Skip to main content

The Foundation Center Elects Two New Board Members: Marcia Smith and Valdemar de Oliveira Neto

Resource type: News

The Foundation Center | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

NEW YORK, May 19 — The Foundation Center, the nation’s leading authority on organized philanthropy, has elected two new trustees to its board: Marcia A. Smith and Valdemar Neto (known as “Maneto”). Ms. Smith is senior vice president at The Atlantic Philanthropies, a global foundation that makes large investments toward addressing the root causes of social injustice and that, notably, plans to spend down its endowment and close its doors by 2020. Maneto is policy director of AVINA, a Latin American foundation that works toward sustainable development by encouraging productive alliances between civil society and business leaders and by fostering convergence around action agendas for social change.

Ms. Smith oversees The Atlantic Philanthropies’ four program areas and its work in six geographies: Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States, and Viet Nam. She also oversees Strategic Learning, Communications, and Advocacy. Ms. Smith was previously president of Firelight Media, an independent, not-for-profit documentary film production company. Firelight produced the award-winning “The Murder of Emmett Till,” for which Ms. Smith won the 2003 Writers’ Guild Award for best documentary writing and received a Primetime Emmy nomination. Prior to Firelight, Ms. Smith spent eight years at the Ford Foundation, first as a program officer in Rights and Social Justice, where she managed a portfolio on racial justice, women’s rights, and media; then as a program officer and, subsequently, deputy director, of Governance and Civil Society, and co-chair of the Women’s Program Forum. Earlier she served in senior positions in New York City government.

Before joining AVINA in 2003, Maneto was founding executive director of Instituto Ethos, a business membership association that promotes corporate social responsibility in Brazil. Having been elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 1986, Maneto went on to serve as its vice president from 1994 to 1998 and was responsible for launching Ashoka’s Global Fellowship Program for social entrepreneurs. He began his career as a lawyer and was co-founder of the Centro de Cultura Luis Freire, a pioneering organization that defended human rights and provided legal assistance during Brazil’s military dictatorship. Maneto is presently a board member of GIFE, the leading association of Brazilian grantmakers, and serves as a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel on General Electric’s Corporate Citizenship Report.

“Both Marcia and Maneto will bring to the Foundation Center’s board a fresh perspective that reflects the increasingly global nature of social investment and, consequently, of our work,” said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center. “I am inspired by Maneto’s unwavering, long-time commitment to rights and opportunity for the people of Brazil and around the world. Likewise, in a career spanning government, media, and philanthropy, Marcia has demonstrated remarkable leadership in empowering communities, organizations, and movements to produce lasting change. We are very pleased to welcome them both to the Center’s board.”


Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation’s leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center’s web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 400 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions in every U.S. state and beyond. 

For more information:

Related Resources


Foundation Center