Kern Family Foundation
The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha, Wisconsin, recently named Thomas R. Hefty as its new president. Hefty previously worked as counsel at Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, S.C., one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms.
Hefty has held a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors. He served 17 years as chairman and chief executive of Cobolt Corporation (NYSE) and its subsidiary, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wisconsin, until his retirement in 2003. Under his leadership, Blue Cross & Blue Shield converted into a publicly owned company in 1999. Through the conversion, the company also established the largest public health foundation in Wisconsin history, currently valued at more than $600 million.
Hefty has also served on the boards of a number of colleges, businesses and organizations, including Ripon College, Artisan Funds, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and the Health Insurance Association of America. In Waukesha he also served as interim county executive in 2005 and as president of its economic development corporation.
Hefty’s diverse career experiences match well with the broad mission of the Kern Family Foundation, which seeks “to build the future through values, education and innovation” by funding programs related to engineering, technology, theology, math and science.
Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation recently announced the appointment of Scott Burns as environment program director. He previously served for ten years as director of the Marine Conservation Program at the World Wildlife Fund. Mr. Burns has also taught law, served as counsel for a range of charitable organizations and businesses on conservation matters, and worked as a commercial fisherman.
The Walton Family Foundation supports conservation initiatives in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of California, Coral Triangle and Eastern Tropical Pacific, as well as the Mississippi and Colorado Rivers. It also invests in market-oriented approaches to the conservation of fisheries and other ocean resources. The foundation seeks to stimulate durable solutions to environmental problems that are based on the best science and make economic sense.
“I am excited at the prospect of helping shape the foundation’s strategies in some critically important ocean areas,” says Burns.
“I also look forward to engaging the business community and other philanthropists in crafting answers to dilemmas like the global problem of overfishing,” adds Burns. “I believe in partnerships, both as a vehicle for building smart conservation strategies and as a means for leveraging resources in their implementation.”
The Philanthropy Roundtable
John Agresto recently joined The Philanthropy Roundtable as its new director of higher education programs, replacing Fred Fransen, who is now executive director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education.
Agresto brings more than 35 years of experience working in higher education to the Roundtable. From 1989 to 2000, he served as president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during which time the college’s endowment tripled and student enrollment reached its highest level in school history.
He has also served as the deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under William Bennett and Lynne Cheney.
From August 2003 to June 2004, Agresto worked in Baghdad for the Provisional Authority as the senior advisor to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, seeking to strengthen and reform Iraq’s universities and vocational colleges. Out of this experience came his book Mugged by Reality: the Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions (Encounter Press, NYC, 2007), the most recent of the four he has written.
Agresto received his A.B. in political science and history from Boston College in 1967 and his Ph.D. in government from Cornell University in 1974.