KING--Sharon B., a highly respected leader in philanthropy, died peacefully at home on October 21st, following a long battle with cancer. She was 68 years old. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Sharon held positions in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors, where she devoted her energy and talent to economic and social justice. She began her career as a grantmaker and evaluator for the City of New York, working in underserved communities. She returned to her hometown of Chicago, where she earned a law degree and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Sharon was a founding Trustee of Horizon Hospice, one of the first such programs in the U.S. While working as an administrator at Cook County Hospital, she met and married Dr. Lambert King, and gave birth to their beloved daughter, Martha Whitney King. Returning to NYC, she continued to focus on public health-related issues, working as a senior policy advisor to then Borough President David Dinkins. Sharon began her career in private philanthropy as a program officer at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, served as president of the Edward B. Hazen Foundation, and worked as a philanthropic advisor in the Rockefeller Family Office. Sharon then led the F.B. Heron Foundation for nearly 20 years. As president at Heron, she advanced innovative practices, including mission-related investing, that gained wide influence in philanthropy. Throughout her life, she was inspired by listening to and maintaining strong connections with community leaders. Sharon was a Trustee of the Altman Foundation, the founding Board chair of Firelight Media, and a Board member of: Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Council on Foundations, and Association of Black Foundation Executives. Sharon is survived by her daughter, Martha; her brothers, Wendell and Mark Burns; numerous nieces and nephews; and countless friends. We will miss her blend of wisdom, compassion, and joy. Her generous spirit will continue to inspire us.
Published in New York Times on Oct. 26, 2014.