Chairman & Founder
Susan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive with a strategic, results-oriented approach. She is Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners.
Unlike most foundations, the Exchange uses an approach that goes beyond traditional grant-making; it fosters partnerships and collaborations to create social change. SCE’s mission is to help people acquire skills needed to succeed and thrive in a rapidly changing, highly connected world. SCE is focused on two program areas: digital learning and social and emotional learning, building grit, empathy, and emotion management. The Exchange intends to add programs to cultivate other 21st century skills.
SCE is a leader in promoting social and emotional skills. In 2016, SCE published “Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social and Emotional Learning,” the first field guide for organizations aspiring to foster social and emotional growth in young people. The content was collected from experts of exemplary programs across the nation – and it is the first best practices field guide of its kind (which can be downloaded at no charge from SELpractices.org).
In the digital learning arena, SCE partnered with Common Sense Media to develop the rubric for a learning ratings system. SCE and Common Sense Media have rated more than 3,500 digital learning products. The system informs parents, educators, and others about the educational value of a specific digital product and what style learner might benefit most from its use.
Owl Creek Partners is a private equity company with focused investments in real estate, securities, and consumer products. Most investments are with firms owned or managed by women.
For nearly three decades, Susan Crown dedicated time and talent to social causes and the business world. As Partner of Henry Crown & Co, she helped manage businesses as diverse as oil and gas, defense, banking, cellular technology, and real estate. As Chairman of the Crown Family Philanthropies, she professionalized an ad hoc family process and spearheaded numerous initiatives including the celebrated Crown Fountain in Millennium Park and the Covenant Awards for leaders in Jewish education.
The first woman board member of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) – a multi-faceted manufacturing and engineering business with a market cap in excess of $30B – Ms. Crown now chairs its Executive Committee. She’s also a board member of The Northern Trust Corporation and a former board member of Baxter International.
Ms. Crown serves as Vice-Chair of Rush University Medical Center. She led a $1 billion effort to transform the medical center campus, including the development of Chicago’s first gold level LEED-certified hospital which in 2014 won the World Architecture Prize for best designed health care facility. She’s a former Fellow of Yale Corporation and co-chaired the Yale Tomorrow Campaign. She’s a director of CARE USA and, in 2011, co-chaired its National Conference on Global Poverty, which led to legislative reforms.
Susan Crown graduated with honors with a B.A. from Yale University, earned an M.A. from New York University, and attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives with her husband, William Kunkler, in Chicago, IL. They have two children.x close
Susan Crown is a philanthropist and business executive with a strategic, results-oriented approach. She is Chairman and Founder of the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) and Chairman and CEO of Owl Creek Partners.Read More
Haviland Rummel is the Executive Director at SCE, where she leads the organization’s strategy and grantmaking in digital learning and social and emotional learning. She has worked with a variety of nonprofits across sectors including cultural institutions, human service agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations. Prior to joining SCE she served as a senior consultant to nonprofit organizations in the areas of strategic planning and fund development. Haviland serves on the Advisory Board of After School Matters and the Metro Board of Metropolitan Family Services, one of Chicago’s first and largest human services agencies. She is a member of Net Impact, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Haviland holds an MBA in Strategic Management and Public Policy from George Washington University and a BS in Communications from Boston University.x close
Haviland Rummel is the Executive Director at SCE, where she leads the organization’s strategy and grantmaking. She has worked with a variety of nonprofits across sectors including cultural institutions, human service agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations.Read More
Kevin Connors is the Senior Director at Susan Crown Exchange, where he oversees grantmaking, leads new initiatives, and co-develops organizational strategy. Previously, Kevin served as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools, where he led a $25M initiative and partnered with 120 schools to lead the nation’s first large scale implementation of the Personalized Learning school model. Kevin has also written for Education Week, is a Teach for America alum, and presents regularly at local and national conferences. His work has been covered by CNN, Education Week, TechCrunch, and the Chicago Tribune. Kevin holds a B.S. in Business from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Education Policy & Management from Harvard University.x close
Kevin Connors is the Senior Director at SCE, where he oversees grantmaking, leads new initiatives, and co-develops organizational strategy. Prior to SCE, Kevin served as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools.Read More
Julia Callahan is the Program Associate at SCE, where she manages external communications and supports SCE’s grantmaking operations and strategy. Before SCE, Julia worked at a philanthropic consultancy in the San Francisco Bay Area, managing the grantmaking processes and strategies for three family foundation clients giving over $40M annually. Julia also has firsthand nonprofit experience having worked in development for a national SEL-focused nonprofit, Playworks. She has also worked in marketing communications for a growing technology startup in Washington DC. She holds a B.S. in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University.x close
Julia Callahan is the Program Associate at SCE, where she manages external communications and supports SCE’s grantmaking operations and strategy. Before SCE, Julia worked at a philanthropic consultancy in the San Francisco Bay Area.Read More
Donna Heffner began her career in 1985 serving as an Executive and Personal Assistant to several entrepreneurs in Chicago. She also held the position as a Senior Staffing Consultant at two administrative staffing firms and operated her own company where she placed high level administrative support individuals at many leading businesses. She is a graduate of Robert Morris College and holds a Certified Professional Consultant designation.x close
Donna Heffner began her career in 1985 serving as an Executive and Personal Assistant to several entrepreneurs in Chicago.Read More
Ryan Blitstein is Director of Renewable Energy at the predictive analytics platform company Uptake, where he helped create the Energy business unit and now leads strategy and operations in wind power. Previously, he was an investigative reporter for publications including The New York Times, Fast Company, and BusinessWeek. He also served as founding President & CEO of the political reform organization CHANGE Illinois, and, from 2009-2012, worked closely with Susan and the board to launch SCE as its first Executive Director. He regularly speaks, writes, and advises on work at the intersection of ideas, markets, and social impact.Read Less
Ryan Blitstein is Director of Renewable Energy at the predictive analytics platform company Uptake, where he helped create the Energy business unit and now leads strategy and operations in wind power.Read More
Jenny Jacoby Hurd
Jenny Jacoby Hurd served as Executive Director of the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial (now called Crown Family Philanthropies) from 2001 through 2008. While at Crown, Ms. Hurd spearheaded the Foundation’s Education Initiative, a strategic program targeting areas of demonstrated need within Chicago’s public education system. Previously, Ms. Hurd was a management consultant with Bain & Company and The Wilkerson Group. She was recognized in 2005 in Crain’s Chicago Business’s “Forty Under 40” for her outstanding work in philanthropy.Read Less
Jenny Jacoby Hurd served as Executive Director of the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial (now called Crown Family Philanthropies) from 2001 through 2008.Read More
Jessica Malkin currently serves as Executive Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer for Cresset where she leads marketing and communications as well as strategic growth initiatives—including enhancing client experience, curating learning events, and expanding the firm’s national business and civic engagement initiatives.
Jessica was previously the founding Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Ideas, as well as the founding Co-Director of the Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship. A passionate connector, Jessica was a member of Crain’s 40 Under 40 in 2016, a list of Chicago’s “builders, thinkers and leaders who make us hopeful about our city’s future.” A recognized Disruptor Foundation Fellow through the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, Jessica sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago Ideas, Embarc, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and the Susan Crown Exchange.
Formerly, Jessica served as Chief of Staff to the Founder & CEO of Uptake, an industrial AI software company that harnesses the power of data and predictive analytics. During her time at Uptake, the organization was recognized as a CNBC Disruptor 50, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and named as one of the hottest startups by Forbes.
Jessica lives in Chicago with her husband Josh, three daughters Josie, Blake, and Scarlett, and their two dogs Sadie (a Beagle) and Blue (a Goldendoodle).
Jessica Malkin currently serves as Executive Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer for Cresset where she leads marketing and communications as well as strategic growth initiatives—including enhancing client experience, curating learning events, and expanding the firm’s national business and civic engagement initiatives.Read More
Paul Jansen is an Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company. During his 25 years with McKinsey, he helped initiate the firm’s practice in China/Southeast Asia, led the energy and natural resources practice on the West Coast, and co-founded and led the global nonprofit practice, now known as the Social Sector office. Mr. Jansen has particular expertise in strategy and organization design issues, public-private partnerships, public health, education, philanthropy and knowledge management. He serves on the Board of Care USA and is an advisor to Inside Track, Strive for College, Samasource, Imagine H2O, Aspire Public Schools and Norcob Capital. He is also a member of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education.Read Less
Paul Jansen is an Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company.Read More
Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where she served as dean for eight years. Her courses include civil procedure, constitutional law, fairness and privacy, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, law and education, nonprofit organizations, and the public law workshop. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about digital communications, democracy, privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict.
Her books include Saving the News: Why The Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve the Freedom of Speech (2021); When Should Law Forgive? (2019); In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark (2010); Partners, Not Rivals: Privatization and the Public Good (2002); and Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998).
Currently she chairs the board of the MacArthur Foundation and serves as co-chair of the access to justice project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the advisory board to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Schwartzman College of Computing. Minow has served on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and on the Independent International Commission Kosovo. She helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. Her five-year partnership with the federal Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology worked to increase access to the curriculum for students with disabilities and resulted in both legislative initiatives and a voluntary national standard opening access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities.
She was appointed to hold the 300th Anniversary University Professor chair at Harvard University in 2018.
Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where she served as dean for eight years.Read More
Eli Evans was born and grew up in Durham, N.C. and graduated from the University of North Carolina.
After a tour of duty in U.S Navy in the far east and graduation from Yale Law School, he served in the White House as a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson.
He has been a senior executive with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and served as the first president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation from 1977 to 2003 and is currently president emeritus. Under his leadership, the foundation launched such creative ventures as the PBS series Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (broadcast in 19 countries including Russia, and to 50 million viewers in the US); Rechov Sumsum, the Israeli Sesame Street and its American version Shalom Sesame; and Bill Moyers’ Genesis:A Living Conversation.
A well known Southern historian, Mr. Evans is the author of three books: The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South; Judah P. Benjamin: the Jewish Confederate; and The Lonely Days Were Sundays:Reflections of a Jewish Southerner. Looking back at his literary career, Abba Eban, the renowned scholar and Israeli diplomat said “the Jews of the South have found their poet Laureate.”
When inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, he was honored “for his dual contribution to American letters and as a philanthropist of uncommon originality and leadership.”
He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Covenant Foundation.Read Less
Eli Evans was born and grew up in Durham, N.C. and graduated from the University of North Carolina.
After a tour of duty in the U.S Navy in Asia and graduation from Yale Law School, he served in the White House as a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson.