Dr. Robert E. Eckardt

Executive Vice President, The Cleveland Foundation

Robert E. Eckardt is Executive Vice President at The Cleveland Foundation, America’s oldest and third largest community foundation.  Working with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, he provides overall direction and supervision for grants totaling about $80 million annually.  He directly supervises ten senior program staff and provides overall supervision and administrative leadership for a program staff of more than 25.  He also serves as a corporate officer of the Foundation.

Dr. Eckardt graduated with honors from Grinnell College in Iowa.  After graduation, he spent two years as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow studying care of the elderly in Europe.  He resided in Madrid and Copenhagen and worked with the Spanish Office of Social Security, The Danish Institute for Social Research, the European office of the World Health Organization, the Jonkoping Gerontology Center, and the Norwegian Gerontology Institute.

After his return to the US, he attended the University of Michigan for graduate studies.   In 1977 he received both his Masters in Public Health and a Certificate of Specialization in Aging.  In 1984 he enrolled in the Pew Doctoral Program at the University of Michigan and received his Doctor of Public Health (Health Policy) degree in 1990.

He moved to Cleveland in 1977 as a planning associate at the Federation for Community Planning.  In this capacity, he worked on improved methods to meet the long-term care needs of Clevelanders.  He also directed a federally funded program of the Federation, the Benjamin Rose Institute and Case Western Reserve University to improve education in geriatrics and gerontology.

In 1982 Dr. Eckardt assumed the position of Program Officer with The Cleveland Foundation.  He was promoted to Senior Program Officer in 1988 and in 1996 was given additional responsibility as Manager of Grant Evaluation.  In 2000 he was promoted to Vice President, in 2006 to Senior Vice President, and in 2010 to Executive Vice President.  Dr. Eckardt has served on the Boards of several national philanthropic groups, including Grantmakers in Health, Grantmakers in Aging, Funders Concerned About AIDS and the Grantmakers Evaluation Network and has consulted with foundations throughout the country.  He is an elected Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.   He currently serves on the Board of the Center for Creative Aging, Village Capital Corporation, and the American Society on Aging, the advisory committee of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and on the faculty of the Grantmaking School at Grand Valley State University.  He is the 2006 recipient of the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy and the 2010 Distinguished Grantmaker Award from the Council on Foundations.