Arlington, VA — The Council on Foundations today announced that Kathryn E. Merchant, president and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, will be presented with this year’s Distinguished Grantmaker Award at its Annual Conference in Philadelphia next month. Merchant will receive the award during the breakfast plenary session on Monday, April 11, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
The Distinguished GrantmakerAward, first presented in 1984, is the Council’s premier award, honoring an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to philanthropy. Merchant is the second Ohioan in a row to receive the award. She follows Robert E. Eckardt, senior vice president for Programs and Evaluations at the Cleveland Foundation, who was 2010’s Distinguished Grantmaker.
“Kathy’s leadership goes beyond the Greater Cincinnati community. Her involvement in the Strive initiative, in particular, elevates her to a new level of leadership and service driving the philanthropic sector,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “Kathy also has a long tradition of investing in the next generation of our nation’s philanthropic leaders, including the new CEO of the Milwaukee Foundation, who came from within her organization. She has and continues to be a real leader on improving the governance of philanthropic organizations.”
As president and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Merchant is a leader in philanthropic efforts that strengthen communities in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana tristate region. She oversees the organization’s charitable and grantmaking efforts in the areas of arts and culture, community and economic development, education, the environment, health, and human services throughout eight counties. She is widely recognized in the Greater Cincinnati region for her leadership in community development, cradle-to-career education, and workforce development initiatives. Her innovation is highlighted by her role as Executive Committee Chair of the Strive Partnership, a group of education, non-profit, community, civic, and philanthropic leaders working in unison to meet the challenges of improving every child’s educational opportunities in Greater Cincinnati. The groundbreaking Strive program has proven to be a success by uniting 300 local leaders behind a core group of targeted goals rather each working to fulfill separate agendas.
“It is a privilege to receive such wonderful recognition from the Council on Foundations. I am deeply honored to join the group of past recipients, which includes so many people I greatly admire from the field of philanthropy,” Merchant said.
Merchant, who joined the foundation in 1997, previously served as the director of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Neighborhood Preservation Initiative and a partner in the New Haven, Conn.-based consulting firm Holt, Wexler & Merchant. Among other leadership positions, Merchant spent six years on the Council’s board and served as chair of its 2009 Annual Conference. She has received several other awards, including the Ohio Philanthropy Award from the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, and was one of the “Power & Influence Top 50” leaders selected by The NonProfit Times in 2008.
Members of the media who wish to attend the awards presentation should request press credentials from the Council on Foundations’ Media Relations Department at email@example.com.
The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,750 independent, operating, community, public, and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.
Council on Foundations