Case Foundation exec departs for Obama administration

A senior executive at the Case Foundation has been tapped to lead the Obama administration’s Social Innovation Fund, which disburses millions of dollars in grants each year.

Michael Smith is leaving his position as the senior vice president of social innovation at the foundation to lead the grant program.

Jean Case, one-half of the Case Foundation founders and wife to AOL co-founder Steve Case, called Smith an “invaluable contributor” to the organization.

“As Michael came forward to seek encouragement to pursue the opportunity presented to him, my first reaction was one of slight panic,” she wrote in a blog post on the site, “and yet I had to remind myself that what the public sector needs most greatly is talent.”

The foundation credited him with playing a role in creating public-private partnerships with both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, corporations, nonprofits and charities.

With a budget of about $45 million, the Social Innovation Fund awards grants to intermediaries, which then match the government dollars and funnel them to nonprofits.