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Meet Our Experts

Bradford K. Smith, President

Bradford K. Smith Bradford K. Smith joined the Foundation Center as its president on October 1, 2008. Previously, Mr. Smith was 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.

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.

Lawrence T. McGill, Ph.D., Vice President for Research

Lawrence T. McGill Lawrence T. McGill, Ph.D., is the Foundation Centerís †vice president for research. Under Dr. McGill, the Centerís research department has significantly expanded its research capacity while continuing to produce definitive analyses of philanthropic sector trends.

Previously, Dr. McGill was director of research and planning for the Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA) and deputy director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies (CACPS).  His work with CPANDA involved identifying, evaluating, and analyzing key social science data sets for inclusion in the archive, on topics related to artists, arts audiences, arts organizations, and public support for the arts.  By the end of 2006, the archive held more than 200 such data sets. He served as director of research for the Freedom Forum from 1994 to 2001 and manager of news audience research for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) from 1989 to 1994. 

Dr. McGill has consulted on research projects with the Urban Institute; the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University; the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University; the Columbia University department of art and architectural history; the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU); the American Society of Newspaper Editors; and NBC News and CBS News, among other organizations.  He has taught in the departments of sociology and journalism at Northwestern University, where he received his Ph.D. in sociology in 1987.

Steven Lawrence, Director of Research

Steven Lawrence Steven Lawrence joined the Foundation Centerís research staff in 1991 and currently serves as †director of research. He manages the publication of numerous annual and special project reports. He also develops and delivers public presentations and trainings on foundation trends; facilitates custom consulting services for external clients; and promotes Foundation Center research activities to the media, grantmakers, and the nonprofit community.

A seasoned researcher, writer, and communicator with 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Mr. Lawrence is the principal author of the annual Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates and Foundation Yearbook reports and multiple special studies on the foundation field, such as California Foundations, Foundation Funding for Childrenís Health, Update on Foundation Health Policy Grantmaking, and Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Update on the Foundation and Corporate Response. In addition, he is the editor and co-author of Social Justice Grantmaking: A Report on Foundation Trends.

Mr. Lawrence serves on the Giving USA advisory committee, the Grantmakers in the Arts research committee, and the board of directors of Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues. He received a bachelorís degree in communication arts from Cornell University and a masterís degree in sociology from the University of Chicago.

Lisa Philp, Vice President for Strategic Philanthropy

Lisa Philp Lisa Philp joined the Foundation Center in October, 2011 in a newly created position of vice president for strategic philanthropy. Ms. Philp previously served as managing director and global head of Philanthropic Services for the J.P. Morgan Private Bank. In this role, she oversaw over $100 million in annual grantmaking by client foundations and advised hundreds of major donors on a wide array of charitable planning, strategy, and implementation issues.

Prior to this, Ms. Philp was a program officer for youth development and education at the Robin Hood Foundation, director of communications and government relations at Philanthropy New York, and manager of the urban consortium at Public Technology, Inc. Her leadership in the field has included roles as chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, vice chair of The New York Women's Foundation, and board member of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families.

A frequent media commentator on philanthropy matters, Ms. Philp has also taught Master's level coursework on philanthropy as an adjunct professor at New York University. She earned an M.B.A. in marketing and nonprofit management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and received her B.A. in Asian studies and economics from the University of Michigan. Ms. Philp also participated in the mid-career Charles H. Revson Fellowship program at Columbia University.

Seema Shah, Ph.D., Director of Research for Special Projects

Seema Shah Seema Shah, Ph.D., is the Foundation Centerís director of research for special projects. Dr. Shah leads projects related to many of the Center's emerging strategic priorities, including international research, new forms of philanthropy, and research on diversity and inclusiveness in the philanthropic sector.

Dr. Shah comes to the Center from International Baccalaureate, a nonprofit education organization, where she helped to design and lead research studies related to international education. Previously she was principal associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, where she directed a six-year national study on the impact of community organizing in eight urban school districts. While at the Institute, she co-authored numerous publications, including Community Organizing for Stronger Schools: Strategies and Successes, published by Harvard Education Press.

Dr. Shah's work has spanned a wide range of content areas, including urban education, community organizing, mental health disparities, HIV/AIDS prevention, and the experiences of immigrant and refugee youth. Dr. Shah completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Consultation Center at Yale University. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from DePaul University (Chicago) and a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University.

Jake Garcia, Vice President for Data and Technology Strategy

Jake Garcia As a geographer and programmer, Jake Garcia has worked on GIS projects for NASA, Al Gore's Climate Project, the City of New York, and the U.S. Army. At the Foundation Center, he builds mapping applications, data visualizations, semantic analysis scripts, and application programming interfaces. In April 2011, Jake was the lead developer on a project that won the Large Organization award in the World Bank's "Apps for Development" contest. He received an M.A. in geography from Hunter College and a B.A. in political science from Brown University.
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