Newsmakers | May-June 2015

Rajiv_ShahThe Rockefeller Foundation recently announced the appointment of Dr. Rajiv Shah to its board of trustees. Dr. Shah is a well-known figure nationally and abroad, most recently serving as head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where he led a complete overhaul of how the agency manages funds and makes decisions in its mission to deliver the promise of development to stressed and chaotic regions around the world. His time as head of USAID is regarded well by policymakers on both sides of the political spectrum. He has worked tirelessly to carry out two main goals of the agency while there: ending poverty and preventable childhood death and reducing the incidence of childhood hunger. Before his appointment to leadership at USAID, Dr. Shah was the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics and a chief scientist at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. His political ventures began when he was hired to work on healthcare policy for the Al Gore 2000 presidential campaign. He then went on to serve as a member of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s transition committee on health. Prior to his entrance into public service, Dr. Shah also worked in the philanthropic sector. He joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation soon after it was founded and led its initiatives in global health, agricultural and financial services. Dr. Shah is a licensed medical doctor, having received both his doctorate in medicine and Master of Science in Health Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. His education also includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Shah’s extensive and wide-ranging career speaks for itself. When speaking of his appointment Board Chair David Rockefeller, Jr. stated “Dr. Shah is an international development renaissance man, equally knowledgeable in health and agriculture, with experience in philanthropy and government, all of which makes him an outstanding addition to our board. I am delighted to welcome him.”


Gloria Johnson-CusackThe National Human Services Assembly, a Washington D.C.-based coalition of almost 90 national nonprofits, recently announced the selection of Gloria Johnson-Cusack as its new president and CEO. Johnson-Cusack has a long and varied career serving in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. Her most recent position was executive director of Leadership 18, an alliance of prominent CEOs of human services nonprofits across the nation. Her accomplished career in the public sector includes service as director of the Office of Congressional Relations at the Peace Corps., special assistant to the President in the White House Office of National Service and director of constituent relations at the Corporation for National Service. Johnson-Cusack also served as chief of staff for the D.C Office of the Inspector General and policy advisor to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Senator Albert Gore, Jr. Currently national chairman of the board of trustees for United Cerebral Palsy, she also served as senior vice president of the D.C. and Seattle-based communications and advertising firm, GMMB. GMMB focused its business on the nonprofit sector where it worked with organizations and foundations to help advance societal improvement initiatives and enhance the efficacy of programs for their beneficiaries. Johnson-Cusack obtained her bachelor’s degree from Columbia College of Columbia University and her master’s in public administration from the Key Management Program at American University. Gloria Johnson-Cusack brings the benefits of both her extensive experience and multitude of high-level connections to her new position at the National Human Services Assembly which she began effective Apr. 6, 2015.


Siobhán O’Riordan was recently hired as the new vice president of member engagement by the Council on Foundations, an organized nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. In her new position, she will manage member relations, research, professional development, partnerships and communications among other things. O’Riordan has spent almost her entire career involved in the philanthropic sector and is experienced in program and strategy creation, having served as Director of Partner Development at the National Park Foundation for the last four years. During her service, she is known for having developed an extensive network of national park partner individuals and organizations which helped lead to a significant increase in philanthropic support to parks across the nation. Before her time at the National Park Foundation, she worked as a strategic management consultant for a variety of foundations and nonprofits for about five years. She also worked for a time at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, where she created and led philanthropic education programs. Additional experience includes work at Associated Grant Makers where she led a hugely-successful philanthropy promotion initiative called the Giving Network and became recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a New Ventures in Philanthropy Fellow. Vikki Spruill, the Council on Foundation’s president and CEO, says that Siobhán O’Riordan will serve as: “a vital part of my executive team, she will help the Council capitalize on its recent achievements and help move us to the next stage of growth.”


Emily Froimson is the new president of the Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN). The board of directors of GtCNN chose Froimson, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a law degree from Boston University, after an exhaustive national search. She joins the organization after ten years of service at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, with her most recent position being vice president of programs. During her tenure there, she oversaw multiple direct services, grant and scholarship programs as well as spearheading the implementation and management of the Community College Transfer Initiative through which the foundation created opportunities for lower-income and otherwise-disadvantaged students to attend better or more fitting educational institutions. Before her time at the foundation, Froimson was the executive director of Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk (New Pathways for Youth) where she led the organization in its efforts to provide after-school, mentoring and summer program services for the at-risk youth of the Phoenix, AZ area. As president of GtCNN, she will build upon the last decade of its impressive expansion and growth while also serving as the spokesperson of the organization, a position through which she will also seek to raise GtCNN’s national profile and forge new partnerships with organizations across the country. Martha Lamkin, chair of the board of directors for GtCNN, expressed her confidence in Froimson, saying, “We are very pleased to welcome Emily Froimson as president of Gateway to College National Network. Her considerable expertise in serving youth will further strengthen Gateway’s national work to increase student access to opportunity through education.”


The Bush Foundation has announced the appointment of two new board members. Kathleen Annette and Paul Batcheller were approved by the foundation’s board of directors at its most recent meeting in Feb., 2015.


kathleen annetteDr. Kathleen Annette is the current president of the Blandin Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening rural Minnesota communities, and a physician. Growing up in rural Minnesota on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, she is the first woman in the Ojibwe Nation to become a licensed physician. She earned both her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Minnesota. Much of her career has been spent in the federal government serving as deputy director of field operation of Indian Health Services, a position in which she was responsible for the supervision of over 15,000 federal employees serving over 2 million American Indian patients across the country through the use of 48 hospitals and 238 health clinics. She excelled in this position and held it for 26 years, being awarded Presidential Meritorious Awards as well as a Presidential Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Government during her tenure. Dr. Kathleen Annette will seek to use her knowledge and experience gained helping her people from a federal position to carry out the Bush Foundation’s mission of serving the people of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations.


paul batchellerPaul Batcheller is a partner and co-founder of PraireGold Venture Partners, a South Dakota-based venture capital firm, where he manages the firm’s investment activities and serves as a board member. A strong proponent of sustainability and renewable energy, Batcheller also leads the company’s Greentech investment initiative and sits on the boards of three renewable energy development firms: tenKsolar, ZeaChem and Agrivida. He is active in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors as well, working with numerous South Dakota foundations and community organizations in implementation of initiatives. Batcheller is a graduate of Macalester College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics. Before co-founding PrairieGold Venture Partners, he spent much of his career in politics. Most notably, he served as an advisor on economic policy, science and technology to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Paul Batcheller will help guide the Bush Foundation’s leadership in their mission of innovating and transforming communities to be more prepared for the future.


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