Biographies


(USAID Press Release)  The US Agency for International Development has sworn in Mr. Wayne R. Nilsestuen as the Director of Bolivia Missions.  A Wisconsin native, Mr. Nilsestuen holds two Masters’ degrees, one in Agricultural Economics and one in Development Economics/Public Administration, both from the University of Wisconsin.  He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and has more than three decades’ worth of development experience.  Mr. Nilsestuen looks forward to a long-lasting and productive relationship with Bolivia.

Gates Foundation Photo, gatesfoundation.org

(Gates Foundation Press Release Dated March 31, 2010) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, recently appointed a new CFO.

With a fervent belief that “all lives have equal value,” the Gates Foundation funds grants in all fifty states and the District of Columbia as well as over 100 countries.  Total grant payments in 2009 amounted to $3.0 billion.  Grants are awarded to benefit global development, global health, and the United States Program.  Along with its partners, the Gates Foundation has agreed to $22.61 billion in grants since its inception.

Beginning April 19, Merck executive Richard Henriques will be the new CFO for the Gates Foundation.  He is replacing Alexander Friedman, who left the Gates Foundation to pursue a private investment firm.  Mr. Henriques is enthusiastically involved in nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area, serving on the boards of many.  He spent his undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in oriental studies.  Mr. Henriques then earned a master’s degree from the Wharton School of Business.  At Merck, Mr. Henriques was vice president of finance and corporate controller; he had been working there since 2006.  Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes said of the new appointment, “Richard brings great depth and experience to the foundation, which will be integral as we continue to manage our growth and assess our progress.”  Mr. Henriques will be stationed at the headquarters of the Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington.

President Obama has just nominated Daniel W. Yohannes to be the new Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Mr. Yohannes is a native of Ethiopia and is currently the President and CEO of M&R Investments, LLC, a private investment firm operating in real estate, financial institutions, and green energy sectors.  From 1977 to 1992, Mr. Yohannes worked for Security Pacific Bank, after which he was hired as the CEO of US Bank, were he oversaw the banks growth in assets from $2 billion to $9 billion by his departure in 1999.  He also served as Vice Chairman of U.S. Bank for the Commercial Banking Group, Consumer Banking Group and as Head of Integration for Community and Public Affairs.

InterAction, an alliance of US based international NGO’s commended Obama for the nomination in a press release, but also reinforced the need to nominate an Administrator for USAID.


According to Nicholas Kristof with the NY Times, Paul Farmer is no longer in the running for leadership of USAID.  It is unclear exactly why he pulled out, but Mr. Kristof speculates that the “vetters had reservations about things he said, and [Dr. Farmer] has developed reservations about whether he could do more good inside government or outside.”

Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Paul Farmer

Dr. Farmer was believed to be a front runner among potential candidates for the position of Administrator of USAID.  Dr. Farmer’s role as a cofounder of Partners in Health has made him one of the most respected leaders in international health care.  Dr. Farmer earned his MD and PhD in Medical Anthropology from Harvard and was named chairman of Harvard Medical School’s department of Global Health and Social Medicine in May of this year.

In 1987, Dr. Farmer cofounded Partners in Health (PIH) to provide health care to poor Haitians.  The organization uses a community based approach to provide free medical care to the poor.  It establishes long term relationships with local clinics and has seen tremendous success in treating tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

So far, the vetting process has been so slow and cumbersome that even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has remarked that the process is “frustrating beyond words.”  With Paul Farmer out of the running, there is no clear front runner in the vetting process.  Until a permanent replacement can be found, USAID is under the leadership of Acting Administrator, Alonzo Fulgham.

Washington D.C. is hurry up and wait city. President Obama entered office with a promise of quick change, but he has yet to name many of his appointments to head agencies. Many agencies of interest to nonprofits are still being run by interim leadership. Here at the Monitor, we’ll be doing a regular feature on who is being considered for political appointment to agencies of interest to the nonprofit world and who at the agencies is currently calling the shots.

Since taking office, President Obama has made several major policy changes in our foreign aid.  He repealed the Mexico City Policy, pledged $3 billion to fight world hunger, and expanded aid to Afghanistan, but he has yet to nominate a permanent head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is responsible for overseeing billions of dollars in economic and humanitarian aid.  He has, however, changed USAID’s leadership.  In January, he replaced the acting administrator, Kent Hill, with a new acting administrator, Alonzo Fulgham, a veteran of the agency.

Alonzo Fulgham, Acting Administrator of USAID

Alonzo Fulgham, Acting Administrator of USAID

Mr. Fulgham has been with USAID for twenty years, and is concurrently serving as the Coordinator of the Agency’s Transition Efforts, Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Secretary.  He worked as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Haiti from 1984 until 1986, after which he joined USAID as a Private Sector Advisor in Swaziland.  Since then, he has served in Serbia, Montenegro, Jordan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.  From 2005 until 2006, he was a Mission Director in Afghanistan.  He received a Bachelor of Science from Fisk University and a Master of Arts from the National Defense University.

We still have no hints as to who may replace Fulgham, but USAID seems to be in the hands of a well seasoned veteran of the organization.

Click here to read Mr. Fulgham’s full bio at USAID.gov