The New York-based Surdna Foundation recently named Phillip Henderson president, following the retirement of Surdna executive director Ed Skloot.
Established in 1917 by real-estate investor John Emory Andrus, the Surdna Foundation supports a variety of philanthropic areas, including the arts, effective citizenry, the environment, the nonprofit sector and community revitalization. The foundation currently has approximately $900 million in assets, and it distributed $37 million in 2006.
Henderson plans to increase the collaborative work, begun under Skloot, among the foundation’s grantmaking programs and to build partnerships with other foundations and nonprofits. “I hope that, under my presidency, Surdna is seen as a quick-to-action, collaborative and innovative grantmaker,” says Henderson.
Henderson previously spent nine years at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), serving as program officer, senior program officer, director of programs and vice president. Henderson primarily focused on promoting democracy and fostering community political engagement in Central and Eastern Europe. Among other contributions, he helped develop both the award-winning Balkan Trust for Democracy and the forthcoming Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, and also served as chair of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe.
Before joining GMF, Henderson spent five years in Central and Eastern Europe, where he worked to reform the region’s higher education through the nonprofit Civic Education Project. During this time, he also served as a visiting lecturer in economics in Romania.
Henderson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from, respectively, Michigan State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
JM Freedom Foundation and Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Foundation
Alicia Oberman recently joined the Illinois-based Jack Miller family foundations as director of the JM Freedom Foundation and the Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Foundation. She previously worked in the corporate and securities department of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, a mid-sized Chicago law firm.
Oberman is particularly eager to bring her law background to her work at the JM Freedom Foundation, which supports the teaching and understanding of American history and America’s founding principles.
“My commitment to the mission of the JM Freedom Foundation is both personal and professional,” she says. “As an attorney by training, I believe it is essential that people living in America understand the origin of the freedoms that they enjoy on a daily basis. Only once we understand where we as a country have been can we begin to understand where we as a country are going.”
Oberman will also manage grantmaking at the Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Foundation, which supports community development, education, and Jewish causes.
Oberman graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree with distinction in English, focusing primarily on contemporary American literature. In 2003, she received her law degree from Northwestern University.
The Philanthropy Roundtable
Joining the Roundtable as director of technology is Brian Anderson, who previously served as information technology manager for U.S. Senator Jim Talent. During his tenure there, Anderson created a custom software system to manage servers, generated scheduling reports and improved the official website, saving the office an estimated $40,000 per year in vendor expenses. In 2006 he won a Pollie Award for pioneering new uses of E-Newsletters in the Senate.
From 1999 to 2006, Anderson gained experience in end-to-end web development—including sales, client relations, architecture and client coding—while working as webmaster for the City of Chesterfield, Missouri, and as web developer for 1-64 Networks in Kirkwood, Missouri. He is also familiar with a wide range of computer software, languages, operating systems and databases.
Mr. Anderson holds a B.A. in government with a minor in history from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
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