September 13, 2013
Kalamazoo, Mich. – The board of trustees of the Fetzer Institute has named Robert Boisture president and CEO, effective immediately. Boisture, a longtime advisor to the Institute’s board, will also continue to serve as a trustee of the organization, a position he has held since November 2011.
“For 20 years Bob’s insight and counsel have been central to the emergence of our vision, purpose, and community,” said Fetzer Institute Board Chair Rob Lehman. “It’s a true gift to have Bob’s vast experience and leadership fully engaged as our new president and CEO for this important next phase of our mission. We are grateful to have Bob and his wife, artist Mary Margaret Pipkin, join the Fetzer and Kalamazoo communities.”
Of his appointment, Boisture commented, “The Fetzer Institute is working on the most important challenge facing humanity—how to open our hearts and minds to the transforming power of love and forgiveness. Only with this personal transformation will we have the moral and spiritual resources to build a true global community. I’m honored and excited to be asked to help guide this vital work.”
Boisture succeeds Dr. Lawrence E. Sullivan, who resigned to return to academia and who will continue work with the Institute as senior fellow. “Bob’s talents and experience are perfectly suited to the board’s vision,” Sullivan said. “I am grateful to him and the board for the invitation, as senior fellow, to continue to serve the Institute’s extraordinary mission.”
Bob Boisture is a nationally recognized expert on the legal regulation of charities and foundations and on nonprofit governance. Over the course of his career, he has advised many of the nation’s most prominent charities and foundations and also served for many years as legal and legislative counsel to both the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. From 1979 to 1986 and from 1993 to 2008 he practiced at the Washington, D.C. law firm Caplin & Drysdale, where he headed the exempt organizations practice group and served as president of the firm. In 2008 he established Boisture Law where he has continued to advise nonprofits on legal and governance issues. From 2004 to 2006, he coordinated the legal staff of the National Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, a blue ribbon panel formed at the request of the US Senate Committee on Finance to formulate recommendations on strengthening the accountability and effectiveness of the charitable sector.
He has also served in other significant leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, most notably with the YMCA. From 1986 to 1992 Boisture served on the staff of the YMCA of the USA, where he established the Y’s national public policy advocacy program and served as the Y’s first Director of Public Policy. More recently, he has led national teams that developed the Y’s Activate America lifestyle health initiative (2003 to 2007) and the Y’s Achievement Gap initiative to promote the school readiness and school success of low-income children and youth (2011 to 2013).
Boisture received his JD from Yale Law School in 1979. He also attended Princeton University (AB, 1974, Woodrow Wilson Scholar), and Oxford University (BA, 1976, Marshall Scholar).
The Fetzer Institute is a private operating foundation based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Established by broadcast pioneer John E. Fetzer (1901-1991), the Institute uses its philanthropic resources to create programs that foster awareness of the power that love, forgiveness, and compassion can have in our world. With an endowment of $450 million, the Institute dedicates approximately $22 million annually toward its programming efforts.