Foundation Honors Nonprofit Execs For Visionary Leadership

October 5, 2009

The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, a private foundation serving the Greater D.C., region, announces the recipients of its 2009 Exponent Award. The award recognizes outstanding nonprofit leadership in the Greater Washington, DC region and includes $100,000 for the recipient’s organization.

The 2009 Meyer Foundation Exponent Award winners are:

  • Lindsey Buss, president and CEO of Martha’s Table, a former attorney to the executive director of an organization that has provided critical food, clothing and education services to low-income and homeless families in the region for 28 years;
  • Ana Lopez, executive director of Community Bridges, a talented community leader whose organization helps young immigrant girls realize their potential;
  • Kelly Sweeney McShane, executive director of Community of Hope, a Georgetown MBA who has used her business skills to improve the lives of homeless families;
  • Jonathan M. Smith, executive director of Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, an attorney whose life’s work has been to protect the legal rights of people living in poverty; and
  • David Andrew Snider, producing artistic director and CEO of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an actor and businessman using his passion for theater and community service to give a voice to young people through playwriting.

The five leaders represent nonprofit organizations working in the Washington region with budgets ranging from $500,000 to more than $6 million. The recipients range from first-time executive directors to seasoned leaders with years of experience. Bios, photos, and video/audio clips of the five honorees are available at www.meyerfoundation.org/exponent09.

The Exponent Awards provide winners with resources to increase their leadership skills and to support and sustain them at a critical time in their tenure. Many regional and national nonprofits are facing one of their most difficult years, with an economy that has dramatically increased need, reduced resources, and included additional challenges, such as decreased or delayed funding.

“Nonprofit leaders are the often invisible heroes of our communities, and in this economy they are being asked to do so much more with so much less,” says Julie L. Rogers, president and CEO of the Meyer Foundation. “Each of these leaders demonstrates astute business skills, an unwavering passion for their mission and the creativity, resilience and agility needed to navigate their organizations through challenge and change.”

In addition to entrepreneurial leadership, the Foundation considered each nominee’s success at increasing the impact of the organization’s work, instituting sound financial management and serving as a collaborative community leader.

The Meyer Foundation created the Exponent Awards in 2006 as a response to its national study Daring to Lead 2006, which revealed that three out of four nonprofit executive directors of small and mid-sized organizations were likely to leave their jobs due to a number of factors. An independent evaluation of the Exponent Awards confirmed the program has significantly increased the visibility of its recipients and generated more than $2 million in additional funding for their organizations.


The Meyer Foundation is one of Greater Washington, D.C.’s oldest and most experienced private grant making foundations. For more than 65 years it has strengthened Greater Washington as a community by supporting capable, community-based nonprofit organizations that foster the well-being of all people in the region.