April 17, 2015

People in Philanthropy: Ford Foundation Hires Michelle Obama’s Aide

Lawrence Jackson, White House

First lady Michelle Obama reads over her speech with aide Kristen Jarvis backstage during a rally in Dorchester, Mass.

Kristen Jarvis, a longtime special assistant to First Lady Michelle Obama, takes on a newly created position at the Ford Foundation: chief of staff for Darren Walker, the grant maker’s president. She begins on May 4.

Ms. Jarvis began working with the Obamas in 2005, when she joined the office of then-Sen. Barack Obama as special assistant to the chief of staff. Three years later, she was appointed personal aide and special assistant to Ms. Obama on the 2008 presidential campaign.

As Ms. Obama’s assistant, she served as the primary contact to the first lady’s extended networks and represented her in lower-level staff meetings. She was most recently deputy senior adviser and director of external relations.

Other notable recent staffing changes:

  • American Heart Association: Heather Kinder, development director of the organization’s Founder’s Affiliate, was promoted to executive vice president of the affiliate.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Steven Rice, executive vice president for human resources at Juniper Networks, will start as chief human resources officer on July 6.
  • Bush Foundation: Anita Patel, vice president for racial justice and public policy programs at the YWCA of Minneapolis, was named director of leadership programs.
  • Crisis Text Line: Nancy Lublin, chief executive of, will be the nonprofit’s chief executive. Aria Finger,’s chief operating officer, will take over as leader in October.
  • Loaves & Fishes Community Services: Megan Selck, interim chief executive and former director of development, has been appointed permanent CEO.
  • Ojai Music Festival: Tamara Nuzzaci Park, an independent consultant, will begin as executive director in June 1.
  • Prevent Blindness: Seth Schalet, former executive director of the Pacific Art League, was named chief executive of the Northern California region.
  • Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation: Lynn Chwatsky, former vice president for community outreach initiatives and partnerships at Sesame Street, was named managing director of New York and New Jersey.
  • Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale: Jeffrey Amundson, president of the organization, has resigned. He was charged in January with financially exploiting an individual.