Bradford K. Smith Named President of the Foundation Center
Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement
The Foundation Center
New York, NY -- May 21, 2008. The board of trustees of the Foundation Center, the nation's leading authority on organized philanthropy, has chosen Bradford K. Smith as its next president. Smith, who will join the Center on October 1, succeeds Sara L. Engelhardt, who is retiring after 17 years as president.
"Brad is a respected leader with an outstanding record of achievement in connecting people and organizations to critical resources that strengthen their capacity to serve the public good," said M. Christine DeVita, chairman of the Center's board of trustees and president of the Wallace Foundation. "His deep knowledge of both philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and of the complex issues that drive the field today are powerful assets that will serve the Center well as the central knowledge hub for the field."
Mr. Smith is currently president of the Oak Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, a major family foundation with programs and grant activities in 41 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Prior to joining the Oak Foundation he developed and led the Ford Foundation's Peace and Social Justice Program, the foundation's largest program area, providing hundreds of millions of dollars during his ten-year tenure as vice president to organizations working on issues of human rights, international cooperation, governance, and civil society in the U.S. and around the world.
"With unprecedented levels of private wealth being devoted to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector," Smith said, "the public increasingly wants to know how these resources are being applied to the diverse challenges facing society. The Foundation Center, with its half-century of dedication to accountability and transparency, is perfectly positioned to meet this heightened demand for knowledge about the field. Building a better world is imperative, and I am honored to take the reins of an organization that is contributing the ideas, information, and services needed by grantmakers and nonprofits striving to do just that."
Mr. Smith has devoted his entire career to the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. He first joined the Ford Foundation as a program officer in its Brazil office. Prior to that, he directed the Brazil program of the Inter-American Foundation. At the start of his career, he worked for the YMCA of the USA, both in Costa Rica and New York, where he became manager for world development at its Center for International Management Studies.
Mr. Smith holds an M.A. in economics from the New School for Social Research in New York and a B.A. in anthropology and ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan.
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION CENTER
Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 57,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of more than 375 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.