MARGOT BRANDENBURG is joining the Ford Foundation in New York City as a senior program officer on its Mission Investments team. Brandenburg previously served as acting managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation and co-authored the book The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good with former Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin. At Rockefeller, her team also helped seed some of the impact investing field's leading nonprofits, including the Global Impact Investing Network, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), and B Lab. In addition to her work on impact investing, Brandenburg has studied green jobs programs as a potential platform for low-wage workers, working with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to develop corporate partnerships for the successful launch of Fair Care Labs.
Denver-based BookGive has announced the hiring of MELISSA MONFORTI as its executive director and appointments to its founding board of directors. Best known in the North Denver community as a beloved music educator with Music Together, Monforti comes to BookGive after building three small businesses over fifteen years, prior to which she worked for a large and several small nonprofits. NICOLE SULLIVAN, owner of BookBar, the for-profit bookstore and wine bar on Tennyson, and founder of BookGive, will lad the board of directors as president. Sullivan has been selling books for six and a half years and giving them away for more than ten years, starting with the Northwest Denver Community Book Exchange in 2009. Sullivan will be joined on the board by ERIC CROUSER (treasurer), a realtor/investor on the iMPACT Team at Your Castle Real Estate and, prior to that, a financial analyst with eleven years corporate experience and eight years of consulting experience; KALEN LANDOW (secretary), account manager at the National Book Network; REBECCA CALDWELL, marketing and community outreach manager for Skinner Middle and North High Schools; and ELIZABETH MARTINEZ, a realtor with Porchlight Real Estate.
The San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights has named IMANI RUPERT-GORDON as its new executive director, effective March 16, 2020. A longtime movement leader and advocate for LGBTQ people of color. Widely recognized for her visionary leadership in the LGBTQ community. Rupert-Gordon currently serves as executive director of Affinity Community Services, the nation's oldest social justice organization serving the needs of black LGBTQ people, with a particular focus on black women, and previously served as director of the Broadway Youth Center, a division of Howard Brown Health in Chicago that has served more than fifteen hundred LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability. She will succeed CINDY L. MYERS, who has been serving as NCLR's interim executive director since long-time executive director KATE KENDELL stepped down from the role last year after twenty-two years.
In other news, PND notes the passing, on December 19, of Orange County philanthropist, arts patron, and heiress JOAN IRVINE SMITH at the age of 86. Smith was born in 1933 as Athalie Anita Irvine and raised in Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and what was then rural Orange County. The family business, the Irvine Co., was founded by her grandfather, James Irvine II, and the family ranch originally covered more than 110,000 acres, or nearly one-third of Orange County. On James Irvine's death in 1947, fourteen-year-old Joan (she took the name as her own when she was four) inherited a minority share of the company, which her grandfather had left in the control of a nonprofit philanthropic foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, whose board she would battle for years. She joined the board of the Irvine Co. in 1957, and after years of lobbying she and her lawyers persuaded Congress to change the tax code to curb tax-exempt foundations from running private firms, which helped dislodge the Irvine Foundation from its dominance over the company. She also waged a campaign to force the Irvine Co. board to donate a thousand acres of land in 1960 for the campus of UC Irvine and helped persuade the board to adopt the plan of architect William Pereira that established the UC campus as the focus of an elaborately master-planned "city of intellect." Described as regal, eccentric, and irascible, Smith made the Forbes list of richest Americans in the early 1990s with an estimated $350 million fortune; championed the creation of Crystal Cove State Park on part of what had been her family ranch and founded the Irvine Museum, which she filled with her art collection; and played a role in establishing the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Irvine Park, and the Irvine Bowl. "She wanted to carry the mantle of the family and felt strongly about preserving her grandfather's legacy," said Ellen Bell, a board member of the Orange County Historical Society and a historian of the area. "She was part of the movement that made the City of Irvine of today possible." Smith is survived by three sons and six grandchildren.