Welcome to the Grantmakers for Education Board

Grantmakers for Education welcomes Lynn Alvarez of ECMC Foundation and Edward Smith of The Kresge Foundation to its board of directors.

Lynn Alvarez

Lynn Alvarez
Vice President, Programs and Strategy
ECMC Foundation

As ECMC Foundation’s vice president of programs and strategy, Lynn Alvarez is responsible for directing strategy across the Foundation’s portfolios. She works directly with the Foundation president and all team members to implement the Foundation’s goals, grantmaking, investments and initiatives.

Before joining ECMC Foundation, Lynn operated her own philanthropic advising firm for 15 years, where she helped private and community foundations develop and manage initiatives, refine their grantmaking systems, evaluate their impact, train their grantmaking staff and manage funding portfolios.

Before starting her own consulting firm, Lynn oversaw a large grantmaking portfolio at The California Endowment. She contributed to programmatic and process improvements throughout that foundation, including a comprehensive program officer training program. One of her grantmaking programs involved managing a $30 million grant portfolio that encompassed two strategic initiatives: Native American health and a health grantmaking partnership involving 25 community foundations.

Lynn’s foundation experience also includes working at the California Community Foundation and the Peninsula Community Foundation (now known as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation). As a program officer at those foundations, she worked extensively in the areas of postsecondary education, child development, human services, affordable housing and the arts. As part of the training faculty of The Grantmaking School at Grand Valley State University in Michigan for five years, Lynn trained more than 400 foundation professionals (program officers, trustees and executives) from foundations around the country.

Lynn also had a career in the legal field, starting in the litigation department of a major New York law firm, but soon changing her focus to public interest law. She was the legal director of a community-based organization representing Central American refugees and subsequently worked on a national level in major class-action lawsuits representing the rights of immigrants. As a professor at UCLA, she taught courses on immigration law and professional ethics. She is fluent in three languages—English, Spanish and French.

Lynn has served on multiple boards including Para Los Ninos, Los Angeles Education Partnership, Human Rights Watch and the Central American Refugee Center. In 2011, she was appointed to the Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Commission where she continues to provide oversight to one of the oldest municipal park agencies in the country with nearly 450 parks and 7,400 full- and part-time employees.

Lynn holds a J.D. and a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Edward Smith

Edward Smith
Program Officer, Education
The Kresge Foundation

Edward Smith is a program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. He helps advance the team’s goals and functions by inviting and reviewing funding requests and making recommendations for investments in ongoing or emerging innovations. He also manages a portfolio of grants focused on promoting college opportunity and degree completion for marginalized student groups.

He joined Kresge in 2019 after 10 years in education policy research, working to understand how city leaders develop and advance education attainment initiatives rooted in a city’s assets and suited to the needs of its people. Previously, he held positions at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, NASPA’s Research and Policy Institute and the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Ed has consulted for New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Community College of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Education. He also taught courses at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served as an instructor of record at the Davidson County Correctional Facility (Nashville, Tenn.), the Workshop School of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in education from Pennsylvania State University.