Richard M. Smith
In January, Richard M. Smith was appointed president of the Pinkerton Foundation in New York City. Smith, who has been on Pinkerton’s board for the past 15 years, succeeds long-time executive director Joan Colello, who is retiring.
The foundation was established by Robert A. Pinkerton II, the great-grandson of Scottish immigrant Allan Pinkerton, who founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850. Pinkerton rose to prominence after its agents were said to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln. Thereafter, Lincoln hired Pinkerton agents for his personal security, although they were no longer working for him at the time of his assassination. Pinkerton’s agents pursued—and mostly apprehended—gang members such as Frank and Jesse James and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. With approximately 2,000 active and 30,000 reserve agents by the early 1890s, Pinkerton’s force was rumored to be larger than the standing army of the United States. In the 1920s, its annual revenue approached $2 million.
Robert A. Pinkerton II took over the detective agency in the 1930s, serving as chairman and CEO. (Pinkerton is today a division of Securitas, and has no connection to the Pinkerton Foundation.) In 1966, he created the foundation to reduce crime and prevent juvenile delinquency. Since then, the foundation has carried out its mission by supporting programs that help young people already in the criminal justice system. “We work with programs that link community-based organizations with criminal justice institutions to help kids who have had brushes with the law,” Smith says. In addition, the foundation supports a number of programs that promote academic development, career readiness, and cultural enrichment for young people in poor communities.
“We honor the original intent of Pinkerton’s founder by giving wisely, monitoring carefully, and making sure that the organizations we support are prompting meaningful changes in the lives of young people,” explains Smith.
Smith aims to maintain the foundation’s focus while expanding and adding programs. He is especially attracted to programs that encourage inter-generational relationships. “Through site visits with the Pinkerton board,” he says, “I’ve seen some wonderful programs that connect multiple generations—college graduates with high schoolers or retirees with students of all ages. These provide enormous benefits to both sides of the generational equation.”
Smith served as editor-in-chief of Newsweek from 1984 to 2007, where he was exposed to a range of issues that are priorities to Pinkerton. “Newsweek covered issues directly relevant to the mission of the Pinkerton Foundation: education, juvenile justice, and social and economic issues. So when the board approached me 15 years ago to join, I was ready and willing,” Smith says.
He believes his experience on the board will help as he transitions into his role as president. “The role of the management is to get the job done and to work with the board on new initiatives,” he notes. “I’m aware of the different roles and I’m eager to take on this leadership assignment. It’s a day-to-day job that is both very challenging and very exciting.” He is also drawing from Colello’s example. “I’ve learned a lot about how to play this role simply by watching Joan do it so well.”
During Smith’s time leading Newsweek, the magazine won seven National Magazine Awards. Smith himself received the Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Albion College, attended Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and holds an M.S. from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.
In January, Susan Colby was named chief executive officer of the Stupski Foundation in San Francisco, California. The Stupski Foundation’s mission is “to improve life options for children of color and poverty” by “transforming our public education system so that all students are prepared for college, career, and meaningful lives.”
“We are thrilled to have Susan joining us at this stage of our foundation’s work,” say Larry and Joyce Stupski. “She will help lead us to an even higher level of impact. The timing reflects the urgency of not leaving another generation of kids behind. All that Susan brings to our foundation will vitalize the tremendous work our team has accomplished thus far.”
The Stupskis created the operating foundation in 1996. Larry is an investment services pioneer and former president and vice chairman of the Charles Schwab Corporation. Joyce holds a master’s degree in education and worked in the San Francisco Unified School District for almost 15 years. Since its inception, the foundation has worked on programs and research initiatives with over 30 school districts nationwide.
“Larry and Joyce Stupski created the foundation because of their passion for this issue,” says Colby. “I share their deep commitment to improving the life options for children of color and poverty.”
The foundation seeks to catalyze a new student-centered system for public education rooted in personalized learning and to develop learning models that take advantage of research and technology advances of the last 20 years. “We will work with students, teachers, leaders, and communities to demonstrate what student-centered education looks like, so that all children can benefit,” Colby explains.
As CEO, she will focus on expanding the work of Innovation Lab Networks inside and outside of the public education system. Stupski has joined with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to create research networks of state and local education agencies to foster innovation in practice, policy, and structure at state, district, and school levels in select states. Eventually, Colby hopes, the networks will develop solutions and advocate for them at a national level.
Colby also hopes to build the Stupski Foundation into “one of the most high-performing organizations in philanthropy—and show the opportunity that philanthropy has to take risk and address society’s most complex challenges.”
For 10 years, Colby was a founding partner of the Bridgespan Group’s San Francisco office, leading work focused on disadvantaged populations. This role gave her “insight into many aspects of the public education system from the work on the ground to the view from 30,000 feet,” she says, as well as connections to education leaders in public institutions, private philanthropy, and nonprofits—all of which she believes will help her in her new post.
Prior to joining Bridgespan, Colby was co-president of the Sustainable Development Sector at Monsanto. She also spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company. She is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute–NewSchools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education, and she began her consulting career at Bain & Company. She holds a B.A. from American University and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Henry L. Berman
After serving as acting CEO of the Association of Small Foundations (ASF) for seven months, Henry L. Berman has been named permanent CEO of the organization, which counts among its members almost 3,000 foundations with few or no staff.
Berman took over as CEO of ASF in 2010 after the departure of Tim Walter. He had previously served on ASF’s board since 2008. Berman, originally from Boston, first became acquainted with ASF when he became co-trustee of a small-staffed foundation in 2003. “Serendipitously, there was an ASF local program in Boston, and someone said, ‘You ought to go to this,’ so we did,” Berman explains. “It was my first exposure to the organization. What I really found intriguing at the beginning was that I was in a room full of people who were just like me—trustees of small-staffed foundations.”
What Berman found at that first meeting remain the three hallmarks of ASF’s services to donors: educational resources, networking opportunities, and a collective voice in the community—all to “help philanthropists do things with intention.” “I care about helping them get the best return on their investment in nonprofits, not in terms of dollars but in improving the world.”
Berman also sees opportunities to make ASF’s resources useful beyond its core audience. “I think there’s a great need to embrace the small philanthropist—for instance, someone who’s giving through a donor-advised fund or out of a checkbook,” he says. “Our seminar on the 990-PF probably isn’t of interest to them, but our programs on vetting nonprofits or conducting an evaluation would be.”
He points to his previous association with ASF as helpful in serving the organization’s members. “I am a small foundation trustee,” he emphasizes. “I’m not an association executive who happened to end up here.” Berman’s career prior to ASF also includes experience as a board member, volunteer, fundraiser, and marketer with several nonprofit organizations. He began his career in communications.
Berman has a B.S. in communications from Ithaca College, an Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Boston University, and a certificate in business and management from Harvard University’s Extension School.