WHO WE ARE
Richard H. Driehaus, a successful investment advisor, made his first public philanthropic gesture in 1983 when he established his eponymous foundation. For the next decade, the Foundation made grants totaling $6,000,000. In 1992 a family board was appointed, an executive director was hired, and giving became more formal and focused. Today the Foundation's annual grantmaking program is close to $5,000,000; 30% of which is granted in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The Foundation benefits individuals and communities by supporting the preservation and enhancement of the built and natural environments through historic preservation, encouragement of quality architectural and landscape design, and conserving open space. The Foundation also supports the performing and visual arts, investigative reporting and government accountability, and makes grants to organizations that provide opportunities for working families who remain poor.
Kim Coventry joined The Foundation in January 2014 as executive director. A native of Northern California, she received a BA in Art History from the University of Redlands, and an MA in Art History (with a focus on ancient art) and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California. After moving to Chicago in 1986, Kim worked in museum administration at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago. She later worked in the university’s department of rare books and manuscripts, where she oversaw exhibitions and conservation.
In 1992, Kim founded The Coventry Group, a consulting firm that worked with libraries, museums, foundations, colleges and universities, and individuals on a range of projects and initiatives, with a focus on managing the realization of institutional histories, biographies, and organizing exhibitions and accompanying catalogues. Many of her clients were in the not-for-profit sector, including Crab Tree Farm Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Lake Forest College, the Newberry Library, Lake Forest–Lake Bluff Historical Society, the Museum of Science and Industry, Northwestern University, and WTTW.
Kim is author of Printing for the Modern Age: Commerce, Craft, and Culture in the R.R. Donnelley Archive (2006), The History of Crab Tree Farm (2012), and Cairo to Chicago: The Courtship and Marriage of Emily Birnie Smith and Harold Cornelius Smith (forthcoming). She coauthored Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest: Architecture and Landscape Design 1856–1940 (2003), and Walter Frazier: Frazier Raftery Orr & Fairbank Architects: Houses of Chicago’s North Shore, 1924–1970 (2008).
Kim serves on the board of the Poetry Foundation. She is also active in the Caxton Club of Chicago (whose publications committee she cochairs) and was past president of the Classical Art Society at the Art Institute of Chicago. She collects illustrated books of poetry and pursues her strong interest in the history of Chicago, especially of arts patronage and collecting.
Kim Romero is the operations and grants manager at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. She is responsible for managing the technical, legal, financial, and administrative components of the grantmaking process at the foundation and provides administrative support to the executive director.
Prior to joining the Driehaus Foundation, Kim worked in development at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She received her BA in Art History from UCLA and is a member of the Grants Managers Network and a Board member of Chicago Women in Philanthropy. Kim lives in St. Charles, Illinois, with her husband, David.
Sejal Shah-Myers is a part-time program officer for The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. She works in several of the foundations’ program areas with a special emphasis in Economic Opportunity for the Working Poor and provides fundraising technical assistance to foundation grantees.
In addition to grantmaking she has worked as a fundraiser and consultant to nonprofits. Most recently she was director of corporate partnerships at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Before that she was manager of donor services at The Chicago Community Trust.
Sejal has a Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University. She earned her BS in Business Management at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and she enjoys reading, yoga and riding her tandem bike with her husband, Matthew.
Jenny Melander is part-time administrative assistant. She is responsible for helping with the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.
Prior to working for the Foundation, Jenny taught art in the Chicago Public School system. She has a BA in art from Purdue University and MA in art education from Aquinas College. She lives in a Chicago Bungalow in the Ravenswood neighborhood with her husband, Mike.