New executive director for Civitella Ranieri Foundation

Civitella Ranieri Foundation has announced Rachel Donadio as its new executive director.

Making the announcement to friends of the foundation the Chair, Board of Directors, Jennifer Dowley, stated, “We have some exciting news: Civitella Ranieri Foundation has a new Executive Director!” 

It went on to add that “after an extensive international search, our Board of Directors has chosen Rachel Donadio, a former Director’s Guest, a longtime cultural journalist, and a former Rome Bureau Chief of The New York Times, to lead the Foundation”. 

Donadio, who takes over from Diego Mencaroni, who was Interim Executive Director for the past six months, is expected at the castle on June 6th, in time to welcome the second group of 2023 Fellows. 

Donadio,  Dowley added, is remarkably suited to guide Civitella to its next phase of development. 

“She has a global reach and an unequivocal commitment to artists and their work. Her sophisticated diplomatic and personal skills will further connect Civitella with our supporters. Staff and Board alike are thrilled to welcome Rachel.

“We’ll make every opportunity available for you to welcome Rachel yourself – either at the Castle or in our New York office or in her travels, which will commence over the next few months”. 

Donadio said that when she moved to Rome in 2008 to become Rome Bureau Chief of The New York Times, she heard that Dana Prescott, whom she had met in Rome many years before, was directing a magical residency at a castle in Umbria. 

“In 2011, a poet friend was a Fellow at Civitella and she invited me to visit. I drove up from Rome and discovered the magic was real! 

“The sense of community, collegiality, kindness, and fun stood out when I came to Civitella as a Director’s Guest. The meaningful conversations and connections, the feeling of protection and care — here was a space where we all supported one another, laughed at dinner, and felt safe to explore new directions in our work. My first visit as a Director’s Guest was June 2016. It was the summer of the Brexit vote and other political upheavals. Civitella Ranieri felt like a refuge from history.

“Civitella’s mission and values attracted me to this position. It is an honour and a meaningful life to help give creative people from around the world the time and space they need to go deeper into their work. 

“This new chapter draws on so much of my past experience — as a journalist who loves talking to people, as a writer, but also as a doer. My commute will now be a short walk down a dirt road with a view of Monte Corona, past a vegetable garden that will provide us fresh salad all summer, and a beehive that promises honey next year.  What could be better?”


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