Raise DC Leadership Council


Carol Thompson Cole

Venture Philanthropy Partners
President & CEO

Carol Thompson Cole is President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization that helps great leaders build strong, high-performing nonprofit institutions.

Cole brings to VPP extensive management experience in the public and private sectors. She served as Special Advisor to President Clinton on the District of Columbia and Executive Director of the DC Inter-Agency Task Force. Prior to serving in the Clinton administration, she was the Vice President for Government and Environmental Affairs at RJR Nabisco..

Cole spent 12 years holding major management and staff positions in DC government, most notably as the first woman appointed as City Administrator. She also held a number of other positions, including Deputy Mayor for Operations and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.

Cole is a member of numerous boards, including the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, the Greater Washington Advisory Board of SunTrust, Kaiser Permanente Regional Advisory Board, Federal City Council Executive Committee, and is a Lifetime Trustee of the Urban Institute. Honors and awards include “Most Powerful Women of 2011” by Washingtonian Magazine, “10 People to Watch in 2009” by the Washington Business Journal, “Phenomenal Women of 2008” by the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, and “Washingtonian of the Year” in 1990 by Washingtonian Magazine.

Cole earned a B.A. from Smith College, a master’s in public administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University.