Skip to main content

Mar 22, 2024

Brenda Solorzano, CEO Announces Departure

On March 22nd, we announced that our founding CEO, Brenda Solorzano, is transitioning and that a selection process for our next CEO will begin soon. We will provide updates with information about the transition and hiring process. For now, we want you to hear directly from Brenda. 

Dear friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I am stepping down as CEO of Headwaters. I’ll be here through the summer, but I wanted to notify our grantees and stakeholders now because your partnership is essential to me and the entire Headwaters team.

Before I get into the transition details, I want to let you know how much your support has meant to me personally. I moved here from San Francisco seven years ago to take on the challenge of building a new foundation focused on working side-by-side with Western Montanans to improve the health of our communities. You all welcomed me and my family with open arms, and I’ll be forever grateful.

Western Montana has incredible nonprofit leaders and organizations doing work that changes lives. I will miss our team, partners, and the fantastic people I have met and worked with in Montana. There was only one job I would have considered leaving this wonderful place and organization for, and that’s where I’m headed – to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of The California Endowment.

Moving on will be hard, but I do so knowing that Headwaters is in a strong position for the future with a new 10-year strategy, a solid staff, and an excellent Board of Directors. I’m so proud that Headwaters has awarded over $26 million since its inception, founded a nonprofit event space in Missoula – Confluence Center, received a $14 million dollar gift from MacKenzie Scott, and put Headwaters on the national map as a trust-based philanthropy leader.

We will introduce our new 10-year strategic framework in April, and the Board and staff remain committed to this path forward. We will continue to practice trust-based philanthropy and see our grantees as partners and trusted experts in their vital work.

The transition for Headwaters will take place over the next five months. The Board of Directors plans to start a search for the next CEO as soon as possible. They intend to hire a leader who is consistent with Headwaters’ values and approach. As soon as we have the hiring process and job announcement ready, we will ask you to help us find the next leader of Headwaters.

I am here for several more months. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to our team.


Brenda Solorzano