F. M. Kirby Foundation Announces Leadership Transition

News and Stories

Sansay House – Morristown, New Jersey
F. M. Kirby Foundation

MORRISTOWN September 13, 2021

The Board of Directors of the F. M. Kirby Foundation announces that, effective September 30, 2021, S. Dillard Kirby plans to step down as President and from his day-to-day managerial duties. Having helped guide the leadership of the Foundation for 26 years, he intends to remain a fully engaged Board member, serving on several committees. Dillard stated, “This announcement is the exciting culmination of several years in the planning and a natural generational transition. My niece, Laura Horton Virkler (daughter of Board member, Alice Kirby Horton), has been participating in Foundation Board meetings for nearly two decades. Additionally, Laura has served on a handful of our grantee non-profit Boards in the Research Triangle, N.C. area within the educational, environmental, and human services dockets. She has earned the opportunity and shown the insight to be appointed as our first volunteer Chairperson and steer our Board governance.

Meanwhile, such a role was developed as we move to a new leadership model, and, as a result, Justin J. Kiczek will assume the title of Executive Director at the end of the month, spearheading the operational team. Leading our grants program over the past couple years, including during the stressful period of the pandemic, Justin has stepped up to the plate as we expected, and been a breath of fresh air to fill our sails going forward.”

Laura added, “Eighteen years ago I became the fifth generation of our family to join the F .M. Kirby Foundation Board and it has been an honor to serve under both my grandfather and my uncle. To see the impact that the non-profits we support have in our communities is an amazing testament to the vision of my great, great grandfather. Justin has demonstrated the skills and compassion needed for the role of Executive Director, engaging with our grantees, staff and Board in a way that signals both the utmost respect for the past while also recognizing the importance of new initiatives. We look forward to watching Justin and the full team advance us on multiple levels, as many of our current and potential new grantee partners fully reemerge from the pandemic crisis in new ways.”

“As the foundation engages in its 90th year of grantmaking,” Justin shared, “I am honored by the responsibility of leading this organization as it enters a new era. Dillard’s mentorship over the previous two years has imparted upon me a profound respect for the gift and legacy of our founder, Fred Morgan Kirby, as well as a model for being a compassionate listener and wise grantmaker. I am humbled by the prospect of following his tenure, but I am eager to work with my colleagues and our grantee partners in addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

The Board also announces the approval of an additional 86 grants totaling $3.3 million, bringing the total for the first eight months of 2021 to $10.1 million. The focus continues to be on fostering self-reliance and developing strong, healthy communities throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and North Carolina, as well as national nonprofits largely based in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

About the F. M. Kirby Foundation:

The F. M. Kirby Foundation is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey. Endowed in 1931 by Fred Morgan Kirby, one of the founders of the F.W. Woolworth Company, it was designed to continue in perpetuity through generations of the family. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $750 million in grants. Five Kirby family members, currently spanning two generations, serve on the Board, as well as two non-family directors.