Elliott Balch photo via Facebook
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Downtown Fresno Partnership (DFP) announced Thursday its next president and CEO will be Elliott Balch, who will start March 20.
Balch currently serves as chief impact officer at the Central Valley Community Foundation, was previously the downtown revitalization manager for the City of Fresno and board president of the DFP’s predecessor association.
Balch played a critical role in various projects in the Fresno area including the creation of the DFP, the writing of the Fulton Corridor Specific Plan and the development of the Fulton Street project. He also was a driving factor for the completion of multiple infrastructure and housing projects and helped organize multiple downtown events.
“A fun Downtown that is Fresno-level diverse and a hotbed of inclusive economic opportunity — that’s what we are building together,” Balch said. “For our city and region, this is the kind of Downtown we need that will deliver sustainable growth, industries with upward economic mobility, healthy and active lifestyles, and urban housing to meet high demand. And did I mention this place is fun?”
DFP Chair Phillip Kliewer thanked Jordan Sanchez for her role as interim CEO since December with the departure of Jimmy Cerracchio. Sanchez also serves as director of acquisition for Bitwise Industries.
“She truly went above and beyond what was expected of an interim CEO,” said Kliewer.
Kliewer also expressed his enthusiasm about the board’s selection of Balch from a well-qualified and motivated pool of candidates.
“We are excited about Elliott’s vision for Downtown Fresno and the Partnership, and the credibility and relationships he brings to the work,” Kliewer said. “With the support of an engaged Board and motivated property owners, the Partnership is ready to push forward a new era of positive improvement in Downtown Fresno.”
The Board’s decision to hire Balch has received support from both Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Former Mayor Ashley Swearengin, CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation.
Balch expressed his excitement for the opportunity to serve as CEO and work with city partners to help drive Downtown Fresno toward its future as a vibrant hub of business activity.
Born and raised in Fresno, Balch graduated from Edison High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
“My family history, like that of many of our neighbors, is one of hardworking migrants, farmers, and entrepreneurs,” Balch said in his announcement. “Growing up as a middle-class ‘city kid’ here in the 1980s and 1990s, with parents who worked in local government, I learned to take pride in public service, and value ethics in the work of officials at every level.”
Balch also worked for former Assemblymember Juan Arambula (D-Fresno), first on his campaign and then his staff. In 2018, Balch was an active leader in the Measure P campaign, the successful local sales tax hike aimed at improving parks in Fresno.
Balch said he is taking this step during “a watershed moment in Fresno history.”
“Having moved mountains with property owners to create the Downtown Partnership and the improvement district, I value their trust and am committed to providing value in ways familiar as well as new,” Balch said. “While our team delivers excellence in services every day, we are also builders and will take action to grow the pie of opportunity and engage our community in shaping the future of Downtown Fresno.”