Gil Gonzales Joins Barberton Community Foundation

Gil Gonzales Joins Barberton Community Foundation

Gil Gonzales Joins Barberton Community Foundation as New Director of Economic Development

Gonzales brings national and local expertise and resources to Barberton

May 28, 2024

Gil Gonzales - photo from the chest up in a gray suit jacket with the lake in the background.

Gil Gonzales serves as the Foundation’s new Director of Economic Development

Barberton Community Foundation is pleased to announce Gil Gonzales has joined the Foundation as its new Director of Economic Development. Gonzales brings a strong background in economic development and a deep commitment to supporting small businesses to his role, where he will lead and support initiatives to grow Barberton’s economic base and strengthen the community by leveraging the Foundation’s resources.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gil Gonzales to our team,” said Josh Gordon, Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation. “His extensive background in economic development, combined with his passion for small business support, make him an exceptional fit for this role. We are confident that Gil’s broad experience, leadership, and tenacity will bring growth and opportunity to Barberton, enhancing our momentum.”

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Gonzales’ upbringing shaped his community-focused worldview. Raised by his grandparents, whose work ethic and community mindset made a lasting impact, Gonzales learned the importance of putting people first and striving to leave the world a better place. These values have driven his commitment to supporting and uplifting communities throughout his career.

After earning his degree in Political Studies and Media Studies from Pitzer College, Gonzales secured a fellowship with then-freshman Senator Bob Dutton, which connected him to his career in economic development as the Senior Director for the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. He gained valuable insights into how government supports business, helping to secure federal and state funding, and saw the role government can play in unlocking funds and opportunity for working people. 

From there, he served as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Arizona Commerce Authority, and then joined the then Governor office in California as an appointee in the Office of Economic and Business Development. In this role, he conducted large-scale negotiations for businesses, directed small business incentive assistance packages, and initiated a rural business outreach program. His work significantly contributed to economic growth and the support of small businesses across the state. Gonzales’ experience also includes building out the California Manufacturing Network and creating statewide programs for small manufacturers.

Most recently, Gonzales explored entrepreneurship, successfully securing $3 million venture capital backing and co-founding Subcity in 2021, a software platform that helps small manufacturing businesses access government tax credits, grants, and financing. Subcity helped companies obtain tens of millions in tax credits.

Gonzales moved to Ohio in 2022, following a job opportunity for his son’s mother, Kendra, as the head track and field coach for the University of Akron.

Regarding his new role, Gonzales said he sought the opportunity to work in Barberton because of the potential for growth and possibility he sees within the community.

“I always knew I wanted to get back into community service and economic development, with a focus on small business support, which is where my passion and heart is,” Gonzales said. “As a long-time economic developer, I am fortunate to be working in Barberton. This city is rich in American history, and full of hard-working people who love their hometown. We have the potential to show the rest of the nation what one small community can do together through collaboration, rolling up our sleeves and doing the hard work ahead.”  

In addition to managing the Newell Industrial site, Gonzales will take the lead on the Foundation’s upcoming economic development programs, including the Economic Development Assistance Program (EDAP) and the Downtown Rehabilitation Program (DRP). Applications for these programs can be completed by businesses and building owners beginning June 1- June 30. Gonzales will oversee the programs, and coordinate with the Foundation’s program partner, Barberton Community Development Corporation.


About Barberton Community Foundation

Established in 1996, Barberton Community Foundation has awarded over 8,500 grants and scholarships totaling more than $109 million since its inception. The Foundation strives to improve, now and forever, the quality of life for Barberton residents by providing leadership on vital issues, fostering collaboration, and creating a legacy of giving to do good. The Foundation strengthens the community for current and future generations by proactively directing its grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs. To read more about Barberton Community Foundation visit or follow us on Facebook.