Vikki Spruill P’12, president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations, has been named one of America’s Top 20 Women in Philanthropy, Social Innovation, and Civic Engagement. The list includes Melinda Gates and Oprah Winfrey and was compiled by popular radio host and philanthropy thought leader Michael Chatman. He received hundreds of nominations while looking for the most impactful women in the field.
“These women were selected for their philanthropic impact through the art of collaboration and their ability to facilitate, to the highest degree, the free flow of information and innovation across sector networks to advance social change,” Chatman wrote in announcing the list.
Spruill, the mother of recent graduate Caroline Spruill ’12, presented a President’s Forum Series lecture at the Colleges, “Creating a Climate for Change in Ocean Conservation” in 2010.
The Council is one of the nation’s largest associations of philanthropic organizations. According to its website, under Spruill’s leadership, it “looks to build a thriving philanthropic network that empowers grant makers to work on shared social challenges across geographies, constituencies, and topics.”
“I am truly honored to be named among such incredible women,” Spruill is quoted in a press release from the Council. “Obviously this list speaks to the amazing accomplishments of women in our field, but it also demonstrates the power of philanthropy to engage individuals as leaders of strategy, innovation, and change.”
Prior to taking the reins at the Council on Foundations, Spruill was president and chief executive officer of the Ocean Conservancy, a position she held since 2006. She previously served as president and founder of SeaWeb, a non-profit organization that uses strategic communications techniques to advance ocean conservation.
Spruill spent 15 years in public relations, including five years as a senior vice president at Ruder Finn, one of the largest independently-held public relations firms in the world, where she was responsible for client management and new business development. Spruill is a member of the board of directors for Sky Truth and sits on the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Steering Committee. She is currently a director of COMPASS, the Communications Partnership for Science and the Sea. Spruill serves on the Advisory Committee for the Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum and the Conservation Committee of the SeaChange Investment Fund. She is also a newly appointed member of the Pew Fellows Advisory Committee. Most recently, Spruill founded FoundationWorks, a nonprofit organization helps foundations utilize strategic communications.
Spruill graduated cum laude from Loyola University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in religious studies. She received her master’s degree, also in communications, from the University of West Florida.
The complete list of America’s Top 20 Women in Philanthropy, Social Innovation, and Civic Engagement is available online.