Dan Ryan, former co-chair of the Portland Public School Board and chief fundraiser for the Oregon Ballet Theatre, was just named the new CEO of the Portland Schools Foundation. The Foundation could not have made a better choice.
Some folks know of Dan from his incredible work on the school board, through his community-based volunteer work or his accomplishments as a nonprofit aficionado.
I met Dan years ago when I was working at the Equity Foundation, Oregon’s gay and lesbian community foundation. The first time I met with him, instead of shaking my hand, he gave me a big, loving hug. When he joined Equity’s board of directors, I’d felt as though I’d won the lottery. As we began to get to know each other, I realized he was one of the smartest, most committed and most caring people around. We became friends quickly, and I cherished my time with him.
As he moved into a more public realm, and as I increasingly stayed home with children, we’ve lost touch a bit. Dan, though, is one of those people who is so immediately present with you that when we do chat, I feel as though no time has past at all.
The Foundation, which helps teachers and administrators with needed funding and mobilizes the community to pay attention to education, will be in the incredibly capable hands of a deeply committed public servant. Again, this mama is happy.