Travis McReady and Jamie Jaffee Bolster Boston Foundation

The Boston Foundation has a new Vice President for Programs. And its consulting arm, the Philanthropic Initiative, has a new managing partner. Both are important people to know if you're fundraising for a nonprofit in the city. (See Boston Foundation: Boston Area Grants)

The new VP is Travis McCready, who was hired away from the executive director's post at Kendall Square Association, the commerce development force in Cambridge. This is McCready's second stint at the Boston Foundation: he worked there as chief of staff in 2001.

He takes the helm of the Boston Foundation’s program team from Robert Lewis, Jr., who left after holding the post for five years.

Lewis helped establish StreetSafe, the Foundation's boots-on-the-ground program developed to help reduce gang violence in Boston by staffing field workers on the street.  Lewis has formed a new non-profit organization, but will consult with McCready through a transition phase, according to a Foundation press announcement.

McCready has a track record of innovation.

He was the first executive director for Kendall Square and named among the Top 40 under 40 by the Boston Business Journal in 2009. He drove the Kendall Square message "The Future Lives Here" to high-tech capital expansion. And his background in both law and finance suggests an inclination toward public-private initiatives. 

Defending a series of surprise career decisions, McCready told the Business Journal he makes deliberate moves with an open mind "in the notion of walking out into storms holding a metal rod and letting life strike you like that and the patterns emerge."

Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul S. Grogan pointed to McCready’s feel for innovation as key to forging stronger community connections.

"Travis was a key partner in remolding the Foundation in the early years of my tenure, and he is the right person to help us enhance those connections, while bringing with him an exceptional background in the business, innovation and nonprofit sectors," Grogan said.

"To be effective, a Foundation needs to be grounded in the community it serves," McCready said in the Foundation’s formal announcement. "Returning to the Boston Foundation marks an opportunity for me to work with community members and civic leaders to create meaningful economic, community, cultural and civic change from the ground up."

Two days before announcing they hired McCready, Grogan named Jamie Jaffee as managing partner for The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), the Boston Foundation's newly merged consulting arm. TPI calls itself a pioneer in the field of strategic philanthropy, which seems like a fair assessment. As managing partner, Jaffee will ramp up the postion left open by TPI executive Ellen Remmer, who has moved further into the organization to work more closely with clients.

According to TPI's forecast, donors are increasingly seeking "custom strategies for achieving deep social impact."

Much like McCready, Jaffee also broke new ground, serving as the first president of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, a philanthropic endeavor she grew from zero in the early 1990s to $2 billion in charitable assets.

Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of the Fidelity Gift Fund. Not many people have. But get this: It's actually one of the largest grant-making organizations in the United States. In 2012, donors working through the Fund recommended more than 428,000 grants totaling $1.6 billion.

By launching the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Grogan says Jaffee changed the course of donor-advised funds in the United States.

"As Managing Partner of TPI, she brings a wealth of experience in donor advising, consulting and strategic development, and will put her inestimable talents to work strengthening TPI's already well-known services to families, foundations and corporations worldwide who seek to advance the art and science of their philanthropy."

After leaving Fidelity, Jaffee set up her own shop in 2003, Jamie Jaffee Enterprise. She has also held executive positions at several Boston finance and healthcare institutions, including The Bridgespan Group at Bain Consulting, State Street Bank and Trust Company, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Boston Foundation provides $88 million in grant awards annually from reported net assets of $880 million. Last year, the organization received close to $60 million in gifts.