The Levitt Foundation's National Advisory Council members are outstanding individuals who lend their expertise and provide meaningful support to fulfill Levitt's mission.

Joan Abrahamson
MacArthur Prize-Winning Visionary
Joan Abrahamson, a MacArthur Prize-winning visionary on the arts and the future of cities, is president of the Jefferson Institute, a public policy institute that identifies and implements innovative approaches to current policy problems. She is also president of the Jonas Salk Foundation. >> Read More

Joan Abrahamson, a MacArthur Prize-winning visionary on the arts and the future of cities, is president of the Jefferson Institute, a public policy institute that identifies and implements innovative approaches to current policy problems. She is also president of the Jonas Salk Foundation. Abrahamson has made an impact at the national level as Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to Vice Presidents Walter Mondale and George H. W. Bush, and as Assistant Chief of Staff to Vice President Bush. Abrahamson was also Founding Chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and a member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. At the international level, Abrahamson has worked for the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva and for UNESCO’s Division of Human Rights and Peace in Paris. She was responsible for planning and implementing the Vienna International Congress on the Teaching of Human Rights and the International Symposium on the Political Participation of Women. In the mid-1970s, Abrahamson redesigned Fort Mason in San Francisco, converting an Army base for use as a community-based arts center and learning environment. Fort Mason has since been designated a model urban park by the National Park Service. She was also involved with the transformation of the Presidio of San Francisco from an Army base into a National Park.

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Connie Calaway
Philanthropist
Connie Calaway is an active philanthropist, focusing much of her efforts in the arts and education.  She has served on the boards of Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Friends of Music, Aspen Music Festival and School, Westminster Choir College at Ryder University, Young Audiences, and >> Read More

Connie Calaway is an active philanthropist, focusing much of her efforts in the arts and education.  She has served on the boards of Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Friends of Music, Aspen Music Festival and School, Westminster Choir College at Ryder University, Young Audiences, and National Alliance for Arts Advocates.  She was a founder of the Texas Institute for Arts in Education, working with and modeled after the Lincoln Center Institute in New York City, and a founder of Houston's 100 Women.  Connie was Chair of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation from 1998 to 2002, and she served on Governor Owen's Commission for Science and Technology and on the Board of Governors for Colorado State University.  She was Vice-Chair for the 1988 Presidential Victory Fund of the Democratic National Committee and served as a delegate to the Arias Peace process in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.  More recently, Connie was Chair of the Child Advocate Center, River Bridge, which serves the Roaring Fork Valley and parts of Garfield County in Colorado.  Connie earned her Bachelor and Master's degrees at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.  She also attended the Vienna Akademie für Musik and the University of Washington.  Her professional experience includes: soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein conducting (recorded on Colombia Records), soloist with Westminster Choir, Rice University Chamber Players, and Houston Symphony.  She has also toured with the Robert Shaw Chorale, and performed and produced for Young Audiences of America.

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Nancy Gregory
Award-Winning Producer, Director, Choreographer and Writer
Nancy Gregory is recognized throughout the entertainment world as one of the most prolific creators of successful and spectacular musical productions. Over the last 20 years, she has developed a wide range of world-class projects for the NFL, Universal Studios, the USO, Twentieth Century >> Read More

Nancy Gregory is recognized throughout the entertainment world as one of the most prolific creators of successful and spectacular musical productions. Over the last 20 years, she has developed a wide range of world-class projects for the NFL, Universal Studios, the USO, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Caesar’s Palace, Radio City Music Hall and MGM Grand and has worked with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Wynonna Judd and Ricky Martin. Nancy’s work has won a GRAMMY Award, a Clio Award, a Houston Film Critics Award and two ACE Award nominations. In 2010, she directed the award-winning Las Vegas production of Nunsense at the Las Vegas Hotel, and from 2009 to 2010, she was Vice President of Entertainment for Las Vegas’ Tropicana Hotel. Nancy has also been an artistic advisor to the Music Center and a creative consultant for the City of Los Angeles. A dancer and choreographer, Nancy earned an M.F.A. from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and has been a guest artist at several universities, including Vanderbilt University, Atlanta School of Performing Arts and UCLA. She has performed as a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet Company, as a guest artist with the Joffrey and New York City Ballet, and alongside Gene Kelly, Juliet Prowse, Lucy Arness and Ann Miller, among many others.

 

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Teena Hostovich
Vice President, Lockton Insurance
Teena is Executive Vice President of Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC. , a member of the Executive Committee for Southern California, and is recognized internationally as a leading authority in her field. Her professional achievements have garnered various awards, including being named one of 50 >> Read More

Teena is Executive Vice President of Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC. , a member of the Executive Committee for Southern California, and is recognized internationally as a leading authority in her field. Her professional achievements have garnered various awards, including being named one of 50 "Women to Watch" internationally by Business Insurance Magazine, Outstanding Corporate Woman by the California State Legislature, Power Broker/Responsibility Leader for Risk & Insurance, and 50 Fabulous Women of Pasadena. A firm supporter of the arts, Teena serves on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Board of Overseers, the Board of the Pasadena Arts Council, and the Diversity Committee of the Pasadena Playhouse. She is actively involved with the California Institute of the Arts and the American Film Institute. Teena teaches leadership at USC Marshall School. She is a trustee of the William J. Clinton Foundation, is a member of the Democratic National Finance Committee and serves as Presidential Partner/Advisor to President Obama.

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George Jones
Chairman and CEO
George Jones is the Chairman and CEO of Caravan Entertainment, which he co-founded in 2009 to focus primarily on television production and development. Currently, George is the Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer of “Last Shot with Judge Gunn,” a nationally syndicated show which >> Read More

George Jones is the Chairman and CEO of Caravan Entertainment, which he co-founded in 2009 to focus primarily on television production and development. Currently, George is the Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer of “Last Shot with Judge Gunn,” a nationally syndicated show which began airing in September 2011. George’s rich corporate history and strong background as a business leader includes positions such as President and CEO of Borders Groups Inc., President and CEO of Saks Department Store Group, and President of Worldwide Licensing and Retail for Warner Bros., amongst other leadership positions at Rose’s Stores and Target. His career highlights include the implementation of a successful turnaround plan for Saks which focused on differentiating the company’s stores and merchandise assortments. He also personally led a turnaround of Saks' Parisian division, which was the subject of a case study by the Harvard Business School.  Throughout his tenure at Target, George played a leading role in the development of Target’s innovative merchandising, store operations and customer service strategies, which effectively differentiated Target from its competitors and ultimately helped lead the brand to icon status.  Before taking on the Executive Vice President role at Target, he also held positions there as Senior Vice President-Merchandising and Vice President-Ready to Wear. George is currently Chairman Emeritus of the GRAMMY Foundation and formerly served on the boards of Liz Claiborne Inc, Guitar Center and Levitt Pavilions.

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Eve Krzyzanowski
Award-Winning Producer and Multimedia Executive
Eve Krzyzanowski is an internationally respected, multi-Emmy Award-winning producer and multimedia executive. Over the past three decades, her leadership, creativity and business acumen have led her to producer and executive positions with major US TV networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), the BBC, FNN >> Read More

Eve Krzyzanowski is an internationally respected, multi-Emmy Award-winning producer and multimedia executive. Over the past three decades, her leadership, creativity and business acumen have led her to producer and executive positions with major US TV networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), the BBC, FNN (Financial News Network—precursor to CNBC), and Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Her pioneering business journalism on FNN solidified her place on the prestigious “100 Business News Luminaries of the 20th Century” list. FNN was credited with helping to stave off widespread investor panic during 1987’s market crash. Eve formerly served as CEO of Branded Media Inc., where she continues to advise and invest in digital media. She also advises various non-profit organizations dedicated to education and the promotion of cultural understanding, including UN Women for Peace, the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Institute for Personal Leadership. Eve continues to produce series for PBS, including Moment of Luxury. Her recent films include, I Sing Beijing, From Mao to the Met, and Kosciuszko, A Man Ahead of his Time. Her next film is about the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. Eve is passionate about cultural and scientific exchange. She serves on the board of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences and was instrumental in creating the New York Academy of Sciences recent program on Women in Science. Eve earned her B.A. from Vassar College in Economics and Political Science.

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Stephen Nemeth
Founder and President
Stephen Nemeth formed and heads up Rhino Films, the independent film company. He has produced and executive produced dozens of films. His Producer credits include the critically acclaimed The Sessions (Sundance 2012 Audience Award); C.O.G. (Sundance 2013); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Why Do >> Read More

Stephen Nemeth formed and heads up Rhino Films, the independent film company. He has produced and executive produced dozens of films. His Producer credits include the critically acclaimed The Sessions (Sundance 2012 Audience Award); C.O.G. (Sundance 2013); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Dogtown and Z Boys; What We Do Is Secret; and the upcoming Radio Free Albemuth. He is in post-production on Snake and Mongoose about a legendary drag-racing rivalry. Stephen's documentary credits include War/Dance (2008 Academy Award nomination); Fuel (Sundance 2008 Audience Award); Flow (Sundance 2008); Climate Refugees (Sundance 2010); Mr. Bitchin'; Patriocracy; Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story;  Beisbol and Pick Up The Mic. Stephen is in post-production on Ride With Larry about one man's quest to raise awareness about Parkinson's; State of Control, about Tibetan human rights activists' opposing China's oppressive regime and A Nuclear Family about the cover-up of a nuclear site that’s sickening a nearby community. He is the recipient of the 2013 Global Action Award; the 2009 Vision Award for Documentary Producer; and the 2009 Artivist Award for his advocacy and production of socially conscious films.  Stephen was named one of the “Top Ten Most Prolific Producers in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter, and one of the “Ten Coolest People in Hollywood” by an online survey of 500 agents, managers, journalists and lawyers.

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Manuel Pastor
Nationally Renowned Scholar, Author and Professor
Dr. Manuel Pastor is a nationally renowned scholar and thought leader on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities—and the social movements seeking to change those realities. Dr. Pastor is a Professor of Sociology and American Studies & >> Read More

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a nationally renowned scholar and thought leader on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities—and the social movements seeking to change those realities. Dr. Pastor is a Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and a Founding Director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC and USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has received fellowships from the Danforth, Guggenheim and Kellogg foundations and grants from the Irvine Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment, and many others. Dr. Pastor speaks widely across the country on issues of demographic change, social equity and community empowerment.  He has also co-authored several books, including “Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions,” and “This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity Are Reshaping Metropolitan America.” He has contributed opinion pieces to outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee and the Huffington Post, among many others. In 2002, Dr. Pastor received the Civic Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the California Center for Regional Leadership in recognition of his work with metropolitan leaders, and in 2012, he received the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year Award from the Liberty Hill Foundation in recognition of his many research partnerships with social justice organizations.

 

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Kevin Powell
Acclaimed Writer and Activist
Kevin Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today. As an activist, he is the president and cofounder of BK Nation, a new national, progressive, multicultural organization that combines grassroots activism, pop culture, technology and >> Read More

Kevin Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today. As an activist, he is the president and cofounder of BK Nation, a new national, progressive, multicultural organization that combines grassroots activism, pop culture, technology and social media to spark projects and campaigns. Embracing the motto “The leadership is us,” BK Nation brings people of all communities and backgrounds together by holding quarterly Live Music and Culture sessions featuring up-and-coming artists and performers and monthly forums on topics such as education, immigration, health and political engagement. Powell makes the case for how the arts can inspire leadership and create stronger communities. Powell travels nationally and globally as a public speaker, including recent engagements at Microsoft headquarters, Stanford University, the U.S. Department of Justice and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the “March on Washington.” On behalf of the U.S. State Department, he toured Japan lecturing on the relevance of Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech in the 21st century. As a pop culture curator, Powell produced the first exhibit on the history of hip-hop in America at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which toured America and overseas.


   

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Robert Santelli
Bob has been Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum since 2006. A noted blues and rock historian, he is the author of more than a dozen books on American music, including This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song and The New York Times bestsellers Greetings >> Read More

Bob has been Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum since 2006. A noted blues and rock historian, he is the author of more than a dozen books on American music, including This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song and The New York Times bestsellers Greetings from E Street (The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) and The Bob Dylan Scrapbook. In 2013, he received a GRAMMY Award nomination as co-producer of the album, Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Compilation. Santelli is also on the creative team for the annual GRAMMY® Awards Show. He is currently overseeing the development of The GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, which will be the most technologically advanced music-themed museum in the world and the only other official GRAMMY Museum location outside of Los Angeles. Prior to his position at The GRAMMY Museum, he was CEO of Experience Music Project in Seattle, one of the original curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, and a faculty member in the music departments of Rutgers and Monmouth Universities. Most recently, Bob developed the U.K.'s first pop music museum, the British Music Experience, which opened in London in 2009.

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Steve Vai
GRAMMY Award-Winning Artist
As a GRAMMY-winning guitar virtuoso with career sales of over 15 million records, Steve Vai's sheer breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond. While Vai clearly had what was needed to make indelible impressions during his stays with Frank Zappa and David >> Read More

As a GRAMMY-winning guitar virtuoso with career sales of over 15 million records, Steve Vai's sheer breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond. While Vai clearly had what was needed to make indelible impressions during his stays with Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth, it's as a solo artist that he's made his most precious contributions. The Long Island, NY native has spent the last three decades writing, recording, scoring for films, orchestra, and performing the most exciting music ever created with a guitar. His virtuosity and custom six and seven string instruments continue to inspire young musicians who celebrate Vai as the "Alien Guitar Master." Although Vai is hailed as a musical alchemist of the highest order and tours regularly in over 50 countries, he is also highly sought after to lend his talents to commercial enterprises and has appeared on American Idol, The Tonight Show, games for Xbox. Playstation, and Guitar Hero. In addition to his recording career, Steve is involved with many worthwhile organizations. He is a former Trustee for the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences, is on the advisory board of Hollywood Arts, and works closely with his own Make a Noise Foundation, raising money for music education. Steve attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the college.

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Stephen Whisnant
Founder and Managing Director
Stephen Whisnant has an extensive background in fund development, strategic planning and general management of nonprofits.  He provides consulting services to a variety of nonprofits, presents frequently at national conferences, and contributes to regional and national publications.  >> Read More

Stephen Whisnant has an extensive background in fund development, strategic planning and general management of nonprofits.  He provides consulting services to a variety of nonprofits, presents frequently at national conferences, and contributes to regional and national publications.  He launched his own firm, Whisnant Strategies, in 2015. Previously, he was the Director of Philanthropy and Advisor to the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C., an international NGO which promotes democracy building around the globe.  Prior to his time with NDI, Stephen was a Managing Director for the United States Olympic Committee and he served as the Campaign Director for the "Building for Peace Campaign," a $186M campaign to provide a permanent home for the United States Institute of Peace.  Stephen has been a consultant to Paul Allen, Jody Patton and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in Seattle, Washington, developing sustainability strategies for their projects, including the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.  In 1993, Stephen launched World T.E.A.M. Sports, an international sports nonprofit committed to offering rich and dynamic programs to all levels of athletes, especially persons with disabilities.  The organization received international recognition for its work in advancing educational and medical initiatives through sports events and programming.  As the organization’s first Executive Director/CEO for 11 years, Stephen oversaw the production of four documentary films and is the recipient of an Emmy Award for his work as an Executive Producer of “Vietnam, Long Time Coming.”  Stephen holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University.

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In Memoriam
Benjamin Barber
Internationally renowned political theorist Benjamin Barber brought an abiding concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, culture and education in America and abroad. Benjamin was a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The Graduate Center, >> Read More

Internationally renowned political theorist Benjamin Barber brought an abiding concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, culture and education in America and abroad. Benjamin was a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY); Founder and President of CivWorld; and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Rutgers University. He was also the founder of the Interdependence Movement. Earlier in his career, Benjamin was a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and Kekst Professor of Civil Society, University of Maryland. He consulted regularly with political and civic leaders in the U.S. and around the world. Benjamin combined a career as a distinguished scholar and political theorist with a life of practical commitment to democratic civic practices and the arts that gave him widespread experience as a fundraiser, administrator, public speaker, educational and political consultant, and television and theater writer. Benjamin held a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University and taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Princeton University, The City University of New York, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland. Benjamin won Guggenheim, Fulbright and American Council of Learned Society fellowships. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Grinnell College and received the Palmes Academiques from the French Government and the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin. 

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