Who We Are

United States Program Advisory Panel



Our United States Program Advisory Panel is comprised of a group of esteemed experts from outside of the foundation who offer a wide range of experiences and perspectives. This panel plays an important role in strengthening our work by offering independent assessments of our strategies and helping us evaluate results.

Ann Fudge

Ann Fudge served as the chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, as well as Chairman and CEO of its largest division, Y&R Advertising, one of the world’s leading marketing and communications agencies until 2006. Prior to that, Fudge ran a $5 billion division of Kraft Foods, overseeing some of its largest brands. Currently on the board of directors of the Rockefeller Foundation and Novartis AG, she also serves as a Vice Chairman and Senior Independent Director for Unilever, and as a trustee of WGBH Public Media and the Brookings Institution. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as serving on the Council’s Board. Prior board appointments include Morehouse College and General Electric. Among her many honors and awards, she has been named by Fortune as one of the fifty most powerful women in American business.

Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught urban and social economics and microeconomic theory since 1992. He has published dozens of papers on cities and economic growth, including papers on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers for the transmission of ideas. In addition to his teaching and research, Glaeser edits the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Glaeser’s work examining the historical evolution of economic hubs like Boston and New York City has had a major influence on the study of both economics and urban geography. Other topics on which he has written widely, from both contemporary and historical perspectives, include social economics and the economics of religion.

Thomas A. Saenz

Thomas Saenz is president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). He leads the organization in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community education to promote the civil rights of all Latinos living in the United States in the areas of education, employment, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights.

Saenz rejoined MALDEF in August 2009, after four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive team. He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing civil rights law, including four years as litigation director. He has served as lead counsel for MALDEF in numerous cases including challenges to California Proposition 187, California Proposition 227, and California congressional redistricting. In 2016, Saenz argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Texas, representing intervenors defending Obama Administration deferred action initiatives.

Saenz graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School. He clerked for two federal judges before initially joining MALDEF in 1993.

Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings took office as president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system on March 1, 2016. Nationally known as an education thought leader and public policy expert, Spellings most recently served as President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center where she planned, managed, and implemented programs on economic growth, education reform, global health, and special initiatives focused on women and military service. Her work at the Bush Center included the 2014 launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a one-of-a-kind leadership program born out of the first-ever partnership of multiple Presidential Centers.

Spellings was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but spent much of her childhood in Houston. She is a graduate of the University of Houston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She also received an honorary doctorate and Distinguished Alumna Award from the university in 2006.

Early in her career, Spellings served as legislative director and chief committee clerk for the Texas House of Representatives, special projects director for Austin (TX) Community College, and led governmental and external relations for the Texas Association of School Boards. From 1995 to 2000, she was senior advisor to then-Governor George W. Bush of Texas.

Following his election as President, Spellings served in key positions in the Bush Administration. As White House Domestic Policy Advisor, from 2001 to 2005, she led the development of the President’s domestic policy agenda. Her areas of responsibility included education, transportation, health, justice, housing and labor. In that role, she oversaw the development of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the development of a comprehensive immigration plan, and numerous other initiatives.

From 2005 to 2009, Spellings served as U.S. Secretary of Education, the nation’s senior policy official on all aspects of education—primary, secondary, and post-secondary. During her tenure she led the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, a national bipartisan initiative to provide greater accountability for the education of 50 million U.S. public school students.

As Secretary, she also launched a national conversation on the future of higher education that resulted in an action plan to address challenges of access, affordability, quality, and accountability of our nation's colleges and universities. In addition to developing and implementing international education agreements on behalf of the President, she also helped manage the federal role in the aftermath of crises including Hurricane Katrina, the credit crunch in the student loan industry, and the Virginia Tech shootings.

From 2009 until joining the Bush Center in 2013, Spellings was president and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company, a Washington, D.C. consulting firm that provided strategic guidance on a variety of domestic policy matters, particularly those related to education and workforce issues. During much of this same period, she served as a president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, leading its initiatives to drive effective education and workforce training reform.


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