Developing educated, informed, and engaged citizens.

Executive Team

Timothy P. Knight, President and Chief Executive Officer

Timothy P. Knight

Tim Knight is President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which works with communities in Chicagoland and across Illinois to develop educated, informed, and engaged citizens. The Foundation aims to assist communities, strengthen our democracy, and help ensure that families, especially children, have the opportunities they need to flourish.

Most of Tim’s career was spent in the media industry, much of it with Tribune Company. He served as CEO, President, and a member of the Board of Tribune Publishing Co. He previously served as President and CEO of Newsday Media Group and Publisher of Newsday. Prior to Newsday, he held several senior management positions at Tribune Company and the Chicago Tribune.

Tim was a co-founder and held senior management roles at Classified Ventures, LLC (parent of cars.com and apartments.com). Prior to joining Classified Ventures, he served as mergers and acquisitions counsel for Tribune Company. He also previously served as the President of Advance Ohio, parent of cleveland.com, and as CEO of the holding company of the Chicago Sun-Times. Tim started his career as a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom in Chicago and London.

Tim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Marquette University and a law degree from DePaul University College of Law.

Engaged in a number of civic organizations over the years, Tim is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of DePaul University and the Board of Regents of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

Donald A. Cooke, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy

Donald Cooke

Donald A. Cooke began serving as senior vice president for philanthropy of the McCormick Foundation in May 2005. He provides oversight and management to the Foundation’s grant-making programs, which include communities, democracy, education, special initiatives, and veterans, and he has worked extensively on the issue of gun violence in Chicago.

Cooke began his career in 1981 in Philadelphia at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. Over the course of 12 years, he served as director of the Fels Planetarium, director of development, vice president for external affairs, acting museum director and executive vice president for programs and planning. He subsequently served for eight years at the Philadelphia Orchestra as vice president for external affairs. Prior to his current position, Cooke was the vice president for institutional advancement for The Field Museum in Chicago.

A Philadelphia native, Cooke was educated at Williams College and Harvard University, where he studied astrophysics. He is the author of many papers and articles and often lectures on astronomy and nonprofit management. He is author of the book “The Life and Death of Stars,” published by Crown Publishers in 1985.

He currently serves on the boards of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Illinois Joining Forces, Truth in Accounting, and the USO of Illinois and has served as chairman of the City of Lake Forest Historic Preservation Commission. He is the past chairman of Forefront, an Illinois-based association for nonprofits. Cooke and his wife Sally reside in Lake Forest, Illinois.

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David J. Granat, Chief Investment Officer

David Granat

David J. Granat began serving as the chief investment officer of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in June 2007. Granat began his financial career at Quaker Oats Company, a consumer-goods company, where he held a series of financial management positions, including manager of corporate finance, manager of financial analysis and internal auditor. He was named Quaker’s assistant treasurer in 1982.

He subsequently joined the Tribune Company as treasurer in 1985. Prior to joining the Foundation, Granat served as the Tribune Company’s vice president / investments, where he was responsible for managing the company’s pension fund, 401(k) assets, and other investment portfolios.

A Chicago native, Granat holds a master’s of business administration degree and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and is a certified public accountant. Granat and his wife, Lorie, reside in Chicago.

Rebekah Levin, Director of Evaluation and Learning

Rebekah Levin

Rebekah Levin is the Director of Evaluation and Learning for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, guiding the Foundation in evaluating the impact of its philanthropic giving and its involvement in community issues. She is working both with the Foundation’s grantmaking programs, and also with the parks, gardens, and museums at Cantigny Park.

Rebekah joined the Foundation from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was Research Associate Professor in the College of Education, designing and implementing evaluations for foundations and nonprofits and teaching evaluation and research methods. Prior to UIC, Rebekah was with the Center for Impact Research in Chicago for 10 years, serving as its Executive Director from 2001 to 2006. Rebekah earned her MA and Ph.D. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Her bachelor’s degree is from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

Louis J. Marsico, Senior Vice President of Operations

Louis Marsico

Louis J. Marsico Jr. was promoted to senior vice president of operations on June 1, 2005. Marsico had been serving as the vice president of finance and administration of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation since December 1999. He joined the foundation as director of finance in 1987.

Marsico started his financial career in 1981 as a staff auditor with the public accounting firm Arthur Young. After two years in auditing he moved on to the divisional headquarters of the MCC Powers unit of Mark Controls as their junior financial analyst. Four years later, he left Powers as their manager of field planning and analysis to join the foundation.

A Chicago native, Marsico holds a bachelor’s of science in business management from Northeastern Illinois University and a master’s of business administration in finance from DePaul University. He is also a certified public accountant.

Currently, Marsico serves as a member of the DePaul University Finance Advisory Board, and a member of the Forefront Audit/Finance Committee.

Marsico and his wife Marlene live in Palatine, IL.

Phil Zepeda, Director of Communications

Phil Zepeda

Phil Zepeda leads the team that manages all strategic communications for the Foundation as well as Cantigny Park and Cantigny Golf. With a deep background in marketing communications and public affairs, he’s held senior communications leadership roles at the national headquarters of Feeding America and the American Red Cross. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and Northern Illinois University, and serves on the Board of Directors of Amate House, the young adult volunteer program of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Phil resides in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood with his wife Patricia and daughter Ann.