Robert E. Eckardt, Ph.D.
Program: The Grantmaking School
Robert E. Eckardt is Executive Vice President at The Cleveland Foundation, America’s oldest and third largest community foundation. Working with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, he provides overall direction and supervision for grants totaling about $70 million annually. He also has responsibility for managing activities related to program evaluation. He directly supervises ten senior program staff and provides overall supervision and administrative leadership for a program staff of more than 20. He also serves as a corporate officer of the Foundation.
Dr. Eckardt graduated with honors from Grinnell College in Iowa. After graduation, he spent two years as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow studying care of the elderly in Europe. He resided in Madrid and Copenhagen and worked with the Spanish Office of Social Security, The Danish Institute for Social Research, the European regional office of the World Health Organization, the Jonkoping Gerontology Center, and the Norwegian Gerontological Institute.
After his return to the U.S., he attended the University of Michigan for graduate studies. In 1977 he received both his Masters in Public Health (Health Planning and Administration) and a Certificate of Specialization in Aging. In 1984, he enrolled in the Pew Doctoral Program at the University of Michigan and received his Doctor of Public Health (Health Policy) degree in 1990.
He moved to Cleveland in 1977 as a planning associate at the Federation for Community Planning. In this capacity, he worked on improved methods to meet the long-term care needs of Clevelanders. He also directed a federally funded program of the Federation, the Benjamin Rose Institute and Case Western Reserve University to improve education in geriatrics and gerontology.
In 1982, Dr. Eckardt assumed the position of Program Officer with The Cleveland Foundation. He was promoted to Senior Program Officer in 1988 and in 1996 was given additional responsibility as Manager of Grant Evaluation. In 2000, he was promoted to Vice President, in 2006 to Senior Vice President, and in 2010 to Executive Vice President. Dr. Eckardt has served on the Boards of several national philanthropic groups, including Grantmakers in Health, Grantmakers in Aging, Funders Concerned About AIDS, and the Grantmakers Evaluation Network and has consulted with foundations throughout the country. He is an active member of several professional organizations and is an elected Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. He currently serves on the Board of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, the American Society on Aging and on the national advisory committee for the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He is the 2006 recipient of the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy and the 2010 Distinguished Grantmaker Award from the Council on Foundations.