As director of Carnegie Corporation’s Strengthening U.S. Democracy Program, Geri Mannion brings a wealth of experience about the role of philanthropy in challenging, improving and deepening the civic dialogue. She has directed the division since 1998, after staffing the Corporation’s program of Special Projects for almost ten years. Previously, the Corporation’s grantmaking in civic participation was a subprogram in Special Projects. While the Corporation continues to support projects that focus on improving voter engagement among those least likely to vote, the Strengthening U.S. Democracy Program focuses primarily on immigrant civic integration. Separately, Geri continues to direct the Corporation’s Special Opportunities Fund, which is housed within the Office of the President. The fund allows the Corporation to respond to proposals that are important but not related to the foundation’s primary foci. These projects are few and often one-time-only grants.
Active in professional organizations that work to advance and strengthen the philanthropic and nonprofit world, Geri is a former co-chair of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, an affinity group of funders that encourages foundations to fund voter registration, voting rights, civic education and campaign finance reform. She remains an active participant in this organization. She is also a member of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR). In 2009, Geri, together with her colleague Taryn Higashi, received the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, one of philanthropy’s highest honors, for founding the Four Freedoms Fund, a funder collaborative housed at NEO Philanthropy, that works to increase capacity in immigrant communities at the state level. In 2010, she was named as one of the nonprofit sector’s top fifty leaders by the Non-Profit Times. Since 2014, Geri has chaired the Council on Foundations’ Scrivner Selection Committee. Geri holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in political science, both from Fordham University.