Business

Red Sox Foundation names new executive director

Rebekah Splaine Salwasser, a former professional soccer player, led the Scholar Athletes program for seven years.
Cindy M. Loo/file 2016
Rebekah Splaine Salwasser, a former professional soccer player, led the Scholar Athletes program for seven years.

Rebekah Splaine Salwasser was about 6 years old when she got a bird’s-eye view of Fenway Park from the rooftop of the Boston public school where her father taught.

“I remember seeing the grandeur of Fenway Park,” she said. “The green and the seats; that’s the moment the magic began for me.”

Soon Salwasser will be able to call the historic park her office. On Tuesday the Red Sox Foundation tapped Salwasser, 39, to be its next executive director, starting in January.

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“Honestly, I’m not just saying this, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to lead such a foundation that has quite arguably the strongest brand in the country for sports,” Salwasser said. “For me it’s about building a 2.0. They have really led the charge for the last 15 years, and now it’s about taking it to the next level.”

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Salwasser will succeed Gena Borson, who said last month she would step down from the role she’s held since 2013 by the end of the year.

“Bekah brings a wealth of knowledge to this role,” Tom Werner, chairman of both the charity and of the Boston Red Sox, said in a statement. “She is a driven competitor with deep roots in both athletics and philanthropy in Boston, and has a proven commitment to improving this community.”

Salwasser was most recently the executive director of Scholar Athletes, an organization started by Suffolk Construction chief executive John Fish that helps public high school students achieve success in athletics and academics. She stepped down in June after seven years at the helm.

Prior to that, the Cambridge native served as the director of community relations for the Boston Celtics. She also played professionally for the Boston Breakers in the now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Association; and played and coached with the semiprofessional Boston Aztec. She graduated from Brown University in 2001.

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Salwasser called the Red Sox Foundation job “the perfect apex” for her passion of using sports to increase opportunities for young people in the community.

“To have the power of the [Red Sox] brand is incredible. You can change thousands of lives,” Salwasser said.

The Red Sox Foundation, which was founded in 2002, has eight full-time employees and assets of about $12.5 million. It raises about $7 million annually and has donated to 1,620 organizations, in the areas of health, education, and youth sports throughout New England and Lee County, Fla., where the Red Sox have their spring training facilities.

John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox, is also the owner of The Boston Globe.

Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.