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Kresge salutes departing trustees, welcomes new arrivals

General Foundation News

With powerful, mixed emotions we at The Kresge Foundation are saying goodbye to two longtime trustees who brought thoughtful insight, integrity and energy to our discourse, while welcoming two new trustees who have dedicated their careers to improving peoples’ lives and addressing challenges that face our democracy.

On the one hand, this transition represents a major change at our highest levels of leadership. On the other, it shows how good governance, planning and execution make such change smooth and seamless, keeping the foundation’s work on track while bringing new voices and perspectives to those same highest levels of leadership.

Kathy Ko Chin, trustee, The Kresge Foundation
Kathy Ko Chin

Cecilia Muñoz, trustee, The Kresge Foundation
Cecilia Muñoz

Joining our board are Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and Cecilia Muñoz, vice president of policy and technology and director of the national network at New America.

Leaving after 16 years of exemplary service are Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the U.S.-Japan Council, and Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University. Irene and Lee were instrumental in helping shape the foundation’s new direction as we transitioned from specializing in capital-challenge grants to a suite of programs working to expand opportunity in America’s cities.

Irene Hirano Inouye, The Kresge Foundation
Irene Hirano Inouye

Lee Bollinger, The Kresge Foundation
Lee Bollinger

Irene joined our board in 2001 and served as board chair from 2004 through 2006. Throughout her tenure, she has been an institutional equilibrium and has provided guidance on issues of governance, organizational structure and policies to insure the foundation has a highly functioning, effective Board of Trustees.

Lee joined the board in 2001 while serving as president of the University of Michigan. A highly regarded constitutional scholar, he is truly one of a kind: unfailingly asking the big, fundamental questions and constructively challenging the board to put our resources to work in bold, effective ways. He championed the urban framework that has become central to the foundation’s mission. Our American Cities Practice is a direct result of that.

I owe a special debt of gratitude to Lee and Irene for introducing me to Kresge and the exciting work here. He co-chaired the search committee that recruited me to the foundation as president and CEO in 2006, and Irene was the acting board chair upon my arrival.

Our new trustees have impressive records of public service as well.

The daughter of immigrants from China, Kathy Ko Chin has committed her 40-year career to building community institutions that contribute to a diverse, just society. She is a recognized authority on national health policy and a renowned voice for the Asian American community. She served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as well as on the boards of many nonprofits.

Before leading New America’s efforts to renew American politics, prosperity and purpose in the digital age, Cecilia Muñoz was director of the Domestic Policy Council under President Obama from 2012 until this year, and also served as the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. The daughter of immigrants from Bolivia, she was senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Hispanic policy and advocacy organization, before her work in government. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000 for her work on immigration and civil rights.

I’d like to extend special thanks to Cynthia Kresge, a trustee and the great-granddaughter of founder Sebastian S. Kresge, who led the nine-month trustee search process and evaluated dozens of individuals before successfully recommending Kathy and Cecelia to the full board.

On behalf of the entire Kresge board and staff, I look forward to working with Kathy and Cecelia, and offer my deepest gratitude and best wishes to Irene and Lee.