Knight Foundation Names Philadelphia Program Director and Director of Business Consulting

Press Release

June 23, 2010


MIAMI (June 23, 2010) Donna Frisby-Greenwood, a social entrepreneur and experienced executive, has joined Knight Foundation as program director for Philadelphia.

Knight Foundation has also named private equity and business expert Benoit Wirz as director of business consulting, a newly created position. Wirz is a founder of US Global, where he helped take businesses from start-up to profitability.

About Donna Frisby-Greenwood

Frisby-Greenwood will work with local leaders to identify and invest in opportunities to foster an informed and engaged Philadelphia.

Previously, Frisby-Greenwood launched and led the Philadelphia school district’s Office of College and Career Awareness. Prior to that, she helped create the country's first online voter registration drive as executive director of Rock the Vote, Los Angeles. She also served as executive director of Inner-City Games Philadelphia and founder and executive director of Children First, Inc.

“Donna has two decades of experience striving for and spearheading change – talents she will use to help in Knight Foundation’s efforts to transform Philadelphia,” said Trabian Shorters, Knight’s vice president for communities.

Frisby-Greenwood is on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation and Afro-One Dance Company. An Eisenhower and National Urban Fellow, she received the 2009 Distinguished Leadership Award from the Community College of Philadelphia and has been named by Essence Magazine as one of Fifty Women to Watch.

Frisby-Greenwood has a bachelor’s in English from the University of Virginia and a master’s in business administration from Baruch College.


About Benoit Wirz

As director of business consulting, Wirz will work with Knight Foundation staff to develop programs based on realistic business plans. He will also consult with select Knight grantees. At US Global, Wirz identified, evaluated and managed investments ranging from $500,000 to $10 million. While there, Wirz was also instrumental in the start-up and management of portfolio companies, serving as vice president for strategic planning for a manufacturing company, U.S. Global Glass, and vice president, business development for US Global Synfuel, which invested in energy companies and synthetic fuel.

“Knight Foundation seeks people and organizations with ideas to transform journalism and communities. Ben will use his business skills to ensure those ideas reach their full potential,” said Juan Martinez, vice president, CFO and treasurer for Knight Foundation.

Wirz recently completed his MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and received a master’s in international policy studies and a bachelor’s in international relations from Stanford University.

Wirz and Frisby-Greenwood join a number of other recent new hires at Knight Foundation. They include: Judith Kleinberg, an attorney and former Palo Alto Mayor who has led both a tech start-up and award-winning nonprofits, named program director for San Jose/ Silicon Valley; Jennifer Thomas, a non-profit executive who has helped develop innovative ideas for revitalizing Northeast Ohio, named Akron program director; and John Bracken, an expert in online innovation and former MacArthur Foundation program officer, who will direct grantmaking in digital media.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

Contact: Marc Fest, Vice President of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677; [email protected]