Patty Stonesifer

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Patty Stonesifer
Born 1956
Indianapolis
Alma mater Indiana University
Occupation President and CEO of Martha's Table
Children Two

Patricia Q. Stonesifer /ˈstnsfər/ (born 1956) is the President and CEO of Martha's Table, a non-profit in Washington, DC, that develops sustainable solutions to poverty.[1][2] Stonesifer currently advises business, nonprofit and government leaders on strategies for reducing inequity, and was appointed in 2010 by President Obama to serve as the Chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions.[3] In July 1996, she was named as one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time.[4]

Career and Nonprofit Work[edit]

Patty Stonesifer is the former co-chair and chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. On February 7, 2008, she announced that she would step aside from her role at the end of the year.[5] In the ten years prior, she was the founding CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 1997, Bill and Melinda Gates asked Stonesifer to launch the Gates Library Foundation,[6] which later merged with the William H. Gates Foundation in 2000. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's US$38.7 billion endowment fund hands out more than a billion dollars a year to "improve access to advances in global health and learning."

Before joining the Gates Foundation, Ms. Stonesifer spent two decades working in technology, with her final role as Senior Vice President at Microsoft Corporation leading the consumer and interactive products division. Stonesifer was a consultant to DreamWorks SKG and held several vice president positions at Microsoft. Stonesifer began her tenure at Microsoft running Microsoft Canada before being promoted to Vice President and revamping Microsoft's Product Support operations.[7] Later she oversaw the Consumer Products Group and served as senior vice president of the Interactive Media Division.[7] In the latter position, Stonesifer was responsible for an $800 million business whose product was interactive entertainment, news, information and service products. In addition, Stonesifer managed Microsoft's investments in new online content and service products including MSN. The Interactive Media Division produced software titles including Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, Microsoft's Magic School Bus Series and Microsoft Flight Simulator. In 1996 she negotiated a Microsoft and DreamWorks SKG joint venture, DreamWorks Interactive, which was subsequently acquired by Electronic Arts.

Stonesifer is a founding board member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. She served on the board of The GAVI Fund, which helps to provide vaccines to developing countries. Stonesifer has also served on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on AIDS. She is a founding co-chair of the CITIES board, which promotes expanding the use of technology in Seattle's community colleges. Stonesifer donates both time and resources to a number of other regional nonprofit organizations and serves on boards of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Center for Global Development, the Broad Institute, and is a member of the Circle of Allies and Champions for the National Council of Young Leaders, an Advisory Board Member for America Achieves, Hope Street Group Advisor and on the Executive Committee of RaiseDC. Ms. Stonesifer served as a member of the US delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions on AIDS, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also on the corporate board of Amazon.com. In 2012 she completed her term as Chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents.

Education and Personal life[edit]

Born in Indianapolis, Stonesifer is one of nine children.[8] She is a graduate of Indiana University, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Indiana University and Tufts University. She is married to Michael Kinsley, a political columnist and former head of the Microsoft-funded online journal Slate. She has two children from a previous marriage.[9]

Amazon Controversy[edit]

Patty Stonesifer’s position on the Amazon.com, Inc. board of directors attracted controversy in connection with the 2014 dispute between Amazon and the publishing house Hachette.[10] In a disagreement with Hachette over terms, Amazon delayed shipping and stopped taking preorders for books by Hachette’s authors.[11] On September 19, 2014, a group of eleven hundred authors sent Stonesifer a letter asking if she and the board of Amazon had approved the policy of hindering the sale of certain books.[12] The letter said, in part, that “efforts to impede or block the sale of books have a long and ugly history. Do you, personally, want to be associated with this?”[13] The letter asked Stonesifer and the other members of Amazon’s board to “put an end to the sanctioning of books, which are the foundation of our culture and democracy.”

References[edit]