Asian American Foundation Taps New CEO; Grant Oliphant Will Head to Conrad Prebys Foundation

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Norman Chen, co-founder and former CEO of Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change, has been tapped as CEO of the Asian American Foundation.

Asian American Foundation

Norman Chen, co-founder and former CEO of Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change, has been tapped as CEO.

He succeeds Sonal Shah, who has led the foundation since its creation in May when it announced it had raised more than $1.1 billion to make grants toward antidiscrimination education, narrative change, and data and research.

Conrad Prebys Foundation

Grant Oliphant,president of the Heinz Endowments for eight years, will become CEO of the $1.4 billion foundation in San Diego in March.

His successor at the Heinz Endowments has not yet been named.

American Ballet Theatre

Janet Rollé will become its CEO and executive director, effective January 3.

Most recently she was general manager at Parkwood Entertainment, the media and management company founded by the singer and entrepreneur Beyoncé.

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

Bonita Robertson-Hardy and Chris Estes, associate directors, have been promoted to co-executive directors. They succeed Janet Topolsky, who is retiring on December 31 after 28 years there.

More New CEOs

Jim Ayres, principal consultant and founder of Strategies for Collaborative Impact and Justice Consulting, has been hired as president and CEO of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

Stephen Bariteau has been named executive vice president and chief development officer at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, and he will also lead the Gillette Children’s Foundation. He comes to the organization from Allina Health, where he was vice president of strategic philanthropy and president of its foundation.

Rebecca Benghiat, chief operating and advancement officer at the Quad Preparatory School, has joined the Jed Foundation as president and chief operating officer.

Evan Edwards has been promoted to CEO of Project Equity. For the past five years, he has worked there as director of strategic partnerships and business engagement.

Beyene Gessesse, grant specialist at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, has joined the McKnight Foundation as a program officer on its international team.

Andrea Prasow, deputy and acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch, is now executive director of the Freedom Initiative. She succeeds its founder Mohamed Soltan, who will remain president until she takes the helm in 2022.

Nicole Robinson, chief partnership and programs officer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, has been named CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.

Leslie Walker has been appointed executive director of the Sixers Youth Foundation, the charitable organization of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. Most recently she was interim director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Caryn York, CEO of the Job Opportunities Task Force, has been tapped as executive director of the Women’s Prison Association. She is the first Black woman to lead the organization in New York. York was highlighted in the Chronicle earlier this year, speaking out about challenges that women leaders of color face in the nonprofit world.

Other Notable Appointments

Janney Chang Lucki, director of client relations at Spring Mountain Capital, has been hired as director of investor relations at Arctaris Impact Investors.

Melissa Lin Perrella, chief equity and justice officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, will now also lead its new Environment, Equity, and Justice Center. The conservation group also promoted Kristi Pullen Fedinick from director of science and data to chief science officer, in which role she will head up its new Science Office.ADVERTISEMENT

Joseph Rogers, education-programs manager at the American Civil War Museum, has joined the Virginia Museum of History and Culture as manager of partnerships and community engagement.

Kerrie Slattery has become the first chief development officer at Feeding Northeast Florida. Most recently she was chief advancement officer at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, where she was also interim director last year.

Bryan Spence has been promoted from senior program manager to national director of programs at the Liberty Mutual Foundation. He succeeds Klare Shaw, who has worked there since 2014 and is now retiring.

Tracy Welsh, chief operating officer at JASA, the Jewish Association Serving the Aging, is now executive vice president and chief operating officer at Fountain House.

Nancy Wolff, national vice president for mission advancement at the southwest affiliate of the American Heart Association, is now vice president of philanthropy at Lifespace Communities.


Harry Christophers, who has served as the artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society since 2009, plans to retire in May 2022.

Jonathan Cohen, director of the public-health program at the Open Society Foundations, is leaving to join the University of Southern California as director of policy engagement for the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health. He will also serve as a clinical professor in the Division of Disease Prevention, Policy and Global Health at the Keck School of Medicine.

James Cole, president and CEO of the Virginia Hospital Center, has retired. He worked at the hospital for 36 years.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, CEO of RespectAbility, will step away from the group she co-founded next year. She plans to stay on until June to assist with her replacement’s transition once a successor has been hired.


Jacqueline Avant, a Los Angeles philanthropist, was shot and killed at home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on December 1. She was 81. The wife of the music producer Clarence Avant, she was involved with many charities in the Los Angeles area, most notably the UCLA International Student Center, the Neighbors of Watts, and the South Central Community Child Care Center. She previously served as entertainment chairman of the National Organization for Women’s benefit auction. The shooting is under investigation as a robbery.

Luis Roberto Vera Jr., a civil-rights lawyer and national general counsel at the League of United Latin American Citizens, died on November 21 at age 65 after a long illness.

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