Sonya Salanti of Bethlehem, NH has been hired by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation as director of the Neil and Louise Tillotson Funds, a family of philanthropic funds housed at the Charitable Foundation that support community organizations in Coös County and surrounding communities in Vermont, Maine and Quebec and in Guatemala.
The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund is the largest of the Tillotson family of funds, and is one of the largest rural philanthropies in the country. It distributes about $3.5 million in grants each year in Cöos County and surrounding communities, supporting a wide range of efforts to help revitalize the region and local economy and to meet basic needs. It is advised by a volunteer community advisory board that works with staff to determine funding strategies and priorities.
Neil Tillotson died in 2001 at the age of 102, leaving the bulk of his assets for charitable purpose. His wife, Louise Tillotson, established the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund at the Charitable Foundation in 2006.
Salanti has spent much of her career supporting practitioners in economic development in rural communities around the world, including a stint working with CARE in Ethiopia. She currently serves as a senior program manager with the SEEP Network, an organization that supports nonprofits to create opportunities for vulnerable populations worldwide, especially women, to participate in markets and improve their quality of life. She has worked extensively in economic development, energy efficiency, and educational initiatives and has 20 years of experience supporting non-profits to achieve their goals, including strategic planning, program design, organizational development, implementation and evaluation.
Salanti was hired after a nationwide search.
“Sonya brings a combination of unique professional experience and a passion for the North Country,” said Charitable Foundation president and CEO Richard Ober. “We look forward to working with her to build on the good work of the Tillotson Funds, and to build on the strengths of North Country communities.”
Salanti holds Master’s degrees in sustainable development and in educational leadership. She volunteers at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ Rocks Estate, at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem and at the Bethlehem Trails Association.
“The North Country has such rich resources and amazing people,” Salanti said. “Over the last several years, I have been supporting nonprofits that work in really intense, crisis-affected situations. I feel so grateful to be able to take what I have learned and use it right here where I live, in a place that has such a foundation of resilience and community-oriented know-how.”
Salanti will begin at the Charitable Foundation on June 1. She succeeds Kirsten Scobie of Lancaster as the third director of the Tillotson Funds since 2006.