Named President of IFF’s Social Impact Accelerator in June 2022, Dr. Tara Townsend leads IFF’s work to accelerate positive social impact and systems change by meeting nonprofit sector needs and addressing place-based challenges throughout the Midwest. Dr. Townsend previously served as Senior Vice President of IFF’s research and evaluation practice, which informs and guides strategic planning and the investment of resources in order to maximize the transformational impact on low-income and disabled communities.
Townsend brings to her role more than 20 years of applied research and evaluation experience in the nonprofit and public spheres within a number of sectors, including criminal justice, public health, and education. Prior to joining IFF in 2018, she served as the Chief Impact Strategy Officer for ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati region’s local arts agency and the nation’s first and largest community campaign for the arts, and as a housing policy analyst with the City of New Orleans in the key years following Hurricane Katrina.
Townsend holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a Ph.D. in social and organizational psychology from Temple University.