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Cynthia Brandt Named New President and CEO of Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Led record-breaking fundraising campaign for the Smithsonian Institution

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health is pleased to announce that Cynthia Brandt will assume the role of president and Chief Executive Officer on September 4. 

Brandt has been campaign director at the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, and brings more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, campaign leadership, and external relations to her new role.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cynthia to the foundation,” said board chair Elaine Chambers, who served on the search committee. “With her remarkable successes in fundraising and her passion for the mission of children’s health, she brings the perfect combination of skills and qualities needed to lead us to further success.”

Brandt will lead a 98-member staff that pursues three strategies to improve children’s health. The foundation directs all fundraising for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and for the maternal and child health programs at Stanford University School of Medicine. Fundraising totaled more than $163 million last year. The foundation also operates a grantmaking program aimed at improving health care systems for children with special health care needs, and, a website that provides wide-ranging data to promote the health and well-being of children. 

“It’s a time of unparalleled innovation in health care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has huge potential to improve the lives of children and families in the Bay Area and beyond,” said Brandt. “Philanthropy can unlock that potential. I’m honored to join the foundation and a dedicated team of doctors, donors, board members, and staff. Together we will engage even more members of the community in this inspiring mission.”

At the Smithsonian, Brandt led the public phase of the institution’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, which raised $1.88 billion, surpassing its $1.5 billion goal 16 months early. It was the most ambitious fundraising campaign to date by a cultural institution. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she was vice president for institutional advancement at Mills College in Oakland, California, where she increased annual giving, tripled major gift solicitations, and worked closely with the president and trustees on policy and organizational strategy. 

“At Stanford Medicine, strategic relationships play a crucial role in our ability to lead the biomedical revolution in Precision Health, helping us to predict, prevent, and cure the health conditions that impact the lives of countless children and families,” said Lloyd B. Minor, MD, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine and a member of the search committee. “Cynthia has a track record of creating impactful relationships with institutional leaders, board members, and colleagues, and her leadership will improve health outcomes not only in our local community but across the nation and world.”

Brandt is no stranger to Stanford. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English and fine arts from Vanderbilt University, she earned a master’s degree and PhD in sociology from Stanford. She then served as associate dean for external relations at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, where in 2008 her team surpassed the five-year fundraising average by 50 percent.  

“We are grateful for the foundation’s remarkable commitment to advancing children’s health, which has helped Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford grow and continues to help fund our transformational expansion,” said Dennis Lund, MD, the hospital’s interim chief executive officer, and chief medical officer. “I look forward to working with Cynthia as she provides the leadership to ensure that more children and families receive the life-saving care they need.”

Brandt is the third president and CEO of the foundation, which was founded in 1997. She succeeds David Alexander, MD, who stepped down in March after holding the position for 11 years.

Media Contact:

Jodi Mouratis
Communications Officer
Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
(408) 205-8456 (cell)


About the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health is a public charity, founded in 1997. Its mission is to elevate the priority of children’s health, and to increase the quality and accessibility of children’s health care through leadership and direct investment. The Foundation directs all fundraising for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and the child health and obstetric programs of Stanford University School of Medicine. To learn more, visit or