For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Gabe Edelman


For Immediate Release

May 1, 2024


Long-time Nonprofit Leader Looks to Expand the Organization’s Impact at a Key Time in Philanthropy

(Boston, MA)Today, Philanthropy Massachusetts announced Mary Skelton Roberts, an experienced philanthropy leader with a long track record of developing multi-sector collaborations, public-private partnerships, and strategic communications throughout Massachusetts, as its new Chief Executive Officer.


Skelton Roberts replaces former CEO Jeffrey Poulos, who joined social impact startup Impala after 13 years of successful leadership at Philanthropy MA.


“We are excited to welcome Mary as CEO of Philanthropy MA,” said Board Chair Peter Taylor, President of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. “Philanthropy is evolving and changing at a time when it is needed most to help address challenges facing our communities. Mary’s experience building coalitions involving philanthropy and government to advance critical issues such as climate justice, as well as her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, puts her in a perfect position to lead our organization and philanthropic sector in Massachusetts.”


Skelton Roberts is known as a relationship and coalition builder, working with and serving as a thought leader to boards, governmental agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups in high-impact visioning, multi-phase strategizing, grantmaking, and influence strategies. She has a deep commitment to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into the operations and culture of an organization.


“I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Philanthropy Massachusetts at such an important time for philanthropic and nonprofit institutions across our state,” said Skelton Roberts. “We’re at an inflection point on many issues affecting our communities - housing, healthcare, mental health, climate, economic disparity. Many of these issues are intersectional, and by leveraging resources and asserting our voices, we can collectively drive fundamental change.”


Skelton Roberts joins the organization from the Climate Beacon Project, a convener of “Can Doers” on climate change, where she served as President of the Climate Beacon Conference. She will remain a Senior Advisor to the organization. Prior to that she was Senior Vice President of the U.S. Energy Foundation, a national intermediary focused on climate and clean energy.

Previously, Skelton Roberts was a Co-Director of Barr Foundation’s climate team from 2009 to 2021, focusing on transportation and land use, essential levers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Her work aimed to modernize transit and create walkable vibrant communities. Before joining Barr, she was a consultant specializing in dispute resolution of complex corporate, environmental, and policy issues. She has worked extensively with nonprofit, government, and private-sector clients in the United States and internationally. She served on the national boards of Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. She currently serves on several boards throughout Boston and volunteers her time on issues related to youth enrichment, animal welfare, and promoting economic empowerment for Latino families.

Skelton Roberts was appointed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to serve as the City’s first ever representative on the MBTA Board of Directors in 2023, and will continue to serve on the Board.


Skelton Roberts holds a Master’s in City Planning from MIT, with concentrations in consensus-building and environmental policy. She also holds mediation and facilitation accreditations from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and from the Center for Dispute Resolution in London, England, where she served as lead faculty.


About Philanthropy Massachusetts

Philanthropy Massachusetts promotes the practice and expansion of effective and responsible philanthropy to improve the health and vitality of its region. Founded in 1969, Philanthropy Massachusetts is a diverse and vibrant membership association of highly engaged philanthropic organizations and individuals with interests in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. We connect new and established donors, their trustees, and staff to each other, to their communities, and to emerging and relevant issues in the field. Philanthropy Massachusetts serves as a bridge between funders and fund applicants for better understanding, efficiency, and impact. As a leading and influential voice and advocate for effective philanthropy, Philanthropy Massachusetts provides access to knowledge and cooperative action that enables our members to create extraordinary value for each other, their grantees and to collectively shape the future of a healthy and vibrant region. Learn more at and follow us on LinkedIn at Philanthropy_MA.

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