Hertz Foundation appoints Wendy Connors Director of Development

Newswise – Following extensive national research, the Hertz Foundation has appointed Wendy Connors as their new Director of Development.

Connors will be a member of the foundation’s leadership team and oversee all aspects of fundraising, including solicitation of major donations, campaign planning, program design, and volunteer and board partnerships. of Directors, reporting to Robbee Kosak, Chairman of the Hertz Foundation.

“I am delighted to meet and gain the support of our generous community of scholars and friends. The prestigious Hertz Fellowship was born out of visionary philanthropy, as well as a commitment to advance scientific innovation in pursuit of our national interests. It is a real privilege to partner with the Hertz community and build on this heritage, ”said Connors.

Connors joins the foundation with over 20 years of experience in philanthropy, most recently as Executive Director of the External Relations Office at the Sloan School of Management. As part of MIT’s $ 6 billion Better World campaign, Connors led global fundraising teams to support faculty, students, and policy initiatives, raising more than $ 200 million. She notably led her team through a digital reorganization just as COVID-19 closed the doors to in-person meetings and gatherings.

Connors will play a pivotal role in strengthening the foundation’s financial position and fully realizing its aspirations for the Hertz Scholarship Program – the most prestigious graduate scholarship program in the United States – and the larger community. wide of more than 1,200 Hertz fellows, many of whom are among the country’s most accomplished science and technology leaders. His work will involve working closely with current and future Hertz staff, board, donors, volunteers and organizational partners.

“The board’s strategic planning process outlines a very ambitious and important vision for our foundation, and this role is critical in making this a reality,” Kosak said. “Wendy’s proven leadership and keen fundraising skills will help build the next generation Hertz Foundation. “

Connors’ work will support the development and implementation of the foundation’s strategic plan, namely securing increased funding to support the selection of up to 25 new fellows per year and the delivery of enhanced programs. that amplify the professional success of all fellows, including professional skills, mentoring and career networking.

Connors was drawn to the Hertz Foundation as soon as she read the job description.

“I was so motivated by the mission of the organization, which is remarkable and compelling,” she said. “The possibility of fueling scientific and technological innovation by directly funding scientists at the forefront of problem solving concerns me. You cannot read the newspaper without seeing several major and complex issues facing our world, and you want the best of minds tackling those issues.

Originally from New England, Connors has been immersed in nonprofit service since childhood. She accompanied her mother, a musician, to the centers for the elderly to sing for the residents; her father served on nonprofit boards. She describes such a service as a “family value” which has guided her academic and professional development. Connors received a BA from Skidmore College and an MA in Education from Stanford University, specializing in policy evaluation and analysis.

When Connors graduated from college, she worked as an oil and gas research associate at an investment management firm in New York City. “After several years there, I realized that I could apply my business experience to strengthening nonprofit organizations,” she explained. “Over twenty years later, I haven’t looked back. I found it incredibly rewarding.”

Connors has focused his career on building capacity within educational organizations. Prior to MIT, Connors led a five-year, $ 80 million campaign at Winsor School, a leading independent girls’ school in Boston, where she served as associate director of advancement. Earlier in her career, she served as Director of Annual Giving and led Voter Relations for an independent school in Weston, Massachusetts.

Problem-solving is one of the ways Connors nurtures his inquisitive nature. She enjoys breaking down challenges into their most basic parts and figuring out how to break down the barriers that create the problems. At MIT, she enjoyed the daily experience of working with and learning from some of the world’s greatest scientific minds. She looks forward to continuing to learn from the Hertz community.

“I am so touched by the opportunity to join the Hertz Foundation at this time,” she explained. “It’s a privilege, and I’m delighted to start!”

Connors lives in Boston with her husband – a venture capitalist – and two adult daughters and two dogs. When not working, she sits on the board of directors of a small family foundation and enjoys cooking, skiing and reading. Currently on her bedside table is “The Smallest Lights in the Universe” by Sara Seager, an MIT astrophysicist who studies exoplanets. “It’s a memoir, and it marries the concepts of trying to understand what’s out there in our universe and find meaning in your own life. She’s a wonderful writer, and it’s a beautiful book.”

About the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation identifies the country’s most promising innovators in science and technology and empowers them to seek solutions to our most difficult challenges. Launched in 1963, the Hertz Fellowship is the most exclusive scholarship program in the United States, nurturing more than 1,200 leaders, disruptors and creators who apply their remarkable talents where they are needed most, to the future of healthcare. health to the future health of our environment. The Hertz Fellows hold more than 3,000 patents, have founded more than 200 companies and have received more than 200 major national and international awards, including two Nobel Prizes, eight Breakthrough Prizes, the National Medal of Technology, the Fields Medal and the Turing Award. . Learn more at HertzFoundation.org.

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