Gayle Ober named president of the George Family Foundation

For Immediate Release

Gayle Ober named president of the George Family Foundation

MINNEAPOLIS — (July 9, 2015) — 

The George Family Foundation, a private family foundation established by Penny and Bill George with an interest in integrative health, authentic leadership, spirituality and the community, has named Gayle Ober as its new president.

 The appointment is effective immediately.

 Ober, 55, has served as executive director of the Foundation since 2010. Her appointment marks the first time since the Foundation’s inception in 1994 that a professional outside the family will serve the organization as president. Previously, Co- founder Penny George had been board president before assuming the role of board chair in December 2014.

 “We are delighted to recognize Gayle with this significant and important new role for our foundation,” said Penny George. “Gayle’s appointment is part of an orderly process that reflects our focus on the future of the Foundation.

 “While Bill and I will remain integrally involved in the Foundation’s work, particularly in areas that we are passionate about – Bill’s in authentic leadership, mine in integrative health and healing – we know the organization will thrive in Gayle’s capable hands,” George continued.

 Together with their two sons, Jeffrey and Jonathan, the Georges will continue as trustees of the Foundation, which currently has $68 million in assets and an annual grantmaking budget of $3.4 million.

 “I am honored to continue my work with the George family and to take on this expanded role with the Foundation,” said Ober. “I look forward to working with the Foundation’s board and our grantees as we take the Foundation to the next level of development.”

Ober brings nearly 30 years of experience in all aspects of nonprofit leadership to her new role. Previously, Ober was the managing director of Classical Music Programming for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio. She also served as the director of arts, culture and entertainment for the City of Saint Paul, and as the executive director of the Dale Warland Singers. Ober began her philanthropic career working with the Mardag Foundation, another Minnesota-based family foundation, eventually serving as its board president.

 In addition to her work with the George Family Foundation, Ober dedicates her time to the next generation of nonprofit leaders as an instructor in the University of Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Leadership Program and as a guest lecturer at Hamline University. Her past and present board involvements include the The Rose Ensemble, Chorus America, The Schubert Club, Mardag Foundation, Children’s Home Society and Family Services, The Saint Paul Foundation, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and others.

 Ober holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Hamline University and a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Minnesota.

 “I come to this new role at the George Family Foundation with all three pieces of the pie,” Ober noted. “I have served and led a family foundation at the board level, I have served on and chaired nonprofit boards, and I have worked as a paid staff member in nonprofit arts organizations. Now I’m pulling all of those experiences together to help the George family continue the great philanthropic work they’ve done over the past 20 years.

 “I’m very excited and honored for this expanded opportunity.”

Media Contact:

Mary Lilja, Lilja Communications for George Family Foundation