People in the News (10/11/15): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (10/11/15): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Ford Foundation has announced the appointments of ELIZABETH ALEXANDER as director of its Creativity and Free Expression program and MICHELLE ALEXANDER (no relation) as senior fellow. Elizabeth Alexander is an award-winning public intellectual, academic, and poet who focuses on African-American history and culture. In her new role, she will contribute to the Art of Change, the foundation's initiative at the intersection of art and social justice; help shape and direct the foundation's grant programs on arts, media, and culture; and guide its efforts to examine how cultural narratives impact and shape social movements and how media and the arts can contribute to a fairer and more just society. Michelle Alexander, a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar whose work has been foundational to the racial justice movement, will spend her fellowship continuing her advocacy work and writing a new book that addresses the challenges of building a truly transformative human rights movement. She has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford Law School and Ohio State, and in 2005 won a Soros Justice Fellowship. Prior to working in academia, Alexander served as director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of North California and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Abner Mikva.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the planned retirement of SUSAN PATTERSON, its program director for Charlotte, North Carolina, at the end of the year. Since joining the foundation in 2001, Patterson has developed numerous Knight investments in Charlotte, including the Carolina Thread Trail, the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, and, most recently, the expansion of Center City Partners' work in the Historic West End. Previously, she led the foundation's work in Georgia and South Carolina, was program director for its communities program in Miami, and was a key manager in the foundation's Community Information Challenge, an effort to engage community foundations across the country in meeting the information needs of the people they serve. Before joining Knight, Patterson was editor-publisher of the Milledgeville, Georgia Union-Recorder and previously worked at the Charlotte News and the Charlotte Observer. The foundation has begun a search for her successor.

Carnegie Corporation of New York has named SASKIA LEVY THOMPSON as director of its New Designs for Schools and Systems program. Levy Thompson, a leader in urban education, most recently served as deputy director of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools and before that held senior planning and management positions at the New York City Department of Education, was a senior associate at education and social policy research nonprofit MDRC, and served as executive director of the Urban Assembly, a nonprofit network of schools serving high-poverty communities. She began her career as a kindergarten teacher on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has announced the appointment of ELIZABETH M. HEWITT as senior vice president and chief investment officer. Hewitt, currently managing director of public investments for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, earlier was a senior vice president at Lazard Asset Management, a hedge fund analyst for the Torrey Funds, and a wealth management associate for the U.S. Trust Corporation. Hewitt will succeed WILLIAM PETERSEN, who retired earlier this year after more than sixteen years at the foundation.

The Henry Luce Foundation has announced the appointment of TERRY CARBONE as director of its American Art program. Carbone comes to the foundation from the Brooklyn Museum, where she served as the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art and as managing curator of the Arts of the Americas and Europe departments. Carbone will succeed ELLEN HOLTZMAN, who has served in the role for twenty-three years. 

USA Funds has announced the appointment of SHITAL PATEL as chief information officer and senior vice president of operational support. In her new position, Patel will be responsible for information technology and services and will lead the exploration of emerging information service opportunities, issues, and solutions for the Indianapolis-based nonprofit, which promotes student success in college and careers nationally. Patel most recently managed enterprise sales for Microsoft in Indiana. Her previous experience includes service as chief information officer for the City of Indianapolis and as a managing director at Unisys Corp.

In other news, PND notes the passing of art collector and philanthropist OLGA HIRSHHORN at the age of 96. Hirshhorn was the widow of financier and mining tycoon Joseph Hirshhorn, who founded the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.  As a wealthy collector's wife, Hirshhorn met and befriended some of the major figures of twentieth-century art, including Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, and Georgia O'Keeffe. After her husband's death in 1981, Hirshhorn carried on the traditions of collecting and philanthropy begun during her marriage; served on the boards of the Hirshhorn Museum and the Corcoran School of Art; and supported other museum projects, art associations, and women's groups. 

"Ford Appoints Elizabeth Alexander as Director of Creativity and Free Expression." Ford Foundation Press Release 10/06/2015. "Ford Names Michelle Alexander Senior Fellow." Ford Foundation Press Release 10/06/2015. "Susan Patterson to Retire as Knight Foundation Program Director for Charlotte." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 10/07/2015. "Saskia Levy Thompson Named Program Director, New Designs for Schools and Systems at Carnegie Corporation of New York." Carnegie Corporation of New York Press Release 10/02/2015. "Elizabeth M. Hewitt to Join Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as Chief Investment Officer, Senior Vice President." Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Press Release 10/06/2015. "News." Henry Luce Foundation Press Notice 10/01/2015. "Shital Patel Joins USA Funds as Chief Information Officer." USA Funds Press Release 10/05/2015. "Washington Area Women's Foundation Announces New Board Members." Washington Area Women's Foundation Press Release 10/06/2015. "Olga Hirshhorn, Art Collector and Wife of Museum Founder, Dies at 95." Washington Post 10/05/2015.