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Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant to Become CEP Board Chair

Date: June 25, 2014

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Media contact: Emily Giudice, Marketing and Programming Senior Coordinator: 617-492-0800 x281

Cambridge, MA – Grant Oliphant has been elected to serve as the next Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, succeeding the Greater Cincinnati Foundation President Kathy Merchant effective January 1, 2015.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have Kathy as our Board Chair and are equally fortunate to have a terrific successor in Grant,” said CEP President Phil Buchanan. Merchant has served on CEP’s Board since 2008 and will continue on as a board member after completing her term as Chair.

Oliphant, who was just named president of Heinz Endowments after six years as president of the Pittsburgh Foundation, has been on CEP’s Board since 2012. “Grant brings to the Board unparalleled experience and perspective given his leadership roles at both community and private foundations – both of which are crucial audiences for CEP,” said Buchanan.

“What I value most about CEP is its bedrock commitment to giving our field the thought leadership and the tools we need to make us more effective, relevant and, perhaps most important, empathetic,” said Oliphant. “This organization has stellar staff and leadership, and my role as Board Chair, along with the role of all our board, is to support them in delivering on the promise of better philanthropy. That’s the commitment we have embraced for the coming years, that CEP will keep pushing our field to hold itself accountable for its own performance.”

During Merchant’s term as Chair, CEP went through considerable change. A planning process that concluded last year saw CEP chart a number of new directions, including launching an advisory services practice, a major operational benchmarking initiative, and committing to increasing programming efforts. In addition, CEP’s Donor Perception Report (DPR) for community foundations achieved widespread adoption – it has now been used by 49 foundations – and CEP released a major report aimed at community foundation leaders and focused on donor satisfaction. Merchant has been a crucial advisor to, and champion of, both efforts.

“I cannot overstate what Kathy has contributed to CEP,” said Buchanan, “or the gratitude of the staff and other board members for her leadership. I am glad she will continue as Chair through the year and on the Board after Grant assumes the Chair.”

“It has been my pleasure, and a true learning journey, to serve as Chair of CEP’s Board for the last three years,” said Merchant. “As its name suggests, CEP is constantly in search of ways to help foundations achieve greater effectiveness. Serving on CEP’s Board has been a real bonus for me, adding to the core benefit of being a frequent user of CEP’s assessment tools at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. CEP is truly fortunate to have Grant Oliphant, with his wealth of private and community foundation experience, as our next Board Chair.”


The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide data and create insight so philanthropic funders can better define, assess, and improve their effectiveness and impact. CEP received initial funding in 2001 and has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. For more information on CEP’s work, including its research, publications, programming, and assessment tools, visit

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