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Foundation for the Carolinas CEO will retire in 2023 after 24 years

The head of Charlotte’s Foundation for the Carolinas is retiring early next year. Michael Marsicano has led the community foundation for 23 years, expanding its influence.

Michael Marsicano came to Charlotte in 1989 to run the Arts & Science Council. He has been CEO at the Foundation for the Carolinas since 1999. He's a New York native with bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees from Duke University.
Foundation for the Carolinas
Michael Marsicano will retire early next year as CEO of the Foundation for the Carolinas.

When Marsicano came to the foundation in 1999, it had $245 million in assets and ranked 35th in size in the nation. The foundation now manages more than $4 billion and is among the nation’s top ten largest community foundations.

It distributes grants to a wide range of non-profits, including those that work in the social services, education, arts and the environment.

Marsicano says that growth has fueled much good in the community.

“It’s meant billions of dollars over this timeframe going to worthy causes and hard-working non-profits that are doing terrific work in virtually all the different disciplines,” Marsicano said.

The foundation distributed $750 million in grants last year.

Beyond that growth, Marsicano says one of the foundation’s greatest accomplishments is its ability to bring together people and resources to address pressing issues.

“We’ve been able to move a lot of important items forward whether they be putting economic opportunity and upward mobility on the map with a plan that is a long-term plan that is embraced across the community, to our affordable housing work, to our initiation of the arts campus,” Marsicano said.

Other initiatives the foundation has helped launch include the Carolina Thread Trail, Read Charlotte and Project LIFT.

Marsicano will retire in January 2023. The foundation’s board has begun looking for his successor and is asking for input from the community.

Marsicano plans to stay in Charlotte and says he will likely write and teach.

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Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.