Contact The Summerlee Foundation

Animal Protection Program

Melanie K. Anderson – Program Director  

Melanie Anderson has been with the foundation since its formation in early 1989 and assisted the donor, Annie Lee Roberts, with the creation of the animal program and its funding priorities. She serves as a program officer and is a board member for the foundation. Anderson graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and worked for the Dallas Times Herald. Prior to joining the foundation, she also worked as a volunteer for a variety of animal protection organizations throughout the United States as well as conducting feral cat rescue in Dallas, Texas. Melanie resides in the “urban-wildlands foothills” west of Denver, Colorado and besides living with domestic cats, she also manages to peacefully co-exist with resident foxes, mountain lions, and black bears.

Animal Protection Program

Mitchell Fox – Program Director | 206-829-9760 |  Email

Mitchell Fox has spent the last 40 years advocating for animals, evenly split between grant-seeking and grant-making organizations. For 17 years he led advocacy campaigns and legal and legislative endeavors at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. He secured that organization’s first-ever grant award — from the Summerlee Foundation — in the early 1990’s. At the Glaser Progress Foundation for another 17 years, Mitchell’s grantmaking portfolio included independent media, global health, and animal protection. In between those positions Mitchell briefly served as a Seattle Times columnist. More recently at the Center for a Humane Economy, he worked to stop the commercial killing of kangaroos in Australia. In addition to consulting for a half dozen animal philanthropies and serving as Trustee of the Susan Michaels Compassion Trust, Mitchell has been on the Summerlee Foundation Advisory Board for five years, cementing his devotion to Waco-based bottled beverages. Mitchell has two grown kids and lives in Seattle with his wife and a dog resigned to being outnumbered by cats.

Texas History Program

Gary N. Smith – President   | 214-363-9000  |   Email

Gary N. Smith is the foundation’s President and Texas History Program Director. During his previous career as a museum director, he participated on one of the foundation’s earliest projects, the Summerlee Commission on Texas History in 1989. During the next 20 years, he served as a Texas History consultant for Summerlee projects and served on the Advisory Board for the Summerlee Board of Directors. In 2014, he led The Summerlee Commission on the Financial Sustainability of History Organizations and was appointed Texas History Program Director in 2015. In 2018, he assumed additional duties as President of the foundation.

Smith grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and his professional experience includes positions with the Iowa Division of Historic Preservation, the Historical Society of Delaware, the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, and the McFaddin-Ward House Museum in Beaumont, Texas. From 1996 – 2014 he was the president and executive director of Dallas Heritage Village in Dallas, Texas. He has also served as adjunct professor in the museum studies program at Baylor University, where he taught courses on museum administration and historic house museums from 2007-2017. He is active in a number of professional associations, including Philanthropy Southwest as well as the Texas Association of Museums, of which he is a past president.

Amy J. Askari – Director of Administration    | 214-363-9000  |   Email

Amy J. Askari joined the Summerlee Foundation in 2020 as Director of Administration. She oversees day-to-day operations at the foundation’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and brings extensive experience in operations, management, and customer service from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Prior to joining the foundation, she spent over a decade at Philanthropy Southwest. During the first 20 years of her career, she held a variety of positions in operations, management, and vendor/client relations in the financial services industry including The First American Corporation, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and GMAC. Askari earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Principal Office 

5556 Caruth Haven Lane
Dallas, Texas 75225 (USA)
Phone: 214-363-9000

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