Welcome to the Foundation

We can trace the roots of our organization back a century into the history of Chicago, to the origins of Poetry magazine and to its founder Harriet Monroe. It is her vision that informs the work we do every day. But there is also a second woman—really a second founder—whose philanthropy has made everything the Foundation does possible. Ruth Lilly, in bestowing on poetry a significant portion of her personal wealth, ensured that Harriet Monroe's desire to celebrate and discover the best poetry will continue long into the magazine's second century. The Foundation, whose mission commits it to a more vigorous presence for poetry in our culture, has pursued this through a family of programs, all realized with Ms. Lilly's generous gift. Harriet Monroe and Ruth Lilly were two women of the Midwest for whom poetry was a passion central to life itself. We celebrate their lasting gifts every day and share them with you through our work.


Henry Bienen, President
Caren F. Skoulas, CFO
Ydalmi Noriega, Manager of Cross-Program Activities and Board Relations
Bessie Rose, President's Office Assistant
Chelsea Avery, Events and Logistics Coordinator
Ariel Clark-Semyck, Events & Logistics Intern
Beyza Ozer, Events & Logistics Intern
Dylan Swisher, Finance and Administration Associate
Patrick Samuel, Receptionist and Fiscal Assistant
Cindy Valencia, Finance Assistant


Cassie Mayer, Director of Digital Programs
James Sitar, Senior Editor
Ellen Umansky, Features Editor
Michael Slosek, Web Editor
Nuria Sheehan, Project Manager
Meaghan Winston, Web Producer
Karl Saffran, Permissions Coordinator


Katherine Litwin, Library Director
Maggie Queeney, Library Coordinator
H. Melt, Education and Youth Services Assistant


Elizabeth Burke-Dain, Media and Marketing Director
Polly Faust, Media Assistant
Anna Jones, Media Intern


Don Share, Editor
Fred Sasaki, Art Director
Sarah Dodson, Managing Editor
Lindsay Garbutt, Assistant Editor
Holly Amos, Editorial Assistant
Nathan Hoks, Editorial Assistant
Christina Pugh, Consulting Editor
Alexander Knowlton, Designer


Stephen Young, Program Director
Justine Haka, Program Associate

Other Information

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    Richard P. Kiphart, Former Chair
    In Memoriam

    Willard Bunn, III, Chair

    Henry Bienen, President
    Douglas R. Brown, Trustee
    Lonnie Bunch, Trustee
    Allan E. Bulley, III, Trustee
    Marian Godfrey, Trustee
    Kary McIlwain, Trustee
    Stuart J. Miller, Secretary
    Susan Noyes, Trustee
    David Ormesher, Vice Chair
    Charles E. Pierce, Trustee
    James Rondeau, Trustee
    Scott Turow, Trustee
    Benna Wilde, Vice Chair
    Caren Yanis, Trustee


    Ruth Lilly
    American poetry has no greater friend than Ruth Lilly. Over many years and in many ways, it has been blessed by her personal generosity. In 1985 she endowed the Ruth Lilly Professorship in Poetry at Indiana University.

    In 1986 she established the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Awarded annually, the $100,000 prize honors a living US poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. In 1989 she created two Ruth Lilly Fellowships, for $15,000 each, given annually by the Poetry Foundation to undergraduate or graduate students selected through a national competition. In 2002 her lifetime engagement with poetry culminated in a magnificent bequest that will enable the Poetry Foundation to promote, in perpetuity, a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.