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Hilary Pearson will step down next year after more than 17 years as president and CEO of Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC), the Montreal-based organization announced Tuesday.

PFC promotes “the growth and development of effective and responsible grantmakers in Canada through provision of membership services, resources and advocacy,” according to its website.

“Leading this association has been enormously rewarding for me both professionally and personally,” Pearson said in a statement. “I have been fortunate to meet and work with many of the most thoughtful and innovative philanthropic organizations and leaders in this country and will remain fully engaged with our effective and hard-working team at PFC until the transition is successfully completed in 2019.”

PFC’s board has appointed a special committee to recruit a successor and has retained KCI Ketchum Canada to lead the executive search, which begins this month.

“I would like to thank Hilary for her tremendous leadership and commitment to PFC over almost two decades,” Allan Northcott, board chair, said in a statement. “Some of the many achievements of the association under her leadership include: growing a pan-Canadian membership of more than 135 grantmakers, creating connections and collaborations with many more, and the building of tools and relationships that contribute to philanthropic practice with meaningful impact in Canada and beyond.”

Prior to joining PFC, Pearson held senior positions in the federal government. She was vice president at Royal Bank of Canada in the mid-90s, and a senior strategy consultant at Secor, a Montreal consulting firm, from 1993 to 2001.

Pearson has served on the boards of directors of several organizations, including: Pearson College of the Pacific, Imagine Canada, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, CARE Canada and Indspire. She chairs the advisory body of the Coady Institute at St Francis Xavier University and is a member of the advisory committee to the masters program in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at Carleton University.

Pearson holds a BA and MA from the University of Toronto, and honourary doctorates from Carleton University and the University of New Brunswick.

She was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2018.