The Hilton Foundation was established in 1944 as a private, independent organization by Conrad N. Hilton, the man who started Hilton Hotels. The Foundation provides funds to nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of individuals living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage throughout the world.
Kofi Appenteng’s career is filled with a deep commitment to African youth, leadership and economic development, as well as to US-Africa relations. He is the chief executive officer of the Africa-America Institute (AAI), a 65-year-old organization with a mission of promoting enlightened engagement between Africa and America through education, training and dialogue. Born in Ghana, Appenteng has more than 30 years of domestic and international experience, including as a corporate lawyer, an investment banker and senior advisor, and as a board director for a number of highly influential foundations and NGOs. He came to the United States in 1977 to attend Wesleyan University where he was a scholar-athlete. In 1984, he earned a law degree from Columbia University. Ten years later, he was the first Black African to become a partner at a major New York City law firm.
Justin McAuliffe is a great-grandson of Conrad Hilton, a grandson of Chairman Emeritus Barron Hilton, and the first of the fourth-generation direct descendants of Conrad Hilton to join the board of directors. He brings to this role entrepreneurial and program experience, having joined the Foundation staff in 2014 as a program associate, where he has been active in family philanthropy and non-traditional grantmaking. McAuliffe will remain on the staff as a program-related investment analyst. In this role, he will assist in the development of program-related investment activities of the Foundation and explore potential opportunities to use financial tools and market-based solutions in addition to grants to accomplish the Foundation’s mission. He is a 2010 graduate of Cornell University with a degree in hotel administration.
“I am so pleased to welcome Kofi Appenteng and Justin McAuliffe to the board of directors,” said Steve Hilton, chairman of the Foundation board. “Kofi brings a wealth of experience, exceptional knowledge and dedication to applying global networks and resources in service to education in Africa, and tremendous multi-sector leadership. His background and interests are aligned with our own values and we look forward to the contributions he will bring to the board.
“Simultaneously being able to welcome Justin, the first of the fourth generation of Hilton family members to the board, brings me great pride. Justin always has cared deeply for improving the lives of others and has sought ways to apply his entrepreneurial thinking to today’s challenges. As a family foundation, having descendants of Conrad Hilton on the Board is essential in helping to carry on his philanthropic legacy.”
The board of directors is made up of a majority of Hilton family members. The board elects it directors, sets broad policy related to the Foundation’s direction, including grantmaking and investing, provides oversight on strategic endeavors, and helps ensure that Conrad Hilton’s original vision and intent remain current with the work.
“I am delighted to welcome Kofi Appenteng and Justin McAuliffe to our outstanding board of directors,” Hilton Foundation President and CEO Peter Laugharn said. “Kofi is an admirable leader focused on expanding opportunities for others. He brings exceptional knowledge and perspective to a like-minded board that cares deeply about increasing the impact of the Foundation’s work.” Laugharn went on to say, “I also could not be happier to welcome Justin to his board role. He brings a new way of looking at the world, influenced by technology and a period of tremendous change in our nation’s history. Justin remains a valued member of our staff, and I speak for everyone at the Foundation when I say we are proud to see him join the board and continue the family’s legacy of honoring Conrad’s intent.”
The Hilton Foundation pursues approaches that touch a diversity of people, places and needs. Grantmaking is focused on priority areas that include Catholics Sisters, Disaster Relief and Recovery, Foster Youth, Homelessness, Hospitality Workforce Development, Safe Water and Young Children Affected by HIV and AIDS. Four other areas, Avoidable Blindness, Multiple Sclerosis, Catholic Education and Substance Use Prevention also receive significant support from the Foundation and are in the midst of a planned transition, announced last year.
“There comes the point in one’s career when you can quickly identify when an organization’s mission feels more like a calling,” Appenteng said. “This was the case when I joined AAI, and so too is it now with the Hilton Foundation. I have long witnessed their exceptional commitment to improving people’s lives worldwide. I am tremendously honored to join their efforts and contribute to the deep and serious body of work they undertake.”
“The Hilton Foundation is a special place,” McAuliffe said. “I was aware of the work of the Foundation growing up, but over time, I learned of the incredible impact it has on the lives of so many. I have worked here; I know the people, have witnessed – and had the opportunity to participate – in their incredible work. It is a great privilege to be able to continue to serve the Foundation in this new role.”
The full roster of the board of directors at the Hilton Foundation, comprised of 11 total members who meet four times annually, is found here.
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