With three decades of C-suite experience in nonprofit institutions, Aileen Hefferren is a results-oriented leader, effective fundraiser, and high-profile builder of boards. Aileen has deep expertise stabilizing institutions in transition, honed from her roles succeeding a 24-year serving founder and a three-decade serving CEO. Working in education, equity and access, and social services spaces, Aileen is highly skilled in strategic planning and programming; private and public fundraising; governance; finance; communications, and technology.
Following a career in fundraising, Aileen served for 18 years as Chief Executive of Prep for Prep, the nation’s preeminent leadership development program that prepares exceptional students of color to excel at top independent schools and highly selective colleges and universities, structuring opportunities so that they will become ethical and effective leaders. During her tenure, she increased the pool of leaders from 1,500 to more than 5,000, of which a third are Ivy League graduates. Aileen expanded the program and its reach, cemented Prep’s leadership in the field, and strengthened its financial foundation. Among her accomplishments are new and improved programming, including an expanded boarding school program and the launch of a consulting practice that has advised over 200 organizations modeled on Prep serving 250,000 students worldwide. Aileen spearheaded the addition of important new resources to support students’ emotional and psychological health. She instituted new opportunities to engage and deploy Prep’s growing alumni population in support of the organization; increased its STEM offerings through key partnerships with Bloomberg and Google; and working closely with a 70-member Board (which includes New York City leaders in finance, law, consulting, and tech) managed transitions of long-serving Board chairs, successfully engaging and diversifying the next generation of Trustees. Finally, she raised a total of over $230 million from private sources, which allowed Prep to increase its reserve funds from $1.5 million to more than $40 million.
Subsequently Aileen served as CEO and Director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which is renowned for its world-class research-based exhibitions and outreach to diverse communities. Aileen led the Museum as it undertook an institutional transformation, spearheading a $200+ million project for a future landmarked home facing Central Park. She professionalized internal capabilities, driving toward financial and operational excellence, while reopening the Museum during the Covid pandemic with a target audience that could not be vaccinated. Aileen raised over $40 million in capital support during her tenure while guiding the Board to align with the institution’s future needs.
Twenty years as a Trustee of her alma mater, Kenyon College, complements Aileen’s professional experience. She is chair of the College’s search for its 20th president, having vice chaired Kenyon’s highly successful presidential search a decade earlier. A member of the Executive Committee since 2006, Aileen chaired the Equity and Inclusion Committee for 15 years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Kenyon which awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2012 following her Commencement address. Aileen also holds a General Course Certificate from the London School of Economics.
LinkedIn: Aileen Hefferren