MOUNT VERNON – Knox County Foundation Executive Director Sam Barone announced Thursday he will retire June 30 from the position he has held the past 18 years.
Since sharing his retirement date with board members last summer, Barone has assisted the Foundation’s Executive Committee in developing a succession process, which will commence immediately, according to incoming Foundation Chair Richard Mavis.
Barone, 69, was selected in July 2002, to be the first executive director of the newly incorporated Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County. From its founding in 1944, the organization had been a community trust managed by First-Knox National Bank and governed by a small volunteer distribution committee with no paid staff.
The conversion in 2002 from a trust to a community foundation allowed for an expansion of the board of directors, which now represents all of Knox County, and the hiring of paid staff for the first time in 58 years, Mavis said.
“I was given two challenges by the board and its chairman, Mark Ramser," Barone said. "First, broaden the community's knowledge and understanding of the Foundation as a charitable organization; and second, multiply its base of donors and charitable assets, which at the time was a little more than $21 million.
“Thanks to a succession of dedicated board members and the recent addition of some talented staff members, notably Marc Odenweller and Lisa Lloyd, I can report a great deal of progress has been made on both fronts. We find ourselves in 2020 collaborating with many more donors – about 1,000 per year – and managing an $80 million endowment.
"Consequently we have been able to have an increasing charitable impact in Knox County – about $4 million in local grants, including more than $1 million in college scholarships in this our 75th anniversary year.”
“Serving as executive director of the Knox County Foundation has been the most meaningful and rewarding challenge of my 47-year professional career,” Barone said. “It has also been an immense honor and privilege.”
Following his retirement Barone said he will remain engaged in the community, serving as Vice President of the Knox Community Hospital Board and as a board member and events committee chair of the Foundation Park Conservancy. He also hopes to continue his association with the Foundation, as a volunteer.