Victoria Marie “Vicki” Fernandez (she/hers) is the Director of Thriving Communities for the Grunin Foundation. She comes to Grunin from the Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL), a research center in Rutgers Business School where she most recently served as Acting Executive Director. In her evolving role at IEL, Vicki helped hundreds of nonprofit leaders at all stages of growth find support and develop their abilities. Her proudest achievements with the Institute are increasing programming and practice around access, diversity, equity, and anti-racism.

In June 2019, Vicki Co-Founded the Nonprofit Professionals of Color Collective with Tyneisha Gibbs (144th and Vine). The Collective seeks to support the whole BIPOC leader with personal and professional development, community support, and access to intentionally curated resources. Through the pandemic, the Collective quickly grew to reach over 800 nonprofit professionals nationally online and continues to reach new audiences.

Vicki is a nonprofit generalist working in the sector for 20 years in a variety of roles including leadership training and support, program development and leadership, community engagement, and communications. Although her work has focused on a wide range of service areas, including youth development, education and out of school time, health, and capacity building, she has a particular love for the arts.

Vicki earned her BA at Ramapo College of NJ in Communications and Fine Arts: Visual Arts. She completed her MPA with a concentration in non-profit administration at Rutgers – Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA).

Vicki’s community involvement includes:

  • Board Member, Institute of Music for Children
  • Curran Every Voice Fellow, Impact 100 Essex
  • Lifetime Member, Girl Scouts
  • Steering Committee Member, Doing Good Better: Deepening Philanthropic and Nonprofit Partnerships in NJ
  • Former Board Member, GlassRoots
  • Former Service Unit Co-Manager, Newark Girl Scouts

[Image description written by Vicki Fernandez: A headshot of Vicki, looking straight into the camera with hand on hip against a plain colored background. “I am a fat, white skinned woman of Dominican and Italian heritage with rosy cheeks, a round face, and dark curls. I am wearing a deep blue dress, contrasting mustard scarf,  big blue eyeglass frames, beaded blue bangles on one arm, and a bright red lipstick”]