NASHVILLE, TENN. (Aug. 9, 2016) — The Healing Trust’s Board of Directors unanimously selected Kristen Keely-Dinger as the new president and CEO of The Trust, effective in December. Keely-Dinger is currently the organization’s executive vice president. The Healing Trust is the rebranded Baptist Healing Trust, renamed to more closely reflect its mission to support Middle Tennessee’s healthcare-related nonprofit organizations.

Keely-Dinger will succeed Cathy Self, Ph.D., who has led the Foundation since 2010. Dr. Self has led The Trust through several accomplishments, including the creation of an Advocacy Grants Program and a Sabbatical Grant program for nonprofit CEOs, and the rebranding of the foundation.

“Kristen is the ideal person to lead us forward as we start a new chapter at The Healing Trust,” says Craig Reed, chairman of The Healing Trust board. “She intimately understands our mission and has great relationships with our staff and partners. She is the proven leader The Healing Trust needs to foster compassionate care in our community. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Healing Trust, we welcome Kristen to her new role, while also thanking Cathy for her many years of great service.”

“There could not be a better candidate to lead The Healing Trust into its next stage of work,” says Dr. Self.  “Kristen brings deep institutional knowledge and a wide understanding of our Middle Tennessee nonprofit sector. She will bring great compassion and a sense of justice as she engages with longstanding friends and colleagues, seeking to meet the needs of the most vulnerable of our community. Kristen was instrumental in my growth within the field of philanthropy and I am confident she will successfully mentor others as they become ready to lead in this important work. “

Keely-Dinger was The Healing Trust’s first intern and first program officer. She was selected by a search committee of The Healing Trust’s board. The search committee was advised throughout the process by Raffa, a company that specializes in a variety of services, including executive searches and succession planning.

“I am beyond excited to step into the CEO position at The Healing Trust,” says Keely-Dinger. “I am passionate about continuing to advance the Healing Trust’s mission which is the sacred work of fostering healing and wholeness for vulnerable populations through strategic investing, philanthropy, and advocacy.

“Cathy Self has been a mentor to me during her tenure, and I look forward to building upon her strong legacy of creating cultures of compassionate care within our community. We have a great board and staff, and we are unconditionally committed to our work and serving our mission,” she says.

About Kristen Keely-Dinger

Keely-Dinger has served The Healing Trust in many roles including as intern, program officer, vice president of program and grants, and as executive vice president. Her work has focused on programs that improve the health of underserved populations in Middle Tennessee by expanding access to health services through cross-sector partnerships like Get Covered Tennessee, and by preventing adverse childhood experiences.


Keely-Dinger also has experience in prevention education, community organization and volunteer administration. She received a bachelor’s in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University, a master’s in social work from the University of Tennessee, and is currently a Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker. Keely-Dinger was selected as a 2007 Southeastern Council of Foundation Hull Fellow and is a graduate of the 2011 Nashville Emerging Leaders Class.