Jack B. Jewett will retire as Flinn Foundation President and CEO at the end of September, concluding more than eight years of service in which the foundation expanded and enhanced its program areas to better serve Arizona.
Russell Reynolds Associates, an international executive search firm, has been hired by the Foundation to conduct a national search to replace Jewett. The new CEO is expected to be named this summer.
Jewett was hired in 2009 as the second CEO in the history of the Phoenix-based private, nonprofit grantmaking organization after a long career as an Arizona leader in health care, education, and public policy with extensive community involvement. He had previously served on the Arizona Board of Regents from 1998-2006, including a term as president; served five terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, from 1983-1992; held senior public policy and government relations positions with Tucson Medical Center for 13 years; and was president of Territorial Newspapers, a family-owned publishing and printing company in Tucson.
As CEO, Jewett saw the need for a new initiative to cultivate civic leadership at a statewide level to assure a strong future for Arizona. The nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership and its flagship Flinn-Brown Academy, established in 2010, was the philanthropic response to this need. Today, the Flinn-Brown Network of current and future state-level leaders from all walks of life is 260 members strong.
This program joined the foundation’s continued dedication to supporting the biosciences, arts and culture, and the Flinn Scholars Program, a merit-based scholarship awarded to Arizona’s top high-school seniors to attend one of Arizona’s public universities. The biosciences have remained the preeminent target of the foundation’s grantmaking.
Under Jewett’s leadership, the foundation started a Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program to benefit promising Arizona startup firms, updated Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap to continue the long-term strategic plan, launched a new direction in arts giving focused on bringing financial stability to organizations, celebrated the foundation’s 50th anniversary, and enhanced the Scholars Program by offering professional internships to Scholars at leading Arizona businesses and organizations.
“Jack has provided tremendous leadership to the foundation and to Arizona over many years,” said Dr. David J. Gullen, chair of the Flinn Foundation board of directors. “Flinn’s new initiatives during his tenure have complemented and strengthened the foundation’s longtime goals and programs.”
Jewett was hired in the midst of a deep recession, when the foundation’s endowment, as was the case throughout the philanthropic sector, was suffering. The foundation never canceled or reduced grant awards, or reduced staff, and the endowment has recovered to more than $200 million. Carefully targeted recent grants have supported major collaborative initiatives led by organizations such as Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, Critical Path Institute, and Translational Genomics Research Institute, as well as the state’s three public universities, and a number of Arizona’s largest arts-and-culture organizations.
“Today, the Flinn Foundation is in excellent condition financially and programmatically, and opportunities abound for the foundation to play its proven pivotal roles of catalyzing, convening, and grantmaking, and have a substantial impact on Arizona under the leadership of the next President and CEO,” Jewett said.
The Flinn Foundation was established in 1965 by Dr. Robert Flinn and his wife, Irene, to improve the quality of life in Arizona. Robert Flinn, a leading cardiologist, headed the departments of cardiology and electrocardiography at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. He was chief of the medical staff at St. Joseph’s and at Phoenix Memorial Hospital, president of both state and county medical societies, and co-founder and first president of the Arizona affiliate of the American Heart Association. Irene Flinn was a woman of considerable wealth and generous philanthropy. Dr. Flinn died in 1984 at age 87; Mrs. Flinn in 1978 at age 78.