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Honoring the Philanthropic Leadership of Donald H. Hubbs on his 100th Birthday

December 11, 2017

Donald H. Hubbs, our former chairman, chief executive officer and president, will be celebrating his 100th birthday on January 3, 2018. We want to honor one of our most influential leaders for his 36-year association with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. For 17 years, Hubbs served as president (1981-1998), followed by seven years as chairman and chief executive officer (1998-2005). He led the board of directors in translating Conrad Hilton’s charitable vision into specific, effective actions as the Foundation prepared to assume its place among the nation’s largest philanthropic institutions.

Donald H. Hubbs (center) and team visiting a water treatment facility in Yaw Tenkorang, Ghana.

Hubbs led the Foundation with his vision, becoming an innovative thinker in the field of philanthropy. The hallmark of Hubbs’s leadership was initiative. Ahead of the curve, in 1982 he gained the support of the Foundation’s board of directors to adopt a proactive, major project approach to grantmaking, rather than simply reacting to incoming requests. This approach led to new grantmaking avenues that would have otherwise remained unexplored. Hubbs spearheaded long-term grant investments to educate visually impaired children with disabilities in more than 60 developing countries. A few of his bold initiatives include: partnerships with World Vision and The Carter Center to eradicate Guinea worm in Africa and trachoma in Africa and Asia; and the creation of a model state code, a state-of-the-art policy framework regarding domestic and family violence.

L to R: Director Emeritus Donald H. Hubbs impressed upon his successor, mentee and current Chairman, Steven M. Hilton, the duty and responsibility to adhere to Conrad Hilton’s intentions for the Foundation’s grantmaking.

Under his tenure, investment strategies grew the value of the Foundation assets, yet his achievements are not limited to philanthropy. Hubbs also received a Purple Heart for his service as a U.S. Army lieutenant as well as humanitarian awards from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Perkins School for the Blind. In anticipation of his 100th birthday, we want to thank and recognize Hubbs for his steadfast loyalty to donor intent and his major project approach to grantmaking. In his humble and dignified manner, he led by shining example and stayed the course to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout the world.

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