Cecilia Muñoz named next Kresge Foundation board chair

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The board of trustees of the Troy-based Kresge Foundation on Wednesday named a former Obama White House policy director and Metro Detroit native as its next board chair starting in March.

Cecilia Muñoz will succeed Elaine Rosen, who is stepping down from the top position and will retire from the board in June after 18 years. The foundation hailed Muñoz as a national expert on public policy and public interest technology with deep roots in Detroit and the civil rights movement. She will serve as the principal officer of the 14-member board that oversees the $4.5 billion private national philanthropic foundation.

Cecilia Muñoz will be the next chair of the Troy-based Kresge Foundation.

“I have long admired Kresge’s leadership and staff for their deep expertise and commitment to supporting cities and their residents in a way that promotes equitable economic opportunity," Muñoz said in a statement. "And it is very moving to support a vital institution with such deep roots in my hometown.”

Muñoz began on the Kresge board in 2017. Prior to that, she served for eight years in the Obama Administration, first as the director of intergovernmental affairs and then as the director of the Domestic Policy Council. She also led domestic and economic policy for President Joe Biden's transition team last year.

“Cecilia’s exceptional public policy, nonprofit and organizational leadership experience, coupled with a lifelong passion to advocate for equitable social and economic solutions, make her an exciting selection as the next chair of The Kresge Foundation,” Trustee Cynthia Kresge, who chairs the board’s Nominating and Governance Committee, said in a statement.

Muñoz spent the formative years of her career at the National Council of La Raza, which is now known as UNIDOS US, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. Following her tenure in the White House, she joined the think tank New America in 2016 where she is helping to build the field of public interest technology. She serves as a senior advisor within the organization.

She also is a senior fellow at Results for America, a data-focused policy nonprofit, and co-chair of Welcome.US, which supports Afghan refugees. She is a senior adviser to Hyphen, a nonprofit focused on changing policy to address needs of marginalized communities. She is an author and serves on several nonprofit and foundation boards as well as AdHoc, a digital services company.

After almost two decades, Rosen will step down after expanding the foundation's philanthropy approach and moved its grantmaking nationally toward arts and culture, education. environment, health and human services as well as in Detroit, where it was founded. The board made nearly 7,000 grants and social investment commitments totaling more than $3 billion during her tenure.

After 18 years, Elaine Rosen will retire from the Kresge Foundation's board.

“I am grateful to Elaine for her disciplined and skilled leadership through a period of profound but necessary transformation of this institution that my great-grandfather founded nearly 100 years ago,” Kresge said.

Rosen is a former insurance industry executive. She chairs Assurant Inc.'s board and is a board member of Kforce Inc. and Preble Street. She is a founding trustee of the Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges and is the past board chair of the University of Southern Maine Foundation and the Greater Portland United Way Foundation.

“I am incredibly proud of The Kresge Foundation for its impact in America’s cities, and especially in our hometown of Detroit,” Rosen said in a statement. “It has been an honor and joy to serve as chair."


Twitter: @BreanaCNoble