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Year in Review: People in the News

December 30, 2010

The year opened on a sad note, as philanthropy marked the passing of two prominent matriarchs: Ruth Lilly and Evelyn Haas. But it was also a time to recognize and pay tribute to their amazing generosity in supporting a range of causes.

Lilly, the last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, died in January at the age of 94. Over the course of her life, Lilly gave the bulk of an estimated $800 million fortune to a wide variety of causes and organizations, most in her home state of Indiana. But it was her unprecedented $100 million gift to the Modern Poetry Association, the publisher of Poetry magazine, in 2002 that endeared the reclusive Lilly to millions and revealed something deeply personal about her: She was a poet at heart.

Haas, who died in February at the age of 92, was best known for her family's giving in the Bay Area. Through the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Haas and her husband, the late Walter A. Haas, Jr., gave more than $364 million to hundreds of cultural, civic, and social-service organizations in the area. Haas had a special passion for the arts and served as a longtime trustee of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts and the San Francisco Symphony. She also loved the outdoors and served as board director of the World Wildlife Fund in the 1970s and 1980s.

"With her husband, Walter, Evelyn dedicated her life to the least among us, and her passion, generosity, and leadership will be missed," said outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, longtime representative of California's 8th congressional district, which covers most of the City and County of San Francisco. "I will miss her as my neighbor and friend. San Francisco has indeed been blessed by the generosity of Walter and Evelyn Haas and the entire Haas family."

Philanthropy suffered another loss in June, when it was announced that J. Paul Getty Trust president and CEO James N. Wood had died at the age of 69. An internationally recognized leader in the arts, Wood came out of retirement in February 2007 to take the top job at the trust -- the wealthiest institution devoted to the visual arts in the world -- and was instrumental in providing stability and restoring the institution's credibility after a period of internal dissension and upheaval.

In September, John Kluge, who had topped the Forbes 400 list from 1989 to 1991, died at the age of 95. A media pioneer and passionate philanthropist, Kluge's notable gifts included historic Morven Farm, which was valued at $45 million when he donated it to the University of Virginia; more than $100 million to Columbia University for minority scholarships and faculty diversity efforts; and $60 million to the Library of Congress.

A number of sector leaders announced their retirements in 2010. The group included Harriet Zuckerman, senior vice president and director of research universities and the humanistic scholarship program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Howard Dodson, head of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for the last twenty-six years; Colorado Trust president and CEO Irene Ibarra; Association of Fundraising Professionals president and CEO Paulette Maehara (effective March 2011); New York Philharmonic president Zarin Mehta (after the 2011-12 season); and Nathan Cummings Foundation president and CEO Lance E. Lindblom (effective December 31, 2011).

In addition, several leaders in the sector were appointed to new positions in 2010. In February, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation announced that Rachel Garbow Monroe, former COO of the foundation, had been named president, while Seedco, a national nonprofit that works to advance economic opportunity for people and communities in need, named longtime nonprofit and government leader Barbara Dwyer Gunn as its president and CEO. In April, Jo Ann Jenkins, previously COO of the Library of Congress, was announced as the new president of the AARP Foundation. And in October OMB Watch founder Gary Bass announced that he was leaving the organization to become CEO of the Bauman Family Foundation.

As the year came to a close, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley tapped a major foundation leader, Chicago Community Trust president and CEO Terry Mazany, to serve as the temporary CEO of the Chicago public school system. Mazany, who will continue to lead the trust while the city seeks a permanent replacement for outgoing CPS chief executive Ron Huberman, has twenty-plus years of experience in urban school reform and has guided the trust's long-standing efforts to improve the quality of public education in the city.

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