Karen R. Sollins, Chair
Dr. Sollins is a Principal Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where her research has focused on computer networks and network architecture. Although the majority of her professional experience in the grants process continues to be as an applicant for and recipient of grants, as part of her mission to understand grant making from both sides, she spent two years as a senior program director at the National Science Foundation running the Network Research grant program and making grants with a total budget of about $40M. In addition, she led the Network and Communications component of the Information Technology Research program, overseeing another $20M in grants. In these programs, grants range in size from $50K to $5M. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Swarthmore College and Master’s and PhD in Computer Science from MIT. Although she has broad philanthropic interests, well matched to those of the Foundation, her special interests are in the environment, and human and civil rights. She is a daughter of Axel and Katharine Rosin and granddaughter of Harry and Bernardine Scherman. She served as a board member to the Scherman Foundation for many years before becoming Chair of the Board.
Susanna Bergtold, Secretary
Susanna Bergtold is a sculptor and printmaker based in New Jersey. Her works, primarily in wood, often feature animals. She has taught at the Printmaking Council of New Jersey, the Newark Museum Arts Workshop, and Manhattan Graphics Center. She helped administer Manhattan Graphics Center, was on the Board for many years and served as President for four years and also as secretary. She is now secretary for an organization called Sculpture for Leonia, whose mission is to exhibit outdoor sculpture. It recently received an award from the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs government called “Award of Artistic Excellence.” Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, libraries. Bergtold artworks are included in the collections of the Newark Museum and Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art Library, the New York Public Library, and the Noyes Museum, among others. She attended The Rhode Island School of Design and The Art Student’s League of New York, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is a daughter of Axel and Katharine Rosin and granddaughter of Harry and Bernadine Scherman.
Hillary Brown, FAIA
Hillary Brown, Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York, directs CCNY’s interdisciplinary masters program: Sustainability in the Urban Environment, developed with the Grove School of Engineering and CCNY’s Division of Science. Currently serving on the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE), a unit of the National Research Council of the National Academies, Hillary is also Principal of the firm New Civic Works, which consults with governments and institutions on sustainability planning for buildings and infrastructure. As a former New York City Assistant Commissioner, she was the 1996 founding director of its Office of Sustainable Design. Hillary is a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, a former Fellow at Second Nature, a Robert Bosch Public Policy Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design from 1998 to 2000.
Miriam Buhl, Esq.
Miriam Buhl is Pro Bono Counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP and has coordinated the firm’s worldwide pro bono program since 2005. In 2011, Weil’s 1,200 attorneys performed nearly 80,000 hours of pro bono work on a wide range of issues including human rights, economic development, corporate governance, political asylum, and environmental protection. Ms. Buhl was named Pro Bono Counsel of the Year by The Legal Aid Society in 2006, and in 2010 she received the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee’s first Public Advocacy Award. Ms. Buhl has extensive administrative experience in the field of philanthropy having served as state director for the Greater New York Chapter of the March of Dimes; executive director of The New York Women’s Foundation; and founding director of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Public Service Network. She also served as executive director of the fair housing agency Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. and was staff attorney for The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Division, Brooklyn Neighborhood Office. She is a member of the board of directors for the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee and is a member of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, the Innocence Project’s Development Committee, the PILnet Pro Bono Council as well as that organization’s Planning Committee for the Annual European Pro Bono Forum, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Public Service Council. She also co-teaches the Externship on Pro Bono Program and Design at Columbia University Law School. Ms. Buhl is a graduate of Brown University and Fordham University School of Law.
David R. Jones, Esq.
David R. Jones has been President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers, since 1986. Prior to joining CSS, Mr. Jones served as Executive Director of the New York City Youth Bureau and, from 1979 to 1983, as Special Advisor to Mayor Ed Koch. Mr. Jones has served on the transition committees of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He was recently confirmed to fill a seat on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board and appointed to a blue-ribbon commission advising the mayor on structural changes to NYC Health + Hospitals. He served for five years as Chairman of the Board of Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest African-American managed bank in the nation. He is currently Chair of the Board of the Nation Institute, a member of the Advisory Council of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and board member of the Center for Community Change. While receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University Mr. Jones interned for the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School, afterwards clerking for Judge Constance Baker Motley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to his nonprofit and public service careers, he specialized in corporate antitrust cases and contract litigation at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Gordon Litwin, Esq.
Gordon Litwin is an attorney, Of Counsel, with the New Jersey firm Ansell Grimm & Aaron, specializing in environmental and land use law. Mr. Litwin is Chairman of the Board of Meridian Health, a six-hospital integrated health system located along the New Jersey coast. He is a Trustee of the Mary Owen Borden Foundation in Princeton, NJ and Chairman of the Board of Coastal Insurance Company, headquartered in Bermuda. Mr. Litwin is a member of the Regional Policy Board of the American Hospital Association and a former director of the New Jersey Hospital Association. He has been active in numerous civic activities and was formerly Mayor of Little Silver, NJ and Chairman of the Board of Brookdale Community College and of the Riverview Medical Center, all in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and Harvard Law School.
Miles Rapoport is a senior advisor for Common Cause. He joined the organization after 13 years as president of Dēmos, a New York-based public policy organization working for economic equality and a stronger, fully inclusive democracy. Miles is also a former secretary of the state and state legislator in Connecticut, and founded or led several citizen organizations working on political reform, consumer protection, racial equality, and economic justice issues. Miles currently serves on the board of The American Prospect magazine and was its president 2010–2012. He is a Board member of the voter registration organization State Voices and the Paul J. Aicher Foundation. He attended Harvard University and is a New York University graduate.
As a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation for 30 years, Marcia Thompson was involved from the outset in the formation and development of the Foundation’s Program in Humanities and the Arts and all subsequent initiatives in the arts until she resigned from the Foundation in November 1983 to head the National Arts Stabilization Fund (NASF), a newly formed 501(c)(3) organization funded at the outset by the Ford, Andrew W. Mellon, and Rockefeller foundations. Ms. Thompson served as President of NASF and in various additional capacities as a Director for the next 10 years. Under her leadership, NASF initiated major Stabilization Projects in Boston, Kansas City, Seattle, Columbus (Ohio), Baltimore, New York City and the state of Arizona, each project in collaboration with major local donors. Ms. Thompson also served as a Director of GATX Corporation (1976-1994), as well as a Director of a number of non-profit organizations including the Theatre For a New Audience and The School of American Ballet, where she is presently Director Emeritus. Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Ms. Thompson was a member of the staff of the Sunday Department of The New York Times and the International Press Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.