Newsmakers | November-December 2015

VinnakotaRajiv Vinnakota was recently announced the Aspen Institute’s new executive vice president and head of its newly created youth leadership department. Vinnakota is best known for his role as co-founder of the SEED Foundation, whose mission is to provide underserved children with the environment and tools necessary to obtain a high-quality education. The foundation boasts an effective rate, as 90 percent of graduates enroll in college and earn bachelor’s degrees at four-and-a-half times the rate of comparable low-income students. Vinnakota is also a board director for the Colfax Corporation and serves on the national advisory committee for the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. Earlier in his career, he worked as the national chair for annual giving at Princeton University — of which he is a graduate — and served on the executive committee of its Aspire capital campaign. Vinnakota also served as a Princeton trustee and executive committee member and was named 2009 winner of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor the university awards to an undergraduate alumnus. He has earned recognition elsewhere during his career as well in the form of the Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. His position at the Aspen Institute as head of the new youth leadership department will see him heading efforts to incorporate the use of the institute’s leadership development model to support youth leaders in underserved communities, as well as utilizing entrepreneurial approaches for youth economic and political engagement. “Raj’s accomplishments and unique vision for the future of education in this country embody the values-based leadership fostered here at the Institute,” stated Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. “Under his direction, this work will have a significant impact on the next generation of America’s leaders.”


BonnerMarsha Bonner has been selected as the Annenberg Foundation’s new director of programs, community grantmaking and special initiatives. The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations seeking to advance the public well-being through improved communication and innovative projects. A graduate of Princeton University, Bonner is a current member of the board of directors for Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation and has more than three decades of experience in philanthropy and grantmaking. She comes to the Annenberg Foundation from the Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle, Wash., where she was director of grantmaking and evaluation. Her career also includes a role as vice president for programs at the Marin Community Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the U.S. Bonner spent much of her career in New York City, serving as associate director and program officer at the Aaron Diamond Foundation, as well as executive director of the North Star Fund. She also worked as senior fund advisor for the Lia Fund, a family-run foundation in Point Reyes Station, Calif. In total, Bonner has served on the board or as a member of 19 philanthropic organizations, giving her experience in representing a wide range of needs in the community, such as legal defense, social justice, AIDS funds, art councils and more. She has dedicated her career to philanthropy and will continue to do so in her new role where she will advance the Annenberg Foundation’s community investments. Foundation Executive Director Cinny Kennard expressed her support of Bonner: “We are thrilled to welcome Marsha and her extraordinary grants management expertise to the team. She has the perfect skill set to carry forth our deep commitment to the nonprofit community in Los Angeles and to punctuate the great work being done here.”


The Lumina Foundation has elected Austan Goolsbee to its board of directors. Goolsbee, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has an extensive background in economics at all levels of government and is currently the Robert P. Gwinn professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Goolsbee also serves on the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Previously, he worked in Washington, D.C., as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet. His experience also includes service on the Panel of Economic Advisors to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Census Advisory Commission and as a special consultant for Internet policy to the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This public- sector career is also complemented by impressive research experience, which earned him recognition as an Alfred P. Sloan fellow and a Fulbright Scholar, while also being selected as one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and one of the six “Gurus of the Future” by Financial Times. He has been named a “star” professor by BusinessWeek’s “Guide to the Best Business Schools” twice as well. Goolsbee’s accomplishments in economics and education make him a perfect candidate for the board of the Lumina Foundation — an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials.


BernsThe National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) recently appointed Dr. Scott D. Berns M.D., M.P.H., as its next president and CEO. Berns joins ICHQ from the March of Dimes national office, where he served as senior vice president of chapter programs and deputy medical officer. Dedicated to children’s health, both in practice and in education of the next generation of doctors and health practitioners, Berns is a tenured clinical professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and clinical professor of health services, policy and practice at the Brown School of Public Health. Berns received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Boston University, and completed a residency in pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He co-founded the Progeria Research Foundation, a nonprofit committed to discovering treatments and the cure for Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, a rare, debilitating disease from which his own son suffered and ultimately passed away. His son’s battle with the disease fueled his desire to help children. “Scott is the ideal candidate to lead NICHQ into its future,” affirmed NICHQ Board Chair Fay Donohue. “His extensive experience in both clinical and administrative roles, along with his passion for children’s health and focus on vulnerable children, make him a perfect fit for this role.” Berns started his position Oct. 5.



Michael Rubinger, long-time president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has announced his retirement for June 2016. Rubinger has been a constant and persistent advocate and innovator in the arenas of community and economic development for 40 years. His time as head of LISC began in 1999, but his involvement and service for it began much earlier. Rubinger is an original staff member of LISC, starting work on the day of its founding in 1980, joining it from the Ford Foundation. He was integral in early LISC efforts to revitalize inner-city urban housing and led the organization’s expansion into rural community development programs. More recently, Rubinger is known for having developed a widely replicated, innovative and comprehensive approach for constructing healthy and safe neighborhoods known as Building Sustainable Communities. While he has spent most of his career at LISC, he also served for a time as executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts and as assistant commissioner of employment and training for New York City. He used his housing and economic development experience to help implement housing and employment programs for the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation as well. In his message to the organization announcing his retirement, Rubinger said, “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to lead this organization for as long as I have and to have had the opportunity to know and work with so many wonderful partners in community organizations, corporations, foundations, and government agencies all across the country. I’m extremely proud of the many amazing things we’ve accomplished together over the years.” His dedication and work ethic will be greatly missed by LISC as well as communities across the nation.


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