President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation
Don Howard was appointed president and chief executive officer effective October 2014. He served as interim president and chief executive officer from February through September 2014. Prior to that appointment, as executive vice president, Howard directed Irvine’s program and grantmaking activities. He helps lead the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to deepen, extend, and amplify the impact of our work.
Prior to joining Irvine in 2012, Howard was a partner at The Bridgespan Group for over a decade where he was a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders and led Bridgespan’s San Francisco office. As part of this work, he managed Irvine’s strategic planning process in 2002–2003 that led to the Foundation’s development of strategies for Arts, California Democracy, and Youth. Earlier in his career, Howard helped corporate leaders formulate strategy and improve the effectiveness of their organizations as a principal at Booz Allen and Hamilton and later as a managing director at the Scient Corporation.
Howard grew up in Long Beach, in Southern California, before coming to the Bay Area to earn his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Stanford University. He later returned to Stanford to obtain his MBA from the Graduate School of Business. More recently, he co-developed and taught a class on social entrepreneurship at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
As a volunteer, Howard has been an activist around HIV and other health-related issues, serving in the past on advisory boards at the San Francisco Department of Public Health; University of California, San Francisco; and the National Institutes of Health. He has acted as an advisor to the boards of several San Francisco community-based organizations. He is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, where he is actively involved in the development of a new community-based approach to improving gay men’s health and ending HIV transmission. Howard also has worked extensively outside the United States, including a volunteer posting with a USAID-sponsored initiative to provide business advice to private enterprises in Central Europe.