News from the Field

MIF announces 3 new members to its board of directors

Media Impact Funders is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to our board of directors: Kaitlin Yarnall, senior vice president of Media Innovation at the National Geographic Society; and Tim Isgitt, managing director of Humanity United; and Carmen Lee, communications officer with The Heinz Endowments.

Yarnall and Isgitt, whose appointments begin in December, and Lee, who begins her term in May 2019, bring decades of journalism, media and grantmaking experience to our board and to the fields of media and philanthropy.

“On behalf of the rest of the MIF board, we are thrilled to welcome Kaitlin, Tim and Carmen, who all bring extraordinary talents and passion for our mission and reflect some of the most inspired institutions in our field,” said David Rousseau, MIF’s board chair and Kaiser Family Foundation’s vice president of media and technology.

We’ve engaged with our new members in a variety of ways over the years. Yarnall spoke at our 2018 Media Impact Forum about the National Geographic Society’s experience in science media grantmaking, and continues to play a key role in our convenings around science communications. Isgitt played a key role in conversations around the creation of the American Press Institute’s code of ethics for nonprofit newsrooms and the foundations that support them. And Lee served as one of our co-hosts at our most recent annual gathering of journalism funders in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Our esteemed colleagues have already contributed tremendously to our programs and to the broader field of media and philanthropy,” said Vince Stehle, MIF’s executive director. “And we are grateful that they will deepen their engagement by serving on our Board of Directors.”

Read more about our new board members below:

Carmen Lee, communications officer, Heinz Endowments

As a Heinz Endowments’ communications officer, Carmen J. Lee is responsible for editing h, a full-color magazine that uses narrative writing and documentary-style photography to explain the work of the foundation and its grantees, and to examine issues that are priorities for the Endowments’ mission. Her duties also include editing various print and website reports and publications, and participating in different foundation initiatives, lending her journalism expertise to discussions that affect grantmaking. Carmen joined the Endowments in 2005 after working 20 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She reported on municipal government; religion; and education, including nearly 11 years covering the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pennsylvania’s second-largest school district. During her last two years at the Post-Gazette, she was editor of the newspaper’s weekly East section, which published news and feature stories about Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs. Carmen has a bachelor’s and a master’s in journalism, both from Indiana University.

Kaitlin Yarnall, senior vice president of Media Innovation, National Geographic Society

Kaitlin Yarnall is the Senior 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 multiyear platform was National Geographic’s most commercially successful editorial initiative. In addition to her editorial responsibilities, she negotiated and oversaw groundbreaking collaborations with multiple UN 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.

Tim Isgitt, 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.

See our full list of board members here.