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Fraser Nelson is bringing her expertise in social enterprise initiatives to Salt Lake County government.
Nelson, formerly chief executive of The Community Foundation of Utah, has joined Mayor Ben McAdams' staff as its first director of data and innovation. She will oversee the development of a "dashboard" program that provides digital displays available on computers, smartphones and tablets of real-time progress being made on multiple projects by numerous agencies.
And she will work with those agencies to coordinate, track and push innovative approaches to service delivery, such as the "Pay For Success" program embraced by the county. It gets private sector and nonprofit philanthropists to help underwrite results-based programs that produce a public good.
Nelson's resumé is replete with work in groundbreaking, socially responsible endeavors.
In 2008, she helped found The Community Foundation of Utah , a venture philanthropy fund that brings together donors, businesses, governments, nonprofits and other partners on projects to improve Utah's quality of life. It has managed $45 million in assets over the last six years.
The foundation awarded $7.8 million in grants last year to 879 organizations from 150 charitable funds. One of the best known is Love UT Give UT day, which this year is on March 26. Last year, it raised $1 million for 460 causes, from The Sharing Place for bereaved families that have lost children to the Noble Horse Sanctuary.
Before running the foundation, Nelson led Utah's Disability Law Center for a decade, earning a reputation as a forceful and effective advocate. She is a past president of the Utah Nonprofits Association, has a bachelor's degree in medieval history and political science from Duke, a master's degree in human development and once was a social innovation fellow at Stanford. Nelson also is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business.
She will work under Deputy Mayor Nichole Dunn, one of 12 national fellows in a "Moneyball for Government" training program modeled after the Oakland Athletics' approach to building a good baseball team with limited dollars that includes the dashboard project.
Also joining McAdams' staff are Patrick Reimherr, a U.S. Labor Department policy adviser and legislative fellow to former Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, as director of government relations; and senior adviser Elizabeth Mitchell, who managed communications for New York state's economic-development efforts.
Elsewhere in county government:
• Republican Richard Snelgrove is County Council chairman in 2015, while Max Burdick is vice chairman and Democrat Jenny Wilson is minority leader;
• Tim Wahlen was confirmed as director of the division of behavioral services, a post he shared for five years with recently retired Patrick Fleming; and
• Long-time attorney Gavin Anderson has been promoted to civil-division administrator in the county district attorney's office, replacing the retired T.J. Tsakalos.