PRESS RELEASE – OCTOBER 19, 2021 – After a summer-long search, the Ashland Schools Foundation (ASF) Board of Directors has selected local nonprofit leader Erica Thompson as their next Executive Director. Susan Bacon, who has led the Foundation for over 19 years, will pass along the title when she retires on January 1st. The board is grateful for her deep-rooted commitment to the Foundation and the community.

“After an extensive search, fielding candidates from all over the west coast, Erica quickly rose to the top of our list with her enthusiasm, nonprofit operational knowledge, and existing work in Ashland,” says John Williams, ASF Treasurer and Search Committee Chair.

Thompson began her career in education-focused nonprofit work in 2013 as an after school filmmaking workshop facilitator in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has since held numerous roles in education and nonprofit administration, and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

“Upon moving to Ashland in 2017, it quickly became clear to me just how vibrant and remarkable this community is,” says Thompson.


“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve Ashland Public Schools through the Foundation by carrying out the mission of fundraising to support quality education in our public schools. Susan leaves a tremendous legacy of steady growth and sustained progress – I’m inspired to learn from her and am grateful for her guidance.”


The Ashland Schools Foundation was founded in 1989, and has had just three Executive Directors in its thirty-three year history. The nonprofit was created to help support Ashland’s public schools in response to Measure 5 that changed the way public schools are funded by the State. Thompson will be working with Bacon as Deputy Executive Director through the end of the calendar year in order to create a seamless transaction. “From the moment Erica and I started working together I was impressed with her intelligence, grasp of organizational development, and ability to take on any job with skillful enthusiasm. After working for ASF for so many years, I love the Foundation and our schools, and feel happy that I’ll be leaving everything in Erica’s capable hands.”

Thompson joins the team at a busy time of the year for ASF. With the annual Monster Dash Run for Education fundraiser just weeks away, staff is working alongside the Ashland Kiwanis Club to put on both in-person and virtual events to raise tens of thousands of dollars for classroom grants in Ashland’s public schools. The event features 1-mile, 5k and 10k distances, and will be offering prizes for top finishers of the in-person races taking place on Saturday, October 30th. The races have been modified to smaller waves for Covid safety. Virtual runners and in-person runners both have opportunities to win prizes by engaging in the event’s online contests. And all community members, whether participating in the races or not, are invited to bid on items in the Monster Dash online auction.

The presenting sponsor, Lithia4Kids, joins nearly 100 local businesses who are giving gift certificates, products, and sponsorship dollars for a successful 2021 fundraising event. The funds raised will be used in the Foundation’s classroom-based Impact Grant program, to provide teachers with grants for hands-on projects, equipment and supplies throughout the school year.

For more information, and to register for the Ashland Monster Dash, visit