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Rapson: Kresge’s work will continue under solid board leadership, as baton passes from one incredible chair to another

From the President, General Foundation News

As this most unusual year comes to an end, it is my pleasure to share some positive news with you: Cecilia Muñoz, a national expert on public policy and public interest technology, has been elected to chair our 14-member Board of Trustees effective March 2022. A trustee since 2017, Cecilia will succeed Elaine Rosen, who will step down in the spring and retire in June.

As you can imagine, the board was unanimous in its support for Cecilia as our new chair. In fact, Trustee Cynthia Kresge, who leads our Nominating and Governance Committee, perfectly summed up the board’s deliberations saying that Cecilia’s “exceptional public policy, nonprofit and organizational leadership experience, coupled with a lifelong passion to advocate for equitable social and economic solutions, make her an exciting selection as the next chair of The Kresge Foundation.”

I couldn’t agree more. In addition to her expertise and experience, Cecilia has deep roots in the civil rights movement and is a native of Detroit, Kresge’s hometown. She spent the formative years of her career at the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization (National Council of La Raza, now UNIDOS US), and went on to serve in the Obama Administration for eight years – first as the director of intergovernmental affairs and then as the director of the Domestic Policy Council.

In 2016 she joined New America, (a Kresge grantee) to help build the emerging field of public interest technology; she continues to serve as a senior advisor there. And in late 2020, her passion for federal service was reignited when she was asked to lead domestic and economic policy for the Biden-Harris Transition Team.

Since joining the Kresge Board, Cecilia has contributed her robust experience and policy knowledge supporting Kresge’s purpose to expand opportunities in America’s cities. And she has done so with profound empathy, intense respect and deep humility in service to our partners like you, and especially to the people and movements you serve in communities across this nation.

Arrivals almost always signal departures, and it is impossible to fathom that our trustee and board chair, Elaine Rosen, will retire in June after 18 years of dedicated service and leadership. For the majority of the 15 years I’ve been at Kresge, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of serving Elaine as our board chair. Under her leadership, the foundation radically expanded its approach to philanthropy. We transformed our grantmaking nationally toward arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and in our hometown of Detroit. At the same time, she encouraged and endorsed our ability to use every financial tool available to promote economic and social opportunities for the people you serve. During Elaine’s tenure, Kresge’s board has made more than 7,000 grants and social investment commitments totaling more than $3 billion.

I hope you find this news exciting and encouraging. While we felt it was important to share it directly with you, please be assured that our work with your organization will continue without interruption. Our staff will continue to approach our work from the same set of six organizational values, marked by a shared desire to be as supportive and productive to you as any funder can be.

We know the challenges in cities and communities grow more complex by the day. With Elaine’s graceful leadership making way for what we know will be another season of strong direction from Cecilia, you can trust that Kresge will be well equipped to help shape equitable solutions with you for years to come.