ASU Lodestar Center


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Three nonprofit community champions join ASU Lodestar Center's Leadership Council

Portraits of 3 people: Kim Covington, Frank M. Placenti, Jessica Gabry.

September 13, 2021 (Phoenix, Ariz.) - The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is proud to welcome three new members to its Community Leadership Council this fall: Kim Covington, Jessica Gabry and Frank M. Placenti. These champions of the nonprofit and philanthropic community will help guide the ASU Lodestar Center as it educates, empowers and connects leaders in the sector.

Kim Covington is the Vice President of Community Initiatives at the Arizona Community Foundation. Covington works to amplify ACF’s presence in diverse communities across the state by creating innovative and community collaborations with existing and new partners. From leading the Philanthropy for All Initiative, or convening the community to have conversations about social justice issues in the Courage to Listen, Learn and Act, Covington and ACF believe there is power in partnerships, shared passion and pooled resources.

Covington left the formal newsroom after 30 years in the television news industry. Along with her time at KPNX 12 News as a News Anchor and School Solutions Reporter, her career spans from Springfield, Missouri and Grand Rapids, Michigan to her hometown St. Louis, Missouri. She is the recipient of several awards including four Emmy Awards for excellence in reporting, several Associated Press awards, the 2020 Town of Paradise Valley Martin Luther King Diversity Award and was recently nominated for the 2020 ATHENA Award, an internationally prized honor which recognizes women who demonstrate excellence in professional leadership, community service, and mentorship of future leaders.

Jessica Gabry has spent almost two decades in the Phoenix Valley building her career in the business sector and elevating her volunteer leadership with numerous Arizona nonprofits. A two-time ASU alum and graduate of the Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management program, she leverages her academic and acquired skills to advance strategic planning and fundraising for organizations, including The Phoenix Symphony, Social Venture Partners, The Junior League of Phoenix, Experience Matters and more. Currently, Gabry works for Starbucks Coffee Company and manages a diverse portfolio within their technology department. Gabry's oversight includes Starbucks early-in-tech program development, operations for the Scottsdale Starbucks Office, and creating a connected culture through tech-centric learning. The ASU & Starbucks partnership is woven through her portfolio in unique ways, bridging both innovation and scale for emerging workforce trends.

Gabry’s strengths include forging strong connections within the community, encompassing people to new opportunities, organizations to volunteers, and nonprofits to new revenue streams. Her passion for educating the community on innovative philanthropic opportunities drives her success in the workplace and in the Phoenix Valley.

Frank M. Placenti serves as the chair of the U.S. governance practice for Squire Patton Boggs LLP and is nationally recognized for his work in corporate governance, and mergers and acquisitions. Frank has more than 35 years of experience in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, securities law, antitakeover and shareholder relations issues.

In 2005, Placenti conceived and served as the founding president of the American College of Governance Counsel, a professional association of the leading 150 governance lawyers in North America. He currently serves as the chair of the Corporate Governance Committee of the American Bar Association. Placenti is a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership and has served as board chair of some of Arizona’s largest nonprofit organizations, including the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Herberger Theater Company and the Arizona Science Center. In 2019, he conceived and conducted the Arizona Non-Profit Governance Symposium to provide governance training for nonprofit directors in concert with the Arizona Community Foundation.

Learn more about these impactful community leaders on the Leadership Council page.

About the ASU Lodestar Center

Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation educates, empowers and connects nonprofit leaders to accelerate social impact. Housed within ASU’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and its School of Community Resources and Development, the ASU Lodestar Center believes that the quality of life in communities is enriched with impactful philanthropy and effective nonprofit leadership. For more than 20 years, the ASU Lodestar Center has provided education, research, practical tools and convenings for nonprofit professionals, philanthropists and volunteers who seek to solve problems and realize their communities’ highest aspirations.