The Johnson Scholarship Foundation is pleased to announce that longtime philanthropy professional Lowell Weiss has joined as the Foundation’s new Board Consultant.
Weiss has spent more than three decades sparking social change across a broad array of local, national and global issues. At Cascade Philanthropy Advisors, he provides personalized guidance to donors and boards seeking to deepen their impact and create meaningful change in the world.
Before that, he served in a leadership role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Among his many responsibilities, Weiss served as staff director of the internal team responsible for providing Bill and Melinda Gates with insights on how best to steward Warren Buffett’s historic gift.
Before working for the Gates Foundation, he served as director of the chairman’s office at the Morino Institute. There, he served as Mario Morino’s right-hand man on all aspects of the institute’s operations and communications. Weiss also served in the White House as special assistant to President Bill Clinton. In addition to traveling extensively with the president, he wrote more than 150 speeches for him and served as a key communications strategist.
“I am honored to join the Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s leadership team,” said Weiss. “I look forward to collaborating with this accomplished group of board members as we work with our grantee partners to help students across the United States and Canada succeed in education.”
Weiss also previously wrote speeches for Vice President Al Gore; wrote a New York Times bestselling book with political consultant James Carville; served as an editor at The Atlantic Monthly; and published articles in The New Republic, US News & World Report, Washington Monthly, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Elle and other national publications. He graduated in 1990 from Amherst College with high honors.
Weiss is an active volunteer. He serves as a trustee of the Northwest School; started a program that engaged more than 1,000 federal employees in tutoring public school students in DC; and led a successful citizen initiative to strengthen the state of Washington’s law on distracted driving.
https://jsf.bz/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Lowell-alone.jpeg427640Hannah Deadman/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jsf-logo-300-125.pngHannah Deadman2023-06-30 15:24:412023-06-30 15:44:08Lowell Weiss Joins Johnson Scholarship Foundation as Board Consultant
The following article was originally written by Natasha Brennan for Tribal College Journal. It is shared here with permission.
Brent Cleveland speaks to his fellow graduates at Northwest Indian College’s commencement. Cleveland earned his Bachelor of Arts in tribal governance and business management with highest honors.
As a student at Northwest Indian College (NWIC), Laural Ballew attended American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) meetings while working on her associate’s degree.
“Even though we were all from different tribal colleges and nations, we all had the same drive, ambitions, and dreams. We were being educated and given space to hold onto our culture. I got to see that at a national level thanks to AIHEC,” Ballew said.
After completing her program at NWIC, which only offered associate’s degrees at the time, she completed her bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in 2002 and her master’s in public administration with a concentration in tribal governance from Evergreen State College. When she returned to NWIC as the director of finance, Ballew was later asked to lead the two-year business administration and entrepreneurship programs.
In 2010, NWIC was accredited to offer bachelor’s degrees. An NWIC survey found the community wanted the college’s two-year programs in tribal governance and business management (TGBM) to grow. In researching how to fill that need, Ballew learned there were certificates, two-year programs, and master’s programs for TGBM at other institutions—but not four-year degrees. With the help of her MPA mentor, the late Alan Parker, Ballew adapted Evergreen’s TGBM master’s curriculum into a four-year program at NWIC.
“I had so many students knocking down my door. I didn’t have to advertise. Students were anxious to be the first graduates. Using Evergreen’s curriculum meant our graduates were better prepared for master’s programs,” Ballew said.
In 2013, the Bachelor of Arts in Tribal Governance and Business Management program became the third of four bachelor’s degrees NWIC offers. Designed to develop the skills that support governance and business management in tribal communities and organizations, the program of study offers students the fundamental knowledge and experience necessary to succeed in the areas of leadership, sovereignty, economic development, entrepreneurship, and management.
“With funding in-part from the American Indian College Fund [AICF], NWIC was able to acquire 160 acres of land,” vice president of campus development and administration services Dave Oreiro said. “The college’s capital campaign, in collaboration with AICF through AIHEC, expanded the Lummi main campus’ facilities.”
By 2014, the 4,500 square-foot Kwina building became home to the college’s TGBM program. Despite having a new building, TGBM faculty knew the program—being geared toward working students with full-time jobs, entrepreneurs, and business leaders—had to be as accessible as possible. They developed online and hybrid courses, becoming the first four-year program at NWIC to offer them.
“My own story helped me to understand where our students were coming from,” Ballew said. “Juggling family, work, and school isn’t always easy.”
TGBM became a model for the school in developing its distance learning curriculum, which was in the works prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic hit, the program—which was ahead of its time in online offerings—was instrumental in preparing the school to become an accredited distance learning institution in 2020.
“Going into the pandemic, our faculty and staff were already prepared. That was unique and made our program favorable for working students,” Ballew said.
TGBM faculty and staff have worked to make the program affordable and offer exciting opportunities for students. The program is supported by an endowment with the college’s foundation, including a $1 million match and an additional $100,000 in scholarship awards from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. The program works closely with the College Fund and tribal entities to develop career readiness and internship programming with the Lummi Nation, Intuit, Pyramid Communications, and White Swan Environmental. The program is also working to finalize an official partnership with the Bureau of Trust Fund Operations to support student career pathways with federal government roles that impact tribal nations.
To date, the Tribal Governance and Business Management Program has conferred 160 bachelor’s degrees. Over 40% of the college’s 370 bachelor’s graduates majored in TGBM.
“It goes to show that when you build something that the community wants, the community will help you build it up quickly. The program has great faculty and staff like TGBM department chair Brandon Morris. They know that every day a Native student walks into the classroom or through that virtual door is a success,” Ballew said.
In addition to her role as a member of NWIC’s board of trustees, Ballew serves as Western Washington University’s first executive director of American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations relations and tribal liaison to the president. She is working on her doctorate in Indigenous development and advancement from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in New Zealand.
“I’m fortunate to have insight into what it’s like to be a student, staff, and administrator. Being on the NWIC board has enabled me to attend AIHEC meetings like I did as a student. Only now I listen to the presidents and administrators who are experiencing the same challenges, relishing in our students’ success, and supporting each other toward bettering Indigenous higher education,” Ballew said. “I am excited to be celebrating 50 years of AIHEC and thankful for their support of Northwest Indian College as we celebrate our 40th year.”
https://jsf.bz/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Northwest-Indian-College-KwinaBuilding_2023.jpeg12801920Hannah Deadman/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jsf-logo-300-125.pngHannah Deadman2023-06-23 09:17:342023-06-30 15:28:32At 40, Northwest Indian College Looks Back at Success
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The Johnson Scholarship Foundation is a private Foundation. It does not make individual grants. All scholarships and grants are made through selected institutions. The Foundation’s support of these causes is delivered through a variety of scholarships and grant programs, which are described in this site.