June 14th, 2018
Board Member Profile: Ben Renberg Brings Community Foundation Experience from Houston
Ben Renberg joined Community Foundation’s Board of Directors in January, but he is no stranger to the world of community foundations. Before moving to Ithaca in the fall of 2016,Renberg volunteered with the Greater Houston Community Foundation and served on its nominating and development committees.
Shortly after becoming senior associate vice president of Alumni Affairs and Development at Cornell, Renberg readily accepted an invitation from Community Foundation Board Chair Susan Murphy to step onto the board. “With my background serving on community
foundation committees and volunteer boards in the past, this just seemed to be a natural fit,” he said.
Renberg grew up in the town of Navasota in East Texas and had never lived outside of the state — except for a three-year stint in Wisconsin as a child — until moving to Ithaca. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and an MBA from Baylor University in Waco.
He began his career working for a startup in the energy sector and then shifted gears when he became director of development at Baylor University and Baylor College of Medicine. In 2010, he was appointed associate vice president for development at Rice University in Houston and remained in that position until 2016.
“I’ve been in higher education most of my career and have focused on fundraising and engagement of alumni and other stakeholders to fulfill the different universities’ missions,” he said. Renberg also was a partner with Dini Partners, a consulting firm specializing in service to nonprofits.
What has impressed Renberg since relocating to Ithaca is the community’s active involvement in philanthropy. “With my background in nonprofits, I really had an interest in understanding the range of services provided by the nonprofit community,” he said. “People in Ithaca are not just passionate about issues; they put that passion to work by signing up to express that passion in day-to-day service to their favorite cause in the community.”
At Community Foundation, Renberg serves on the development committee and hopes to draw on his background in fundraising to help the board. He and his wife, April, live in the city of Ithaca, and having already spent two winters upstate, he is not deterred by the climate.
“Clearly it’s a big change moving from Texas to Upstate New York,” he said. “It’s quite pleasurable in Ithaca. I found that the winters are worth the weather of the beautiful spring and summer. When you’re doing important work, surrounded by a great community, the weather really doesn’t matter.”
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