Board of Advisors

Changing The Present is operated by ImportantGifts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our Board of Advisors includes more than 100 leaders with expertise across the entire spectrum of causes.  



Basic Needs

Disaster Relief


Mohammad Akhter

Executive Director | National Medical Association

Steven Denne

CEO | Evidence Action

Ken Hackett

Ambassador | US Department of State

Neal Keny-Guyer

CEO | Mercy Corps



Maya Ajmera

President & CEO | Society for Science & the Public

Founder | The Global Fund for Children

Board Co-Chair | Echoing Green

Carol Bellamy

Chair | Global Community Engagement and Resilence Fund

Former Executive Director | UNICEF

Former Director | United States Peace Corp

Former President | New York City Council

Former Senator | New York State Senate

Edward de Bono

World Thinker  | The de Bono Group, LLC

Nominee  | Nobel Prize for Economics

Gary E. Knell

President & CEO | National Geographic Society

CEO | Sesame Workshop

Wendy Kopp

Board Chair | Teach For America

Former CEO & Co-Founder | Teach For All

Benno C. Schmidt Jr.

Co-Founder | Avenues

Former President | Yale University

Dean | Columbia University Law School

Former CEO chairman  | Edison Schools (Now Edison Learning)

Kyle Zimmer

Co-Founder, President, CEO | First Book



Dennis P. Culhane PhD

Senior Fellow | Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Helen Dunlap

Independent Real Estate Professional | Dunlap Consulting

Judith Hermanson PhD

Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer | Pan American Development Foundation

Bill Kelly Esq

Strategic Advisor  | Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future

Erika Poethig

Institute Fellow and Director of Urban Policy Initiatives  | The Urban Institute

Nan Roman

President and CEO | National Alliance to End Homelessness

Jeff Schaffer

Vice President of Client Services | JMC Philanthropic Advisors

Lillian Murphy

Former CEO | Mercy Housing



Monty Jones PhD

Minster | Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security of Sierra Leone

World Food Prize Laureate - 2005 | World Food Prize

Fellow | TWAS The Academy of Sciences for the developing World

Fellow | African Academy of Sciences

Insignia of the Grand Officer of the order of the Rokel| Sierra Leone Presidential National Honours and Awards


Peter McPherson

President | The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities



Margaret Catley-Carson

Patron | Global Water Partnership

Jonathan Greenblatt

CEO and National Director | Anti-Defamation League

Special Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Social Innovation & Civic Participation | White House

Co-Founder | Ethos Water

Roberto Lenton PhD

Founding Executive Director | Water For Food

Ravi Narayanan

Chair | Asian Development Bank




Carol A. Farquhar

Manager | Bradmet

Member | National Issues Forums Institute

Member | National Council on Aging's Leadership Council

John Feather PhD

Chief Executive Officer | Grantmakers in Aging

James P. Firman EdD

President and CEO | The National Council on Aging

Nancy A. Whitelaw PhD

Program Consultant | Practice Change Leaders

Arts and Culture


Laurie Beckelman

Co Founder | Beckelman & Capalino, LLC

Marilyn Perry

Founder & Artist | Marilyn Perry Art

David Resnicow

President | Resnicow Schroeder Associates

Joan Shigekawa

Senior Deputy Chairman | National Endowment for the Arts

Children and Youth


Maya Ajmera

CEO | Society for Science & the Public

Founder | The Global Fund for Children

Board Member | Echoing Green

Board Member | Washington Area Women's Foundation

Board Member | Youth Philanthropy Worldwide

Carol Bellamy

Chair | Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund

Former Executive Director | UNICEF

Former Director | United States Peace Corp

Former President | New York City Council

Former Senator | New York State Senate

Anthony Lake

Executive Director | UNICEF

Charles MacCormack

Executive Chair | Millennium Development Goal Health Alliance

William Reese

President & CEO | International Youth Foundation

Civil Society and Democracy


Kenneth Anderson JD

Professor of Law | American University

Anthony Barnett

Founder | openDemocracy

Shulamith Koenig

Founder and President | PDHRE, Peoples Movement for Human Rights Education

Kumi Naidoo

Launch Director | Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity

Human Rights


Anthony Barnett

Founder and Editor-in-Chief | openDemocracy

Alice Tepper Marlin

President | Social Accountability International

Aryeh Neier

President | Open Society Institute

Andrew Park Esq

International Program Director | Williams Institute



Johanna Mendelson

Former Director - Peace, Security and Human Rights | United Nations Foundation

Adjunct Professor | School of International Service

Stephen Jackson PhD

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Information Science | Cornell University

Katherine Magraw PhD

Executive Director | Peace and Security Funders Group

Aaron David Miller PhD

Former President and Advisor | Seeds of Peace

George Perkovich PhD

Vice President for Studies | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Public Broadcast


Charlie Firestone

Executive Director | Communications & Society Program at The Aspen Institute

Harlan Mandel

Deputy managing director | Media Development Loan Fund

Pam Meyer

Chief Executive Director | Calibrate

Alisa Miller

Board Member and Chair   | Lumina Foundation

Marita Rivero

Vice President and General Manager | WBGH Radio Station



Kathy Bonk

Co- Founder and Executive Director | Communications Consortium Media Center

Patricia Ellis

Co-Founder and President | Women's Foreign Policy Group

Eve Ensler

Playwright, Activist, Performer and Founder | V-Day

Geeta Rao Gupta PhD

Deputy Executive Director of Programs| UNICEF

Ranjana Kumari PhD

Director | Centre for Social Research

Chairperson | WomenPowerConnect

Member | National Mission for Women's Empowerment, Government of India

Michaela Walsh

Founder | Women's World Banking


Climate Change


Steve Howard

Business Leader and Campaigner | IKEA Group



Terry L. Andreas

Founder & Board Chair | The School for Field Studies

Trustee | Boston University

Member | Council on Foreign Relations

Board of Directors | Coalition for the Homeless

Leslie Carothers

Scholar-in Residence & Law Professor | Environmental Law Institute- Harvard Law School

Melinda Kimble

Senior Vice President | United Nations Foundation

Geeta Rao Gupta PhD

President | International Center for Research on Women

Carl Pope

Principal Advisor | Inside Straight Strategies

Former Executive Director & Chairman | Sierra Club

Nina Simons

Co-Founder | Bioneers

Robert B. Stang

Third generation real estate developer

Founder | Living Earth Realty

Former Managing Partner | ReNEWal Realty, LLC

Co-Founder | Columbia River Business Alliance

Lloyd Timerlake

Freelance writer on environment, development and sustainable development

Former Director | Word Business Council for Sustainable Development in North America

Jack Vanderryn

Former Senior Fellow, Enviroment and Development | Moriah Fund

Tensie Whelan

Director, Professor for Business & Society  | NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business

Fromer Executive Director | Rainforest Alliance