Laysha Ward, Target Foundation

TITLE: President

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and social services, Twin Cities

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Ward’s personal brand is “lead with the head, warm with the heart.” She seems to be an engaging funder who is passionate about supporting Target Corporation’s philanthropic mission of supporting education, especially early childhood literacy.

PROFILE: Laysha Ward recalls that her parents raised her with the belief that of those to whom much is given, much is expected. “They taught me that you have to give back regardless of your socioeconomic situation,” she told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper.

The value of giving back informs her work as president for community relations at retail giant Target. As the head of Target’s community relations department, Ward oversees nationwide grantmaking and civic activities. She also heads the Target Foundation, which supports arts and social service organizations in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Target’s headquarters.

Ward has been described as the type of person who can meet with the chief executive officer of Target one morning and be talking with a 5-year-old during a school visit shortly after that. What seems clear is that this funder is enthusiastic about giving back to communities.

Here is Ward's full bio on the Target website:

Laysha Ward is president of Community Relations for Target and a member of its executive committee. She oversees the corporation’s domestic and international grant making, community sponsorships, cause marketing initiatives, volunteerism and other civic activities.

Ms. Ward serves on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Executive Leadership Council, and Denny’s Corporation.

She is 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. She is also a member of the advisory committee for The Shriver Report, a project founded by Maria Shriver that examines current cultural transformations affecting American women and families.

Ms. Ward received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and a master’s degree in social services administration from the University of Chicago.