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Nancy Welch retires after nearly a decade leading statewide civic-leadership program

March 18, 2020

By Chris Farrington

Nancy Welch addresses attendees at her Flinn Foundation retirement celebration Jan. 29. Welch was honored for her career with an evening event at FABRIC in downtown Tempe attended by Flinn-Brown Fellows, colleagues, and friends.

Nancy Welch led the effort over the last nine-plus years to create Arizona’s leading statewide civic-leadership program through the development of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its Flinn-Brown Fellowship.

Welch, who retired at the end of 2019, was hired by the Flinn Foundation in October 2010 as the inaugural director of the center. She constantly innovated to ensure a relevant, timely program for Arizonans on their way to becoming state-level civic leaders.

Dawn Wallace, an Arizona public-policy expert who has worked for three governors, has been named the second leader of the Flinn Foundation’s philanthropic activities in civic leadership. Wallace starts her new role with the foundation March 23.

As the program director, Welch developed the Flinn-Brown seminars that have attracted more than 350 Flinn-Brown Fellows. Welch formed relationships with the Fellows, which included elected officials, policy advisors, and state agency executives, and provided opportunities to strengthen connections among Fellows with the creation of the Flinn-Brown Network.

Flinn-Brown is jointly sponsored by the Flinn Foundation and the Tucson-based Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

Welch devised the Arizona Civic Exchange, a four-week program about statewide policy issues that serves for many as an introduction to Flinn-Brown, and the annual All-Fellows Convention that brings together each cohort along with prominent local and national speakers. Welch also created “Strong Foundations” as a guide for civic leaders and wrote detailed policy pieces, including “Choices, mechanics, and competition: The many facets of voting in Arizona.”

Nancy Welch receives a proclamation from Gov. Doug Ducey, presented by Flinn-Brown Fellows who serve in the Governor’s Office, honoring her for her work to better Arizona.

On Jan. 29, Welch was honored for her career with an evening event at FABRIC in downtown Tempe attended by Flinn-Brown Fellows, colleagues, and friends. The celebration included a proclamation from Gov. Doug Ducey, presented by Flinn-Brown Fellows who serve in the Governor’s Office, to honor Nancy for her work to better Arizona.

“As Arizonans, we all owe Nancy our gratitude for her years dedicating herself to the betterment of our state,” said Tammy McLeod, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “Whether it was her research that influenced smart policy, or introducing rising civic leaders to the inner workings of Arizona government, or making an introduction that launched someone on a path to success, Nancy was there for Arizona and will be missed.”

The Flinn-Brown Fellowship will open its first application cycle under Wallace’s direction on April 6. The deadline to apply is April 27.

The 14 seminar sessions, including the All-Fellows Convention, will run from August through November. Session topics will include health, transportation, water, education, criminal justice, the state budget, and more.

Learn more about the Flinn-Brown Fellowship and apply at azcivicleadership.org.

Meet Dawn Wallace