Katherine Bella Named New Chief Executive Officer for Mechanics’ Institute | Mechanics' Institute

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Katherine Bella Named New Chief Executive Officer for Mechanics’ Institute



September 27, 2023

Jimmy de Guzman
Communications Manager
[email protected]

SAN FRANCISCO — Following an extensive search involving all staff and trustees, Mechanics' Institute announces that our new CEO, Katherine Bella, will begin her role on November 1, 2023.

Kathy has a long history with and passion for Mechanics’ Institute. A long-time member, Kathy most recently served as a trustee of Mechanics’ Institute and was formerly a consultant for the organization. Based on this experience, Kathy comes into her new role with great familiarity with our chess events, community engagement, library services, and programs. She is excited to implement the organization’s strategic plan and broaden our community impact. 

Kathy has served in leadership and strategy roles in the nonprofit sector as a CEO, board member, and consultant. She brings to Mechanics’ Institute a solid background in nonprofit finance, a commitment to DEI, a multi-decade history of successful nonprofit fundraising, and a wide array of experience in marketing and branding. Kathy also brings her substantial experience in working with and for libraries and other cultural institutions, experience with chess since she was a youth, and above all, a demonstrated commitment to this organization.

Kathy shares, “I am honored to be joining Mechanics’ Institute in the CEO role and look forward to working with the board, staff, members, partners, and the community at large to advance our mission in the time ahead. Our organization’s history and tradition are so special. Building on that history to create an even more vibrant library and cultural institution for the Bay Area is thrilling to anticipate.”

Over the next few months, Kathy looks forward to connecting with members and partners, and hearing your thoughts as we turn the page on this next chapter for Mechanics’ Institute.


Kathy's Bio

Kathy has been affiliated with the Mechanics' Institute for nearly 20 years, most recently as a trustee and earlier as a consultant to the organization. Kathy brings decades’ long experience in working in the nonprofit sector as a chief executive, board member, and consultant, with specialized emphasis on arts and cultural organizations. Some of these organizations include: Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, ODC, the International Museum of Women, Palace of Fine Arts, Ghiberti Foundation, ITVS, The Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Art Institute, Maybeck Foundation, and the Hayward, San Mateo, and Redwood City public library foundations. Kathy most recently headed her own consulting firm, guiding nonprofits in strengthening their abilities to carry out their missions through working with them in the areas of strategic planning, governance best practices, fundraising, and executive coaching. 

Kathy completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the Executive Leadership Program at the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business. She holds master and bachelor degrees from the University of Connecticut. In 2020, Kathy was named the Hank Rosso Outstanding Fundraising Executive at the Bay Area’s National Philanthropy Day awards ceremony.

As an active volunteer, Kathy has served on a wide variety of nonprofit boards throughout her career. She is currently the Board Vice President of Goodwill SF Bay, an $80 million six-county nonprofit, where she also chairs the board Governance Committee.