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Milton Chen named a new trustee

Kathy Reincke

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announces the election of Dr. Milton Chen of San Francisco, California, as a new member of its board of trustees. He will join the board in September, bringing the number of WKKF trustees to nine.

Chen is a life-long champion for quality and culturally-competent education from Pre-K to secondary education. As the former executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), where he served from 1998 to 2010, Milton led the development and expansion of GLEF’s media brand, Edutopia, which was awarded the 2009 Webby People’s Voice Award for best education website. Chen now serves as senior fellow and executive director emeritus at GLEF.

“In our search for an addition to the Kellogg Foundation’s board of trustees, we were looking for a leader with a deep commitment to children, a heart for community and the expertise to create systemic change,” said Rick Tsoumas, WKKF board chair. “Milton embodies these qualities and his accomplishments in the field – extending the reach of educational tools for diverse audiences, cutting-edge research and practical application of conceptual models to real-world contexts – illustrate the range and depth of his experience. We look forward to Milton joining us as we carry forward Mr. Kellogg’s legacy on behalf of children.”  

For nearly four decades, Chen’s career has stretched across the fields of education, media and technology. Prior to joining GLEF, Chen served as center director of KQED Center for Education, a PBS affiliate in San Francisco. In the 1980s, he was an assistant professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, Chen was the director of research at the Sesame Workshop where he helped develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact.

Chen has been awarded the Elmo Award from the Sesame Workshop, Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Robin Winks Award for Enhancing Public Education Understanding of the National Parks. In 2010, Chen published, “Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools,” named one of the year’s 10 best education books by the American School Board Journal.

Chen currently serves on several other boards of directors, including the Panasonic Foundation and the Sesame Workshop. Chen received his master’s degree in communication and his doctorate in communication research from Stanford University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University.

“We are excited to welcome Milton Chen to our board of trustees,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.  “Dr. Chen will bring a unique educational lens to our work on behalf of children. Our founder W.K. Kellogg gave us a guide when he wrote: ‘Education offers the greatest opportunity for really improving one generation over another. Milton shares our commitment to this core value and his success in improving children’s educational outcomes will contribute to our ongoing conversations about how to improve the futures of all of our children.”

Other Kellogg Foundation board members include: Celeste A. Clark of Battle Creek, Michigan; Cynthia H. Milligan of Lincoln, Nebraska; Roderick D. Gillum of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Khan Nedd of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cathann Kress of Columbus, Ohio; Ramón Murguía of Kansas City, Kansas; President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron of Battle Creek, Michigan; and Board Chair Richard M. Tsoumas of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Boardspan, Inc., advised the Kellogg Foundation in the appointment of Chen.


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. 

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. 

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