Trenholm is an attorney who handles primarily trial and appellate litigation with the firm of Pratt-Thomas Walker, P.A. in Charleston. His practice includes land use and environmental matters as well as conservation easements. He has served on the board of local conservation and preservation organizations and currently sits as a trustee of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust. He and his wife Susan, live in downtown Charleston, escaping when they can to their retreat on close-by Wadmalaw Island.
Ellen Placey Wadey
Program Officer, Chicago
Ellen joined the Foundation in 2013. She was executive director of the Guild Complex – a literary arts organization – for seven years and in that time built the Guild’s impressive artistic accomplishments on a firm foundation of organizational development. Before that, Ellen was the director of marketing and development for the Marwen Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, she was an independent fundraising coach, serving a number arts organizations including the Chicago Cultural Alliance and the Ragdale Foundation. She has reviewed arts proposals on behalf of Prince Charitable Trust and served as a jurist or panelist for the likes of the Illinois Arts Council and the Third Coast Festival New Audio Competition. An accomplished writer, Ellen has two advanced degrees in fiction writing, is the recipient of the Scott Turow Fiction Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Grants and Administrative Assistant
Clover joined the Foundation in 2013. Her prior experience includes over 10 years of art administration for Chicago area non-profits and a freelance career in photo research and editing. She has assisted and collaborated with numerous artists in Chicago on a diversity of creative projects, and exhibited her solo and group performances at venues throughout the city. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a director and facilitator of The Field Chicago, and sits on the Advisory Board for re|shelter, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting people living with environmental illness.
David assumed leadership of the foundation in January 2013. For 20 years prior he worked with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), where he led major legislative, litigation and agency policy initiatives involving land use, transportation, air quality, water resources and natural area protection in six southeastern states. His work included collaborating with the foundation and other partners on conservation strategies in coastal South Carolina. Throughout his career, he has served on a number of nonprofit boards and government advisory commissions.
Before joining SELC, David was a partner with Tharrington, Smith & Hargrove in Raleigh, North Carolina. A native Midwesterner, he began his career at Jenner & Block, a national litigation firm based in Chicago. David attended Amherst College and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. He holds a law degree from the University of North Carolina. David is an avid lover of the arts and an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying visual and performing arts, sea kayaking, and wilderness camping. He has three daughters, all of whom are professionals in the arts.
Director, Finance & Administration
Tom joined the foundation in 2002 after serving as president of Skipping Stone Entertainment, a documentary production company. Previously, he was a financial analyst for WFLD-TV and vice president of finance and administration for Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications. Tom is finance committee chair of Links Hall – a nonprofit dance incubator and performance organization, and PRI Makers – a national membership organization, which helps foundations expand their use of program-related and mission-related investments to achieve philanthropic goals . Tom is also a commissioner for the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration-Finance from St. Xavier University, Chicago.
Arthur Melville Pearson
Director, Chicago Program
Arthur directs the foundation’s arts and environmental programs in the Chicago region. Following a 15-year career as a professional actor, musician and playwright, Arthur turned his attention to conservation. He has published articles on a wide range of conservation topics in such publications as Archaeology, Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Chicago Life, Outdoor Illinois, Illinois Heritage, Illinois Steward and Northwest Quarterly. His biography of George Fell – the driving force behind the founding of The Nature Conservancy and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission – was published by the Natural Land Institute as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. He has written for many of the region’s conservation organizations and was the technical writer for The State of Our Chicago Wilderness: A Report Card on the Health of the Region’s Ecosystems and the recent update of the Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity. Currently at work on a book-length history of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, he writes a blog about his restoration efforts there. Before joining the foundation as staff, he had consulted for many years with a number of regional arts and environment funders, including the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
Susan joined the foundation in 2005, after seven years at DePaul University in technology and arts-related staff positions. She has a keen interest in using data and technology to refine strategy and advance philanthropy and the non-profit sector. As an active member of the Grants Managers Network, she served as co-chair of its Midwest Chapter from 2009 to 2012. At Illinois' regional association of grantmakers, Donors Forum, she served as co-chair of the Microedge Users Group and the Peer Network for New Grantmakers. Susan has a lifelong interest in the creative arts and the environment and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in electronic media arts from DePaul University. You can follow her on Twitter @sbc_at_work.
Mary Jo Harney
Mary Jo joined the foundation in 2006. Her prior experience was as an administrative assistant for a small public relations firm and paralegal for a large Chicago law firm. Her non-profit experience stems from many years as a volunteer at Old St. Patrick’s Church. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Jeff joined the Foundation in March 2007 after working in cancer research for Molecular Imaging Research, Inc. and Molecular Therapeutics, Inc. of Ann Arbor Michigan. Previously, he and his wife relocated from their home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where Jeff spent twelve years in the equipment lease financing industry as a Controller and then more recently as Vice President of Finance for Accurate Leasing Ltd. Jeff graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), majoring in finance. Jeff and his wife enjoy traveling the world and exploring the arts and entertainment community of Chicago.
Alex is a resident of Beaufort, SC and is Executive Vice-President of South Carolina Bank & Trust. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and The School of Banking of the South at LSU. He is a past President of the USC Alumni Association and member of the University's Board of Trustees. Alex has held leadership positions with a number of non-profit and civic organizations in South Carolina
Mimi Wheeler is the granddaughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley. She has a B.A. in the liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a classically trained chef. Mimi is currently involved in education through the arts. She lives in Venice, California with her husband and their son and daughter.
Max E. Wheeler
Max began his career teaching English at New Roads School in Santa Monica, CA. More recently he has been developing his writing talents and traveling internationally. He is the grandson of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
Dr. John H. Rashford is a Professor of Anthropology at the College of Charleston, specializing in ethnobotany. He began teaching at the college in 1983 after receiving his M.A. in Anthropology 1978 and PhD in Anthropology 1982 from The Graduate School at City University of New York. The subject of his dissertation was “Roots and Fruits: Social Class and Intercropping in Jamaica.” Dr. Rashford received his B.A. in Anthropology and Music from Friends World College in Huntington, New York.
Cheryl Mayberry McKissack
Cheryl Mayberry McKissack is the founder, President and CEO of Nia Enterprises, LLC-a Chicago-based research and marketing services firm founded in 2000. Nia Enterprises, LLC, provides opt-in; permission based on-line research and marketing solutions for the growing and specialized areas of the multi-cultural consumer markets. Ms. McKissack is well recognized as an entrepreneur, co-author of the Nia Guide series of books, Corporate and Civic Board Director and Associate Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University. In addition to her civic activities, Ms. McKissack has received several acknowledgements for her leadership endeavors and was recently recognized with the 2007 Kellogg Alumni Rising Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2006 Leader Entrepreneurship award from the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. She received her BS from Seattle University and her MBA from Northwestern.
Charles is the managing partner of Holcombe, Fair, and Lane, a real estate brokerage and development firm in Charleston, S.C. He is also a committed conservationist, having served on numerous boards and commissions promoting natural resource preservation and smart growth. He currently serves as Chairman of the ACE Basin Task Force.
Vivian is the Senior Admissions Associate and former Trustee of The Dalton School, New York City, where she chaired and co-wrote the 2007 Dalton Ten-Year Strategic Plan. She served on the board, as member and chair, of Green Chimneys’ Childrens’ Services, a pioneer in the field of animal-assisted therapy, serving at-risk youth on its farm campus in Brewster, New York, and is presently a member of the board of The Friends of Green Chimneys. She is also a trustee of The American Museum of Natural History, New York City. She recently joined the board of The Center for Humans and Nature, founded in 2002 by her late husband, Strachan Donnelley, son of Gaylord and Dorothy, to explore and promote moral and civic responsibilities to human communities and to natural ecosystems and landscapes.
Shawn M. Donnelley
Shawn is President of Strategic Giving, a Chicago based firm providing consultation on philanthropy. She is a member of the executive committee of the Chicago Community Trust as well as on the boards of United States Artists, Northwestern Memorial Foundation, American Associates of the National Theatre, the Visiting Committee of the Division of the Humanities University of Chicago and is a past chairman of the Goodman Theatre. Her commitment to Chicago’s nonprofit community was recognized by Today's Chicago Woman magazine which named Ms. Donnelley one of 100 Women Making a Difference in Chicago and by Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network. In 2008 she was selected as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “Forty under Forty.” She is the former head of political affairs for R.R. Donnelley, the world's premier full-service provider of print and related services. She received a B.A. from Loyola University New Orleans and an M.A. from Emerson College. A Florida native, Ms. Donnelley resides in Chicago and Cambridge, England. She is a granddaughter of Gaylord & Dorothy.
Laura has pursued her passion for innovative artwork in many ways. She founded the Good Works Foundation, which supports innovative approaches to education and cultural enrichment, individual and world peace and spiritual tolerance. She also founded Art Matters Incorporated, a nonprofit organization that supports individual, experimental artists. Laura serves on the boards of the Santa Monica Museum of Art and the Los Angeles Opera, and helped develop the Aspen Art Museum. She is the daughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
Peter R. Crane
Peter is Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He is known internationally for his work on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. He received his BSc and PhD degrees in botany from the University of Reading, UK and served on the faculty of that university from 1978 to 1981. In 1981 he moved to Indiana University, and from 1982 to 1999 he was at the Field Museum in Chicago. From 1999 to 2006 Peter was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which is one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world and on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. From 2006 to 2009 Peter was the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor at The University of Chicago. He was elected to the Royal Society – the UK academy of sciences in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees from universities in the UK and US, including an honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University. In addition to this foundation, Peter serves on the Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, and WWF-US.
Ceara is a graduate of Yale Law School and currently serves as Strategic Counsel for the Center for Humans and Nature, a non-profit based in Chicago. She graduated with a BA in History from Yale College and has worked at Simpson; Thacher & Bartlett, LLP; the Clinton Foundation; and the Brennan Center for Justice, all in New York City. She is a granddaughter of Gaylord and Dorothy.
Timothy H. Brown
Tim Brown is the founder and president of Wabashco LLC, a project development firm for green investments in renewable energy and carbon offsets. He is also a principal of Forest Hill Energy, LLC a wind energy development firm in the Great Lakes region. In 1998 he co-founded the Delta Institute, a nonprofit organization to promote community economic development and improve environmental quality in the Great Lakes region. He ran the environment program at the Delta Institute, which included a range of Great Lakes water quality projects and pollution prevention and toxic reduction work. Prior to starting the Delta Institute, he opened and ran the Midwest office of Clean Sites, a national nonprofit environmental organization. He’s held positions at ICF Kaiser Engineers, Communicore, and the Center for the Great Lakes. Tim serves on the boards of the Delta Institute, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation, and the Lochland School. He holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago with his wife, writer Jill Riddell, and two daughters.
Julia has pursued a multi-faceted career in the corporate, non-profit and public sectors. In addition to this foundation, she sits on the board of the Woman's Athletic Club of Chicago. Julia spent the majority of her professional career with Chicago-based Nuveen Investments where she was responsible for the investment oversight of all of the firm's open- and closed-end funds. Prior to Nuveen, Julia worked for several public and non-profit organizations including the City of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and the Smithsonian Institution. She has also served on several non-profit boards, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Founders Board at Children's Memorial Hospital. Julia holds a B.A. in art history from Wellesley College and an MBA in finance and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She was awarded the CFA designation in 1998. Julia lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters and is an avid triathlete.