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The 2020 Media Impact Forum — Earth to World: Cool It
A series of online discussions on philanthropy's role in amplifying media's efforts to address the world's most urgent crisis.
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The 2020 Media Impact Forum — Earth to World: Cool It
Board of Directors
  • David Rousseau Chair

    Vice President, Media and Technology, Kaiser Family Foundation

    David Rousseau is vice president and executive director of Media and Technology at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Based at the Foundation’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, he oversees the Foundation’s media programs, including Kaiser Health News and all journalism programs, and directs the Foundation’s technology and online activities. Previously, Rousseau was director of the Foundation’s statehealthfacts.org project and was an associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Rousseau serves as chair of the Media Impact Funders board, is a member of the Grantmakers in Health board, and advises Crisis Text Line on data ethics issues. Rousseau has been a member of the adjunct faculty of the George Washington University School of Public Health as a lecturer in the department of Health Policy, and has served on numerous task forces and advisory groups for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Academy of Sciences, and the City of New Orleans (his hometown). His work has appeared in journals including Health Affairs and the Journal of the American Medical Association, where he created and edits the Visualizing Health Policy series in partnership with the Journal. He has spoken on health policy and journalism topics at a wide range of conferences and events. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rousseau worked as a consultant at the Lewin Group. Rousseau received his Masters in Public Health from Yale University’s School of Medicine, and his Bachelor of Arts in political science from Yale College.

  • Elizabeth Christopherson Vice Chair

    President & CEO, Rita Allen Foundation

    Elizabeth Christopherson is president and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation, an organization investing in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems in science and society. The foundation supports early-career biomedical scholars doing pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. She is guiding the foundation through a period of rapid expansion, including building new investments and coalitions to strengthen the role of science and evidence in civic dialogue and decision-making. A respected advocate for improving how the philanthropic sector listens to and learns from the communities they aim to serve, she recently was a judge for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change initiative, which awarded $100 million to a single project to make a measurable impact on a significant problem in the world.

  • Molly de Aguiar Secretary

    President, Independence Public Media Foundation

    Molly de Aguiar is the president of the Independence Public Media Foundation, which funds and supports media and media makers to strengthen and connect diverse voices and foster greater understanding across communities in the Greater Philadelphia region. Previously, Molly served as the managing director for the News Integrity Initiative at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before that, she directed the Informed Communities Program for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, supporting a range of projects and ideas that explore the future of local news and information, with an emphasis on business models, collaborative reporting, community participation, and creative storytelling formats. She writes about philanthropy at Philanthropy Sketchbook and co-founded the Local News Lab. She is also a fellow at the Democracy Fund.

  • Tim Isgitt Treasurer

    Managing Director, Humanity United

    Tim is a Managing Director at Humanity United, overseeing the Strategic Media and Public Policy & Government Relations portfolios. With a focus on strengthening and supporting HU’s work, he is responsible for communications strategy and implementation, media and public relations, and HU’s advocacy and policy efforts. Prior to joining HU, Tim was the Senior Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, he served in the U.S. State Department as special advisor to the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Tim was a manager of public affairs at the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in New York, and an associate with the D.C.-based lobbying firm Meyers & Associates. Tim began his career as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives. He received his B.A. from Texas A&M University and M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University.

  • Jonathan Sotsky

    Director of Strategic Impact & Learning, Overdeck Family Foundation at Two Sigma

    Jonathan Sotsky leads data grantmaking, impact assessment, research and learning at the Overdeck Family Foundation. Before joining Overdeck, he served as the director of Strategy & Assessment at the Knight Foundation. He has led research and evaluation projects focused on civic tech, public engagement, free expression and local journalism. Sotsky previously was a consultant at Mission Measurement, where he advised Fortune 500 companies, national foundations and nonprofits on social impact strategy and measurement. Prior to that, Sotsky was a consultant with IBM’s media practice. He also serves on the board of DataKind. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in applied economics.

  • Christie George

    Director, New Media Ventures

    Christie George is the Director of New Media Ventures, the first national network of angel investors supporting media and tech startups that disrupt politics and catalyze progressive change. At New Media Ventures, George has overseen the investment of over $4 million into a portfolio of nonprofits and for-profits, including NationalField, Sum of Us and Upworthy. She is also a co-founder and on the Board of Louder, the crowdfunded media-buying platform for ideas that matter. George received her BA from Yale University and her MBA with distinction from the University of Oxford, where she was a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship and graduated with the Said Prize. She serves on the board of the Roosevelt Institute.

  • Kathy Im

    Director of Journalism & Media, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

    Kathy Im oversees investments in the MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism and Media Program, which includes three areas of work: professional nonprofit reporting, nonfiction multimedia storytelling, and participatory civic media. Under Kathy’s leadership, MacArthur recently renewed its commitment to independent journalism and media, announcing a major expansion of the program and a special emphasis on general operating support for grantees. Kathy is co-author of “Unrestricted Funding Vital for Journalism,” an essay in the American Press Institute’s 2016 report on ethics and nonprofit media. In the fall of 2014, Kathy took a sabbatical from the Foundation to be a Visiting Fellow at MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, where she explored the intersection of interactive documentaries and digital journalism. During her tenure at MacArthur, Kathy has also managed or contributed to a number of special initiatives, including the Foundation’s work on gun violence prevention, intellectual property in the public interest, internet information credibility, migration, and American democracy.

  • Sandy Herz

    Director of Global Partnerships, Skoll Foundation

    After spending her early work life in corporate finance in New York, Sandy Herz has spent the majority of her career exploring the intersection of storytelling and social change, conceptualizing and building a portfolio of storytelling partnerships for the Skoll Foundation that span the best of independent film, journalism, and publishing. Through flagship partnerships with Sundance, DocSociety, BBC, National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, and HarperOne, Sandy seeks out world-class storytellers and platforms to create broader awareness of, engagement with, and impact from the work of leading social entrepreneurs. Through these collaborations, she has developed deep expertise in both storytelling strategy and effective collaboration. Numerous projects have emerged from these collaborations, including the Oscar-nominated documentary Open Heart and the Emmy award-winning virtual reality documentary Collisions, both of which achieved notoriety for their impact on the issues of global health and nuclear non-proliferation, respectively.

  • Jennifer Preston

    Vice President, Journalism, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

    Jennifer Preston joined Knight Foundation in October 2014.

    Previously, Preston was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years, with broad experience as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life. Her most recent work as an editor focused on extending digital media and social media storytelling and curation across the newsroom.

    Before becoming social media editor, Preston edited four Sunday weekend sections for the Metropolitan Desk, leading several innovative data projects, including a five-year analysis of the impact of mortgage foreclosures in the New York area. She also spent nearly seven years as a senior editor in the Office of the Executive Editor, working across the newsroom on budget, career development, diversity, newsroom policies and staffing.

    Earlier in her career, Preston worked as an editor and circulation marketing manager at New York Newsday, where she won numerous awards for an investigative reporting project that examined the police use of deadly force by off-duty police officers in New York. She also worked in Philadelphia as a reporter for The Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News.

    Since 2007 she has taught journalism, primarily at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. She frequently speaks about the role of social media in journalism at media and technology industry conferences.

    Preston is the winner of several awards for reporting, including the New York Press Club’s Gold Typewriter Award for Public Service and the New York State Bar Association’s Award for investigative reporting. In November 2013, she shared an award from El Mundo in Madrid with Anthony DeRosa, former social media editor at Reuters, for their pioneering work in using social media for journalism.

    Preston graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in journalism. She was a 2010 fellow in the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University.

    In 2013, she was elected to the board of directors of the Online News Association, and Fast Company named her as one of the top 25 women to follow on Twitter. She is the author of “Queen Bess,” a biography of Bess Myerson.

  • Doug Root

    Vice President, Communications, Pittsburgh Foundation

    Doug joined The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2014. As vice president of communications, he is responsible for all internal and external communications, marketing and branding of key programs. He oversees production of all Foundation publications, including the annual report to the community and a quarterly news publication. He also serves as the primary contact for media and chief spokesperson for the Foundation.

    Doug comes to the position with an extensive background in local philanthropy, daily newspaper journalism, magazine and book writing, as well as some government service.

    Before joining The Pittsburgh Foundation, he directed communications and public affairs for The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest regionally-focused foundations in the country. Before that, he served for several years as communications director for then Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University’s journalism program, he worked for more than a decade as a writer for the Pittsburgh Press. When the newspaper closed, Doug taught nonfiction creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, completed an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship and then wrote for more than a dozen national and regional magazines. He also is the author of two books, one a travel history guide to Pennsylvania.

  • Norris West

    Director, Strategic Communications, Annie E. Casey Foundation

    As director of strategic communications, Norris West leads a team that works to support the Foundation’s program and capacity-building units in developing messages, tools and communications materials that share lessons and best ideas. He is a former journalist who spent the majority of his 23-year journalism career at The Baltimore Sun, covering a broad range of assignments that included legal affairs, nonprofits, business and transportation. Since leaving journalism, he has worked as a communications professional. He has been director of communications at the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and Casey Family Programs. In addition, he has served as press secretary at the Corporation for National and Community Service and communications strategist at the U.S. Coast Guard.

  • Kaitlin Yarnall

    Chief Storytelling Officer, Senior Vice President, National Geographic Society

    Kaitlin Yarnall is the Vice President of Media Innovation for the National Geographic Society, where she is responsible for expanding the organization’s impact in journalism, photography and data visualization. In this capacity, Yarnall identifies key partnership, grantmaking and fellowship opportunities with creative talent to help the Society further illuminate issues around its three areas of focus: Our Changing Planet, Wildlife and Wild Places and the Human Journey. Prior to assuming her current role, Yarnall was head of Nat Geo Labs, where she oversaw programs, funding and outreach in the core areas of geographic visualization, exploration technology, digital exploration and the science of communication. Yarnall began her career at National Geographic 12 years ago as a cartographer. Since that time, she has served as Executive Editor of National Geographic magazine, Director of Cartography and Deputy Creative Director. Yarnall was the lead editorial manager for National Geographic’s groundbreaking food initiative, which launched in 2014. At the time, this multi-year platform was National Geographic’s most commercially successful editorial initiative. In addition to her editorial responsibilities, she negotiated and oversaw groundbreaking collaborations with multiple U.N. agencies around food security and agriculture. Yarnall was also deeply involved in conceptualizing the storytelling for past National Geographic series on urban impacts and population. Yarnall frequently speaks on topics such as storytelling, data visualization, mapping and visual narratives. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences around the globe, addressing the UN General Assembly, Scandinavian royals and rock concert stadiums. Yarnall has written extensively about information graphics, data visualization and cartography. Her book contributions include publications by Taschen, Gestalten and other international publishing houses. Additionally, she often serves as a jury member for international journalism and design competitions. Yarnall studied Latin American literature and geography at Humboldt State University and earned her M.A. in geography from The George Washington University.

  • David Haas Emeritus

    Vice Chair, Wyncote Foundation

    David Haas is a Philadelphia-based philanthropist with a longtime interest in public media, journalism and arts and culture. He is vice chair of the Wyncote Foundation, founded in 2009, which makes grants in a variety of areas including public media and journalism, and has served since 1982 on the board of the William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by his grandparents Otto and Phoebe Haas. He has been a board member of Media Impact Funders since 1994, and board chair from 2002-2015. Haas serves on the board of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, created in 2016 by philanthropist Gerry Lenfest with the donation of the Philadelphia Media Network. He has worked as a freelance photographer, and ran the Philadelphia Independent Film/Video Association from 1989-1997. He grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, and has been a resident of Philadelphia since 1981.

Board leadership opportunities

Are you working at the intersection of media and philanthropy and would like to learn more about serving on the Board of Directors of Media Impact Funders? MIF considers new members on an ongoing basis.

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