T.D. Jakes Foundation Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

The new CEO envisions an aspect of the foundation as a dynamic think tank dedicated to researching and devising innovative solutions for the most pressing issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion.

T.D. Jakes Foundation announced Wednesday that veteran executive Kelley Cornish has been appointed as the organization’s new chief executive officer.

The foundation is a Dallas-based workforce development and community building organization committed to building bridges to opportunity. It was established by entrepreneur, founder of The Potter’s House, and global leader T.D. Jakes.

“Bringing Kelley in to lead the foundation is a strategic and advantageous relationship that will help our efforts in a unique and inventive way,” foundation Chairman T.D. Jakes said in a statement. “We have complete synergy in our visions to uplift communities, and Kelley has the knowledge and experience to bring together corporate and community partners to impact people and transform lives.”

Cornish is a veteran diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) corporate executive who has spent decades championing underrepresented groups, the foundation said.

Empowering marginalized communities

The foundation said Cornish is driven by a passion for social progress and presents an inspiring agenda aimed at reinforcing the foundation’s support to ensure the continued effectiveness of DEI programs.

Cornish envisions an aspect of the foundation as a dynamic think tank, the foundation added, dedicated to researching and devising innovative solutions for the most pressing issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion.

By leveraging the foundation’s resources, expertise, and partnerships, Cornish’s agenda “paves the way for transformative change, empowering marginalized communities and fostering a more equitable future for all,” the foundation said.

“Leading the T.D. Jakes Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to empowering minority communities burdened by systemic barriers is a culmination of the work I’ve been doing throughout my career,” Cornish said in a statement. “We want to become a think tank for answers to the issues that have impacted wealth, home ownership, financial literacy, women in corporate America and more.”

‘Part of the solution’

Cornish previously held executive diversity roles for TD Bank Group and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2022, she received the Woman of the Year Award from iHeartMedia radio for her work in the community and in corporate America.

She’s also been recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine, named one of the Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by the Network Journal, and was a recipient of the Sojourner Truth Award by the National Congress of Black Women.

Most recently, Cornish was executive vice president, chief administrative officer for diverse segments, representation, and inclusion at Wells Fargo & Co. and she held several roles within the company leading enterprise diversity strategies and processes implemented globally.

“There is a trend with Black women leaving corporate America for many reasons, including lack of leadership support and recognition while feeling undervalued in their roles in the workplace more than any other racial group,” Cornish said. “This is on top of their personal struggles where many are juggling caregiving, insufficient health advice, finances, and access to capital needed to create advancement and generational wealth. We want to be part of the solution for these women.”

Cornish was recently appointed to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce as a board member. The foundation said Cornish will continue to foster its existing relationships with Goldman Sachs and the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team among many other notable organizations with ongoing initiatives.

Partnering with Wells Fargo

The foundation also said its commitment to STEM/STEAM education and workforce development will continue, highlighting new programs this year geared toward financial literacy, home ownership, and supporting businesses and career development for minorities, especially Black women.

In April, Wells Fargo and the T.D. Jakes Group, a global conglomerate that includes T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures LLC, T.D. Jakes Enterprises, and T.D. Jakes Foundation announced a strategic partnership to drive economic vitality and inclusivity in communities across America.

The foundation said that over the next 10 years, the partnership could result in up to $1 billion in capital and financing from Wells Fargo, as well as grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

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