Holly Kuzmich joins the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation as a Managing Director to Lead its Presence in Texas

·6 min read

She joins Texas-based Co-Chair Rob Kaplan to drive investments in early-stage, high impact organizations tackling some of the state's biggest challenges

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK), one of the largest global venture philanthropy firms, announced that Holly Kuzmich will join the organization's leadership team as a Dallas-based Managing Director. Kuzmich, who joins DRK from the George W. Bush Institute, where she has served as Executive Director since 2013, has 25 years of public policy and leadership experience, serving in senior positions in the government, non-profit, and private sectors. She will expand DRK's presence in Texas and the Southwest by finding, funding, and supporting early-stage, high-impact social enterprises that are tackling some of society's biggest problems with innovative approaches. She will assume her duties on December 1.

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Logo
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Logo

Since 2002, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation has supported more than 200 organizations, collectively impacting more than 220 million lives through a novel funding and support strategy. The Foundation supports early stage, high impact social enterprises solving the world's biggest and most pressing social and environmental problems. To date, DRK has raised over $200M of capital and deployed more than $110M to fund and support these 200 social enterprises around the globe.

"We are so excited to have Holly join our team and to help us drive our efforts in Texas and the greater Southwest region. With a population of close to 30 million people and as home to a robust community of innovators and social impact entrepreneurs, we see a real opportunity to build on our existing work in the region and accelerate our work finding, funding, and supporting exceptional social enterprises that can drive long term impact that improve the lives of tens of thousands of Texans," said Jim Bildner, DRK's Chief Executive Officer. "Holly's experience and broad networks will enable us to significantly expand this impact and help drive scalable solutions to the social, economic and environmental challenges confronting vulnerable Texas communities including food insecurity, employment opportunities, K-12 education and access to healthcare and other basics of life."

Holly's appointment will strengthen DRK's already strong ties to Texas. She will work closely with DRK's Co-chair Robert Steven Kaplan who served as the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 2015 until 2021. "We are extremely excited about Holly joining DRK. Her tremendous leadership skills will help us bolster and expand our impact in Texas and globally," said Kaplan.

Kuzmich has 25 years of public policy and leadership experience, serving in senior positions in the government, non-profit, and private sectors. At the Bush Institute, a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies, Kuzmich has led the team in developing and implementing major policy and programmatic initiatives on key issues of national and global importance. She oversaw the organization's strategy on leadership development, with four leadership programs graduating nearly 1,000 alumni to date from around the world. Domestically, she led the Bush Institute's efforts to push for comprehensive immigration reform and developed key alliances and partnerships in support of that effort. Globally, she shepherded the Bush Institute's global health initiative over the past six years to a public-private partnership that has led to nearly four million women screened for cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. 

She is a veteran of the White House, U.S. Department of Education, and Capitol Hill, where she developed her expertise in education policy. She served on the staff of the White House Domestic Policy Council and then as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that, she worked for two United States Senators on domestic policy issues. She has also consulted on education and workforce issues with major foundations, companies, non-profits, and policymakers. 

Kuzmich has been involved in a variety of leadership positions and in developing leadership programs. At the Bush Institute, she has overseen the design and implementation of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a first-of-its-kind leadership development program in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, George H.W. Bush Foundation, and Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. She served as a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall of 2021, is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She serves on the boards of the Gates Policy Initiative, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, and the Dallas Assembly. She is also active in the community as an alumnus of the Texas Lyceum and a member of the Dallas Citizens Council.

"I have dedicated my career to solving challenges and advancing solutions through the public sector," said Kuzmich. "I'm thrilled to leverage that experience to work with social entrepreneurs who are solving some of the toughest problems we face around the world today. The work that the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation does to find, fund, and support these organizations and accelerate their ability to scale is unique and innovative, and I'm excited to contribute to their mission and expand their presence, particularly in Texas."

DRK's commitment to Texas is not new. In 2020, DRK partnered with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, a DRK donor partner, to co-sponsor the Lone Star Prize, a Texas-based competition for a $10 million grant to improve the lives of Texans, focused on three significant challenges confronting the state: improving health outcomes, workforce development and protecting the environment. In 2021, DRK created the Lone Star Fund in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the Lyda Hill Foundation and other funders, to specifically target funding 5-7 new organizations from the Texas region into the DRK portfolio. The Lone Star Fund is part of DRK's overall fourth fund which will make $90 million available to support at least 100 new social impact enterprises around the globe.

Bringing Kuzmich as a Dallas-based Managing Director to the team reflects DRK's desire to deepen relationships in focused regions building partnerships and sourcing new investments to impact lives in that region. DRK has offices and teams in Menlo Park, CA; Boston, MA; The Hague, Netherlands; and Nairobi, Kenya.

About DRK: The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) is a global venture philanthropy firm that funds early-stage, social impact organizations solving the world's biggest and most pressing social and environmental problems with bold, scalable approaches. Since 2002, DRK has funded 200+ high impact organizations tackling some of the world's biggest challenges and who, in the aggregate are impacting more than 220 million lives. DRK's portfolio includes organizations working both in the US and internationally, helping to provide critical access to healthcare, education, food security, social justice, water and sanitation, transparency and accountability, and shelter. Learn more about DRK's portfolio organizations here.

About The George W. Bush Institute: The Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization that develops leaders, advances policy, and takes action to solve today's most pressing challenges. Their work is inspired by the principles that guide President and Mrs. Bush in public life. Developing and supporting effective leaders is central to the work of the Bush Institute; since its founding in 2009, they have helped develop leaders around the world.

 

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SOURCE Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation