Vin Cipolla is Chairman and CEO of Five Mile, and also Chairman of Etho Capital, an investment management company in sustainable investing recognized by Fast Company as one of 2017’s most innovative companies.
He has been the Chairman, President and CEO across public and private organizations in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, and London. He is an accomplished, eight-time corporate CEO, a three-time CEO of major nonprofits, a capital campaign and fundraising leader, a technology and digital media entrepreneur having launched six companies, and he has served on over thirty boards of directors of both leading civic and business organizations.
In 2015, he was brought in to lead the capital campaign for the redevelopment of David Geffen Hall, a partnership of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the New York Philharmonic, as the first Executive Director. He served on the transition leadership team for Lincoln Center, and in 2017, successfully completed the first phase of fundraising. His consulting practice, Cipolla Company, now part of Five Mile River Co., was a leader in nonprofit management consulting.
Devoted to the arts and environmental advocacy, he has consistently provided major civic leadership in these areas. In early 2009, he became President and CEO of The Municipal Art Society of New York, having been elected to its Board in 2008. MAS is one of the oldest civic organizations in New York City, and is the city’s leading voice for excellence in urban design and planning. In 2010, he founded the MAS Summit for New York City, now the city’s leading annual urban design conference. He also co-founded the Alliance for a New Penn Station, and founded the Committee for Urban Entrepreneurship. He led Tribute in Light, the annual soaring twin beams of light commemorating September 11th, established by MAS and Creative Time.
From 2005 through 2009, he was President and CEO of the National Park Foundation (a Presidential appointment), and then served as the foundation’s Citizen Chairman through 2011. In these positions, he served two U.S. Presidents, three U.S. Secretaries of the Interior, and the foundation’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Laura Bush. In 2007, he produced the first White House Summit on Parks Philanthropy, held in Austin, Texas, hosted by Laura Bush and the Secretaries of the Interior and the Treasury. He also led the largest fundraising in the foundation’s history, including the campaign for the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Prior to his appointment with the National Park Foundation in 2005, Mr. Cipolla was with Fidelity Investments as a President and CEO with Fidelity Capital, and he served on two Fidelity boards, Fidelity Charitable Services, Inc. (Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund) and Veritude, where he had served as CEO.
As a start-up entrepreneur he launched companies including Cipolla Group (which he established in New York City at age 27, and sold in 1991); the global digital consulting company Pamet River (sold in 1999); HNW, a leading digital services company focused exclusively on high-net-worth marketing solutions including substantial work in philanthropic research, online giving and supporting donor-advised funds and community foundations; and Five Mile River Co., providing strategic consulting and related services to organizations in both the public and private sectors. He co-founded the company RGV, to develop design-driven businesses, and served on the board of the venture firm Highnote Foundry.
Also, among his many civic endeavors, he was board Chairman and President of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (The ICA) for nine years from 1996 through 2005, overseeing the development of the museum’s stunning new building—the first new museum to be built in Boston in 100 years. He served on the ICA board for a total of fifteen years before becoming Chairman Emeritus.
He has also served on the boards of many other leading nonprofits including the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, Clark University, Earthwatch, the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, the Orton Foundation, the Public Art Fund, Sailors for the Sea, the global ocean conservation organization founded by David Rockefeller, Jr., The Internet Policy Institute, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, where he served as Co-Chairman with founding Chairman Marian Heiskell, The Christie’s Charity, the charitable foundation of Christie’s, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where he was Vice Chairman.
In addition to the Municipal Art Society, he currently serves as Chairman of The Arts Arena, founded in Paris in 2007 and now a leader in international arts programming, Ballet Hispanico, where he was the 2010 honoree, and The Acting Company, which presented him with the Joan Warburg Humanitarian Award for his civic leadership in 2014.
In the 1990s, Mr. Cipolla was the Executive Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he also served as the head of Historic Hotels of America and the founding Publisher of Preservation magazine, which won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence at its launch. He joined the Trust to actively contribute to the preservation field, following his first success as an entrepreneur and his role as President and CEO of Ingalls, Quinn and Johnson/Cipolla Group in Boston, at the time the second largest advertising, direct marketing, and public relations agency in New England. He began his career with Warner Communications and Avon in New York City.
He has frequently appeared on national television over the years, on subjects ranging from urban design and conservation to wealth management and philanthropy, and has addressed audiences from the World Business Forum to the U.S. Congress. In three separate years he was a featured speaker introducing the President of the United States at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony during its global telecast.
He is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Clark University and a Beta Gamma Sigma MBA Honors inductee of its Graduate School of Management, where he was the MBA Honors graduation commencement speaker in 2000.