Diane Kaplan has been named a Senior Fellow at the world’s first school dedicated solely to research and teaching about philanthropy, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Beginning as The Rasmuson Foundation’s first employee, Kaplan led its development into Alaska’s largest foundation. During her 27-year tenure as president, the foundation grew from $5 million to $800 million in assets and developed a national reputation for excellence in grantmaking and public policy work.
Nationally recognized as an outstanding philanthropy leader, as Senior Fellow Kaplan will provide guest lectures and research, and will inform and participate in a variety of educational programs and activities sharing her expertise with the school’s students and philanthropic sector professionals nationwide. The Senior Fellow position is made possible by a grant from The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
“Diane Kaplan is a remarkable leader in the foundation world. She is well-known and highly regarded by her colleagues as a pioneer in building Alaska’s largest foundation, which has driven impact through its work with Indigenous organizations and with policy outreach,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “We are delighted that Diane is bringing her knowledge and talent to our school, and we thank the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for making this valuable opportunity possible for our students, colleagues and the field.”
In 2022, Kaplan was appointed to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board of Directors by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the United States Senate. Earlier in her career, she served as President and CEO of the Alaska Public Radio Network, guiding the expansion of stations and programming, as well as the creation of a national Native American news network. Prior to joining The Rasmuson Foundation, Kaplan founded and led a consulting company providing government relations and management advising for private foundations, broadcast companies, Native corporations and nonprofit organizations.
Kaplan is a founder and board member of United States Artists, the nation’s largest funder of fellowships for artists in all disciplines, and guides the grantmaking of two donor-advised funds at the Alaska Community Foundation. She has received numerous honors from industry, tribal and civic organizations, both nationally and in Alaska.
“It is an honor to be named a Senior Fellow at the nation’s philanthropy university. I look forward to working with faculty, students, and community members to amplify the remarkable impact a small family foundation has had on an entire state and on the national field of philanthropy through investment in leadership, public policy, convening, collaboration, and partnership with Indigenous and rural communities,” Kaplan says.
“There are few leaders in the philanthropic community or any professional sector whose impact on the common good is as broad as Diane Kaplan’s,” says Romanita Hairston, CEO of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. “Diane has been a trusted partner and faithful friend to the Murdock Trust for decades, and we could not be more thrilled at this important next step in her journey, knowing the deep and long-lasting ripple effects it will have on philanthropy and the communities it serves.”
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon, and a resident of Vancouver, Washington. Since its establishment in 1975, with a bequest of about $91 million, the Trust has focused its grantmaking efforts primarily in five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Over the life of the Trust over $1.3 billion has been distributed through more than 8,300 grants.
The Trust’s mission is to build capacity in nonprofits driving innovative and sustainable outcomes across the Pacific Northwest through strategic grantmaking, initiatives, programs, and events. Grants are awarded to a wide variety of organizations, including those that serve the arts, public affairs, education, scientific research, health and medicine, conservation, human services, and people with disabilities.
The Trust’s staff brings a wide range of experiences in the subject areas and activities necessary for thoughtful grantmaking and the investment of Trust assets. In addition to grantmaking activities, it is common Trust practice to convene groups of people to discuss issues of mutual interest. This practice is of great assistance to the Trust in exploring ways of responding to new grantmaking opportunities consistent with its mission, promoting a sharing of ideas and networking among participants, and understanding new developments and best practices in the various sectors in which the Trust works.
About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs, and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, and the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative. Follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn, or Instagram and “Like” us on Facebook.