People in the News (1/15/17): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (1/15/17): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The board of directors of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco has announced that JENNIE LEHUA WATSON, formerly the fund's vice president of special initiatives and communications, will serve as interim president of the fund for the next two years and that CATHY CHA, formerly the fund's program director for immigrant rights and now vice president of programs, will become president of the fund in January 2019. Their appointments were made unanimously by the board following a broad and extensive search for a leader after IRA S. HIRSCHFIELD stepped down as president in 2016 after twenty-eight years in that role. Watson joined the fund in 2000 as its first director of communications and became a vice president in 2003. In addition to her communications responsibilities, she has taken on other leadership roles over the years  and has played a key role in the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund, a partnership between the fund and the San Francisco Chronicle to provide critical assistance to individuals and families in need. Before joining the fund, she was director of communications at Project Open Hand, a Bay Area charity that began providing meals to people with AIDS and now serves seniors and critically ill residents, and earlier in her career managed the membership programs at the California Academy of Sciences and the Oakland Museum. Cha joined the fund in 2003 as a program officer working in its family self-sufficiency and neighborhood development program areas and has managed its immigrant rights grantmaking since 2009. In previous jobs, she worked on a range of issues, including affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and workforce development with the Hyams Foundation in Boston, the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco, and the United Way of King County in Seattle.

The Houston-based Cullen Foundation has named SCOTT W. WISE as president, effective January 1. He will replace ALAN STEWART, who retired as executive director of the foundation after nearly twenty-five years. Wise is the former founding president and chief investment officer of Covariance Capital Management, an investment boutique that manages nonprofit endowment services; was the founding president of Rice Management Co., which is responsible for Rice University's endowment and debt; and served as Rice’s chief investment officer for twenty-one years.

The board of directors of the LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark, has announced that HANNE RASMUSSEN, the foundation's CEO, will step down from her position on January 31. Rasmussen, who has been with the foundation since March 2015, is leaving for personal reasons, a decision the board regrets but "understands and backs." KASPER OTTOSSON KANSTRUP, head of the foundation's Communities of Learning Through Play program, will act as interim CEO while the board conducts a search for Rasmussen’s successor.

The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced that Vice President and Chief Financial Officer AMY B. ROBINSON is taking on an additional role as chief administrative officer, responsible for oversight of the foundation’s grant operations and data information management operations. Robinson, a certified public account, joined Kresge in 1995 and held various accounting and financial management roles prior to being named CFO in 2009.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, has announced that JONATHAN PERSHING, former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State and lead U.S. negotiator to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will join the foundation as director of its Environment Program, effective January 17. Pershing previously served as senior climate advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and as principal deputy director in the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis in the Department of Energy. Before his appointments in the Obama administration, he spent six years as the director of the Climate, Energy and Pollution Program at the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank; five years as the head of the Environment Division at the International Energy Agency in Paris; and nearly a decade as science advisor and deputy director of the Office of Global Change in the U.S. Department of State. He will succeed former program director TOM STEINBACH, who left the foundation at the end of his nine-year term to become executive director of the San Francisco-based Sea Change Foundation.

The board of directors of the California Wellness Foundation has announced the election of DEBRA NAKATOMI as chair and JOE LUMARDA as vice chair. A member of the Cal Wellness board since January 2015, Nakatomi is president of Nakatomi & Associates, a communications firm dedicated to advancing social change, and has more than thirty years of experience in community education, public affairs, and communications. Lumarda, who also joined the Cal Wellness board in 2015, is senior vice president and investment counselor for Capital Group Private Client Services and a vice president of Capital Guardian Trust Company. Prior to joining Capital Group, he spent sixteen years at the California Community Foundation in the roles of program officer, vice president for development, executive vice president, and chief operating officer and before that  spent three years on active duty and five years in the reserves with the U.S. Navy. He serves on the boards of Southern California Grantmakers, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Give2Asia, the Drucker Institute, and Pasadena Child Health Foundation.

The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation has announced three changes to its board of directors: TED STARYK, a continuous member of the board since 2004 and board chair from 2012-2014, has stepped down to take a sabbatical leave; NOA STARYK, the first fourth-generation family member on the board and chair from 1999-2004, has rejoined after a hiatus; and KATHY TUNHEIM, co-founder of strategic communications consulting firm Tunheim Partners, Inc., has joined the board.

The Skoll Foundation in Palo Alto, California, has announced that PAT MITCHELL has joined the board of the Skoll Fund. Mitchell, an award-winning journalist, producer, and media executive, was the first woman president and CEO of PBS, the first woman president of CNN Productions, and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2012, the Women’s Media Center gave her its first annual Lifetime Achievement Award, and she also has received the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Leadership and Oxford University's prestigious Bodleian Medal.

The Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., has announced that BENJAMIN OLINSKY is rejoining the organization as vice president for policy and strategy. In that role, Olinsky, who had been working in the White House as special assistant to the president for labor and workforce policy, will work closely with the center’s policy and executive teams to further the organization's goals of advancing a policy agenda that improves the lives of every American.

In other news, the Brown Daily Herald reports that HERB KAPLAN, president of the Warren Alpert Foundation and former CEO of Warren Equities, died in his sleep on January 2. He was 81. In 2007, Kaplan helped direct $100 million from the foundation to support the medical school at Brown University. The donation, a gift from his uncle, Warren Alpert, is tied for the largest in the school's history and was used to fund the construction of a new building, research, financial aid and curriculum development within the medical school. The school was renamed the Warren Alpert Medical School to honor the foundation. In November, the foundation gifted the medical school another $27 million to support the Brown Institute for Translational Science and establish the Warren Alpert Physician-Scientist MD/PhD Advanced Training Program. For his service to healthcare and research, Kaplan received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2011 and was awarded a key to the city by former Providence mayor Angel Taveras.

"Haas, Jr. Fund Announces New Leaders." Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund News Release 01/12/2017. "The Cullen Foundation Announces Retirement of Longstanding Executive Director, Alan Stewart, and Welcomes Scott W. Wise as Incoming President." Cullen Foundation News Release 01/06/2017. "Hanne Rasmussen Steps Down as LEGO Foundation CEO." LEGO Foundation News Releas 01/13/2017. "Amy Robinson Assumes Chief Administrative Role in Addition to Vice President and CFO Responsibilities." Kresge Foundation News Release 01/12/2017. "Veteran Diplomat and Climate Expert Jonathan Pershing Joins William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as Director of Environment Program." William and Flore Hewlett Foundation News Release 01/09/2017. "Cal Wellness’ Board Elects New Leadership." California Wellness Foundation News Release 01/10/2017. "Board of Directors Update." McKnight Foundation News Release 01/09/2017. "Pat Mitchell Joins Skoll Fund Board." Skoll Foundation News Release 01/06/2017. "CAP Welcomes Benjamin Olinsky as New Vice President for Policy and Strategy." Center for American Progress Press Release 01/09/2017. Hattie Xu,. "Philanthropist, Business Leader Herb Kaplan Dies at 81." Brown Daily Herald 01/07/2017.