Global Philanthropy Partnership Key Staff

Adele S. Simmons, President


Adele Simmons is President of Global Philanthropy Partnership (GPP) and is active in Chicago civic affairs.  Through GPP, Adele works to strengthen the infrastructure that supports global donors and her work on sustainable cities, including Chicago. She co-chaired the Task Force that produced Mayor Daley’s Chicago Climate Action Plan and, under Mayor Daley, established the Green Ribbon Committee which continues to help with the implementation of Mayor Emmanuel’s Sustainable Chicago 2015. She is a founder of Global Chicago and served as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs studies group that produced The Global Edge:  An Agenda for Chicago’s Future.

She led the region-wide centennial marking the 100th Anniversary of the Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett Plan of Chicago and was the Vice-Chair of the regional planning group, Chicago Metropolis 2020.  She helped to establish the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network that brings together sustainability directors from 125 cities in the U.S. and Canada and she manages networks of the Sustainability officers of Chicago’s global corporations, and Chicago’s universities.

Mrs. Simmons served as President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation between 1989 and 1999, overseeing grants of over $175 million a year.  The Foundation’s international programs focus on the environment, population, international peace and security, understanding inequality within and among nations, and climate change.  In the U.S., the Foundation focused on Chicago, juvenile justice and education, and led national programs relating to health, education and building communities.

Since leaving the MacArthur Foundation, Mrs. Simmons spent part of her time strengthening the infrastructure of global philanthropy through her work with the Chicago Global Donors Network, the World Economic Forum, The Global Fund for Women, the Synergos Institute, the International Network on Strategic Philanthropy, the World Bank, and the Global Equity Initiative.

Mrs. Simmons currently is a member of the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Field Museum, the Environmental Defense Action Fund, CERES, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Synergos Institute, and The American Prospect.

Before joining the MacArthur Foundation, Mrs. Simmons was President of Hampshire College and, prior to that, Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University, and Dean of Jackson College at Tufts University.  Mrs. Simmons served on President’s Carter’s Commission on World Hunger and President Bush’s Commission on Sustainable Development.

Mrs. Simmons graduated from Harvard University and received her doctorate from Oxford University in African studies.  She has lived in Oxford, Mauritius, Kenya and Tunisia.


April Kanne Donnellan, Executive Director

April K. Donnellan joined Global Philanthropy Partnership as executive director in 2005. She previously served as program director of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (now Chicago Council on Global Affairs). Prior to that, Ms. Donnellan was a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State completing assignments in Port Louis, Mauritius and Washington, DC. April served as staff assistant to the assistant secretary for international organization affairs, and as a sanctions/peacekeeping officer covering the Middle East and Africa. She earned a Meritorious Honor Award for her work implementing multilateral sanctions. Ms. Donnellan, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a graduate of Georgetown University and fluent in French.

In 2007, April was named a Next Generation Fellow, participating in the Midwest Assembly of the Next Generation Project of the American Assembly. For the Midwest Assembly’s report, please see: U.S. Global Policy & The Future of International Institutions PDF Document.

A Girl Scout troop leader since 2006, April also serves on the boards of the Women’s Global Education Project and the Stanley Foundation.