SF Catholic Charities CEO leaving to join Washington State governor’s cabinet

The leader of San Francisco Catholic Charities is leaving to accept a position in the cabinet of Washington State Gov. Jay Inlsee. She will lead the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, serving between 2-3 million people annually, according to an announcement.

For the past five years, Jilma L. Meneses has led Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, shepherding the agency through the intense challenges of a global pandemic and several natural disasters, as well as spearheaded a reorganization and modernization of the agency, the agency said in a press release.

Meneses’ last day at Catholic Charities will be December 31, 2021. Catholic Charities’ board of directors has begun a national search for a new CEO.

“Thanks to Jilma’s leadership, business acumen, and strategic vision for growth and financial sustainability, Catholic Charities successfully weathered one of the most challenging times we’ve experienced in our lifetime,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Charities board chair.

“In fact, this agency has been an exemplary model of resilience, innovation, and dedication serving more than 60,000 individuals last year alone. Because of her stewardship, our agency is stronger than ever and positioned to continue our commitment to the communities of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties for another 150 years,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a statement. “The board and community thank Jilma for her stellar leadership, immense heart, and passionate servant leadership under extraordinary circumstances. Our community is deeply grateful.”

Theodore (Ted) Borromeo, Catholic Charities board secretary, has agreed to serve as the Catholic Charities interim CEO during the recruitment process.

“It has been my honor and privilege to steward Catholic Charities through a period of consequential change and maturation,” Meneses said in a statement. “What began as a challenge to innovate one of the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive human services agencies in Northern California, transformed into an emergent imperative for us all to pivot and meet our community’s exponential increase in need due to the pandemic,” she said.

 “I am humbled to have been at the helm of Catholic Charities during this period, partnering with exceptional colleagues who demonstrate unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable among us every day – even when it puts them at risk,” the outgoing CEO said, praising the approximately 500 employees.

“Now is the right time for me to transition to be with my family in the Pacific Northwest and make an impact in my home state of Washington. I thank the community of employees, volunteers, and clients, for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to serve Catholic Charities for these past five years,” Meneses said.

For more information about the agency, visit CatholicCharitiesSF.org.