Kristi Kimball, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation

TITLE: Executive Director

FOCUS AREAS: K-12 Education, human services, health, community organizations 

CONTACT: 415.795.4920; Kkimball@schwabfoundation.org  

PROFILE: Since October 2012, Kristi Kimball has served as the executive director and sole staff member of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. Before that, she worked as an independent consultant and as a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for eight years.

Kimball’s bio on the Schwab Foundation website shares:

Kristi Kimball is the Executive Director of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she worked as an independent consultant to a number of education funders and ngos on projects including strategic planning and advising, monitoring and evaluation, grant-making support and due diligence, advocacy and policy change work, and grantee network facilitation and support. Her recent clients and partners include: Bay Area Council, Collective Invention, Education Counsel, Education First Consulting, Expeditionary Learning, Foundation Center, Gates Foundation, George Lucas Educational Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Kabcenell Foundation, Monitor Institute, National Public Education Support Foundation, and Raikes Foundation.

In 2011, Kristi completed an 8-year term as Program Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she managed more than $85 million in grants to improve K-12 education in California and nationwide. As part of the foundation’s "Deeper Learning" strategy to ensure that all students acquire the higher-order skills needed for success in college, careers and life, Kristi led the Proof Points portfolio. This included investments in a national network of model schools and districts, research and evaluation, and communications work to raise awareness of the importance and effectiveness of deeper learning for all students.

Earlier in her career, Kristi served in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, in the Education Policy Research Center at the Urban Institute, and in the Education Office of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Ms. Kimball holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Kristi has served on the Boards of a number of nonprofit organizations, including most recently Grantmakers for Education and Envision Education.

Kimball is the co-author of a Stanford Social Innovation Review article, “Letting Go,” which made the following argument:

The strategic philanthropy movement has been a positive influence in recent years by encouraging foundations to clarify their goals and regularly evaluate their progress. But it has also fueled practices that undermine the nonprofit sector's impact, rather than amplify it. Too often, funders insist on controlling the ways in which social problems are solved. That is a move in the wrong direction. To make steady forward progress solving problems in dynamic environments of complexity and uncertainty, foundations must shift from centrally planned, narrowly focused grantmaking strategies to more decentralized, diversified strategies that emphasize effective leadership, distributed wisdom and innovation.

You can learn more about Kimball’s approach to philanthropy in her 2012 Hewlett Foundation interview and her 2011 guest post in Tactical Philanthropy.