George Mason's Board of Visitors

Kimberly O. Dennis

Kimberly O. Dennis

Kim Dennis is president and CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust, a grantmaking foundation established by the late Daniel C. Searle to support public policy research. She has served in this capacity since 1996. The foundation awards upwards of $15 million in grants annually, with the bulk of that support going to think tanks and universities.

From 2001-05, Ms. Dennis also directed the National Research Initiative, a Searle-funded program of the American Enterprise Institute. The program was created to assist AEI in supporting and publishing work by university-based scholars and other researchers, with the intention of increasing the volume, visibility, and influence of high-quality policy research in practical policy debate.

Ms. Dennis has spent over 30 years in the philanthropic arena. She was the first executive director of the Philanthropy Roundtable, a national association of individual donors, foundation officers, corporate giving representatives, and trust and estate officers. She assumed leadership of the Roundtable when it was established as an independent organization and built the membership to 450 associates within five years. Her first grant-making experience was with the John M. Olin Foundation, which is best known for its role in developing law and economics as an academic discipline.

Ms. Dennis has also held positions with nonprofit educational and policymaking organizations, including the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and the Pacific Research Institute. She began her career as a social worker in northern Maine.

Currently, Ms. Dennis serves as chairman of the board of Donors Trust, vice chairman of Donors Capital Fund, a trustee of the Earhart Foundation, a member of the board of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, and a director of PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center. She serves on the selection committee for the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership and the Hayek Book Prize. Previously, she served on the boards of the W.H. Brady Foundation and the Philanthropy Roundtable, and was a member of the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal.

Ms. Dennis is a graduate of Bowdoin College. She lives in McLean, Virginia with her two children.