Former Dutch cabinet minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen is to become the new CEO of Porticus, the foundation of the Brenninkmeijer family – one of the largest in the Netherlands. Schultz is due to assume her new role on 1 April 2018, reports Dutch philanthropy website De Dikke Blauwe.
Porticus, which has twelve offices around the world, funds projects in areas such as education, health care, the Catholic faith, economic development and climate change.
Schultz, a former Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment and State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management for the right of centre People’s Party was attracted to Porticus because of her interest in ‘major social issues such as the consequences of climate change and social inequality’.
Though the activities of Porticus are wide-ranging and significant – the foundation supports around 2,000 projects in 90 countries worldwide – the foundation maintains a low profile.
It sometimes requests anonymity from its grantees, does not publish an annual report nor divulge the amount of money it invests or spends.
The appointment of a prominent figure from the political sphere to the senior ranks of a foundation is relatively unusual in philanthropy but there are signs that it is becoming more common.
In the US, a number of former Obama administration figures have joined American foundations.
This includes former USAID administrator, Rajiv Shah who was appointed to lead the Rockefeller Foundation in 2017 and Patrick Gaspard, the new President of Open Society Foundations who previously led the Democratic National Committee, as well as Jonathan Pershing, the director of the Environment Programme at the Hewlett Foundation who previously ran the State Department’s climate negotiations at the UN.