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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Eileen R. Heisman has a lofty family name to live up to, but she’s carving her own path and success just fine.

The president and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) is a member of the family for which the famed college football Heisman Trophy is named. The trophy is awarded annually to college football’s most outstanding player and is the oldest and most prestigious individual award in the sport.

As leader of NPT, Heisman is a nationally recognized specialist in charitable giving and planning. NPT is a public charity dedicated to providing philanthropic insights to donors, foundations and financial institutions, enabling them to realize their philanthropic goals.
NPT launched in October 1996, and soon after Heisman was hired as vice president. In 1998, Heisman was promoted to president and CEO. Under Heisman’s leadership, NPT grew its brand awareness and conducted direct fundraising through appearances at national conferences and regular one-on-one meetings with donors and estate representatives.

The addition of online grantmaking services resulted in an increased capacity to meet the needs of donors and advisors. In 2006, NPT released the first Donor- Advised Fund Report, a statistical review of the U.S. donor-advised fund market. The annual report is viewed as an industry standard and bellwether regarding the state of charitable giving through donor-advised funds.

Throughout the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, donor-advised fund donors provided more than $170 million to charitable organizations. Since its founding, NPT has raised more than $38.9 billion in charitable contributions, and it currently manages $26.6 billion in charitable assets. “We have made nearly 492,000 grants totaling more than $17.5 billion to charities all over the world,” the organization said. “We rank among the largest grantmaking institutions in the United States.”

Heisman has been named eight times by The NonProfit Times as one of its Power and Influence Top 50, an annual listing of the 50 most influential executives in the philanthropic sector. She is listed as one of ONE HUNDRED’s top influencers in philanthropy and was the recipient of a 2019 Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Achievement Award.

Heisman spoke to members of China’s emerging nonprofit sector about American philanthropy. She was the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2014 Outstanding Fundraising Professional, the highest award granted by AFP to recognize effective leadership and ethical fundraising.

Heisman earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s in social work with a major in social program evaluation from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the third Wharton Fellows Class at the University of Pennsylvania and completed the Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Heisman is a lecturer and member of the National Advisory Board at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and serves on Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College Board of Advisors. She served as founding chair of CultureWorks Philadelphia for seven years.


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