Deborah Leff

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Deborah Leff "is President of the Public Welfare Foundation, a half-billion dollar philanthropy based in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to improving the lives of those in society who are least advantaged and who lack fundamental rights. She oversees a grant portfolio of more than $20 million.

"From 2001-2006, Ms. Leff was Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The Kennedy Library's documentary and audiovisual collections make it a major center for the study of mid-20th century American History. Its archives include more than eight million pages of the personal, congressional, and presidential papers of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as well as nearly 300,000 photographs, eight million feet of film, and 11,000 hours of audio recordings. The archives also hold the papers of Robert F. Kennedy and more than 300 of the Kennedys' associates and contemporaries, as well as the papers and artifacts of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway. The Library's Museum, which highlights its collection, is one of Boston's most popular tourist destinations.

"Prior to assuming the Library directorship, Ms. Leff held a variety of leadership positions in the public, private, and non-profit sectors including America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization and the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, a private, policy-oriented foundation known for its innovative approaches in funding for environmental improvement, gun violence reduction, campaign finance reform, and welfare reform. Ms. Leff was Senior Producer at ABC News Nightline, ABC News World News Tonight, and ABC News 20/20 from 1983 to 1992, where she won Dupont and Emmy Awards for news coverage such as a week-long World News Tonight series on children in poverty and Nightline's coverage of the Middle East.

"Ms. Leff has also held several positions with the federal government, including Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Director of Public Affairs at the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Leff received her undergraduate degree cum laude from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where she was named a University Scholar. She earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She currently serves on the board of directors of Sound Portraits, the Peabody Award winning producer of radio documentaries dedicated to broadening the national debate on such issues as poverty, juvenile justice, prison, and race. She previously chaired the Midwest Committee for the Selection of Rhodes Scholars and served on the national boards of CARE — the international relief and development agency — the Children's Defense Fund and the Women's Legal Defense Fund." [1]

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  1. Deborah Leff, Public Welfare Foundation, accessed July 29, 2008.