Donald A. Cooke

Vice President

Donald A. Cooke served as Senior Vice President for Philanthropy of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation from 2005 to 2022. His responsibilities included providing strategy, oversight and leadership to the Foundation’s grant-making programs in democracy and civics, communities, education, violence and justice reform, veterans and special initiatives. He has worked extensively on national issues of returning veterans.

Before joining Alford Group, Don worked at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, serving as director of the Fels Planetarium, vice president for external affairs, and acting museum director. He subsequently led fundraising and marketing at the Philadelphia Orchestra and at Chicago’s Field Museum in Chicago. He has raised $1 billion (including running six capital campaigns).

He is an author and frequent lecturer and has served on several nonprofit boards, including the USO Board of Governors (and Chairman of the Midwest region), Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chairman of Forefront and Illinois Joining Forces. He has been honored by Forefront and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2023, Don received the Commanders Award for Public Service from the United States Army for his work with military families and veterans’ mental health.

Fun Fact: Don and his wife Sally reside in Lake Forest, Illinois. Don is a former professional astronomer who loves to play golf, paint watercolors, travel with Sally and have game nights with his two daughters and grandchildren.

Select Clients and Experience:

  • Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Field Museum
  • Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Franklin Institute Science Museum
  • Brady

Education & Credentials:

  • B.A. Physics & Astronomy, Williams College
  • Additional studies, Harvard University