Los Angeles, CA — President Obama has named Los Angeles technology entrepreneur and philanthropist David C. Bohnett as a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., long recognized as America's national cultural center.
Bohnett joins Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late president, Los Angeles-based television producer Colleen Bell and seven other new members in these key administrative appointments. Kennedy Center trustees are traditionally appointed by the President for six year terms. The Board is charged with the administration of the Center, including the annual selection of Honors.
In an official statement, Obama said the new appointees, “bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this administration. I am confident these outstanding men and women will greatly serve the American people and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
Bohnett is actively involved in the arts, serving as board chairman of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and as a board member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He is also chairman of the David Bohnett Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to improving society through social activism, trustee of the Foundation for AIDS Research, and the founder of early stage technology fund, Baroda Ventures.
“I am grateful to President Obama for this honor, and I look forward to contributing to the Kennedy Center's strategic planning, fundraising and programming efforts, alongside my fellow trustees who are also deeply committed to this great cultural institution,” Bohnett said. “I believe the arts are an essential part of our national identity. The Kennedy Center embodies the highest ideals in performing arts, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving the nation as a leader in arts education.”
Bohnett is now one of six trustees who hail from Southern California. Other local board members include fellow Obama appointee, Giselle Fernandez, a journalist who is involved with a number of charitable causes in the L.A. area, as well as Marc Stern, Leonard Sands, Joan E. Hotchkis and Duane Roberts.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Bohnett's commitment to the arts is an extension of his passion for social justice. His selection to the Kennedy Center Board is not only a great personal achievement but an honor for the city and its cultural history.
“David Bohnett brings remarkable talent and creative spirit to the role of trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,” Villagroisa said. “David is committed to building a culture that supports all segments of our diverse society. Nowhere is this more evident than his distinguished service to and patronage of the performing arts. He will be an excellent addition to the Board of Trustees of our nation’s cultural center.”
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky echoed the mayor’s sentiments, saying he fully supports the President’s appointment of Bohnett.
“David Bohnett has given of his time, intellect and resources to enhance the Los Angeles cultural experience for all of our residents,”Yaroslavsky said. “He will bring that same passion in overseeing the Kennedy Center. President Obama could not have chosen a more qualified American for this important appointment.”
Bohnett has spent his career in information technology. He founded GeoCities.com, an Internet based social media and e-commerce company, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 1999. His personal goals are improving lives, empowering individuals and building viable communities by connecting like-minded people in meaningful ways. Also central to Bohnett’s vision is his call to action to aspiring philanthropists to begin their giving by getting personally involved with causes with which they identify so that they can experience service first-hand.
“I believe in a robust commitment to making the arts available to every strata of our society,” Bohnett said. “The arts and arts education can reach down through the depths of poverty and lift up whole segments of our population with hope toward a brighter tomorrow.”