Don Chen Joins the Center for Effective Philanthropy Board of Directors

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) announces the election of a new Board Chair — Tony Richardson, president of the George Gund Foundation — as well as the election of three new members to join the Board of Directors: Don Chen, president of the Surdna Foundation, Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of the Kresge Foundation’s Education Program, and Alesha Washington, president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation.

Richardson will begin his term as Board Chair effective July 1. He has served on CEP’s Board of Directors since January 2020 and brings a wealth of experience in philanthropy as well as the public sector. He was executive director of the Nord Family Foundation prior to joining the Gund Foundation and also previously held positions in K-12 education, higher education, and government.

“As a CEP board member, I have watched this organization strategically evolve and remain relevant during times of a global pandemic, climate change, racial reckoning and unprecedented threats to U.S. democracy,” said Richardson. “CEP’s data analysis and research tools provide opportunities for funders to ask the right questions, make data-driven decisions, increase proximity to partners, hold ourselves accountable, and ultimately be more effective. It is an honor and great privilege to serve as CEP’s next Board Chair, and I look forward to working with our talented leadership team and staff, alongside our board of directors, to continue upholding and advancing effective philanthropy principles both domestically and abroad.”

CEP is also pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board of Directors.

President of the Surdna Foundation Don Chen joined the CEP board effective June 1, 2024. Chen has led the Surdna Foundation with a focus on advancing social justice and racial equity in America’s communities since 2018, prior to which he directed the Cities & States program at the Ford Foundation.

Caroline Altman Smith is deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program where she leads grantmaking to higher education institutions and national nonprofit organizations with a focus on helping underserved students enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Her term on the CEP Board begins July 1, 2024.

Also beginning her term on July 1, Alesha Washington is president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation. Prior to joining the Seattle Foundation in 2022, Washington served as the program director for Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy at the George Gund Foundation.

“I could not be more excited about this new era for CEP’s Board of Directors,” said CEP President Phil Buchanan. “Tony is one of philanthropy’s bright lights and has been a powerful advocate for CEP’s work and mission and a trusted advisor. Don, Caroline, and Alesha bring unique perspectives but share a deep belief in the importance of effective philanthropy and the role that CEP can play in supporting funders. All three have been longtime friends and advisors to CEP.”

As Chen, Altman Smith, and Washington begin their tenures, former Board Chair Tiffany Cooper Gueye and Board member Richard Ober will conclude their terms. CEP is grateful to them for their integral leadership for many years.

About the Center for Effective Philanthropy

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide data, feedback, programs, and insights to help individual and institutional donors improve their effectiveness. We do this work because we believe effective donors, working collaboratively and thoughtfully, can profoundly contribute to creating a better and more just world. For more information on CEP’s work, including its research, assessments, advisory services, and programming, visit