William Gibson Named New Executive Director of Helps Education Fund
September 19, 2022
We are excited to announce that William D. Gibson has been named as the new Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for Helps Education Fund.
With offices in Raleigh and Charlotte—and program impact within and outside of North Carolina—Gibson is set to lead the organization through its next iteration of growth. Throughout its history, Helps Education Fund has provided research-supported programs and services that are free or low-cost and meaningfully advance students’ learning. To promote educational equity, we focus on supporting historically underserved and marginalized communities. As the next Executive Director, Gibson will work with and lead our team to continue the high-impact programming we have been recognized for, scale our impact, and leverage more relationships locally and nationally.
Helps Education Fund was founded as a 501c3 in 2011 by John Begeny and began with an all-volunteer staff. Since then, our organization has strengthened and expanded our programmatic focus within and beyond North Carolina. While engaged in the Research Triangle, Charlotte, Guilford County, and in the Eastern counties of Bladen, Cumberland, and Harnett, we currently have approximately 40 staff and programs that have reached all 50 states. Helps Education Fund programs also are being used in more than 60 countries around the globe. Strategic U.S. cities of collaboration and impact include New York City and Baltimore, while Brazil and Uzbekistan represent two international locations where current programming looks to deepen and expand. These international opportunities are largely the result of impact with two of our 11 programs: HELPS (Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies) and PASTEL (Parents and Schools Together to Enhance Learning).
“We are very excited to welcome William to Helps Education Fund as we continue to grow our team and foster more ways to enhance educational equity,” said John Begeny, the organization’s founder and current Executive Director. “As we enter this next phase of our organization, we are primed to improve and scale our impact, and William brings a specific set of skills and experiences that will help us accomplish our strategic goals. I am thrilled to be a key collaborator with him in our ongoing work to further Helps Education Fund's mission,” Begeny added.
After leading the organization through several years of significant growth, Begeny will move into a Chief Executive Officer role to focus even more on vision, mission, and strategic partnerships. He will remain a key collaborator in Gibson’s leadership as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.
“The board remains committed to the vision and mission of Helps Education Fund, and as we enter a new phase of growth for the organization, we celebrate and welcome William as our new Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer,” said Michael De Los Santos, Chairperson of the board of directors. “He will bring a fresh set of eyes to the organization, and his experience, enthusiasm, and great communication skills are exactly what we need in this next phase. We look forward to continuing the success and growth of the organization with William’s leadership,” De Los Santos concluded.
Gibson, who brings more than 25 years of private and nonprofit executive leadership—and a passion for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging—currently serves as the chief strategy officer and managing partner for Seattle-based Sustineri Group, Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on positive social change through social entrepreneurship and innovation. Prior to that, he led a diverse team in the Northwest for nearly eight years in social innovation and social impact work connected to The United Methodist Church. His efforts helped develop, fund, and support projects and programs in Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and small parts of Canada, ranging from social enterprise, community and economic development, and affordable housing, to financial and programmatic support of local school districts serving economically marginalized communities. Under his leadership with the United Methodist Church and with his focus on ensuring skilled and diverse leadership teams, 58% of the 41 new projects launched by the team were led by leaders of color—with 53% led by women—in an organization that was 94% white.
“I am beyond excited to join the highly diverse team at Helps Education Fund in our collective work to advance educational equity and positive social impact alongside schools, families, and communities,” stated Gibson. “What John Begeny and the team have accomplished over a relatively short period of time is absolutely amazing. The passion and sacrifice of so many people connected to this work are starting to produce much fruit, which presents us with a unique opportunity. We want to leverage this good work and help cultivate the kind of society each one of us want to embody. That all begins with equitable access to high-quality education and the opportunities that come from such access,” Gibson added.
Gibson, who boomeranged back to North Carolina from Seattle now lives in Greensboro and starts his new role as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer on September 27th.
“I am especially excited to be living back in North Carolina and working alongside passionate people for positive social change in my own backyard, with the opportunity to help lead efforts across the United States and the globe,” Gibson concluded.
With a mission to improve educational equity and promote a more just society, Helps Education Fund provides evidence-based programs and services that are free or low-cost and meaningfully advance student learning. We will publish our first impact report this fall, which will share results and learnings that will help our organization continue to improve programs and strategies as we strive to achieve goals, strengthen partnerships, and collaboratively address critical needs in education.
William D. Gibson is a leader of innovation strategies, social entrepreneurship, and community-based organization collaboration who is known for solving ambiguous problems at scale. In the private sector he spent more than 16 years in business startup and marketing where his focus was strategy development, corporate communications, product development, and creating a culture where teams could thrive. He has led and collaborated in several new startups, supported by more than $5M of VC and angel investor funding. Gibson is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He completed his doctorate at George Fox University focusing on semiotics/future studies, with an emphasis on social and technological advancement. He completed his master’s at Duke University with a focus on social entrepreneurship. For the last 20 years he has worked in nonprofit management and consulting, focused on social entrepreneurship and innovation. Gibson is the author of a new book, Sustainable Engagement: Strategic Planning for Positive Social Change, which was published and released May of this year.