenges facing our nation.”

Ward began her career with Target in 1991. She serves on the board of the Executive Leadership Council, a national membership organization for African American executives; and Denny's Corporation. She is also a member of the Aspen Institute's Commission on No Child Left Behind, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and The Links, an international woman's service organization.


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