Staff News: IFF hires Chris Uhl as Executive Director of Eastern Region, promotes Kirby Burkholder to head new Social Impact Accelerator group

IFF’s new Executive Director of the Eastern Region is Chris Uhl, effective September 28. Mr. Uhl will provide executive oversight, leadership, and management for IFF lending, real estate consulting, investment, and advocacy work in Michigan and Ohio. He fills the role vacated by long-time IFF leader Kirby Burkholder, who has been promoted to lead the organization’s newly formed Social Impact Accelerator group.

Mr. Uhl steps into the Executive Director position after serving in leadership roles at Rock Venutres LLC, The Skillman Foundation, and Detroit Children’s Fund, as well as working several years as a banker at major financial institutions. As Vice President of Social Innovation at The Skillman Foundation, Mr. Uhl helped the foundation move beyond grants to program-related investments in the form of low-interest loans and loan guarantees. He most recently led community investment efforts at Rock Ventures, a Detroit firm that serves and connects a portfolio of more than 100 companies owned by Dan Gilbert – the founder of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mr. Uhl is a Michigan native with a M.B.A. from Wayne State University and a B.S. in business administration from Central Michigan University.

The Social Impact Accelerator division led by Mr. Burkholder will house IFF’s research and evaluation practice, talent management, and proactive real estate development efforts, as well as special teams that focus on transforming sectors such as early childhood education, schools, and housing for people with disabilities.

“IFF will always offer our core lending and real estate consulting services to nonprofits throughout the Midwest. What the new Social Impact Accelerator does is bring together the breadth of IFF’s skills in lending, real estate, research, community development, and systems-level thinking with the depth of IFF’s knowledge of sectors such as health care, schools, and early childhood education,” said Joe Neri, IFF’s CEO. “We want to solve place-based and sector-based challenges through a truly multidisciplinary approach that reflects the complex nature of transforming communities.”

Mr. Burkholder joined IFF in 2001 as a manager working on real estate consulting projects in the Chicago area, where his projects ranged from discreet consulting reports to $38 million development projects. From 2007-2013, Mr. Burkholder served as Executive Director of IFF’s St. Louis office, where the loan portfolio grew to more than $75 million under his direction. No stranger to building new IFF territories, he relocated to Detroit in December 2013 to lead IFF’s expansion into Michigan and Ohio. As IFF Vice President and Executive Director of the Eastern Region, Mr. Burkholder grew the Detroit office to 14 FTEs providing the full-range of IFF services.

“Whether in Chicago, St. Louis, or Detroit, I have called IFF ‘home’ for the last 16 years. We have expanded our footprint, our services, and our approach to serving nonprofits and communities not just more, but better,” Burkholder said. “This new Social Impact Accelerator group recognizes the exciting ways we’re already collaborating with each other and with a growing group of diverse partners. Our sleeves are already rolled up. We’re already digging in with an even deeper focus on equity, innovation, and justice.”

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