The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced the appointment of JULIE MORITA as executive vice president, succeeding JAMES S. MARKS, who retired at the end of 2017 after thirteen years at the foundation. In her new role, Morita, surrently the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, will oversee all programming, policy, research, and communications activities designed to advance the foundation's Culture of Health agenda. As commissioner, Morita — who began her career in public health as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and her medical career as a pediatrician — spearheaded the launch of Healthy Chicago 2.0, a community health improvement plan based on RWJF's Culture of Health framework.
The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced the appointment of VENUS B. PHILLIPS as an investment director in its investment office, where she will help manage a nearly $4 billion portfolio of long-term investment assets. Prior to joining the foundation, Phillips was head of public markets at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and previously worked at Morningstar Investment Management, the University of Chicago Office of Investments, NextGen Capital Partners, and JP Morgan Private Bank.
JDRF has announced the appointment of AARON J. KOWALSKI as its new president and CEO. A fifteen-year veteran of JDRF and the first person living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to lead the research organization, Kowalski spearheaded strategic initiatives and new partnerships in his previous role as JDRF's first chief mission officer. He will succeed DEREK RAPP, who announced his decision to step down in October 2018 after serving nearly five years as CEO.
The Indianapolis-based Strada Education Network has announced the election of SUREEL CHOKSI, WADE DYKE, and JACK MARKELL to its board of trustees. Choksi is president and CEO of Vantage Data Centers in Denver and previously was an operating executive at Silver Lake Partners in Silicon Valley. Dyke is CEO of Great Heart Academies, the largest classical charter school network in the country, and previously served as an executive vice president at Kaplan. And as governor of Delaware from 2009 to 2017, Markell spearheaded workforce development efforts and significant public-sector investments aimed at improving early childhood education and language immersion programs and increasing college access for low-income students.
The Chicago-based National Equity Fund, an affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and a leading syndicator of the low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) program, has announced the appointment of MATTHEW REILEIN as president and CEO, effective June 1. Reilein joins the fund from Cresset Partners, where he served as managing director and partner. Prior to that, he served as managing director and head of Impact Investing at O'Brien-Staley Partners and as managing director, community development banking with JPMorgan Chase. He will succeed JOSEPH S. HAGAN, who is retiring after nineteen years with the organization.
The NAACP has announced the appointment of MAISHA SIMMONS as deputy chief director of development and senior director of foundation relations. Most recently, Simmons served as a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she led efforts to improve the health and well-being of young men and boys of color. Simmons has worked for more than twenty years on issues such as violence prevention, early care, and education, childhood obesity, and youth development.
In other news, the George Gund Foundation in Cleveland has announced the selection of MAYA CURTIS as the George Gund Foundation Fellow for 2019-21. The program provides an opportunity for promising young professionals to work inside the foundation. An admissions counselor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Curtis will receive her master's degree in arts administration from the University of Akron in May and will begin her fellowship in July.