Valerie Conn
Executive Director, President-elect (Jan 1, 2020)

As executive director of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, Valerie brings over 25 years of experience working with philanthropists, foundations, and corporations to fund science, medicine, engineering, and education initiatives. In 2015 Valerie joined Science Philanthropy Alliance as its second employee in the role of vice president, helping to create the strategy to advise philanthropists on how to effectively support basic science research.

In addition to building and managing the operational capacity of the organization, Valerie is a key advisor to a growing number of Alliance members and other philanthropists. Valerie creates customized science philanthropy strategies and serves as a connector for the science and philanthropic worlds. She is a recognized expert on science philanthropy and a frequent speaker to a variety of stakeholders, including billionaire philanthropists, university science leaders, and fundraising professionals.

During her decade as a development officer at the University of Chicago (2004-2013), Valerie led teams in the Physical Sciences Division, as well as university strategic initiatives, including developing and implementing the strategy for partnership development, resource development, and marketing for the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Computation Institute fundraising initiatives.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Valerie was vice president of strategy for the B612 Foundation from 2014-2015. Valerie began her career at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1989, after which she led a campaign for medical research at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s) in Chicago from 1999 to 2003.

Valerie serves on the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern University, and has two grown children.