Lee Zimmerman, executive director of The Summit Foundation (TSF), has announced his plans to retire sometime in the first half of 2015.
Zimmerman joined the foundation in September 2006. He previously worked in Denver at Investment Management Consultants, a nonprofit professional association for investment consultants. Before that, he spent “19 delightful years” as the executive director of the United Way of Walla Walla, Washington.
When he learned of the opportunity at The Summit Foundation, it “sounded interesting to me and sounded like something that I had qualifications and experience to do, so I applied,” he said. He was happy with the decision.
“I enjoy what I do and I love it up here,” he said.
During Zimmerman’s nearly eight-year tenure, TSF has seen growth in donors, assets and grants. Grant and scholarship distributions have doubled to nearly $1.5 million annually. Annual donor-advised and scholarship funds have increased from $140,000 to over $500,000.
The Summit School District Pre-Collegiate program and After School Activities (CATCH) elementary school programs were established with the support of TSF’s Special Initiative Program.
“The implementation of the Pre-Collegiate program with Summit School District was a highlight, significantly,” said Zimmerman, on highlights of his time with TSF.
The foundation’s grant application process has been streamlined and simplified under Zimmerman’s lead, according to a press release announcing his retirement decision. The organization will be moving its offices into the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center later this year.
When asked the reason behind his retirement, Zimmerman said simply, “It’s time for me to retire, I just feel that.”
His feelings on the foundation’s current standing and future are positive.
“I feel terrific about where the foundation is. I think the board of trustees is fully engaged,” he said. “There’s some really good direction that will continue to do great things and to grow in the community.”
“Lee has set such an outstanding example with his commitment and focus on continual improvement for TSF, Summit and surrounding counties, and our local nonprofits. His dedication to TSF’s mission is unsurpassed. He will be missed,” stated Kevin McDonald, president of the board of trustees, in a press release.
“Lee has been an outstanding leader at the foundation and in Summit County,” Cary Cooper, who served as president of the foundation’s board of trustees for four years during Zimmerman’s term as executive director, stated in a press release. “He is a real gentleman who is both respected and admired by all those he worked with at the foundation and in the local nonprofit community. It was always an honor and a pleasure to work with him.”
According to McDonald, The Summit Foundation will begin a search process in the near future and will be posting the position and accepting resumes then.
In the press release announcing his retirement decision, Zimmerman wrote, “It has been an honor to continue the tremendous legacy of The Summit Foundation. The timing for me to come to the foundation and direction of the foundation eight years ago were a perfect match. I love the Summit County area and the foundation and my decision to leave is a difficult one, but it is the right time for me to move on. It has been wonderful to work with such a committed and hard-working Board of Trustees. There (are) so many truly dedicated community Board members and volunteers who are truly the Soul of The Summit. While I am proud of the accomplishments, I am particularly proud of the terrific, dedicated staff that has been responsible for them.”