New Leadership at Grantmakers for Education’s Board of Directors

Grantmakers for Education (GFE) is pleased to announce changes in its board of directors. Caroline Altman Smith of The Kresge Foundation is assuming the role of board chairperson and Sara Sneed of the NEA Foundation is joining the board. Additional changes to the board officers include Sanjiv Rao of the Ford Foundation as vice-chairperson and Amy Kerwin of Ascendium Education Group as secretary. All changes go into effect October 23, 2019, during Grantmakers for Education’s 23rd annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Caroline Altman SmithCaroline Altman Smith first joined GFE’s board in 2015 and served as secretary and then vice chairperson. “Since my first job in philanthropy, GFE has been my professional home away from home,” said Caroline. “Its vibrant communities of practice, not-to-be-missed annual conference and ever-growing network of smart and committed professionals has undoubtedly strengthened my own approach to grantmaking—and I’m grateful for that. I look forward to partnering with my fellow GFE board members and the staff leadership team to continue to deepen and expand our program and service offerings.  These efforts support our grantmaking colleagues in the field as they steward resources responsibly, address educational inequities, and advance critical issues from early childhood education to increasing college access and success.” Caroline will serve a two-year term as chairperson, succeeding Gregg Behr of The Grable Foundation.

“We all will miss Gregg’s humor, wisdom and passion for the work, and celebrate his longtime service on the board and commitment to strengthening the GFE community,” Caroline added.

Caroline is the deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. She helps lead the team’s domestic grantmaking, which funds higher education institutions and national nonprofit organizations that work to help more underserved students enter and succeed in postsecondary education.  She also chairs the funding committee that coordinates Kresge’s support for nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure organizations.

Before joining Kresge in 2008, Caroline served for five years as a program officer at the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she worked to create opportunities for low-income, minority and first-generation students to enter college and complete their undergraduate degrees.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Caroline holds a master’s degree in philanthropic studies and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She is an instructor for The Grantmaking School at Grand Valley State University, a member of the Reach Higher Advisory Board, and previously chaired the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy National Board of Advisors.  In addition to Grantmakers for Education’s board, she currently serves as vice chair for Independent Foundations on the board of the Council of Michigan Foundations, the nation’s largest regional association of grantmakers.

Sara SneedSara Sneed is president and CEO of The NEA Foundation in Washington, D.C. Sara joined The NEA Foundation in February 2019, after almost 20 years with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, one of the nation’s largest community foundations. While with the Hartford Foundation, Sara served as director of education investments, promoting educational equity and excellence with partners at the local, state and national levels. Sara also led the development of strategy and policy advocacy to close persistent educational opportunity gaps and improve student outcomes across some of Connecticut’s highest need school districts.

She is credited with developing dynamic new learning opportunities both for and with educators and students; successful advocacy for equity-focused fiscal practices among schools and school districts; and effective grants programs, policy advocacy, and cross sector collaboration supporting English Learners, whole child development and increased family, school and community partnership.

Among her national leadership roles, Sara currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington D.C.; on the Grantmakers for Education Equity Impact Group; and on the steering committees of the Education Funders’ Strategy Group and Community Schools’ Funders Group.