People in the News (11/22/15): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (11/22/15): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Kresge Foundation has announced the hires of NEESHA MODI as program officer in its Detroit program and REBECCA VILLARREAL as program officer in its Education program. Modi most recently led talent strategy and cultural transformation efforts at Deloitte Consulting and before that held positions at Accenture Consulting and the Civic Consulting Alliance for Chicago. Villarreal comes to the foundation from the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, where her work included management of a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore transformational change and increases in student success at urban public research universities. Earlier, she held administrative, teaching, and research positions at the University of Maryland, the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and Oakland University in Michigan.

The McKnight Foundation has announced the appointment of BRENDON SLOTTERBACK as program officer in its Midwest Climate & Energy Program. Slotterback has spent his career working on issues at the heart of the McKnight program, most recently as sustainability program coordinator for the City of Minneapolis. Because of his experience in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, Slotterback has, in the past, been invited to share his work with the U.S. Department of Energy, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Urban Land Institute, and C40 Cities and more recently has been engaged in the energy regulatory process through the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Previously, he worked on energy-related policy analysis, research, and evaluation for Dakota County and for DSU/Bonestroo, an engineering and landscape architecture firm.

The LA84 Foundation has named RENATA SIMRIL as president and chief executive officer, effective January 4. Simril, most recently senior vice president and chief of staff at the Los Angeles Times, began her career as a military police officer in the United States Army in South Los Angeles after the Rodney King beating in 1992 sparked riots in the city. Later, she served Los Angeles city government as deputy mayor of economic development, worked in affordable housing as a senior executive at Forest City Development, and helped rebrand the Los Angeles Dodgers. Simril will succeed ANITA DeFRANTZ, who has led the foundation for twenty-eight years and was one of its original staff members. "On behalf of the City of Los Angeles, I want to thank and applaud Anita DeFrantz on her visionary leadership of the LA84 Foundation and congratulate Renata Simril on her appointment to take the helm of this important organization," said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. "As Los Angeles prepares its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will be working hard to build on the LA84 Foundation’s work to ensure the community legacy of a future Olympic Games is as profound as what we have seen over the past three decades."

The William Davidson Foundation has announced the hires of two senior program officers, JOHN ZIRALDO and KARI ALTERMAN. Ziraldo will run the foundation’s Southeast Michigan program, while Alterman will be in charge of its Jewish Life program. Ziraldo, president and CEO of Lighthouse of Oakland County for the past ten years, previously was president of Commonwealth Consulting LLC; director of programs at the Guidance Center in Southgate, Michigan; founding executive director of the Thompson-McCully Foundation; a program officer at the Skillman Foundation; and education coordinator at Detroit nonprofit Focus: Hope. Alterman most recently served as regional director for the American Jewish Committee in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she created several efforts aimed at strengthening interfaith relations, with a  focus on the Muslim American community. Previously, she worked for eleven years at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Alterman and Ziraldo will join SUZANNE MORAN, who was named the foundation’s first program officer in August and is responsible for developing and managing its grantmaking processes. Previously, Moran served for fifteen years as grants manager at the Skillman Foundation and held positions at DTE Energy Co. for ten years before that, including five years of service in a grant management role at the DTE Energy Foundation.

The Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation has announced the election of BO MENKITI to its board. Menkiti, founding CEO of the development companies Menkiti Group and Keller Williams Capital Properties, previously served as chief operating officer of nonprofit College Summit. He has held numerous civic and community leadership roles in Washington, D.C., including service on the boards of City First Bank of DC, Dance Place, and DC Water. Earlier this year, Menkiti launched the Capital Properties Menkiti Group Foundation, an organization designed to serve diverse social needs across the National Capital Region.

The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers has announced the appointment of longtime philanthropy executive DAVID BIEMESDERFER as the organization's next president and CEO. Biemesderfer, who will begin serving in his new role in mid-January, currently is president and CEO of the Florida Philanthropic Network, a statewide network of philanthropic organizations working to strengthen and grow philanthropy in Florida and a forum member. Before joining FPN in 2009 as vice president, Biemesderfer worked for ten years at the Minnesota Council on Foundations, another forum member, leaving as its vice president of communications and information services in 2004, and served as a consultant for a variety of foundations and other philanthropic clients in the areas of communications, public policy, and accountability.

Africare has announced the appointment of ROBERT MALLETT as its new president. Mallett, formerly president and CEO at Accordia Global Health Foundation, previously served as executive vice president and general counsel at United Healthcare’s public and senior markets group. Earlier, he was a senior vice president and corporate officer as well as head of corporate philanthropy at Pfizer and  served as president of the Pfizer Foundation. Mallett also worked in private practice at international law firms in the United States and served in President Bill Clinton’s administration as acting secretary and deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

KaBOOM! has announced the planned departure of its founding CEO, DARELL HAMMOND, in mid-2016. Hammond will continue to be involved with the organization in an advisory role after he joins his wife overseas, where she will start a new assignment with the Peace Corps next year. Founded by Hammond out of his apartment in 1996, KaBOOM! has raised more than $300 million and engaged over one million corporate and community volunteers in building, improving, and opening some 16,000 play spaces in the years since, providing more than eight million kids with the opportunity to engage in active play.

In other news, PND notes the passing of investment firm founder and philanthropist BETH CURRY, 74, after a recurrence of breast cancer. Curry and her husband co-founded Eagle Capital Management and the Ravenel and Elizabeth Curry Foundation, which was a major donor to Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Curry’s alma mater, Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. She also sat on the boards of all three institutions.

PND also notes the sudden passing of journalist and social justice advocate RICK COHEN, at the age of 64. As the national reporter for the Nonprofit Quarterly since 2006, the prolific Cohen won legions of fans and admirers with his incisive reporting on a wide range of sector-related topics, including the importance of the social safety net, social impact bonds, the Detroit bailout, nonprofit salaries, and rural philanthropy. His last two pieces for NPQ, "Specters and Lies: Civil Society's Responsibility in the Wake of Paris" and "News Stories on Syrian Refugees and American Politics — Sad, Predictable, Disappointing," were classic Cohen — tightly reasoned, deeply researched, forcefully argued — and his knack for prognostication bordered, at times, on the uncanny. Cohen's long career in government and the nonprofit sector prior to NPQ included stints as executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (in which role he spoke to PND at length about nonprofits, philanthropy, and the democratic process); vice president for planning and operations at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation; vice president for field operations at the Enterprise Foundation in Baltimore; director of Jersey City's Department of Housing and Community Development; and a planner at Action for Boston Community Development. News of Cohen's passing shocked his many readers and admirers and prompted nearly two hundred comments on the NPQ website, including this from Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer: "...Rick never wavered from asking the toughest questions and doing all the research needed to fairly weigh controversial issues — and he always did so with a great sense of humor and a big heart. We will miss his voice and his presence for years to come...."

"The Kresge Foundation Hires New Program Officers to Detroit and Education Program Teams." Kresge Foundation Press Release 11/17/2015. "McKnightHires Midwest Climate & Energy Program Officer." McKnight Foundation Press Release 11/17/2015. "LA Business & Civic Leader Renata Simril to Succeed Longtime President Anita DeFrantz at LA84 Foundation." LA84 Foundation Press Release 11/18/2015. "Bo Menkiti Joins Meyer Foundation Board." Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation Press Release 11/17/2015. Sherry Welch. "William Davidson Foundation Names New Program/Grant Managers." Crain's Detroit Business 11/19/2015. "Africare Announces New President ." Africare Blog 11/17/2015. "KaBOOM! Founder Darell Hammond to Step Down as CEO." KaBOOM! Press Release 11/17/2015. Sam Roberts. "Beth Curry, Who Co-Founded Investment Firm and Philanthropy, Dies at 74." New York Times 11/19/2015. "David Biemesderfer Appointed Forum CEO." Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers Press Release 11/16/2015.