Foundation Welcomes Two New Members to Board of Directors; Re-Elects Chair and Vice Chair

Heather Tookes Alexopoulos, PhD, and Keith B. Churchwell, MD to begin seven-year terms effective January 1, 2022

L-R: Heather Tookes Alexopoulos and Keith B. Churchwell Photos Courtesy of Yale School of Management and Yale New Haven Hospital

New Haven, Conn. (January 20, 2022) - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the region's largest grantmaker and charitable endowment, welcomes two new members to its Board of Directors effective January 1: Heather Tookes Alexopoulos, PhD, professor of Finance at Yale School of Management; and Keith B. Churchwell, MD, president of Yale New Haven Hospital. Each will serve a seven-year term, and were appointed by The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors to replace outgoing members Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, PhD, and Carlton Highsmith.

In addition to the new appointments, the Board has re-elected Flemming "Nick" Norcott Jr. as chair and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith as vice chair, for a second year of service in the roles. Mr. Norcott, who joined the board in 2016, is a retired Connecticut Supreme Court justice. Dr. Nunez-Smith, who joined the board in 2018, is the Associate Dean for Health Equity Research; C.N.H Long Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Management; and Founding Director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine, and the former chair of the Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

“The Community Foundation is very fortunate to have both Heather Tookes and Keith Churchwell joining our Board of Directors,” says Foundation President and CEO Will Ginsberg. “They will each bring tremendous expertise, deep commitment to our community and vast experience to the work of our Board. We are honored and grateful that they have each agreed to share those attributes with us over the next seven years.”

Heather Tookes Alexopoulos, PhD, (Dr. Tookes) lives in New Haven and is a Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management, where she joined the faculty in 2004. Dr. Tookes’ research lies at the intersection of capital markets and corporate finance. Much of her work focuses on understanding the ways in which credit market frictions interact with firms’ financing decisions. She has a particular interest in credit default swap and convertible bond markets. She has also studied trader borrowing and has linked margin trading to the sharp declines in stock market liquidity that occur during crises. Recently, she has written a series of papers investigating a range of topics related to COVID-19, including the effectiveness of business restrictions and the impact of the pandemic on the academic finance profession. She teaches Corporate Finance to MBA and Executive MBA students.

Dr. Tookes is the chair of the Academic Female Advisory Committee (AFFECT) of the American Finance Association (AFA), a member of the Committee on Racial Diversity (CORD) of the AFA, and a member of the FINRA Economic Advisory Committee. She has served on The Community Foundation’s Investment Committee since January 2021, and also serves on the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and on the boards of Ariel Investments, Dimensional Funds and Payoneer Global. As a New Haven community member since 2004, she has served a number of local nonprofit organizations, including New Haven Youth Tennis and Education (NewHYTES), St. Thomas’s Day School and Trinity on the Green.

She is a former Associate Editor at the Review of Financial Studies and Management Science and former member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Financial Advisory Round Table. Dr. Tookes received her BA in Economics from Brown and her PhD in Finance from Cornell.

Keith B. Churchwell, MD, FACC, FAHA, FACP is the President of Yale New Haven Hospital and Executive Vice President of Yale New Haven Health System. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. He held the previous positions of Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer and Senior Vice President and Executive Director for Heart and Vascular Services, Transplantation Services and Clinical Service Coordinator for the Department of Medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., he obtained his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Churchwell spent his formative training years at Emory University Medical School and Affiliated Hospitals, then spending 12 years in private cardiology practice before joining Vanderbilt Medical School as full-time academic faculty in 2006 (he became a member of the clinical faculty at Vanderbilt in 1999). At Vanderbilt he was an Associate Professor of Medicine and Radiology and the Executive Director/Chief Medical Officer at the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute from 2009 to 2014.

Dr. Churchwell is also on the National Board of the American Heart Association and is the chair of the National Advocacy Committee for AHA through 2022. He sits on a number of local boards in the New Haven area including the New Haven Symphony (Board President) and Columbus House.

About The Community Foundation

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S. and was established in 1928 as the permanent charitable endowment for New Haven and its surrounding communities of: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven and Woodbridge. In 2020, The Foundation began implementing a 5-year strategic plan and enacted new mission and vision statements toward expanding opportunity and equity in Greater New Haven. In 2021, it launched Stepping Forward, a $26 million commitment to addressing the impact of COVID-19 and advancing racial equity. The Foundation’s mission is to inspire, support, inform, listen to and collaborate with the people and organizations of Greater New Haven to build an ever more connected, inclusive, equitable and philanthropic community. The Community Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 organization. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @cfgnh.


Media Contact:

Kathleen Cei
Communications Officer
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven