2023 Alumni Awards Profiles

Bob Eckardt ’73Bob Eckardt ’73

Reunion: 50th
Residence: Lakewood, Ohio
Grinnell major: History
Other degrees: Master of Public Health from University of Michigan (1977), Doctor of Public Health from University of Michigan (1990)  
Profession: Retired foundation leader; continues to consult with nonprofit agencies and foundations on issues of health care, philanthropy, and nonprofit management

3 ways Bob embodies Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service

  1. During his 34 years working for the Cleveland Foundation, Bob provided direction and management for grants and community engagement activities, spanning the areas of health, 
    education, economic development, the environment, and aging. His efforts helped Cleveland thrive and be a better place to live.
  2. He has been a leader recognized on many fronts in gerontology, approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and community leadership. He has spoken up and acted creatively to support individuals on the margins from students in under-funded schools to the poor elderly in need of community services.
  3. Bob has served on the boards of many national philanthropic groups, including Grantmakers in Health, Funders Concerned About AIDS, and the Grantmakers Evaluation Network. 

Something you probably didn’t know about Bob

He is one of the founders of Grantmakers in Aging, a professional association for foundations committed to supporting older adults.

Bob Eckardt ’73 poses with his family.

Bonus Bob Fun Facts

  • He is the recipient of several national awards in his field, including the 2006 Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy and the 2010 Distinguished Grantmaker Award from the Council on Foundations.  
  • In his senior year at Grinnell, Bob was awarded a prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. He studied care of the elderly in Spain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
  • Bob is widely published in professional journals and wrote the introduction for the Board Savvy CEO.

A quote about Bob

“Bob epitomizes what Grinnell attempted to instill in us – to use our knowledge and social skills (listening, flexibility) wisely and creatively for the good of others. By dedicating his lifework to improving the lives of the citizens of Cleveland and responding to demographic and technical changes that affected their needs, Bob has made a significant difference for individuals and lived values of his community.”

Anne Walter ’73

Read more 2023 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.