Former Microsoft executive will focus on enriching Foundation’s legacy, enhancing community impact
Seattle, Wash. – Former Microsoft executive, nonprofit board leader and philanthropist Tony Mestres is the new president and chief executive officer of The Seattle Foundation, announced Martha Choe, chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees. Mestres replaces Norman B. Rice, who is retiring.
“In this ever-evolving philanthropic world, the board sought a leader adept at navigating change and skillful in uniting diverse interests toward a common goal,” said Choe, who is also chief administrative officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Tony has demonstrated these skills in the highly competitive world of global technology and in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. With his wide-ranging capabilities and belief in the power of philanthropy, Tony will both enrich The Seattle Foundation’s legacy and enhance our impact going forward to continue improving our community.”
A 22-year veteran of the technology industry, Mestres was most recently a marketing general manager and sales vice president for Microsoft, managing worldwide partner, sales and marketing execution for the company’s mobile strategy and Windows product line. His philanthropic leadership includes more than 12 years as a partner and board member of Social Venture Partners, a 500-member organization that cultivates effective philanthropists. In addition, Mestres is president emeritus of the board of directors of Kindering, a nonprofit organization serving children with special needs and their families. He has served on Kindering’s board for more than a dozen years.
“Kindering has benefited immensely from Tony’s leadership over the past 12 years,” said Mimi Siegel, Kindering’s executive director. “He thinks big, asks challenging and probing questions, and at the same time, is respectful of the legacy and culture of our organization. His leadership style and skills will result in a stronger Seattle Foundation, making even greater positive impact on our communities.”
The Seattle Foundation’s mission is to foster powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make King County a stronger, more vibrant community for all. In his role as president and CEO, Mestres will provide strategic direction and leadership for the nation’s 20th largest community foundation serving more than 1,200 families, businesses and nonprofit organizations and holding more than $800 million in charitable assets.
“More than a decade of deep involvement in Social Venture Partners and Kindering ignited my interest in the dynamic world of social impact,” said Mestres. “The chance to lead a philanthropic organization with such a rich legacy and abundant opportunity ahead aligned perfectly with my desire to move into a career of greater service and purpose.”
“Tony is a passionate, strategic leader with the skills to redefine The Seattle Foundation’s role in local philanthropy in a fashion that will excite its longstanding partners and attract new philanthropists,” said Paul Shoemaker, chief connector at Social Venture Partners.
A native of New York City, Mestres is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He began his career in telecommunications and joined Microsoft in 1999, progressing through business development and general management roles before being named vice president in 2010.
Mestres was chosen following a rigorous six-month search process chaired by Ann Watson, Foundation trustee and chief financial officer at Moss Adams, a regional assurance, tax and consulting firm based in Seattle. His selection caps a search process facilitated by Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, which specializes in placing executives at the nation’s largest and most prestigious organizations and who has worked with many of the most impactful nonprofits in the world.
Mestres will begin work at The Seattle Foundation on July 1.