Column: SE Council of Foundations names Janine Lee new CEO

By Maria Saporta
Friday, July 29, 2011

The Southeastern Council of Foundations has named its first woman as well as its first African-American to become its new president and CEO.

Janine Lee, who has served as president and CEO of the Southern Partners Fund for the past four years, will take over on Sept. 1. Previously Lee served as vice president of education programs for the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and before that, as vice president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo.

She also is a co-founder of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and co-author of “Funding Effectiveness: Lessons in Building Nonprofit Capacity.”

“Ms. Lee has a long history of dedicated service to the nonprofit and foundation community and a clearly demonstrated passion for the work of philanthropy,” said Byron Harrell, chair of the SECF board and president and CEO of Baptist Ministries in New Orleans.

Harrell also thanked Pete McTier, the retired president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, who has been filling in as the interim CEO since February. McTier continues to serve as trustee of the Woodruff Foundation as well as three other sister foundations: the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, the Lettie Pate Evans Foundations and the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation.

McTier said he had long valued the Council’s leadership role in advancing philanthropy in the region.

The Council is a membership association of grant-making foundations based in 11 Southeastern states. Its mission is to champion excellence in all philanthropic activities and promote the creation of new charitable resources in the region.

The CEO search committee was chaired by Karen McNeil-Miller, vice chairman of the Council’s board and president and CEO of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem, N.C. Boardwalk Consulting assisted in the search.

JA gets grants, awards

Junior Achievement of Georgia has a couple of good reasons to celebrate.
First, the Marcus Foundation has given it a $687,400 grant for its JAMS (JA Means Success) program. The three-year grant will help support its new middle school after-school program.

Two of Junior Achievement’s top leaders also recently received national awards.

Dwight Duke, the immediate past chair of JA-Georgia, will receive the Gold Leadership Award, one of only 10 national recipients. He will receive the award at a dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21.

Also, JA-Georgia President Jack Harris received the Karl Flemke Pioneer Achievement Award from the national organization. The award recognizes first-time JA presidents who have made outstanding contributions.

Literacy leadership

Literacy Action has named five new board members to help end adult illiteracy or low literacy in metro Atlanta.

The five new board members are:

Angela Dirr, assistant vice president and assistant general counsel for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta;

Melanee Haywood, managing director of information technology for Delta Air Lines Inc.;

Susan Morgan, a food-service professional with 25 years of marketing experience in the restaurant industry;

Lee Morris: general counsel and chief financial officer of the Stevens & Wilkinson architectural and engineering firm as well as a former Atlanta City Councilman; and

Peter Stewart, a senior business development associate with BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Literacy Action is the largest community-based nonprofit in Georgia that provides free classroom instruction and job-readiness services for adults with low literacy skills.

Cobb campaign sets record

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce set an all-time record for its annual membership campaign — raising a total of $779,505, beating its previous record of $772,312 set in 2006.

The 2011 membership campaign was led by Kim Menefee, WellStar’s senior vice president of public and government affairs.

The membership campaign showed significant growth over the past two years. In 2009, it totaled $645,209; and in 2010, the membership campaign totaled $704,242.

Cobb Chamber Chairman Rob Garcia noted the 2011 numbers reflected the addition of 90 new chamber members.

A Fortifying event

Led by state Sen. Vincent Fort, protesters carrying signs and chanting “Sam Williams must go,” greeted people attending an afternoon reception July 25 in front of Invesco’s headquarters.

The reception, partly organized by Metro Atlanta Chamber President Sam Williams, was held to help raise the dollars needed to launch a campaign to pass the 1 cent transportation sales tax next year.

Both Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed thanked Williams for being the focal point of the protesters.

“Sam, I stand here tonight with deep gratitude that you gave Vincent Fort someone else to talk about,” Reed told Williams in front of the gathering of top CEOs and community leaders.

The governor chimed in: “I thank Sam Williams for taking attention away from us.”

Fort, and his unlikely bedfellow, John Sherman of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation, have called for Williams to resign because of what they believe was an improper role that the business community played in the investigation of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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