The Earhart Foundation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has named Montgomery B. Brown its new director of program. A one-time editor of Philanthropy, Brown worked for the past nine years at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., serving most recently as vice president for publications. Earlier he worked for the Hudson Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Brown’s new position “presents an unusual opportunity to draw on all the work I’ve done since leaving for college. My undergraduate education at the University of Chicago was in an interdisciplinary program in the humanities and social sciences, the two branches of scholarship that constitute the largest areas of Earhart’s grantmaking. My graduate studies in political philosophy (supported for one year by Earhart) focused on one of the academic subfields that the foundation most actively supports. My work at The Philanthropy Roundtable opened my eyes to the importance of grantmaking and to its challenges. Finally, my work at the Hudson Institute and then at the American Enterprise Institute showed me from the inside how valuable scholarship outside the academy can be and taught me a great deal about economics, one of the other scholarly disciplines that Earhart supports extensively.”
Brown admires the Earhart Foundation’s efforts to“keep alive the liberal arts tradition that is easily taken for granted and often neglected in our country but that is in fact indispensable for ennobling our way of life.”
According to Brown, the Earhart Foundation’s strength is its “principled and constant focus on liberty. Our task is to maintain our predecessors’ standard for discerning judgment in support of scholarship that defends freedom and helps it flourish. I hope the foundation’s efforts to assist the training, teaching, and research of top-flight scholars will help to restore and reinvigorate the nation’s universities.”
Dan Connelly has recently joined the Cortopassi Institute as its executive director. He comes from Ducks Unlimited, an international nonprofit that works to conserve wetlands. Before that, he served for 27 years with the California Department of Fish and Game in the Waterfowl and Upland Game Program.
Over the last ten years, Connelly says, he has become increasingly disturbed by the erosion of liberty and freedom in the United States and has wanted to do something to reverse the trend. He saw the Cortopassi Institute, headquartered in Stockton, California, as a perfect fit for him because of its four areas of focus: citizenship responsibility, reducing government, education reform, and advocacy of the free enterprise system. The Cortopassi Institute seeks to apply to philanthropy the sort of practices that result in business success: maintaining grant focus on core objectives; selecting grantees that are effective, efficient, and accountable; and developing long-term partnerships with grantees dedicated to excellence.
Connelly tells Philanthropy he admires the Institute’s “entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a firm desire to excel and be the gold standard in whatever we do, an attitude reflected in the business and life practices of the institute’s founder, Dino Cortopassi. There’s a lot of attention to detail, to cultivating resources.”
Connelly has also become the executive director of another Cortopassi foundation, the Cortopassi Family Foundation, which funds a wide range of community activities with a particular focus on education, notably K-8 scholarships for inner-city children.
The Houston Endowment has announced that Dr. Larry R. Faulkner will become its next president on February 1, 2006. For the last eight years Faulkner has served as president of the University of Texas at Austin, where he led a capital campaign that raised more than $1.6 billion.
The Houston Endowment is the largest private foundation in Texas. This year alone it expects to distribute more than $65 million in grants to a wide range of charitable activities in the Greater Houston area.
Dr. Faulkner looks forward to his new role at “one of the most mature foundations in Texas. The Houston Endowment has a superb record of support and service to the Houston area. In particular, it has been a force in education and the arts for a long time. I see myself as working to continue the tradition of addressing the cultural needs of a dynamic society at a foundation that is focusing on twenty-first-century challenges sooner rather than later.”
The endowment’s board chairman, D. Kent Anderson, is “pleased to have identified someone who is so knowledgeable about this region. His outstanding record of performance fits well with the principles we value at Houston Endowment.”
Faulkner received his Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Methodist University in 1966 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. He served on the faculty of Harvard University from 1969-1973 before moving to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served for 25 years in several different capacities, including head of the chemistry department, provost, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Steven M. Hilton, president of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, has recently assumed the roles of chairman and CEO as well. Grandson of the late hotel entrepreneur for whom the foundation is named, Hilton joined the staff in 1983, and his positions have included program assistant, program associate, and vice president of programs.
Hilton says he feels blessed to carry on his grandfather’s philanthropic legacy of alleviating suffering among the disadvantaged worldwide. This lofty charge is implemented through the foundation’s major project approach, established in 1982 by Hilton’s predecessor and mentor, Donald H. Hubbs. The foundation, based in Los Angeles, focuses on a small number of large projects carried out by grantee partners, some of which last for decades and are national or international in scope.
These major projects include the development and dissemination of Project ALERT, a substance abuse prevention program; global programs for multi-handicapped blind children; a public/private partnership targeting infants and toddlers with disabilities in Early Head Start; potable water development in West Africa and Mexico; supportive housing for the mentally ill homeless; a separately administered fund exclusively for Catholic Sisters that has given away more than $42 million; and the annual $1.5 million Hilton Humanitarian Prize (the world’s largest).
Hilton is developing new initiatives in anticipation of the growth of foundation assets. The foundation recently decided to address the needs of homeless young mothers with children. It is also currently exploring a water project in Ethiopia as well as an international leadership development project for Catholic Sisters.