Fred Najjar served as the executive vice president and chief philanthropy officer of CommonSpirit Health and president of CommonSpirit Health Foundation from March of 2011 through July of 2023. During his tenure at the nation’s largest nonprofit healthcare system, Fred oversaw 80+ local foundations and one national foundation that represented nearly 60,000 donors, 1,500 governance members, and roughly $300 million in support annually.
In 2019, Fred oversaw the philanthropic alignment between two of the largest healthcare systems, Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, creating CommonSpirit Health. Fred’s steady leadership provided local teams the support needed to come together and form a cohesive systemwide team.
Less than a year after the alignment at CommonSpirit Health, Fred stepped into a two-fold leadership challenge due to the emergence of a once-in-a-generation global pandemic. He had to move quickly but with intentionality in order to accelerate much needed support of CommonSpirit Health’s caregivers, communities, and those most vulnerable to the pandemic. The second leadership challenge focused on helping the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) navigate the pandemic in his role as chair of the board of directors. Leading AHP to be more nimble, creative, and responsive to member needs helped the association successfully navigate a difficult two years.
Prior to joining CommonSpirit, Fred served as vice president for university advancement and chief executive officer of the Tower Foundation of San José State University (SJSU). There, he oversaw development, campaigns, alumni relations, advancement operations, marketing, communications, government relations, community relations, and public affairs. As vice president for university advancement and chief executive officer of the Tower Foundation, he led the university to unprecedented fundraising numbers and launched the first comprehensive campaign in school history. Under his leadership, SJSU was consistently in the top tier of fundraising universities in the 23-campus California State University system. He has also served in executive positions at Arizona State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Virginia Tech University.
Fred is a thought leader in health care philanthropy, publishing articles and making frequent presentations on the subject to a variety of audiences. Fred served as the chair for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) from 2020-2022. He served as chair of the Search Committee for the AHP President and CEO, member of the AHP Certification Task Force, member of the AHP Content Advisory Council, and a founding member of the AHP Health System Philanthropy Leadership Group (HSPLG).
Fred received his undergraduate degree in public administration and a graduate degree in counseling and student personnel administration from Virginia Tech University. He has completed coursework toward a doctorate in organization and leadership at the University of San Francisco and is currently retired, spending quality time with his husband Matt and his beloved bulldog, Bruno.