By a unanimous vote, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation recently elected Donn Weinberg its next chairman. Weinberg will assume the chairmanship in February 2010. Shale Stiller, the current chair and president of the foundation, will return to his partnership at the Baltimore law firm DLA Piper. Judge Ellen M. Heller will begin a six-year term as trustee upon Stillers departure.
Stillers five-year tenure has seen significant changes at the foundation, which include a reinvigorated grant review process and an altered administrative structure. Weinberg will be the first chairman to serve under the new system, which requires that the chairmanship be rotated among the five trustees every three years.
Donn Weinberg is the nephew of the late Harry Weinberg, who established the foundation in 1959. He has been a member of the board for the past seven years and was deeply involved with the foundation’s restructuring. Weinberg expects a smooth transition, and intends to “expand the proactive, place-based grantmaking” that characterizes the foundation.
Place-based grantmaking, Weinberg explains, allows for an intense focus on a particular locale. To date, the Weinberg Foundations areas of geographic interest have included Maryland, Hawaii, northeastern Pennsylvania, New York, Israel, and the former Soviet Union. Weinberg sees this kind of grantmaking as an effective way to achieve the foundation’s larger goal of assisting the poor (especially older individuals) with basic needs. The Weinberg Foundation became more committed to the strategy of place-based grantmaking under Stiller’s leadership.
Weinberg hopes to continue direct engagement with nonprofits, and to “reduce the number of hoops grantseeking organizations must jump through before they receive funding.” Weinberg intends to “continue [the foundations] openness to the world of nonprofits”, as those at the Weinberg Foundation strive to “make ourselves approachable.” He points to the Weinberg Foundations Maryland Small Grants initiative as the kind of program he and the trustees hope to expand and proliferate. The program provides nonprofits with up to $50,000 annually for up to two years—and processes requests within 50 days.
Before joining the Weinberg Foundation as a corporate counsel in 1993, Weinberg practiced law for 14 years. He received his B.A. in philosophy and communications from George Washington University and his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition to being a trustee at the Weinberg Foundation, Weinberg currently serves on the Baltimore Community Foundation’s board of directors and the board of the Jewish Funders Network.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation appointed Rachel Monroe as its next president. Monroe will step in for acting president Shale Stiller in February 2010. “In choosing a successor,” Stiller says, “a prime consideration of the board was not only to choose someone whose reputation, intellect, and demonstrated abilities were self-evident, but someone who will remain true to the wishes of our founders.” As chief operating officer for the past four years, Monroe has been involved in nearly all of the foundation’s day-to-day operations. “I am not coming to the foundation from a different world,” she observes. “I support what is being done today.”
As COO, she launched the Weinberg Foundation’s Annual Community Gathering, the Israel Mission Alumni Scholar’s Program, a new annual employee giving program, and the Maryland Small Grants Program. In collaboration with the board of trustees, she plans to continue the Weinberg Foundation’s “community-minded” support for grantees. As she sees it, February 2010 will “mark the beginning of a new chapter, not a new book, at the Weinberg Foundation.”
Monroe recognizes that as president in the current economic climate, she will face unique challenges. Nevertheless, she remains optimistic. “Needs are greater, and the amount of money available has decreased,” Monroe says, but this situation simply “challenges us to make our grants more effective and more efficient.”
Monroe is without doubt up to the challenge. She was recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record and named in the “40 Under 40” list in the Baltimore Business Journal. She received a B.A. from Northwestern University and an M.M. (MBA) from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she majored in marketing and nonprofit management. She currently serves on the board of Ronald McDonald House.
Greg John is the new director of education for the Stuart Foundation, which works toward the development of education systems that provide opportunities for all students to be engaged, to achieve, and to develop the skills, knowledge, and ability to be successful in further education or career choices. The foundation supports comprehensive and integrated programs and practices that serve as demonstrations for system-wide adoption and to inform public policy.
“The Stuart Foundation has always been recognized as a steadfast education partner. It’s an exciting time to be engaged in the foundation’s philanthropic initiatives,” John says. With the support of the Stuart education team, he will support efforts to invest in the development of meaningful performance evaluation systems and the engagement of teachers in the development of those systems. He will also lead the foundation’s efforts to identify and support systems that provide useful data to educational leaders and decision-makers and give teachers access to timely data and real-time assessment of students.
High on his list is the foundation’s exploration of the role of compensation and incentives in the development of a highly effective teaching workforce, and the potential development of pilots for professional compensation systems that lead to improved learning for students.
His biggest challenge in the current economic and fiscal climate, John notes, will be assessing the impact on the schools and districts in Washington State and California with which the Stuart Foundation works. But despite the coming adjustments, John says, “The areas in which the Stuart Foundation is focused are the right areas. From these we can learn, support new models as well as the replication of promising work. Hearing from folks in the field, I think we are on track. It is a really exciting time to be in education and this is a tremendous opportunity from a philanthropic standpoint to help be a part of meaningful change.”
Most recently, John served as principal for John Muir Elementary School and Treasure Island K8 School in the San Francisco Bay Area. Previously, John served as the director of the School to Career Initiative for the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative and as the director for the School Change Division of the Alameda County Office of Education.
He received his M.A. in English from San Francisco State University and his B.A. in music from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Patrice Lee joined The Philanthropy Roundtable in June 2009 as project manager for public policy. She coordinates and implements policy projects for the Roundtable and the Alliance for Charitable Reform. Lee will help implement the Allianc’es strategic communications plan, coordinate events and publications, and develop its public relations capacities.
“I hope to add significant value to the Roundtable as it continues to add to public discourse on issues pertaining to charitable giving through timely and thoughtful scholarship, as well as general communications to all audiences,” Lee says. “I would like to see threats to philanthropic freedom diminish as the Alliance for Charitable Reform embarks on a strong campaign to promote the integral role that philanthropy plays in bettering our society.”
Prior to joining the Roundtable, Lee completed the Charles G. Koch Associate Program and served as the media relations manager for the Fund for American Studies. Lee has held several other roles in the nonprofit sector, including serving as speaking agent and speech writer for Prince Cedza Dlamini, helping to launch a nonprofit in South Africa and managing its student travel program, and working for a software company that develops fundraising applications for large nonprofits.