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Christine Heenan Joins The Rockefeller Foundation as Vice President for Policy, Partnerships and Communications

Heenan’s role to integrate policy, Bellagio convenings and events, strategic partnerships, communications and influence

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation today announced that Christine Heenan, founder and president of Clarendon Group and former vice president of public affairs and communications for Harvard University, will join the Foundation as vice president for policy, partnerships and communications. In the role, Heenan will lead the Foundation’s efforts to partner with governments, civil society, entrepreneurs, and corporations to advance its mission and goals, in addition to directing communications, policy, regional and strategic partnerships, program influence and Bellagio Center convenings and events. Heenan will report directly to Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of the foundation.

Heenan’s work will provide vision and strategy for how The Rockefeller Foundation engages with partners and stakeholders, advising the President and senior leaders across the organization on how best to advance the Foundation’s key initiatives designed to benefit humanity. She will oversee a team responsible for strategic partnerships, media relations and digital communications, policy development and government relations, global convenings, and global and programmatic influence. In addition, Heenan will have oversight for the development and implementation of the Foundation’s grant-funded strategic opportunities portfolio.

“The Rockefeller Foundation continues to bring together exceptional people devoted to solving the world’s toughest challenges. As we chart a bold, new course for the next decade and beyond, I am pleased to welcome Christine Heenan into our family,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Christine understands the power of policy and partnerships to deliver positive change. Her leadership will help us leverage the Foundation’s influence, convening power, and legacy as we accelerate breakthroughs in health, food, energy, and jobs to ensure the benefits of progress and prosperity are shared by all.”

“For more than a century, The Rockefeller Foundation has built relationships and credibility across organizations, disciplines and regions,” said Christine Heenan. “At a time when creating real and sustainable change will call on more than one organization or solution, the need to gather great thinkers, harness ideas, and combine resources has never been greater. I am thrilled to be joining Raj and his team to help bring together the best of partnership, influence, communications, and policy to achieve greater impact.”

Heenan, founder and president of the Clarendon Group, is called upon for her expertise in strategy, communications, crisis management, education and health policy built over decades of work with leadership teams of some of the nation’s most notable and influential global organizations. She has served as an advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ballmer Group, the Broad Institute, philanthropist Donald Sussman, and other leaders. She remains an advisor to Harvard University, where she served as vice president for public affairs and communications from 2008 to 2015.

“Christine Heenan possesses enormous intellectual capacity and curiosity, keen strategic insight, boundless energy, and a deeply-felt commitment to serving humankind,” said Drew Faust, president of Harvard University. “Her ability to unite head and heart inspires all who work with her. Congratulations to The Rockefeller Foundation for a brilliant appointment.”

Steve Ballmer, co-founder of Ballmer Group, said: “As my wife Connie and I began to scale up our philanthropic efforts a few years ago, Christine was there with us almost from the start, helping inform our communications and our approach. She has been an invaluable advisor and colleague to the two of us and to many members of our growing team. Christine shares our passion for creating opportunity for disadvantaged children in this country, and we’re confident she will continue to make important contributions to that work at The Rockefeller Foundation.”

Heenan served with the Clinton-Gore Administration as senior policy analyst on the White House Domestic Policy Council staff and focused on health care policy, health reform, and women’s issues. In addition to her role at Harvard, Heenan was also director of community and government relations for Brown University. She taught communications and public policy at both Brown and Harvard and has served on a number of boards focused on child development, education, and economic policy. Heenan earned a B.S. in journalism from Boston University.

She will begin her work at The Rockefeller Foundation later this spring.


Contact Info:

The Rockefeller Foundation: Matt Herrick,

About The Rockefeller Foundation:

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visit