Richard King Mellon Foundation Hires Gonzalez, Promotes Ventress and Evans

PITTSBURGH (July 6, 2020) – The Richard King Mellon Foundation has strengthened its program team, adding Gabriella Gonzalez as a new Program Officer, and promoting Lynne Ventress to Program Officer and Grace Evans to Senior Program Associate. 

The Foundation also promoted two key grants and information technology administration staffers, Lisa Reed and Nikki Pirain.

“The Foundation prides itself on a lean operating model that allows us to maximize funding to our grantees,” said Foundation Director Sam Reiman. “But that lean model means that our program team must be extraordinarily high performing, with the ability to work broadly and smartly across a wide range of subjects; and most of all, an abiding commitment to the Foundation’s mission.”

“Gaby brings all those attributes, and I’m proud to welcome her to the Richard King Mellon Foundation team,” said Reiman. “Lynne and Grace have steadfastly demonstrated those same attributes since joining our team three years ago, and I’m equally proud to announce their promotions. And Lisa and Nikki have done a superb job helping us all to operate efficiently and effectively, and it is gratifying to recognize their work as well.”

Gonzalez, who was hired in February and began work at the Foundation in April, focuses at the Foundation on economic development. She previously was a Senior Social Scientist at the RAND Corporation, specializing in the future of work, human capital development, and school-to-work transitions. She led the design of a comprehensive workforce system in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, and supported the Appalachia Partnership Initiative to invest in K-12 STEM education and workforce development programs.

Gonzalez also is a founding board member of Vibrant Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that seeks to increase the diversity of talent employed in Pittsburgh’s corporate community. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University, where she also obtained her master’s and undergraduate degrees. Gaby resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Ventress came to the Foundation from Deloitte, where she was a manager in its Washington D.C. office. Ventress is a graduate of Middlebury College and holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Lynne resides in Regent Square (Edgewood).

Evans came to the Foundation from the Kennedy School at Harvard, where she was a Government Performance Lab Fellow. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Slippery Rock University. Grace resides in Pittsburgh’s North Side.

Gonzalez, Ventress and Evans are joined in their important work by Senior Program Officer Brian Hill, who has been with the Foundation since 2008. On the administrative side of the Foundation’s work, Lisa Reed, a thirteen-year veteran of the Foundation, was promoted this year to Senior Information and Grants Manager. And Nikki Pirain, who joined the Foundation in 2016, was promoted this year to Information and Grants Manager. 

The Foundation also previously announced the appointment of its first Prosser Mellon Fellow, Craig Markovitz.

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Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation’s 2019 endowment was $2.7 billion and its Trustees in 2019 awarded 172 grants totaling $129 million, focused on the Foundation’s strategic priorities: economic development, education, environmental conservation and human services.