Paul Mattessich

Wilder Begins Search for Next Leader of Wilder Research


The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation has begun the search for the organization’s next leader of Wilder Research following the announcement that longtime executive director Paul Mattessich will be retiring in 2022. Mattessich will continue to lead Wilder Research during the search for his successor and plans to transition out of his role in June of next year.

“Paul has been a steady presence at Wilder for decades, helping to guide the foundation through organizational and community change by always remaining grounded in our mission to improve lives,” says Wilder President and CEO Armando Camacho. “His legacy will live on through the partnerships he has forged and the standard he has set for research practices everywhere."

Mattessich has been with Wilder Research since 1978 and has served as its executive director for the past 39 years. During his tenure Wilder Research has grown to become a nationally renowned research practice that works with hundreds of organizations each year to help communities, government agencies and service providers turn information into impact. He supported the development of many of Wilder Research’s key projects, including the triennial Minnesota statewide homeless study and Minnesota Compass, both of which provide data used by state and local planners, policy makers and service providers to address critical issues. He has also written and published Collaboration: What Makes it Work, a free tool to assess collaboration on research-tested success factors, and the Manager’s Guide to Program Evaluation, a book describing how effective evaluation can help organizations and how to do it.

“Paul Mattessich is one of the wisest people I have worked with, and I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to tap his ample brain for community good, especially for education equity,” says R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation.

“I have appreciated the very fulfilling opportunity to apply social science research for the betterment of communities and for the improvement of organizations that work for social good,” says Mattessich. “It’s wonderful to partner with others locally, nationally, and internationally to make a difference in people’s lives through research.”

Mattessich serves as Chair of the University of Minnesota’s Community Oversight Board and recently ended a three-year term as Chair of the Park Square Theatre Board of Directors. He has lectured extensively in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, and has co-authored more than 300 publications. In 2018 he received the Community Indicators Consortium’s Hall of Heroes award.

Wilder will secure a recruitment firm to assist in identifying Mattessich’s successor. The next leader of Wilder Research is expected to be in place by May 2022.