Wes Moore tapped as CEO for New York-based foundation

Wes Moore, a best-selling Baltimore author, educator and Army combat veteran who briefly considered a run for mayor last year, has been named CEO of a New York foundation that fights poverty by funding schools, food pantries, job training centers and other programs.

Moore, 38, who founded BridgeEdU, an organization devoted to helping more than 100 students transition from high school to college, said the opportunity to fight poverty through the Robin Hood Foundation was important to him.

"It's never been easy being poor in this country, but it's now becoming increasingly complicated," Moore said Tuesday.

"Robin Hood has always played an important part in leading the conversation and helping with direct services, making sure people who are left behind and left out of the conversation are not left behind and out of the conversation."

Moore said he and his family will continue to live in Baltimore after he assumes the new role.

"Poverty doesn't have geographic boundaries," he said.

He said he recently bought a new house in Baltimore and put his old one on the market.

Baltimore would remain at the top of his mind while he works to fight poverty through the foundation, Moore said.

"I'm committed to the success of Baltimore, I always have been and I always will be," Moore said.

"Thinking about these issues from the frame of Baltimore, these are things that will stay consistent in my mind and my heart and in my professional focus."

Moore, who was CEO of BridgeEdU, will become that organization's chairman. He was nominated to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents in February and he said he will not withdraw from that position.

David Saltzman, Robin Hood's former top leader, made $611,000 in salary in 2014, according to the latest available tax documents. Figures for Moore's salary could not be determined Tuesday.

The Robin Hood Foundation has raised $2.5 billion since 1988 and funds 200 nonprofits annually.

Moore's best-selling book "The Other Wes Moore" launched the Rhodes scholar to fame, telling the story of his life and the life of another Baltimorean, born a block away with the same name, who led a far different life.

He also produced a PBS documentary, "All the Difference," about two young black men from Chicago who became the first in their families to attend college.

Moore has been outspoken on social issues. He wrote a May 2015 op-ed in The Baltimore Sun following the riots that ensued after the death of Freddie Gray.

The essay, titled "Let's get this moment right, Baltimore," addressed what the city needed to do collectively to fix its longstanding socioeconomic issues.

"We are all now aware of the divide and cannot close our eyes to it," he wrote in a the essay. "And we cannot shirk our collective responsibility to be part of the conversation and the solution."

When he decided against running for mayor last year, Moore cited his focus on his BridgeEdU foundation as a main factor.

"I put a tremendous amount of thought into this because I love our city," he said at the time. "I've decided the best way for me to serve is to fulfill the promise I've made to the students at BridgeEdU."

Moore hosts "Beyond Belief" on the Oprah Winfrey Network and "American Graduate Day" on PBS.

He also was the host and the executive producer of PBS's "Coming Back with Wes Moore," which focuses on the challenges faced by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans when returning to the U.S. after their tours of duty.

Before being named CEO, Moore served on the Robin Hood Foundation's veterans advisory board, a panel of leaders focused on connecting veterans and their families living in poverty to services they need.

cwells@baltsun.com

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