People in the News (08/18/19): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (08/18/19): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Denver Foundation has named JAVIER ALBERTO SOTO, president and CEO of the Miami Foundation, as its next chief executive. Soto will step down from the Miami Foundation at the end of September and assume his new role in October. Over the course of his ten years as leader of the Miami Foundation, Soto positioned the foundation at the center of civic and philanthropic activity in the greater Miami area and helped launched numerous initiatives, including Give Miami Day, which has generated $47 million in donations since 2012. In 2016, he convened Miami, Miami Beach, and Miami-Dade County to submit a successful joint application to the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Program, a collaboration that resulted in the recent rollout of the Resilient305 Strategy, a blueprint for a more resilient future for the region. He also led the development of key foundation projects, including the "Our Miami Report," a biannual overview of issues that shape the experiences of people in greater Miami. In April, he completed a two-year term as chair of the Council on Foundations, and he continues to serve as a member of the Knight Foundation's Miami Community Advisory Committee. Before joining the Miami Foundation, Soto served as chief of staff to the county mayor in Miami-Dade County and as a litigator in the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office.

Houston-based Arnold Ventures has announced that KEVIN MADDEN is joining the organization as executive vice president of advocacy. In that role, Madden, a nationally-recognized public affairs executive who served as a senior adviser and spokesman for presidential campaigns in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 campaign cycles, will help lead the integration of Arnold Ventures' advocacy and communications strategies with its policy and research capabilities. He joins the organization from the public affairs and strategic advisory firm Hamilton Place Strategies, where over more than twenty years he served as an adviser and counselor to top corporations, business associations, industry coalitions, and nonprofits.

The Oakland-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation has announced the appointment of SHAHEENA KHAN as director of education strategies and ventures. In her new role, Khan, who joins KRF as it celebrates ten years of formal grantmaking in the arts, education and health, will guide the foundation's investments in early childhood literacy strategies that produce more equitable results for all children in Oakland. Most recently, she led efforts to improve educational equity for all pre-kindergarten to high school students in the Youngstown City (OH) School District, establishing an office of equity to address disparities among students and introducing culturally responsive instruction aimed at empowering students to solve issues related to learning. Prior to her tenure in Youngstown, Khan spent over a decade in Chicago Public Schools serving as an elementary classroom teacher and school principal.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation in New York City has announced the appointment of LEAH E. HEISTER as deputy director and chief advancement officer. In that role, Heister will be responsible for the planning, management, and execution of the organization's strategic engagement with current and prospective donors at the regional, national, and international levels. Heister has worked as a consultant for the Guggenheim since 2016 and comes to the organization from CCS Fundraising, a strategic consulting firm, where, as vice president, she advised nonprofit clients in the art and culture, higher education, healthcare, and social services sectors.

The Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., has announced the appointment of ADAM CONNER as vice president of technology policy. Connor has spent the past decade working at the intersection of technology, politics, policy, and elections, most recently as the first D.C. employee for Slack Technologies. Prior to that, he served as vice president of Brigade, a civic engagement platform co-founded by Sean Parker, and in 2007 he founded Facebook's Washington, D.C., office and spent seven years on the Facebook Privacy and Public Policy team, where he created the company’s government and political outreach efforts and directed its election efforts. His congressional and campaign experience includes stints with the U.S. House Committee on Rules, former Gov. Mark Warner’s (D-VA) Forward Together PAC, and the John Kerry for President campaign.

In other news, the Los Angeles-based Weingart Foundation has announced that senior vice president BELEN VARGAS will be leaving the foundation at the end of September to join California State University, Los Angeles as associate vice president for operations and chief mission officer. Vargas joined the foundation in 2000 as its first program associate and shortly thereafter was promoted to the position of program officer. In 2017, she assumed the role of senior vice president. During her tenure, she led the development of a number of programs and initiatives, including the foundation’s unrestricted funding program and the rollout of its commitment to equity. She also directed its Developmental Disability Initiative and its communications program and spearheaded its work with the Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative and the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative. "Belen is driven by her values and her passion for expanding opportunity," wrote Weingart Foundation president Fred Ali in his most recent president's message. "I also know that her commitment to the mission of educational equity and to her alma mater, Cal State LA, is deeply personal. While the board and staff of the foundation will miss [her] greatly, we know that she will be an incredible asset to the community in her new role."

"Javier Alberto Soto Named CEO of the Denver Foundation." Denver Foundation Press Release 07/01/2019. "Former Presidential Campaign Adviser to Lead Arnold Ventures’ Advocacy Work." Arnold Ventures Press Release 08/13/2019. "Rainin Foundation Appoints New Education Director." Kenneth Rainin Foundation News Release 08/13/2018. "Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation Appoints Leah E. Heister Deputy Director and Chief Advancement Officer." Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation News Release 08/14/2019. "The Center for American Progress Welcomes Adam Conner as Vice President of Technology Policy." Center for American Progress Press Release 08/15/2019. "Message from Fred Ali, President & CEO: A Heartfelt Farewell to Our Senior Vice President, Belen Vargas." Weingart Foundation President’s Message 08/14/2019.