Gerrie Smith works with the African Millennium Foundation (AMF) on a number of projects, the AMF Scholars Project in particular. She partnered with her husband, Neal Baer, and AMF founder, Malena Ruth, in establishing the project. She has been involved in all aspects since the beginning, including assuming primary mentorship for the first AMF Scholar over a period of several years. Since joining AMF in 2005, she has collaborated in a number of special projects including serving as AMF’s co-chair in partnering with USC Marshall School of Business and the UN in hosting the first West Coast conference on Microfinance, “Microfinance and Beyond: Microfinance’s Contribution to Local and Global Economic Development.” AMF was instrumental in bringing Professor Mohammed Yunnus to the conference as keynote speaker. She also works with AMF in organizing events hosting other distinguished International and African leaders, such as Professor Wangari Maathai of The Greenbelt Movement and Professor Ogunleye Bisi of the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria.
Currently, Ms. Smith is also collaborating with Ms. Ruth on organizing an exhibition of Ardmore Ceramics at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto, scheduled to open in early 2013. The exhibition, drawn from the collection of Dr. Baer and Ms. Smith, will feature works from the Ardmore Studio in Zulu Natal, South Africa.
Prior to Ms. Smith’s involvement with AMF, she served as a founding member of the Board of City Hearts, an organization dedicated to bringing dance and performing arts education and experience to Los Angeles’ inner-city youth population. During her approximately two-decade tenure on their board, she served in various executive functions.
Ms. Smith graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Psychology and worked for several decades in research, both software R&D and health research. Her primary interests are in education, global health, medical literacy, environmental issues and social justice. Ms. Smith lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Neal Baer, and her son, Caleb, a student at Williams College.