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Kresge Foundation Hires New Program Officers to Detroit and Education Program Teams

General Foundation News

The Kresge Foundation has hired two new program officers: Neesha B. Modi has joined as program officer with the Detroit Program while Rebecca C. Villarreal has been named program officer with the foundation’s Education Program.

“Neesha brings keen insight and strong expertise in nonprofit management and community development to her new role,” said Laura J. Trudeau, managing director of the Detroit Program at the Kresge Foundation. “We look forward to Neesha’s contributions to our team’s efforts to boost Detroit’s economic vitality, build a stronger early childhood development ecosystem and expand the revitalization of Detroit’s neighborhoods.”

Neesha B. Modi of the Detroit Program and Rebecca C. Villarreal of the Education Program.
Neesha B. Modi of the Detroit Program and Rebecca C. Villarreal of the Education Program.

Before joining Kresge, Modi worked at Deloitte Consulting in Detroit, where she led talent strategy and culture transformation work in addition to helping lead that office’s Deloitte Center for Leadership and Community, which focused on capacity building for local nonprofit executives. Modi also held positions with Accenture Consulting and the Civic Consulting Alliance for Chicago, where she designed and implemented transformational change efforts for public, private and nonprofit organizations.

Modi earned a dual Master of Business Administration and Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and the Environment. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management from Michigan State University.

Villarreal has joined the foundation’s Education Program, which promotes access and success in higher education for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.

“Given her experience with public university systems and how they can better serve students, Rebecca is going to play a vital role in helping our team meet its goals of increasing the nation’s postsecondary attainment rate, advancing mobility, addressing economic inequality and strengthening urban communities,” said William F.L. Moses, managing director of the Education Program. “Rebecca brings exactly the sort of evidence-based skills required to address these pressing challenges.”

Before joining Kresge in 2015, Villarreal worked in project management at the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU), a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. At APLU, she worked in the Office of Urban Initiatives managing a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore transformational change and increasing student success at urban public research universities. Villarreal previously held administrative, teaching and research positions at the University of Maryland, the National Association of College Admission Counseling in Arlington, Va., and Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Villarreal earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Maryland.