Following an extensive search by the foundation’s board, the Walton Family Foundation has announced the selection of CARYL M. STERN as its new executive director. Stern, who will join the foundation in January and will be based in the foundation's Bentonville office, brings more than thirty years of experience as a child advocate and civil rights activist to her new position, most recently serving for twelve years as president and CEO of UNICEF USA. Before that, she served as chief operating officer and senior associate national director for the Anti-Defamation League. She is, in addition, the author of I Believe in Zero, a book of stories from her travels that lead to sometimes counter-intuitive lessons about life.
The board of directors of the United Nations Foundation has announced former Ambassador ELIZABETH COUSENS as its next president and chief executive officer, effective January 1. A champion of sustainable development and multilateral cooperation, Cousens has served the foundation as its deputy CEO since 2015 and will succeed current president and CEO KATHY CALVIN, who informed the board of her intention to retire earlier this year. Before joining the foundation, Cousens served as the U.S. representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the UN General Assembly, where she shepherded U.S. policy efforts on the post-2015 development agenda and led U.S. negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals. She also served on the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the executive boards of UN Funds and Programmes, led cross-mission task forces on key UN reforms, and helped build support for issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to migration. A Rhodes Scholar who studied European history as a Presidential Scholar at Princeton, Cousens earned her masters and doctorate degrees in international relations at the University of Oxford.
MICHELLE MORALES, a nonprofit leader with a background in community organizing and teaching, has been named the new president of Woods Fund Chicago. Morales currently serves as chief executive officer of the Chicago chapter of Mikva Challenge, a leading youth civic engagement nonprofit, and her prior experience includes directing citywide programs focused on at-risk youth, co-coordinating a highly visible national campaign to successfully free fourteen Puerto Rican political prisoners, and working in alternative education.
The California Wellness Foundation has announced ROCHELLE WITHARAN as its new chief financial officer, succeeding MARGARET W. "PEGGY" MINNICH, who retired earlier this month after leading finance and investment functions at Cal Wellness for twenty-seven years. Prior to joining the foundation, Witharan, who has served as its controller since 2015, served as accounting manager for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and as controller for the Arizona State Retirement System, where she directed all areas of accounting as well as contributions and pension payroll of more than $2 billion a year. She serves on the board of Peace Over Violence, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to eliminating all forms of interpersonal violence, and on the advisory board for the Clarendon Foundation, an organization that supports orphanages and disadvantaged individuals in Sri Lanka.
The F.M. Kirby Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey, has announced that JUSTIN J. KICZEK will join the foundation as executive vice president on September 26. Kiczek previously worked at the Turrell Fund in Montclair, New Jersey, first as a program consultant, then as vice president of programs. He also has experience as an English teacher and lecturer in secondary and higher education institutions, including seven years at Regis High School in New York City.
The Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, has announced three new staff members. TRISTAN AGNAURAQ MORGAN joined the foundation earlier this summer and in that role is participating in a partnership between Philanthropy Northwest and the foundation to prepare individuals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy, with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Morgan grew up in Anchorage, attended the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and after graduation began work as a human resources coordinator with Denali Family Services, where she also helped organize art and indigenous youth events. JOSH HEMSATH is participating in a separate two-year fellowship with the foundation’s program team. Hemsath grew up in the Anchorage area and brings more than ten years of experience with nonprofits in Alaska and around the Pacific Northwest to the foundation. And ALLISON MACANGA has joined the foundation as an administrative assistant. Before moving to Anchorage from New Jersey in 2016, Macanga worked in New York City and Philadelphia in radio, video, and television production. She has a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in screen studies from Monmouth University.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in Pittsburgh has announced the election of LARRY A. RHODES, a pediatric cardiologist and one of the nation's leading advocates for rural children's health, to its board, effective January 1. He will replace ROBERT B. WALKER, MD, who is stepping down from the board after eleven years of service but will continue to serve the foundation and the region as a trustee emeritus. Dr. Rhodes has served as a professor of pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine since 2005 and is the founding director of the university's Institute for Community and Rural Health. He also maintains a clinical practice in Morgantown and provides outreach pediatric cardiology care in several rural communities, including Lewisburg, Glenville, Summerville, Beckley, Gary and Pineville, and has been honored by the National Rural Health Association as its Rural Practitioner of the Year.
VANESSA M. BENAVIDES, senior vice president and chief compliance and privacy officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, has been elected to the board of directors of the Atlanta-based CDC Foundation. Before joining Kaiser Permanente in 2015, Benavides served as chief compliance officer for Tenet Healthcare, where she managed ethics and compliance programs across all Tenet-owned entities, and as legal counsel for Caremark Rx, a pharmacy benefit management company. Prior to that, she was in private practice with the law firm Locke Lord, LLP, where she specialized in health care, employee benefits and corporate law.
NICHOLAS "NICK" A. TEDESCO has been announced as the next president and CEO of the D.C.-based National Center for Family Philanthropy. Only the second president in the organization’s history, Tededsco will succeed VIRGINIA "GINNY" ESPOSITO, who established NCFP in 1997. Tedesco comes to NCFP from J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he serves as a senior philanthropic advisor in New York City. During his five years with the firm, Tedesco successfully established and scaled operations in the West Region, based in San Francisco, and partnered with emerging and established philanthropists and their families across the United States to promote effective giving practices. Prior to J.P. Morgan, he served on the launch team of the Giving Pledge at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, in 2016, was named to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s inaugural 40 Under 40 list.
In other news, the New York Times reports that SIMON WOODS, formerly president of the Seattle Symphony, is stepping down as chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic less than two years after succeeding DEBORAH BORDA, who left Los Angeles in 2017 to become chief executive of the New York Philharmonic, in that position. The orchestra has announced that its board chair, JAY RASULO, and chair designate, THOMAS L. BECKMEN, will serve as interim leaders while a search for Woods’ replacement is conducted.
And PND notes the passing of STEVEN MINTER, former president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation and a Foundation Center (Candid) trustee emeritus, on Thursday at the age of 80. A trailblazer in both the public and private sectors, Minter was as the first African American to lead the Cleveland Foundation, the nation’s oldest community foundation, as well as the first African American to lead the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ public welfare commission (1970-75), and what is now the American Public Human Services Association. As president and CEO from the Cleveland Foundation from 1984 to 2003, Minter boosted the foundation’s endowment from about $300 million to $1.3 billion, boosted its grantmaking by 450 percent, helped save the theaters known today as Playhouse Square, and helped start Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, later becoming a trustee and chairman there. In 2003, Dorothy Ridings, then president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, which that year honored Minter with its Distinguished Grantmaker Award, told The Plain Dealer that Minter was “one of the principal pioneers who helped guide the field through tremendous growth and significant changes” and that he had established national standards for community foundations. His board appointments include service on the boards of the American Public Welfare Association, the College of Wooster, the Community Foundations of America, the Council on Foundations, Dominion Resources, the Foundation Center, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Independent Sector, KeyCorp,, the National Community AIDS Partnership, Ohio Bell Telephone Company, PolicyBridge, Rubbermaid, the TreuMart Fund, the Union Club, and United Way Services. David Abbott, head of the Cleveland-based Gund Foundation, said that he and many other local leaders considered Minter a mentor. “Steve was incredibly thoughtful and gentle and intelligent. It wasn’t just book intelligence. It was an understanding of how the world worked and how people were motivated. He was always humble. He always understood that the only way you got anything done was to partner. He was so good at that.” Minter and his late wife, Dolly, are survived by three daughters and five grandchildren.