Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo President/CEO
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker set out to be a positive force for change. By all measurements, she has done just that, and she has done it really, really well. The President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo works to connect people, ideas and resources in Western New York. She also has led numerous public and private sector collaborations focused on systemic change for issues such as school readiness, capacity building for arts organizations, and safety for victims of domestic violence.
Dedecker currently serves on the boards of the Foundation Center and Community Foundations Leading Change. And she knows how people at the other end of giving feel.
For two years after her family fled Cuba for the U.S. when she was a child, she said, they were “completely provided for by the social safety net and charitable contributions from people who did not know us.” “This support put a roof over our heads and meals on the table,” she said. “I came to philanthropy as a beneficiary, and for this I hold a great debt of gratitude.”
For Dedecker, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to affect positive change. She flourishes, she said, in “taking on challenging issues, pursuing cross-sector solutions, engaging a broad cross-section of stakeholders and marshaling needed resources to change lives. “Philanthropy,” she said, “is ultimately about improving lives with a set of assets that go beyond traditional grant support.” Prior to her Buffalo foundation work, Dedecker served on the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and was the U.S. Committee co-chair of the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer. She has been honored by the Points of Light Foundation, the Governor’s Award for Service, and the President’s Award for Service. She was on the Mayoral Council on Hispanic Issues and the National Federation for Just Communities board. She has a State University of New York at Buffalo education master’s. For her, people are inherently generous, forward thinking and capable of local philanthropy. “People want to be part of solutions, and we can shed light on those pathways to better tomorrows,” she added. Above all, Dedecker believes her career is geared to help the U.S. realize its full potential for all. “Givers,” she said, “move all of us closer to making the promise of America the practice of America.”
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.