Community Foundation picks local nonprofit leader as next CEO

After a four-month nationwide search, the board of trustees of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) has tapped a local leader to helm the foundation. 

The board selected Patrick Cisler as the organization’s new president/CEO. Cisler brings a wealth of leadership experience, a demonstrated skill for relationship building, and a passion for community development work to the role. For the past decade, he has served as executive director of the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA) and Community SPOKE. 

“It is an unbelievable honor and privilege to be named as the next president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. I have a long collaborative history of working with the foundation on a wide variety of initiatives and have the utmost respect for this organization and the lasting impact it has had on our community,” says Cisler. 

Taking the baton

Cisler says he is looking forward to taking the baton from his friend Mike Goorhouse, who has led the CFHZ since 2014. In November, Goorhouse announced he was stepping down from his role to make a professional transition.
Founded in 1951 to create positive, lasting change for the Holland/Zeeland area, CFHZ currently has over $114 million in assets. 

Cisler will serve as the organization’s fourth president/CEO. His appointment concludes a four-month national search process led by the board of trustees and facilitated by Kittleman and Associates, a national executive search firm dedicated exclusively to recruiting high-performing leaders for nonprofit organizations. A high-caliber pool of local and national candidates applied for the position. 

“Patrick is adept at building long-term relationships and walking alongside donors, nonprofits, and community partners to help the greater Holland/Zeeland area become a place where all who live and work in our community can thrive,” says Diane Kooiker, CFHZ board chair. “His existing knowledge of our community’s pressing needs and promising opportunities, along with his existing relationships with many of our donors and collaborative partners, will play a key role in ensuring a seamless transition. We are thrilled that he was interested in leading CFHZ in this next season of growth and impact.” 

Passion for leadership

A graduate of West Ottawa Public Schools and DePauw University, Cisler began his career in the financial industry with Northwestern Mutual. Pursuing an interest in human services work and a passion for leadership, he then began working as a consultant with a focus on economic development and nonprofit organizations.

In his previous role as executive director of LNA and Community SPOKE, Ciscler oversaw a membership organization serving over 200 nonprofits.

LNA supports the local nonprofit sector by providing training, resources, leadership development, one-on-one consulting, and other professional development services, all aimed at helping nonprofits accomplish their important missions. 

Community SPOKE seeks to improve the quality of life of all Ottawa County residents through a strategic, coordinated, and systemic response from government, businesses, and nonprofits to collectively solve the “greatest human service needs,” according to the organization.

Prepared for opportunity

Cisler says he feels that his work with LNA/SPOKE has prepared him for leading CFHZ.

He plans to build on Goorhouse’s work, on the legacy of donors who have invested faithfully in the foundation, the leadership of his predecessors who helped shape the strategic direction and work with the “incredibly talented” staff and board to help shape the future of the Holland/Zeeland community.

“I look forward to the opportunity to further CFHZ’s mission of growing the Community’s Endowment for further transformational impact, providing exceptional services to donors to help them achieve their unique charitable goals, and leading and partnering in community-level initiatives,” says Cisler. “As someone who has dedicated their career to seeing Holland/Zeeland become a thriving community for everyone that lives here, I cannot think of a better opportunity to continue this highly missional work than at CFHZ.”

Cisler will assume the role of president/CEO on May 22. CFHZ will officially welcome Cisler to his new role during the organization’s Annual Luncheon event, which will be held on May 25 at 11 a.m. at the Holland Civic Center.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.