The Board

Connie Ballmer

Board Member

Connie Ballmer

Connie Ballmer is the Co-Founder of Ballmer Group, which supports efforts to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. Ballmer Group uses philanthropy and civic activism to help ensure that a person thrives through a healthy birth and stable family, a safe childhood and adolescence, a good education, and a career that can support a family. Ballmer Group works nationally and engages deeply in three regions—Washington state, Los Angeles County, and southeast Michigan.

Connie’s longstanding philanthropic focus has been on the well-being of children, especially those in the foster care system. Connie is a general partner and founding investor at Blue Meridian Partners, a funding collaborative seeking to make strategic investments that help transform the lives of America’s most economically disadvantaged kids. She also serves on the boards of StriveTogether and the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation.

A native of Oregon, Connie serves as a founding member of the governing board at the University of Oregon, where she earned a B.S. in journalism before entering a career in public relations and marketing for the technology sector. Connie received University of Oregon’s Pioneer Award in 2019 and was inducted into the School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement. Connie and her husband Steve have three sons and reside in Bellevue, Washington.

Thelma Golden

Board Member

Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. During Golden’s tenure as Chief Curator (2000 to present) and Director (2005 to present) the Studio Museum has gained international acclaim for its pioneering exhibitions by art by artists of African descent and role as a cultural anchor in the Harlem community.

From 1988-98 Golden worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions. Golden was appointed by the President to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2010, is the 2015–16 Chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and serves on the Board of Trustees of Creative Time. She was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Visiting Fellow in 2015 and a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute in 2008.

She is a frequent lecturer, panelist, and juror at arts institutions and colleges and universities around the world. Golden received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and African-American Studies from Smith College.

Dr. Mahalia A. Hines

Board Member

Dr. Mahalia A. Hines is currently the Board President of the Common Ground Foundation, a non-profit youth mentoring program co-founded with her son, Academy Award winning artist Common. In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Dr. Hines to the Chicago Board of Education and she continues to serve in this role. Dr. Hines has worked in the educational field for over 35 years as a teacher and principal. During her fifteen-year stint as a principal, she serviced grade levels from elementary through high school in Chicago’s underserved communities. Dr. Hines has worked as a coach and mentor for first-year, current, and prospective principals in Chicago and other parts of the country.

Since retiring from formal education, her involvement with children – which is her passion – has not diminished. Dr. Hines, in addition to her work with the Common Ground Foundation, continues to work with school leaders of public and charter schools in urban areas throughout the country. She is committed to developing effective school leaders who will guide others to provide the best possible education for the children least likely to receive it. Dr. Hines also travels the country speaking to mothers on raising successful sons and daughters. Dr. Hines received her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois, a Master’s from Northeastern University and undergraduate degree from Central State University.

Glenn Hutchins

Board Member

Glenn Hutchins is Chairman of North Island and North Island Ventures and a co-founder of Silver Lake. He is a director of AT&T, Virtu Financial and Digital Currency Group; Co-Chair of the Brookings Institution and CARE; Vice Chair of the Obama Foundation; on the Executive Committee of the Boston Celtics Basketball Team; and a board member of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of GIC Private Limited, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore

He was a Director and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2011- 2020. Mr. Hutchins also served President Clinton in both the transition and the White House as a special advisor on economic and health-care policy.

He was previously chairman of the board of SunGard Data Systems, Inc. and Instinet, Inc. and a long-time director of Nasdaq, Inc.  He was also a director of the Harvard Management Company for a decade and co-chairman of Harvard University’s capital campaign.,

Mr. Hutchins and his wife, Debbie, founded the Hutchins Family Foundation which, among other projects, is supporting the construction of the Obama Presidential Center and has created the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University; the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at The Brookings Institution; and the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, which conducted basic research into the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Mr. Hutchins has published essays on economic and public policy in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Fortune and Foreign Affairs. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Hutchins holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Valerie Jarrett

Board Member

Valerie Jarrett is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of the Barack Obama Foundation. She is also a Senior Distinguished Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, published in April 2019. She serves as Board Chairman of Civic Nation and Co-Chair of The United State of Women. Jarrett serves on the boards of Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc., Ralph Lauren Corporation, Lyft, Inc., Sweetgreen, Ariel Investments, The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Sesame Street Workshop and the Economic Club of Chicago. Jarrett also serves on the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women Advisory Board member.

Ms. Jarrett was the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009-2017, making her the longest serving senior advisor to a president in history. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Ms. Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, the Commissioner of Planning and Development for the city of Chicago, Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and she practiced law for ten years in the private and public sector. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including leadership roles as Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, Vice Chairman of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees, Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Chair of Chicago Transit Board. Ms. Jarrett has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” Award.

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Broderick Johnson

Board Member

Broderick Johnson is the EVP, Public Policy & EVP, Digital Equity for Comcast Corporation. Broderick oversees the company’s Public Policy team and holds overall responsibility for Comcast’s role in the digital equity space. Comcast is a leader in solutions to bridge the digital divide, and Broderick works closely with our partners in government and other stakeholders to support our shared goal of connecting as many Americans as possible to the Internet, and to shape our corporate policies that allow our businesses to continue to grow and innovate.

Broderick has more than three decades of experience as a lawyer, policy advisor, and political strategist, most recently with the international law firm of Covington & Burling. He has served under two U.S. Presidents, as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President Clinton, and as Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Cabinet under President Obama. Broderick also served as chief counsel for several committees in the U.S. House.

Broderick is a highly respected and trusted leader in Washington D.C. and across the nation, and he has advised hundreds of clients on a wide array of policy issues, including telecommunications and tech matters. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross. He sits on numerous boards, including the boards of directors of the Obama Foundation and the Black Economic Alliance. He also chairs the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Advisory Council.

Demond Martin

Board Member

Demond Martin.

Investor and philanthropist, Demond is a partner at Adage Capital Management where he has invested in the consumer sectors for over 20 years. Demond joined Adage after graduating from Harvard Business School and received his undergraduate degree in accounting from UNC Charlotte. He subsequently worked as the assistant to President Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles. Demond and his wife Kia, through their family foundation, focus on erasing the gaps created by social injustice in the areas of education and healthcare. Examples of support include: The Martin Scholars at UNC Charlotte, initial funding for the King memorial in Boston, the establishment of the Tonia Taylor Fund for Health Equity, and the establishment of the BSI program at Berklee College of Music. Demond has served on a number of non-profit boards including currently as a trustee at the Berklee College of Music, and a governing trustee of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Martin Nesbitt

Board Chair

Martin Nesbitt
Martin Nesbitt is a longtime friend of President Obama and served as national treasurer for his two presidential campaigns. He is the co-founder and co-CEO of private equity firm The Vistria Group, and serves on the boards of the Norfolk Southern Corp and Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based global real estate company and American Airlines Group. Nesbitt has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree and honorary doctorate from Albion College in Michigan.

Sean Parker

Board Member

Sean Parker is a philanthropist and entrepreneur with a record of launching genre-defining companies and organizations. He is the founder and President of the Parker Foundation, which focuses on three areas: life sciences, global public health, and civic engagement. In April 2016, the Parker Foundation announced a $250 million grant to form the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which builds on Mr. Parker’s leadership in funding and promoting research into the relationship between the immune system and cancer. He helped to establish the Stand Up 2 Cancer and Cancer Research Institute’s (CRI) Immunology Dream Team in 2012 and was honored by CRI with the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research in 2013. Mr. Parker was ranked number 5 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 2014 Philanthropy 50 list. In 2016 he received the Pontifical Key Philanthropy Award from the Vatican, the Jefferson Foundation Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen, and the Friends of Cancer Research Cancer Leadership Award. In 2017, he received UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital’s highest honor, the Kaleidoscope Philanthropic Leadership Award, as well as the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Public Service Award for his efforts in championing cancer immunotherapy. In 2018, he received the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity College, Dublin, received the Kemp Leadership Award, and was named one of Time Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care.

Mr. Parker was the co-founder of Napster at age 19 and of Plaxo at 21. In 2004 he partnered with Mark Zuckerberg to found Facebook and served as its first president. In 2007 he co-founded Causes on Facebook, which registered 180 million people to donate money and take action around social issues. Mr. Parker is also chairman and founder of the Economic Innovation Group, based in Washington D.C. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Alexandra, and their two children.

David Plouffe

Board Member

David Plouffe leads the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s policy and advocacy team. For more than 25 years, David has developed strategies to bring people together around common causes. He has held senior positions in government and the private sector including his role as manager of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. David also served as White House Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chief Advisor at Uber Technologies, Inc, where he remains a member of the Board of Directors. He is a veteran of several congressional, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and served as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and senior staff member to Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a BA from the University of Delaware and is the author of of the New York Times bestseller, The Audacity to Win.

J. Kevin Poorman

Board Member

Kevin Poorman is a founding board member and currently President of The Barack Obama Foundation Board. He is the President and CEO of PSP Capital Partners, CEO of Pritzker Realty Group and Executive Chairman of Vi Senior Living. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Loyola University of New Orleans from 2011-2014. Previously, Poorman was a partner in the Dallas-based law firm of Johnson & Swanson, and he is a member of the American, Illinois and Texas Bar Associations. He received his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

Penny Pritzker

Board Member

Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Pritzker is the Founder and Chairman of PSP Capital and Pritzker Realty Group, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products. From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Pritzker was a core member of President Obama’s economic team and served as the country’s chief commercial advocate, leading the Administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts. She also served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, Pritzker is a member of the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a member of the board of the Obama Foundation and on the advisory council of The Hamilton Project. Pritzker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University.

John W. Rogers, Jr.

Board Member

John’s passion for investing began at age 12, when his father began buying him stocks as Christmas and birthday gifts. His interest in equities grew at Princeton University, where he majored in economics, and over the two-plus years he worked as a stockbroker for William Blair &Company, LLC. In 1983, John founded Ariel Investmentsto employ a patient, value strategy in small and medium-size companies. He strongly believes in giving back to Chicago, sitting on the corporate boards of Exelon and McDonald’s, and serving as trustee to the University of Chicago. Additionally, he is a trustee of Rush University Medical Center and a life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Nationally, John is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. In 2008, he was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus whose career embodies a commitment to national service. Following the election of President Barack Obama, John served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. In 2013, John was featured alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Benjamin Graham in the distinguished book: The World’s 99 Greatest Investors by Magnus Angenfelt. John received an AB in economics from Princeton University, where he was also captain of the varsity basketball team.

Michael Sacks

Board Member

Michael J. Sacks is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chicago-based GCM Grosvenor. In addition to his work at Grosvenor, Mr. Sacks serves as the Vice Chairman of World Business Chicago, as a member of the Mayor’s Economic Council and as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. Mr. Sacks funded the Greater Chatham Initiative and has been active in neighborhood economic development efforts throughout Chicago. A native of Chicago, Mr. Sacks received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tulane University in 1984, a general course certificate from the London School of Economics for work completed in the 1982-1983 academic year, a Master of Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1988 and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1988.

Juan Salgado

Board Member

Juan Salgado, appointed City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor in 2017, has focused his 20-year career on improving education and economic opportunities for residents in low-income communities.

As Chancellor, he oversees Chicago’s community college system, serving more than 80,000 students across seven colleges. From 2001 to 2017, Salgado served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, where he worked to empower residents of Chicago’s Southwest Side through education, citizenship, and skill-building programs that led to sustainable employment and economic stability.

Salgado is a community college graduate himself, earning an associate’s degree from Moraine Valley Community College before earning a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, he completed the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School. Salgado has been nationally recognized for his work, most recently as a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, one of the most prestigious innovation prizes in the United States.

Julianna Smoot

Board Member

Julianna Smoot is currently a partner and co-founder of the Smoot Tewes Group, a Washington, D.C.-based political and public affairs consulting firm. Ms. Smoot has served in senior roles in President Obama’s Administration and on both of his presidential campaigns.

During the 2008 presidential election, Ms. Smoot served as National Finance Director for the Obama for America campaign. During President Obama’s first term, she served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and later, as White House Social Secretary and Deputy Assistant To the President. In 2011, Ms. Smoot was asked to serve as a Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama’s re-election effort. During both election cycles, she set new fundraising records.

Ms. Smoot’s previous experience includes work for numerous prominent Democratic senators, including Senators Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle, and Chris Dodd.

Ms. Smoot received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Massachusetts.

Robert Wolf

Board Member

Robert Wolf

Robert Wolf is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors and the Chairman of Measure – Drone as a Service®.

Prior to his role at 32 Advisors, Robert was CEO of UBS Americas and President of the UBS Global Investment Bank. Robert was appointed by President Obama to President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011, the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness from 2011 to 2013, and the Export Council from 2013 to 2016.

Robert serves on the Undergraduate Executive Board of the Wharton School, on the Athletics Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania and as Vice Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. Robert also sits on the board of the Partnership for NYC, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a graduate member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. He is a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business.