Terri Ludwig: New Beginnings

I’m always grateful for new beginnings, as they give me the opportunity to reflect and look forward to what’s ahead.

My family and I have just moved across the country to Bellevue, Washington, so I can start my new position as president of Ballmer Group Philanthropy. After my first two weeks here, I’d like to share a few initial thoughts on what makes me most excited about our work.

  • The need for systems change: During my time at Enterprise Community Partners, we recognized that housing was an essential part of helping families move up economically. But to truly enable families to thrive, we realized that we couldn’t stop there. We needed to partner with other systems like health and education, ensuring that government and nonprofit services integrated seamlessly so that our families experienced a well-connected network of support. I look forward to building on this trajectory at Ballmer Group, supporting systems change work across multiple sectors to better ensure that all children have access to a stable early childhood and can continue moving on a pathway to enter the workforce with a living wage.

  • The power of communities: In the coming weeks, I will visit several of our grantees in our regional focus areas of Washington state, Los Angeles County, and southeast Michigan, and I will also see community-based partnerships in action. I believe in the power of communities to solve some of our nation’s most intractable issues, especially when buoyed by real-time data to inform their work, and I look forward to digging in to see firsthand the work being done to get results for kids.

  • The role of philanthropy: When I first met with co-founders Connie and Steve Ballmer, I was struck by our alignment around what we believe can make a difference for kids at scale. I find it heartening and empowering to work alongside leaders who are so thoughtful and deeply invested in the impact of their philanthropic choices. To me, the Ballmers are living proof of how philanthropy can be so much more than simply writing checks for charity.

Above all, I’m in awe of the caliber of talent on this team and inspired by their focus on giving children and families living in poverty in the United States a shot at moving up. I can’t wait to dive in and help move this mission forward. (And I have to say, the stunning lakes and mountains surrounding our new home are pretty inspiring as well.)