The Sugar Bush Foundation announced the appointment of Erin Rennich as its first director on January 18.

Sugar Bush Foundation Board Chairman Hylie Voss led the competitive search. “We are thrilled to find a candidate with Erin’s extensive experience facilitating collaboration and innovation among community and academic partners in the Appalachian region of Ohio that we serve. The Sugar Bush Foundation has focused on identifying and developing assets, and we couldn’t have found a better one than Erin, Voss said.

In his role with the Sugar Bush Foundation (SBF), Rennich will provide key executive support to the SBF Foundation Board of Directors, manage requests for proposals and submissions, promote SBF projects and partnership opportunities. , and will oversee SBF’s communications and marketing efforts. Rennich will coordinate fundraising with the SBF Board of Trustees and the Ohio University Advancement Team.

The Sugar Bush Foundation, a support organization of The Ohio University Foundation, funds sustainable economic development projects in the areas of environmental restoration and renewable energy, zero waste, and food security. Co-designed by Ohio University professors and students with nonprofit community organizations, these projects often turn into business opportunities.

Rennich brings extensive business modeling experience, having previously held positions with the Innovation Center and Technology Transfer Office at Ohio University, and at Sunpower, Inc., an engineering company. research and development company based in Athens. Rennich also has extensive board experience, serving as Chairman of the Board of Paper Circle and as a member of the Board of Directors of ACEnet, Southeast Ohio Hope Center and Shagbark Seed & mill.

“Throughout my career, I’ve gained a deep understanding and appreciation of the specific challenges faced by small businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits in Appalachia, Ohio,” Rennich said. “This perspective makes me appreciate the Sugar Bush Foundation’s mission to foster collaboration between the community and the university.”

As director of the Sugar Bush Foundation, Rennich will continue her role as an executive coach and strategic advisor to the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) program at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service. In his SEE work, Rennich provides personalized high-level business development support for clients to mission-based companies.

“In supporting SEE clients such as Winding Road in Ohio and Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio, I have been privileged to witness and contribute to the immense impact the Sugar Bush Foundation has had within of our community through its investment in collaborations between Ohio University and community organizations like these,” Rennich explained.

Faith Knutsen, director of social innovation and entrepreneurship at Ohio University, leads the Voinovich SEE team and champions cross-departmental and community collaboration.

“From the inception of the Sugar Bush Foundation until today, the Voinovich School is proud to have been a frequent partner on university-community projects funded by the Foundation. Erin’s dual role with two of the University’s most community-engaged programs builds wonderfully on our collaborative work to date and adds significantly to this ongoing partnership,” said Knutsen.

Rennich holds an MBA from Ohio University and a BA from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.