Newsmakers | March-April 2017

George E. Ross was recently elected to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s Board of Trustees. A native of Flint, Michigan, where the Mott Foundation is located, and graduate of Flint Northern High School, Ross attended Michigan State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He began his career working as a certified public accountant and subsequently became director of finance for the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Ross moved to higher education as vice president for business affairs at Tuskegee University. During the next two decades, he served as executive vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, executive vice president at Clark Atlanta University and vice president for finance and administrative services at Central Michigan University. Ross became president of Mississippi’s Alcorn State University in 2008 and returned to Central Michigan University in 2010 to serve as president. Ross earned a master’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Although an administrator at heart, Ross also has years of teaching experience at the university-level in accounting and professional education. “It is difficult to quantify the full range of experience and insight that Dr. Ross brings to the Foundation,” said William S. White, Mott’s chairman and CEO. “From his childhood and youth as a student in the Flint Community Schools to his career as an academic and university administrator, he brings a deep understanding of the transformative power of education. We are delighted with his decision to join the Board of Trustees, and we are confident that his background and professional expertise will greatly enrich our work.”


The Cullen Foundation has appointed Scott Wise its new president. An entrepreneur, Wise is the founding president and chief investment officer of Covariance Capital Management and the founding president of Rice Management Company. His executive experience also includes serving as chief investment officer of Rice University for 21 years, overseeing an increase in the endowment’s assets from $990 million in 1989 to almost $4 billion in 2010. Last year, Wise was elected to the Rice University Board of Trustees and is already a member of various boards of directors or trustees, including St. Johns School, Episcopal High School, Houston Grand Opera Endowment and the Catholic Endowment Foundation of Galveston-Houston. Wise’s education includes a bachelor of arts in economics from Rice University and a master’s in professional accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a former president of the Rice Alumni Association. Wise succeeds outgoing executive director, Alan Stewart.


Hanne Rasmussen has stepped down as CEO of the Lego Foundation. During her tenure, since March 2015, the foundation expanded its efforts in funding initiatives around the world that help children learn and develop social and problem-solving skills through the power of creative play. Highlights include a $4.7 million partnership with BRAC to promote the importance of learning through play in Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania, as well as a partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help deliver Lego bricks and other playing supplies to hundreds of childhood development centers in the developing world. Rasmussen dedicated her career to children’s development, having served on the Danish Refugee Council and eventually heading UNICEF Denmark as deputy secretary general. She joined the Lego Foundation from a position as chief operating officer at SOS Children’s Villages International, an organization focused on providing support services for orphaned children in more than 130 countries. The foundation’s board will manage a search and recruitment process to find a successor while Kasper Ottoson Kanstrup, head of the Lego Foundation’s Communities of Learning Through Play serves as interim CEO.


Amy B. Robinson recently became chief administrative officer of the Kresge Foundation, responsible for oversight of the foundation’s grant operations and information management operations. These responsibilities come in addition to her duties as Kresge’s vice president and chief financial officer. Robinson joined the foundation in 1995, from PricewaterhouseCoopers in Detroit where she worked as a senior auditor. She has held various accounting and financial management positions at Kresge until her appointment as CFO in 2009. Robinson is a certified public accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. She is currently a member of the Investment Fund for Foundations’ mutual fund board, a member and past board member of the Foundation Financial Officers Group, a member of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy audit committee and an adviser to the audit committee of the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. Robinson was appointed to the Financial Accounting Standards Board Not-For-Profit Advisory Committee last year. She received the 2011 Crain’s Detroit Business CFO of the Year award in the nonprofit/foundation category and was featured in the 2010 AICPA book, “The Inside Track to Careers in Accounting.” Robinson regularly speaks at national conferences on tax and accounting issues in the nonprofit sector.


The Arcus Foundation has named Annette Lanjouw and Jason McGill as co-executive directors. They will succeed the outgoing executive director, Kevin Jennings, who has led the foundation since his appointment in 2012.

Annette Lanjouw joined Arcus 10 years ago from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, where she served as international program officer. At Arcus, she refocused her efforts in the areas of environmental conservation strategy, implementation and research. Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Victoria University in New Zealand and doctorandus degree in behavioral ecology from Rijks Universiteit in the Netherlands. Lanjouw worked for 15 years as director of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. She also served as project manager and field director for the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Chimpanzee Conservation Project in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and as the Central Africa program officer for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Currently a member of the Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, the Trans-boundary Conservation Specialist Group and the World Commission on Protected Areas, Lanjouw has dedicated her life to the protection of wildlife. She will continue to do so as she helps direct the Arcus Foundation’s grantmaking and initiatives.

Jason McGill has been with Arcus since 2013, leading the foundation’s LGBT-focused Social Justice Program. A veteran of the philanthropic sector, McGill worked for nine years at Philanthropy New York as vice president of member services, and previously as the first director of alumni and philanthropic programs at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. While there, he became known for leading an initiative to build a network of young minority professionals committed to giving back to their communities of origin. McGill holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and urban studies from Cornell University as well as a doctorate in African-American and early-U.S. history from the University of Michigan. He has held numerous teaching positions at Swarthmore College, University of Michigan, and Rutgers University. McGill will focus his efforts on education and youth development.


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