People in the News (02/02/2020): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (02/02/2020): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation has named PAMELA WHEELOCK as its interim president, effective February 4. Wheelock comes to the foundation with extensive experience, having served in executive roles in nonprofit, philanthropic, academic, business, and state government. From 2017 to 2019, she was chief operating officer at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and prior to that she served as vice president of university services at the University of Minnesota, interim president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, vice president at the Bush Foundation, and executive vice president and chief financial officer for Minnesota Wild's parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. She will remain in the role of interim president while McKnight conducts a national search for a new president over the coming months.

The Boston-based Yawkey Foundations has announced the appointment of MAUREEN H. BLEDAY as chief executive officer. Bleday has served in various executive leadership capacities with the organization, most recently as executive vice president, general counsel and trustee. Prior to joining the foundations in 2006, she served in several roles focused on furthering public/private business partnerships and community development initiatives in the greater Boston area, including with RF Walsh Company, the Boston Red Sox, the Town of Westwood, and as a senior attorney with Goodwin Procter & Hoar's Real Estate practice. 

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City has announced the election of ALONDRA NELSON, president of the Social Science Research Council and the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, to its board of trustees. An interdisciplinary scholar with wide-ranging interests, Nelson is the author of several books, including The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome, in which she identifies how cutting-edge DNA-based techniques are enabling a confrontation with the long and complex legacies of slavery; and Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination.  She also has also written on the history of slavery, genetic genealogy, the "GU272" — the 272 enslaved people sold by Georgetown University to finance the construction of the university — and Afrofuturism, which explores the linkages between African Diaspora culture and technology. 

The Princeton Area Community Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, has announced the appointment of two new members to three-year terms on its board of trustees. JEANNE BESSER is an author, a former syndicated newspaper columnist, and previously served as a second vice chair, chair of the nominating committee, and a grants committee member of the board of the Partners for Health Foundation. And MICHELLE EVERMAN is a managing director at the Mercadien Group and Principal at Mercadien P.C.

The Annapolis-based Chesapeake Conservancy has announced the election of MAITE ARCE, MICHAEL BRUBAKER, JEFFREY SABOT, and NANCY B. WALTERS, PhD, to its board of directors. Arce is the founder, president, and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation. Brubaker is the co-founder and managing partner of Principled Strategies, a business advisory firm. Sabot is a leader in both audit and consulting services to not-for-profit organizations and trade associations, for-profit companies in the governmental and manufacturing industries, and privately held companies and their principals. And Walters, a retired educator and program manager, has experience that includes teaching, research, analysis of land and water development proposals, and higher education administration. 

D.C-based Grantmakers In Health has named CARA V. JAMES, director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as its next president and chief executive officer. Dr. James will assume her new position on March 11, succeeding FAITH MITCHELL, who has led GIH for the past seven years. Selected for the position after a national search, James is a nationally recognized expert in the area of health equity and improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations. In her role as director of the Office of Minority Health at CMS, she has provided leadership, vision, and direction for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS goals related to improving minority health and eliminating health disparities. Under her leadership, CMS developed its first CMS Equity Plan to Improve Quality in Medicare, its first Rural Health Strategy, created an ongoing initiative to help individuals understand their coverage and connect to care, and strengthened the quality, collection, and reporting of demographic data, including standardized data on the social determinants of health. Prior to joining CMS, Dr. James served as director of the Disparities Policy Project and director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, where she was responsible for addressing a broad range of health and access-to-care issues for people of color and other underserved populations, including the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act, analyses of state-level disparities in health and access to care, and disparities in access to care among individuals living in health professional shortage areas. Prior to joining KFF, she worked at Harvard University and the Picker Institute.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., has announced PATRICIA ("Patty") McILREAVY as its new president and CEO, succeeding ROBERT G. OTTENHOFF, who is stepping down after a tenure of nearly eight years as the organization’s first chief executive.  McIlreavy currently is vice president of humanitarian policy and practice at InterAction, an organization she joined in 2011 as senior director of humanitarian policy and practice. Prior to joining InterAction, she was based in Amman, Jordan, for three years, where she worked with a diverse group of organizations, including humanitarian nongovernmental organizations, the Red Cross movement, United Nations agencies, and NATO as an international management and training consultant. Her experience in the humanitarian field dates back to 1993, when she joined USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

New York City-based Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) has announced STORME GRAY as its new executive director. The first woman of color to lead the organization since its founding and a member of the EPIP community since 2014, Gray was a chapter leader and co-chair of EPIP DC and a member of EPIP's advisory board prior to joining the EPIP staff in 2017 as director of programs. Prior to joining EPIP, Gray served as a program officer at the Washington Area Women's Foundation, where she developed the foundation’s Young Women's Initiative, a city-wide effort to improve life outcomes for cis and trans young women and girls of color that centered youth in the decision-making process. Her career in the philanthropic sector also includes roles with the Summit Foundation, the Bainum Family Foundation, and the Council on Foundations, where she created leadership development programming for philanthropic professionals with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Philanthropic intermediary Borealis Philanthropy has announced TRACIE POWELL as program officer for its Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund. Powell is the founder of, which focuses on the media and its impact on diverse communities, and recently served as a senior fellow with the Democracy Fund, where she worked on the Public Square initiative. She also was a 2016 JSK (Knight) Fellow at Stanford University and has written regularly for the Columbia Journalism Review.

In other news, the New York City-based NoVo Foundation has announced that its communications director, JOE VOELLER, is stepping down to pursue other interests. Voeller began his tenure at NoVo after more than ten years at the Ford Foundation, where he advanced communications efforts in areas such as economic justice, the rights of Indigenous people, climate change, and HIV/AIDS. At NoVo, he helped build the foundation’s first-ever communications function, partnering across the foundation to design and implement breakthrough communications strategies that advanced the foundation’s mission and uplifted the work and voices of its partners. He played a crucial role in NoVo's many collaborative projects, extending the reach and impact of the foundation’s call for transformative change. As Voeller transitions out of the foundation, the foundation requests that communications inquiries be sent to communications associate KEITH BROOKS.

"Maureen H. Bleday Appointed CEO of the Yawkey Foundations." Yawkey Foundation Announcement 01/01/2020. "Alondra Nelson Joins Mellon Foundation Board of Trustees." Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Blog Post 01/30/2020. "Meet Tracie Powell: New Program Officer for the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund." Borealis Philanthropy Announcement 01/30/2020. "Princeton Area Community Foundation Appoints Two New Members to Its Board of Trustees." Princeton Area Community Foundation Announcement 01/29/2020. "Chesapeake Conservancy Welcomes New Board Members." Chesapeake Conservancy Email 01/30/2020. "Grantmakers In Health Appoints Dr. Cara V. James President and CEO." Grantmakers In Health News Release 01/29/2020. "Center for Disaster Philanthropy Names Patricia McIlreavy as Next President and CEO." Center for Disaster Philanthropy Press Release 01/31/2020. "EPIP Names New Executive Director." Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Announcement 01/27/2020. "NoVo’s communications director to Step Down." NoVo Foundation Announcement 01/25/2020. "McKnight Welcomes Pam Wheelock as Interim President." McKnight Foundation Announcement 01/27/2020.