NCoC Announces New CEO

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Conference on Citizenship, I am excited to announce that Sterling Speirn has been selected as our new CEO.

It’s clear that he’ll be stepping into the role at a difficult time. America faces numerous challenges today; as those of you who were able to join our fascinating annual conference two weeks ago know, we heard first-hand how frayed our national civic and social fabric is in 2017—and how long that problem has been growing. The “Civic Deserts” report that we released at the conference concludes, “The continued decline in a wide range of important indicators of civic health and connectivity threatens our prosperity, safety, and democracy.”

We hope that Sterling, who will start in January, will lead NCoC into a new era to combat these challenges, working to strengthen civic life and repair America’s frayed social and civic fabric.

Sterling brings an enduring and persistent interest and commitment to promoting civic and community engagement. His work in community and private philanthropy has focused on the dynamics of place-based projects and initiatives that demonstrated over and over that there is no substitute for active citizen participation when it comes to tackling social issues and challenges.

Across his career, Sterling has helped transform lives and communities. As President & CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he led the effort to create the conditions for success for vulnerable children and bridge racial disparities. In his role as the leader of the Peninsula Community Foundation, he grew its assets, brought innovation to its grantmaking and donor services, and helped shape what would ultimately merge to form the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Sterling also brings experience as a teacher, an attorney at a legal assistance center, a leader at a community health center, and a Program Officer at Apple.

From many hours of conversations with him over recent months, I can attest to the fact that he’s also a really nice person. Altogether, we are confident that we have found an extraordinary leader for NCoC who will build on our foundation, vision, and strategy during a time of historic importance for our mission.

In the days and weeks ahead, we hope Sterling will have the chance to speak with many of you regarding his vision and our hopes for NCoC’s future. Please feel free to email him,, or me,, if you have ideas or suggestions about improving civic life in America.

In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Sterling to a new chapter at NCoC.



PS: If you haven’t had the chance to read the “Civic Deserts” report, please read it here.

We’re grateful to our partners in this report for their energy and support: Civic Enterprises, the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and the MCJ Amelior Foundation