Mitchell foundation names new CEO

Galveston native Randall Kempner has been tapped as the new CEO of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.

He will succeed Katherine Lorenz, the Mitchells' granddaughter, in August as part of a planned succession. He will be the first non-family member to serve as chief executive, the board of directors announced.

Founded in 1978, the Mitchell Foundation is a grant-making organization that funds a variety of projects, which include enhancing progress in clean energy, promoting land conservation and protecting clean water for future generations. The foundation operates a 6,000-acre nature preserve and supports community development work in Galveston.

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Randall Kemper was named chief executive officer of the Austin-based Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. 

“Randall brings a unique perspective earned from 25-plus years as an entrepreneur, senior executive and leader in innovative philanthropic ventures—and has a powerful and diverse ability,” Grant Mitchell, chair of the board of directors, said in an announcement. “His engaging leadership style relies heavily on collaboration and partnership, and he is deeply committed to our mission.”

“Randall is passionate about the field of family philanthropy and deeply committed to high impact, added Lorenz, outgoing president of the foundation. "He understands the complex issues at the core of our grantmaking programs, our grantees, and the political landscape of both Texas and the U.S.”

Kempner is the executive director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs at The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., where he manages a global network of nearly 300 organizations. The fifth-generation Galvestonian earned an MBA and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard College.

“I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation,” he said. “I have great respect for the Mitchell family and their cutting-edge work in Texas and throughout the world. I have long admired both Cynthia and George Mitchell, particularly Mr. Mitchell’s entrepreneurial drive and his talent for developing innovative solutions to complex problems, particularly those that focus on environmental protection, social equity and economic vibrancy.

Marilu Hastings (L) and Katherine Lorenz, president of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, in Austin. After serving as vice president, sustainability programs for a decade, Hastings was named chief innovation and strategy officer of the foundation.

Additionally, Marilu Hastings was appointed as the foundation's chief innovation and strategy officer. She is currently the foundation's vice president for sustainability programs.

The appointment caps a national search for a new CEO that began in October 2019. It is part of a plan to transition to an all-family board and non-family staff.

The Mitchells and their foundation, which has offices in Austin and The Woodlands,  have distributed or pledged about $750 million in grants.

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