Portage Foundation director steps down for new role at NEOMED

Image of Lyndsey Loftus of the Portage Foundation
Lyndsey Loftus, executive director of the Portage Foundation. Submitted photo

Portage County’s community foundation is seeking a new executive director after Lindsey Loftus announced his switch to Northeast Ohio Medical University on Friday.

Loftus joined the Portage Foundation in May 2020 and immediately enacted a series of changes designed to raise the profile of the organization and quickly deliver thousands of dollars to support the Covid response.

Founded in 1997, the Portage Foundation manages dozens of endowed funds that distribute scholarships and grants to organizations in Portage County across a variety of areas, including education, animal welfare and the environment. 

Loftus expanded the foundation’s purview to also include a “rapid response fund,” which awards money to organizations in urgent need. Within about a month of taking over as executive director, the Portage Foundation used this new mechanism to distribute over $13,000 to provide meals and personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

He also helped bring on new trustees, updated the organization’s branding with a new logo and website, and launched the Ultra ‘21 Society’s Excellence Fund. He has already raised $24,845 for the latter by announcing his participation in the 100-mile Burning River ultra-marathon. 

“I ran a 50-mile training run last Saturday, the last 50 of the course, and I’m ready,” Loftus said Friday. “In fact, I’m itching to run this race.”

Loftus will begin his new job as senior major gifts officer and interim vice president on Aug. 16. The board said it has begun the search for a new executive director.

Before joining the Portage Foundation, Lofus was an assistant vice president at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., senior development officer at NEOMED and executive director of the Alumni Association at Kent State.

“While we are disappointed to lose Lindsey’s leadership, we are extremely happy for him and his family,” Debbie Smeiles, president of the Portage Foundation board, said in a statement. “Along with our trustees, Lindsey made a number of transformational changes during his tenure, and we plan to take this positive momentum to the next level.”