People in the News (2/11/18): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (2/11/18): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Meyer Memorial Trust in Portland, Oregon, has announced that, effective April 30, MICHELLE J. DePASS will join the trust as its new president and chief executive officer, succeeding DOUG STAMM, who has led the organization for the last sixteen years. An early leader in the environmental justice movement, DePass served in the Obama administration as assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as a program officer at the Ford Foundation, and, most recently, as dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School in New York City. DePass, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica, will relocate to Portland with her husband, Joshua Paulson, a civil rights and defense attorney from western Oregon, while Stamm will remain with Meyer in an advisory capacity for up to six months.

Following a nationwide search, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation in Washington, D.C., has announced the selection of TERRI D. WRIGHT as vice president for program and community. In that role, Wright will join President and CEO Nicky Goren and Vice President for Finance and Operations Janice Thomas in providing oversight to the organization and will lead program activities focused on systemic changes to promote racial equity across the region. Wright comes to the foundation after previous appointments as the first executive director of The Steve Fund, the nation’s only organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color in higher education; as director of the Center for Public Health Policy and the Center for School, Health and Education at the American Public Health Association (APHA) in D.C.; and as a program director for health policy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The Surdna Foundation in New York City has announced the hire of F. JAVIER TORRES as director of its Thriving Cultures program, effective March 5. In that position, Torres will be responsible for a $9 million grantmaking portfolio, sharpening existing strategies and developing new initiatives, and deepening institutional knowledge to ensure maximum impact of the foundation’s dollars. Torres has served as director of national grantmaking at ArtPlace America since 2014 and before that served as senior program officer for arts and culture at the Boston Foundation, where he led an exploration of the role of culture as a tool for transformation, sustainability, and as central to the development of vibrant communities. He also spent six years as the director of the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, a program of IBA, a community-based multidisciplinary arts complex that operates as a regional presenter and local programmer for Latino arts.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation has announced the election of SCOTT L. RAKESTRAW to its board of directors. Rakestraw, a Hertz Fellow with a track record of successfully developing both products and companies in the biotechnology and biomedical fields, has helped raise more than $450 million in funding for ventures in which he has been involved as a founder or executive and has worked on eleven successful initial public offerings and multiple acquisitions of biopharmaceutical companies.

Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia has announced the appointment of SHIRA HODGES as director of leadership and advancement. In that role, Hodges will be responsible for facilitating the network’s funder groups, supporting collective action initiatives, recruiting new members, and identifying resources to support leadership initiatives in the greater Philadelphia area. Prior to joining the network, Hodges was a program director for Geneva Global, an international philanthropic consulting firm, where she managed a range of projects, including the design, launch and scaling of work in South India for the Freedom Fund, the world’s first private multi-million-dollar fund created to fight modern day slavery. Before joining Geneva Global, Hodges served as interim director for the Rural AIDS and Development Action Research (RADAR) in Acornhoek, South Africa, and as a policy research specialist for the National Association of Community Health Centers. 

ANUJA KHEMKA has been named executive director of the New York City-based Steve Fund, the nation’s only non-profit focused on the mental health of students of color. Khemka, a former vice president at the JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy group, program officer at the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and nonprofit consultant, had been serving as the organization’s senior strategy and programs adviser, with a focus was on expanding its programs and services, including workshops, webinars, expert speakers, and training and technical assistance led by multicultural mental health experts.

The World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. has announced the appointment of JESSICA SEDDON as director of integrated urban strategy and EMMA STEWART as director of urban efficiency and climate, both within the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Seddon has led the Ross Center’s work on integrated land and water management, people-oriented development, and air quality since September. She joined WRI from Okapi, a social innovation strategy group in India that she founded during more than a decade of work on the sub-continent. In her new role, Stewart will oversee efforts to make urban buildings and transport more efficient and climate-friendly through demonstration projects, policies, and new business models. Prior to joining WRI, she spent eight years at Autodesk, where she founded the Sustainability Solutions division before spinning off a start-up that works to make the business case for green infrastructure.

Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the Unites States, has announced that CAROL MEDLIN has joined the organization as chief program officer. Medlin, founder and principal at Praxis Social Impact Consulting, previously worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a senior program officer in its health economics and finance programand as the director of the healthprogramat the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in London.  She also has served as a commissioner on the board of directors for the International Initiative on Impact Evaluation (3IE); on the advisory committee of the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF), an innovative social impact fund; and as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. 

PND also notes the passing of San Francisco real estate developer and philanthropist SANFORD DILLER on February 2 at the age of 89. Best known as the founder of Prometheus Real Estate Group, the largest privately held owner of apartments in the Bay Area, Diller and his wife, Helen, who died in 2015, created the Helen Diller Family Foundation in 1999 and gave more than $500 million to University of California, San Francisco — making them the largest donors to the university in its history and among the largest supporters of a U.S. public institution ever. They believed investing in health care was the best way to make a global impact, said their daughter, Jackie Safier, president of Prometheus, and they “liked that UCSF was local, where they were raised." The Diller Foundation also has given millions to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as several city parks. Sanford Diller was born June 4, 1928, in San Francisco to Jewish immigrants from Austria. After graduating from UC Berkeley and the University of San Francisco School of Law, he practiced law for many years before founding Prometheus in 1965. The San Mateo firm was a major driver in developing downtown Mountain View in the 1980s and is credited with pioneering high-density mixed-use development in the region. "He was the hardest-working person in the business," said Safier. "[H]e was really humble and thought his success was driven by hard work and discipline."

"Introducing Meyer’s New CEO: Michelle J. DePass." Meyer Memorial Trust News Release 02/08/2018. "Meyer Foundation Announces New Vice President for Program and Community." Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation News Release 02/05/2018. "F. Javier Torres Joins the Surdna Foundation as Director, Thriving Cultures Program." Surdna Foundation News Release 02/05/2018. "The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Welcomes Hertz Fellow Scott L. Rakestraw, PhD to Board of Directors." The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Press Release 02/06/2018. "Philanthropy Network Names Shira Hodges as Director of Leadership and Advancement." Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia News Release 02/06/2018. "Anuja Khemka, Experienced Non-Profit, Philanthropic and Corporate Leader, Takes Helm at The Steve Fund." The Steve Fund Press Release 02/05/2018. "Jessica Seddon, Emma Stewart Take Leadership Roles at WRI to Advance Sustainable and Livable Cities." World Resources News Release 02/02/2018. "Carol Medlin Joins Feeding America as Chief Program Officer. " Feeding America Email 02/08/2018. Catherine Ho. "Sanford Diller, Real Estate Developer and Philanthropist, Dies ." San Francisco Chronicle 02/05/2018.