2020/21 Board of Directors
Charles DeSantis jumps into action each day for three reasons: 1) family and friends, 2) the community in which he lives and works, and 3) those in the greatest need.
Charles is Chief Benefits Officer and Associate Vice President for Benefits, Payroll and Wellness at Georgetown University. Through his leadership of the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits, Payroll Services and GUWellness, he is creating a culture in which people want to work by providing the benefits and well-being programs that will attract and retain employees. He is committed to supporting the personal, professional and financial well-being of the University community. Charles’s passion for serving others manifests itself in the workplace through GUWellness, as well as in his service on boards of organizations that influence how we serve our community. Charles is particularly honored to currently serve on the TIAA Client Advisory Council and MetLife Client Advisory Board, and to have recently concluded his term on the regional American Heart Association Board.
Charles is heavily committed to giving back to the humanitarian sector through is work serving children and refugees in the greatest need worldwide. In 2008, Charles and a colleague from Georgetown University started an art education program called Art in Kibera at a school which serves AIDS-impacted orphans in the Kibera Slum of Nairobi, Kenya. In 2013, Charles created the Kibera Art Institute serving those – age 4 to 22 – in the Kibera community more broadly in creating art and finding a voice and identity through the visual arts. The Kibera Art Institute, through the Sanaa Foundation (founded by Charles), was granted Community Based Organization Status by the Republic of Kenya. In October 2081, after 10 years of providing art education in the Kibera slum, The Nairobi National Museum hosted a two-month long exhibit entitled The Art of the Smart, Beautiful and Important Children of Kibera.
Charles also serves as the president of the board of Nyumbani USA, serving children with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, and sits on the board of the School of Hope Foundation, serving the children in a school for AIDS affected orphans. In 2013, Charles became Chair of U.S. Association for UNHCR (UN refugee organization) and was tasked with reshaping this organization as one of the leading UNHCR refugee support organizations worldwide. Under Charles’s leadership, the organization grew from $3 million annually to $60 million. This happened through active leadership, hiring the right people and ensuring the organization’s mission was clearly articulated and widely communicated. Charles is currently Chair Emeritus of USA for UNHCR. In addition to his humanitarian work, Charles also sits of the board of The Washington Ballet, as it strives to fulfill its mission of excellence, diversity and community engagement as the ballet of the Nation’s Capital.
Charles lives in Chevy Chase, DC with his husband David and their four children, Lucas, Andrew, Jasmine and Lilly. He has published two books with New Academia Publishing; Smart, Beautiful and Important: teaching art to AIDS-affected orphans in Africa’s Largest slum and Lucas and Lilly go to Kindergarten.