Robert Sterling Clark Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members, Names New Chair

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Robert Sterling Clark Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members, Names New Chair


NEW YORK, June 14, 2023– The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation announced the election of two new members to its board of directors: Maja D. Hazell and Andrew Rich. The Foundation has also named current Board member Diahann Billings-Burford as Board Chair.

Maja D. Hazell is Managing Director and Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the D.E. Shaw Group, a global investment and technology development firm. Prior to joining the company, Ms. Hazell led the global diversity and inclusion efforts at two law firms, White & Case LLP and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Previously she served as Assistant Dean for Career Development at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Ms. Hazell began her career as an Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Ms. Hazell is a member of the Practicing Law Institute Diversity Council, a former member of the Executive Board of the New York Urban League, former President of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals, and founding member of the Board of Advisors to the Leadership Institute of the Council of Urban Professionals. She is a trained executive leadership coach and Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional.  Ms. Hazell received her JD from the Georgetown University Law Center and her BA in English from Yale University.

“As a Bronx native, DEI professional and coach, and direct beneficiary of the decades-long work of many to advance equity and provide opportunity to historically marginalized citizens, I greatly admire the Foundation’s commitment to those creating a more just and vibrant New York City,” Ms. Hazell said. “I am delighted to join the board to help advance this important work,” she remarked.

Andrew Rich is Dean of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership and Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York. The School, which is the college’s largest division, is home to the social science departments as well as the core leadership development and public service programs at CCNY. Dr. Rich was previously the Executive Secretary and CEO of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, a federal agency that supports young people committed to careers as public service leaders across the United States. Earlier, he was President & CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, a think tank and leadership development organization, based in New York City.

Dr. Rich is an expert in how research has influence in public policymaking, public affairs, and public debate in the United States. Beyond his scholarly work, he has direct experience leading policy efforts focused on social and economic change. Currently he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Friends of the Truman Foundation. He received his BA from the University of Richmond and his PhD in Political Science from Yale University.

“I firmly believe in the power and possibilities that come from investing in leaders,” Dr. Rich explained. “I have seen the transformational impact of leadership programs during my career, and I look forward to helping the Foundation fulfill its crucial mission.” 

Incoming Board Chair Diahann Billings-Burford echoed those sentiments. “Maja and Andy bring energy, experience, and expertise to the Foundation that will inform our work going forward,” she said, and continued, “We’re excited to add their voices to those of our current board members.”  Ms. Billings-Burford added “I’m honored to be the new Chair of the Foundation. It’s a tall order to follow James Allen Smith who has done an amazing job leading the Foundation for the past 15 years. His legacy will continue as we strive to create a more equitable and vibrant New York City using a trust-based approach to philanthropy.”

Ms. Billings-Burford is the CEO of RISE, a national nonprofit using sports as a way to eliminate racism, champion social justice, and improve race relations. She has spent her career working in and lifting up diverse communities. At Time Warner, she served as Executive Director, Cultural Investments and Vice President of the Time Warner Foundation.  As the city’s (and the country’s) first Chief Service Officer, she headed up NYC Service, a division of the Office of the Mayor, focused on volunteerism.  Earlier in her career, her work focused on experiences and education for young people at City Year New York, Achievement First, and Prep for Prep.

Ms. Billings-Burford serves on the board of directors of Strava and Success Academy and was previously Vice Chair of Philanthropy New York. In 2021, Ms. Billings-Burford was recognized on Crain's Notable Nonprofits and Philanthropy list and in 2019 was named one of Crain's Notable Women in Sports. She earned a BA in Psychology from Yale University, a JD from Columbia University School of Law, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“With Andy and Maja joining the board of directors, and Diahann taking the helm as Board Chair, I couldn’t be more confident of the future of the Foundation,” noted Mr. Smith in his closing remarks.

“I am excited to partner with this Board of Directors comprised of these accomplished and committed leaders during this defining moment at the Foundation,” said Philip Li, President & CEO.  He added, “We would not be in this position without Jim’s steady hand guiding the organization through its transformation over the past 15 years. I’m deeply grateful for his leadership.”


The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation invests in leadership to create a more equitable, livable and vibrant New York City.  The private foundation, created in 1952, does this by making grants and supporting initiatives exploring leadership development using a trust-based approach.



Elisabeth Rapport, Elisabeth Rapport Communications


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