New Leadership Named at Kauffman Foundation
The Board of Trustees of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation last week announced the election of Thomas A. McDonnell as the Foundation's new president and chief executive officer. McDonnell, an experienced business leader with a track record of building global organizations that are both innovative and philanthropic, recently stepped down as CEO of DST Systems, Inc. He has been a Kauffman trustee since 2003 and chairman of the board since 2006. McDonnell succeeds Carl Schramm, who served as the Foundation's president and CEO from 2002 to 2011. Since January of this year, Kauffman trustee Benno Schmidt has served as interim CEO while the board conducted a national search for a new leader.
Janice C. Kreamer was elected the chairman of the board of the Kauffman Foundation, succeeding McDonnell in that role. Kreamer has served as a Kauffman trustee since 2006 and is known nationally for her leadership of community foundations, and especially for her pioneering work with donor-advised products for community foundations. Kreamer is the former CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.
"After a deliberate and thoughtful search process, the board determined that Tom is the right person to lead the Kauffman Foundation," said Kreamer. "Tom has demonstrated that he can lead organizations with global reach and local impact. In partnership with our board, Tom will allow the Foundation to build on our strong heritage."
With these leadership changes, the Kauffman Foundation board emphasized its unwavering commitment to Ewing Kauffman's intention to help people attain economic independence by supporting education and entrepreneurship, which Mr. Kauffman saw as two ends of a continuum. By electing two individuals with long-time ties to Kansas City, the board also reinforced Kansas City's importance to the Foundation – where it historically spends nearly two-thirds of its annual budget – while affirming its commitment to programs with national impact and global reach.
"The Kauffman Foundation is committed to improving education through programs such as Kauffman Scholars and the Ewing Marion Kauffman charter school, as well as through partnerships with other Kansas City foundations, including the Hall Family Foundation, the H&R Block Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation as we work to improve student outcomes in our community," said Kreamer. "We are equally enthused about our entrepreneurship programs, such as Startup Weekend and Global Entrepreneurship Week, as well as our research work to educate policymakers about the important role entrepreneurs play in the economy."
Nancy Roob, CEO of the New York City-based Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, where Kreamer serves a trustee, praised Kreamer's insight and her leadership abilities. "Jan's contributions to philanthropy have been significant. Her thoughtful leadership is recognized nationally and locally, and she will be a strong voice for the Kauffman Foundation."
McDonnell joined DST Systems in March of 1969 and served as president and CEO from 1973 to 2012. Headquartered in Kansas City, DST is a publicly traded company that employs more than 11,000 associates, both domestically and internationally, and is a global leader in providing information processing and computer software services and products to the financial services, communications and healthcare industries.
"With his experience running a global organization, based in Kansas City – one that he grew with obvious skill – Tom is ideally suited to lead the Kauffman Foundation. Tom thinks globally, yet understands the genuine affection Mr. Kauffman had for Kansas City," said Min Kao, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Garmin.
McDonnell serves on the boards of Kansas City Southern and Euronet and has served on the boards of Garmin, Cerner, Computer Sciences Corporation, BHA Group, Commerce Bancshares, and Blue Valley Ban Corp, among others. His service to Kansas City includes work with a number of prominent local nonprofit institutions, including as chairman of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City United Way Campaign and the Union Station Project Consultants.
"Tom is an entrepreneur, a change agent and a leader who is committed to making a difference," said Bob Regnier, chairman and CEO, Bank of Blue Valley. "I can't think of a better person to carry out the mission that Ewing Kauffman established for his foundation."
McDonnell has been recognized with various honors, including Kansas Citian of the Year in 2003 and the William Jewell College Yates Medallion for Distinguished Civic Service. In 2004, McDonnell received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. He received a BSBA degree in accounting from Rockhurst University and an MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
"I am honored to serve as the CEO of the Kauffman Foundation and together with Jan Kreamer, our board and our talented associates, commit to doing all I can do to fulfill Ewing Kauffman's legacy," said McDonnell. "Our important work in education and entrepreneurship has made an impact both around the globe and in our hometown of Kansas City. It is an exciting time to be at the Kauffman Foundation."
[source: press release from Kauffman Foundation]