Dr. Susanne Woods Retires from a Decade of Service to the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys

In 2012, distinguished scholar Dr. Susanne Woods joined the Board of Governors of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. This month, at her final meeting as board chair, the Foundation honored her decade of leadership with a $500 grant to the nonprofit of her choice, Keys Choral Arts.

“Susanne is more than a board member. She went above and beyond and helped shape the future for nonprofits and residents in Key West and the Florida Keys. Her tenacity, unique wit and kindness will be missed at our board meetings but of course she remains a permanent part of our Community Foundation family,” said incoming board chair Will Langley.

Woods chaired the Community Foundation board for over two years, having served as interim chair during the time the Foundation’s played a critical role in managing Hurricane Irma recovery.

After a one year appointment in Hawaii, Woods returned to the Keys in 2019 to chair the board for two more years. This was an important time as new CEO Jennifer McComb was being onboarded, and together with the board created its 2021-2025 strategic plan, championing expansion to the Middle and Upper Keys and a million-dollar endowment campaign. Under Susanne’s leadership, the million dollars was raised, ensuring that gifts to the Community Foundation can go back to nonprofits in the community instead of being needed for organizational operating costs.

During the organization’s 25th anniversary year in 2021, Woods helped launch the Community Foundation’s regional advisory councils and was founding chair of the Lower Keys Advisory Council. She has also served as secretary, treasurer, and played an active role on numerous committees.

Since 2015, Woods has served as an instructor at the Foundation’s Leadership Success Academy. She has given workshops on leadership, strategic planning, grantsmanship and other topics to a variety of audiences.

During Woods’ tenure on the Board, the Community Foundation’s assets have tripled to $25 million through more than 160 funds under management.

“What a wonderful experience it has been to watch the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys grow into an active, robust foundation for a healthy non-profit community,” said. Dr. Woods. “I am deeply grateful to have been a part of this flourishing, and will remain a fan, confident in the devotion of the Board, staff, and our generous donors as they continue to serve and strengthen our beloved Keys community.”

Woods’ career of more than 40 years in higher education included 20 years as a professor followed by roles as academic dean, vice president and provost. Early in her career she taught at the University of Hawaii, in the state where she was born. She held roles including academic dean, vice president and provost at Wheaton College, University of Miami, Brown University and Franklin & Marshall College.

Her scholarly work includes numerous articles on renaissance poetry and poetics and four books. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s degree in English from UCLA, a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and holds an honorary degree from Brown and a Certificate in Educational Management from Harvard.

Woods has been active in non-profit leadership for many years. In the Florida Keys she has served as Treasurer of the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, a Vestry Member and Senior Warden of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and served on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar.

Dr. Susanne Woods with Community Foundation President and CEO Jennifer McComb

Dr. Woods lives on Sugarloaf with her spouse Anne Shaver. She enjoys reading, going to the theatre and concerts, singing with Keys Choral Arts whenever possible, and traveling the world.

An active civic leader and Legacy Society member, Woods will continue to champion nonprofits and charitable giving throughout the Keys. The Community Foundation thanks her for his tremendous service to the organization and the Keys community.

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