Newsmakers | January-February 2017

patrick_gaspardThe Open Society Foundations (OSF) recently named Patrick H. Gaspard as its new vice president of programs. Gaspard is well known currently as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa and also served as a senior advisor to President Obama. The OSF, whose mission is to use its grantmaking and advocacy network to promote democracy, justice, independent health and public health around the world for the next generation, has branches in 37 countries. As a veteran in the arena of global affairs and social justice, Ambassador Gaspard will oversee the OSF’s advocacy work and take a public role in an effort to advance its mission and activities. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he immigrated with his parents to New York City at the age of three; eventually attending Columbia University but never earning a degree. He left college to jump into the arena of New York City politics, first working as a community organizer and then serving on Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign and David Dinkins’s successful 1989 mayoral campaign. He was subsequently appointed as a special assistant in the Office of Manhattan Borough President, special assistant in the Office of Mayor Dinkins, and then as chief of staff to the New York City Council. Later, Gaspard was hired by Howard Dean’s 2004 democratic presidential primary campaign as its national field director. After turning down a position in President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, he eventually accepted a position as Obama’s national political director and served as associate personnel director of Obama’s transition team. He then got a job in the White House as assistant to the president and director of the Office of Political Affairs from 2009 to 2011. After serving the president, Gaspard moved to the Democratic National Committee, where he was executive director from 2011 to 2013. He begins his new position at the OSF as of Jan. 9, 2017.


ellen_brauneThe Surdna Foundation has announced the appointment of Ellen Braune as its new director of communications. Ms. Braune comes to Surdna from The Opportunity Agenda, a leading social justice communications lab, where she served as its director of communications for nearly four years. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in the field of arts in media studies from the University of Buffalo, she spent the first 11 years of her career in broadcast television at NBC, CBS and PBS as an editor, writer and producer. Braune then redirected her talents and put them to use in the fields of social justice and advocacy to effect policy change on a number of important issues. She led the effort to develop a national communications strategy for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPE) and co-founded and became executive director of New Channels, a non-profit public relations firm specializing in U.S. policy in El Salvador. After resigning from her leadership position at New Channels after six years of service, Braune then took a job as director of communications and outreach for the National Labor Committee (NLC) where she garnered extensive press coverage and acknowledgement for NLC’s research and advocacy concerning the impact of U.S. government policy and corporations on worker and human rights domestically and abroad. Additionally, she has built successful communications departments for four national social justice organizations, including her time as vice president of communications at the Ms. Foundation for Women and as the first director of communications at Demos. “Ellen’s experience using strategic communications to advance the objectives of social change organizations is formidable,” said Betsy Fader, Surdna’s Vice President of Programs.  “The Surdna Foundation and our grantees will benefit greatly from her deep knowledge and insights around messaging for a variety of social justice issues.”


deborah_antoineThe Board of Trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation recently announced the appointment Dr. Deborah Antoine as the foundation’s next CEO. Antoine is a true veteran in the philanthropic and social services sectors, having over 40 years of experience designing and implementing programs which have helped underserved communities, youth and adults. In 1983 she kicked off her career of service by founding The HOPE Program, a nonprofit employment-training program for homeless youth and adults. She subsequently led the nonprofit for nine years as its president before taking a job as vice president for education at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), another nonprofit which focuses its efforts on youth and adult education, employment assistance, and entrepreneurial and community development in and around South Bronx. Her executive experience also includes five years at the helm Per Scholas, a national nonprofit which provides technology education to underserved communities, and four years as vice president of institutional development at the educational broadcasting corporation, PBS Channel Thirteen. Lastly, and most pertinent to her appointment to the Women’s Sports Foundation, she has served as president and CEO of New York Junior Tennis & Learning since August of 2010. Before beginning her long and productive career, Dr. Antoine earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Salve Regina University and doctorate in education from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Her career, well supported by her accomplishments during her years of higher education, has led to her being the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards. She has received the Governor’s Award for Innovation in New York, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and has been recognized as a “CEO of Distinction” by Smart CEO Magazine. Throughout all of this she has maintained a love of sports as an avid tennis player, still currently holding a top 10 national United States Tennis Association (USTA) singles ranking in her age group. Dr. Deborah Antoine succeeds outgoing CEO, Deborah Slaner Larkin, on Jan. 3, 2017.


Michael Buchman and Yatin Patel have been named as co-chief investment officers for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. They will work together to manage the $5.6 billion investment portfolio and team for the foundation and related charitable trusts, reporting to president and CEO, Peter Laugharn. “It is a privilege to announce the appointments of Michael Buchman and Yatin Patel as co-Chief Investment Officers for the Foundation,” said Peter Laugharn. “It is rare to have the advantage of two uniquely talented individuals working closely alongside one another to manage our investment portfolio and team so that we can maximize our annual grantmaking abilities.

yatin_patelYatin Patel first joined the foundation in 2008 and has most recently served as director of investments. Prior to 2008, he was a senior manager in corporate development at Barclays PLC and a mergers and acquisitions analyst at Lezerd Freres & Co. His education focused on administration, preparing him for his career. Patel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Walter A. Haas School of business at UC Berkley and a master’s of business administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

michael_buchmanMichael Buchman has been with the foundation since 2009 and has also most recently been a director of investments. In addition to his new position as co-chief investment officer, he is currently a vice president as well. Buchman’s previous career experience has been in the fields of finance, law and real estate; his is first few jobs being short-term summer analyst and associate positions at Citi Group, Skadden Arps, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Broadway Partners. After joining the Hilton Foundation, he has risen in the ranks steadily for nearly eight years. Buchman attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s of business administration. He then went on to obtain and juris doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.


James E. Starr has been named as the new president and CEO of America’s Charities after serving as its interim CEO for six months. Starr first joined America’s Charities in December of 2014 as chief operating officer and chief business development officer, arriving from the American Red Cross where he served for 14 years in various executive roles. This includes time as vice president, vice president of corporate strategy, division vice president, chief of staff and chief strategist serving several different geographic divisions while being responsible for tens of thousands of employees and volunteers. Prior to his long stint at the Red Cross, Starr worked in various consulting positions for McManis Associates, a strategy consulting firm focused on the healthcare sector and government agencies’ involvement in it. His education paved the way for his career in executive and leadership positions, having earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from George Mason University and a master’s of business administration and management from Virginia Tech. With over 20 years of experience in executive positions and already six months on the job at America’s Charities, James Starr will undoubtedly lead America’s Charities competently as it continues to expand and fulfill its mission to inspire employees and organizations to support charitable causes in innovative and effective ways. “Jim is day-one ready to be the president and CEO of America’s Charities,” stated George Weiner, America’s Charities Board Chair. “He has the full support of the America’s Charities Board and staff as he moves into this role. We are incredibly excited and energized as a group for the next phase of our growth with Jim at the helm.”


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