As president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation, Emmett D. Carson provides overall vision, leadership and motivation for one of the largest, oldest and most complex community foundations in the country. He oversees the Foundations grantmaking, loan making, communications, fund development and investment management activities. As external spokesperson, he is responsible for developing collaborative relationships with all sectors and segments of the community as well as with other organizations nationwide. Since his arrival in 1994, the Foundation has embarked on a ten-year $20 million initiative to improve the lives of children and families in poverty, raised record annual gifts ($46 million in fiscal year 1999) and increased total assets under management from $186 million to over $400 million.
Carson came to The Minneapolis Foundation from the Ford Foundation in New York, where he spent 5 years as program officer, first in the area of social justice and then in governance and public policy. Responsible for the Foundations domestic and international support of community foundations and the nonprofit sector, Carson managed a $10 million grantmaking budget that reached across the country and as far as Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to that he served as project director of the Study on Black Philanthropy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC, where he designed and directed the first national study of the charitable giving and volunteer behavior of black and white Americans.
Earlier in his career, Carson taught research and public policy courses as an adjunct professor in the Afro-American Studies program at the University of Maryland and served as a legislative research analyst at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Carson received a Phi Beta Kappa bachelors degree in economics from Morehouse College and MPA and PhD degrees in public and international affairs from Princeton University. He is the author of several books and dozens of articles on American philanthropy.