Knight Foundation Chief Program Officer to Succeed Ed Henry
New York, Jan. 11, 2021 – Samsher (Sam) Singh Gill, senior vice president and chief program officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, has been selected as the next president and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). Gill has also been elected a member of the DDCF board, and will additionally serve as president and CEO of the Duke Farms Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. He will assume these roles on April 1, 2021.
Announcing the board’s decision, DDCF Board Chairman William H. Wright II said, “Sam Gill is a smart and compassionate leader who has an impressive track record. His leadership trajectory has been marked by strong strategic acumen, clear and compelling communication skills, and an ability to drive effective partnerships. In his leadership role at the Knight Foundation, Sam oversaw more than $100 million in annual grant making across the foundation’s programs in journalism, the arts and communities. He also managed Knight’s research and assessment portfolio and its grants administration function. This experience makes him uniquely qualified to lead the work of the DDCF. I am confident that Sam brings the energy, creativity and intellectual rigor required to lead the foundation through the next phase of its evolution.”
Gill was selected after a rigorous nationwide search. Wright stated that “the board was impressed by his demonstrated mission-driven strategic leadership experience as well as his ability to work in partnership with an engaged board and the high-performing, committed team at DDCF.” During his time at the Knight Foundation, Gill helped shape many of the foundation’s signature initiatives, including a $300 million commitment to rebuilding trust in local news, which includes as a component a $50 million program to support the creation of the Knight Research Network and the creation of the Knight Public Spaces Fellows, a novel award for practitioners and leaders focused on the role of public spaces in civic life.
“I am honored by the opportunity to join the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and to follow in the footsteps of a peerless leader in Ed Henry,” said Gill. “I look forward to working alongside this outstanding staff and distinguished board. Doris Duke’s vision and values are more relevant than ever, and I am humbled and excited to be part of the next chapter in honoring and extending Duke’s inspiring legacy.”
At the Knight Foundation, Gill also led the foundation’s major public research initiatives, including “Trust, Media and Democracy,” a multiyear study on the role of news in American democracy; a series of studies on how an emerging generation conceives of freedom of expression; and “Community Ties,” a study conducted in partnership with the Urban Institute that explores what connects people to the places where they live. In support of the philanthropic sector, he helped develop a series of reports on diversity in the asset management industry and among foundation endowments.
“Sam has been integrally involved with every aspect of Knight Foundation program strategy and operations,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “We will miss him – his quickness and wit and his colleagueship – but appreciate the lasting contributions and solid structure he leaves behind. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has made a spectacularly good choice.”
Gill was raised in Minnesota. His father immigrated to the United States from India, and his mother is a native of the Midwest. Sam graduated from the University of Chicago with honors and, as a Rhodes Scholar, earned his M. Phil. with distinction from the University of Oxford where he was at New College. His wife, Maíra Reimão, is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Florida. They have two sons, ages 5 and 2.
About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. At the core of DDCF’s work in pursuit of this mission is a dedication to serving and learning from organizations and individuals addressing inequities and working toward a more just, healthy, sustainable and inclusive society. Established in 1996, DDCF supports national grant-making programs in the beforementioned areas of focus as well as museums and programmatic centers on properties that were owned by Doris Duke: Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design in Honolulu, Duke Farms in Hillsborough, N.J. and Rough Point Museum in Newport R.I. For more information, please visit www.ddcf.org.