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New College Foundation Announces New Board Members

The New College Foundation, the private fundraising arm of New College of Florida, has announced the addition of four members to its Board of Directors: Francine J. Blum, Christine L. Jennings, Karin E. Gustafson and Charles H. Hamilton. Blum and Jennings were elected at the Foundation’s annual board meeting in October. Gustafson and Hamilton have been serving on the board since January 1. All will serve three-year terms.

Francine Blum, of Longboat Key, began her career in publishing and became an investor in commercial and residential properties, where she was involved in co-op conversions in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Later, she had a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, American Stock Exchange and the Pacific Exchange Stocks and Options. She then joined Caldwell Asset Management, a firm that specialized in strategic partnering of stock exchanges worldwide, and worked there as a senior advisor until her recent retirement. In 2014, with Karen Neilinger, she co-wrote “Think Rich! Get Rich! Stay Rich!,” a guide to finances for women. Locally, she has been active with AJC/West Coast Florida Region, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County. At the Water Club on Longboat Key, where she resides, Blum founded and ran a music series for eight years.

Christine Jennings, of Sarasota, returns to the New College Foundation board after completing a previous two-year term that ended in 2014. Highly regarded as a business and community leader, her professional career includes five years as CEO of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troup; president, CEO, board chair and director of Sarasota Bank; sr. vice president, chief lending officer and director of Liberty National Bank in Bradenton; and vice president, commercial real estate for Bank of America, Sarasota/Tampa region. She is currently a board member at Canandaigua National Trust Company. Jennings is a former board member of the Florida State University Foundation, former chair of the Ringling Museum Board of Trustees and former president of the Sarasota Ballet Association, as well as former president of the International Women’s Forum. Her honors include the Arts & Cultural Alliance Award for Arts Management, the SCOPE Boundary Crosser Award, and honoree of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Karin Gustafson, of Bradenton, has spent over 30 years in a non-profit executive leadership setting as the first executive director of the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota and as president of the Y Foundation of Sarasota, from which she retired in 2013 to form her own consulting practice with service to the Institute for the Ages and Designing Women Boutique. Prior to moving to Florida in 1984, she held several positions in Illinois, including deputy director of the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles and treasurer of the City of Springfield. In 2014, she turned her lifelong hobby of collecting into “Karin’s Causes,” connecting people to worthy causes via the sale of items they love. To date, well over $30,000 has been raised from these sales, with all of the proceeds benefiting local non-profits. A certified fundraising executive (CFRE) until her retirement, Gustafson shares her fundraising expertise with non-profit leaders and develops motivational tools to engage nonprofit boards, volunteers and staff.

Charles Hamilton, of Sarasota, is a New College alumnus, having earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history, philosophy and political science. In the 1990s, he served on both the New College Alumni Association and the New College Foundation Boards. He has focused his career on philanthropy, volunteerism and the importance of civil society through his foundation and nonprofit work, board experience, consulting and extensive publishing. Most recently, Hamilton was director of Philanthropic Advisory Services and principal at Bessemer Trust, where he currently serves as a special fiduciary of the Bessemer National Gift Fund. His previous posts have included executive director of The Clark Foundation in New York City, where he developed successful grant-making programs with nearly 200 grantees annually; chief operating officer of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, another family foundation whose grants focuses on arts & culture and city life in New York City; research associate at The Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University; and the first executive director of the Albert Einstein Institute in Cambridge, Mass., researching and promoting nonviolent direct action. He has edited several works on philanthropy, as well as five books on American intellectual and political history. He was vice-chair of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and vice president of American Indian Art Magazine for over three decades.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional undergraduate education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre bay front campus is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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