Vanessa Plant

Executive Director, The ALKU Foundation

Vanessa Plant is a senior non-profit leader committed to serving our community through philanthropic programs, cultivating strategic partnerships, and developing high-performing teams.

Vanessa previously served as the Director of Philanthropy at Boston Scores, the most extensive site-based afterschool program serving Boston Public Schools. Boston Scores provides free afterschool programming to K-12 students focusing on academic enrichment and soccer. Before joining Boston Scores in 2016, Vanessa worked closely with ALKU Founder, Mark Eldridge, and the ALKU team to develop the ALKU Scholarship at Mass Mentoring Partnership.

Vanessa has 15-plus years of nonprofit management experience, including program development, fundraising strategy, grant management, donor stewardship, and leading cross-functional teams.

Vanessa’s experience in the nonprofit sector and her passion for helping people, creating partnerships, and building community brought her to The ALKU Foundation. She recognizes that her personal and professional success would not have been possible without the caring adults in her life and believes we each need to do our part to make a difference in the lives of young people and our communities. She is an advocate for equal rights and inclusion.

Throughout her career, Vanessa has raised over $50 million for the nonprofit sector, served on numerous boards and committees, volunteered for dozens of community organizations, and is a single mother to two young daughters.

Vanessa is actively working to establish The ALKU Foundation as a meaningful partner in our communities, to build partnerships with youth-serving nonprofits, and to support the community initiatives at ALKU with ways to engage employees to deepen our overall impact. As we build infrastructure and process, we engage with leaders, foundations, and those providing direct service to youth across the state. In doing so, we can better understand how we can best provide meaningful support.

Vanessa grew up in Panamá and lived in Vancouver, Paris, and London before moving to Boston in 1996. She attended the Marvelwood School in Connecticut (known as a second chance school at the time) before attending UMass Boston to focus on Latin American Studies. Vanessa enjoys spending time with her daughters and friends, traveling, hiking, running, and dining out. Years ago, Vanessa authored a food blog reviewing local Boston area restaurants and had always been passionate about exploring new food and cultures.

Vanessa is thrilled to join The ALKU Foundation as its first leader, build community partnerships, and make an impact across the state.