Benton Foundation Announces Reorganization of Leadership

Charles Benton
[email protected]

Adrianne Benton Furniss Becomes the Executive Director, Amina Fazlullah Director of Policy

The Benton Foundation today announced the reorganization of leadership to strengthen the organization’s core work advocating for universal, affordable broadband and begin a transition to a new generation of Benton stewardship.

Effective July 1, 2013, Adrianne Benton Furniss becomes the foundation’s Executive Director. Cecilia Garcia, the foundation’s Executive Director since 2007, will continue with the foundation as Senior Advisor. Amina Fazlullah has been promoted to Director of Policy, leading the foundation’s policy advocacy.

Adrianne Furniss is no stranger to the Benton Foundation. While she pursued a 20-year career in media marketing, distribution and management at Sesame Workshop and Home Vision Entertainment (HVE), she served the foundation as Board Member; Secretary, then Vice Chair; and member of Benton’s finance committee. In addition to her new staff duties at the foundation, Furniss will continue to serve as a Trustee of the Benton Foundation, Chair of the Board for Kartemquin Films, the not-for-profit documentary film and media arts company based in Chicago, and as board member of the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

“It is with great pride,” Chairman Charles Benton noted, “that we announce this transition between Cecilia Garcia, who has served with great distinction, and our daughter, Adrianne. We are lucky that Cecilia eased the family into addressing the issue of succession proactively so we can continue the legacy begun by my father, William Benton. I look forward to working with Adrianne and our Board to maximize the foundation's impact and grow our programs and outreach.”

As a Senior Advisor, Cecilia Garcia will explore opportunities for Benton to collaborate on projects that address relevance and accessibility of 21st Century communications technologies for low-income senior citizens. “I appreciate Cecilia’s leadership over the past 7 years and her support during the management transition,” said Furniss. “I look forward to her continued leadership advocating for policies and projects that connect one of our country’s most vulnerable community’s to the promises of the Digital Age.”

“Communications in the public interest is what drew me to Benton,” Garcia said. “It is an honor to participate in this grand purpose. I am particularly pleased to be able to focus my efforts on the challenges related to broadband adoption by low-income elderly consumers.”

Amina Fazlullah is now Benton’s Director of Policy. Since 2010, Fazlullah has led the foundation’s federal telecommunications and media policy efforts in Washington (DC). She has concentrated the foundation’s work on Universal Service Fund reform with a specific focus on the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline and E-rate programs which make telecommunications services more affordable for low-income households, and schools and libraries respectively. Fazlullah also helps develop and support important consumer protection policies which help vulnerable communities access, adopt and utilize broadband and voice services.

“In this new role,” said Furniss, “Amina will explore new opportunities for advancing the foundation’s mission in the months and years ahead. Through her expanding network, she will promote policy solutions that ensure affordable broadband networks are available to all, extending opportunities to those who can benefit most.”

“I look forward to continuing the collaboration with Benton’s Board and colleagues in the field to press federal policymakers for equitable policies for all Americans, especially our most vulnerable populations,” said Fazlullah.

The Benton Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting communication in the public interest. These comments reflect the institutional view of the Foundation and, unless obvious from the text, are not intended to reflect the views of individual Foundation officers, directors, or advisors.