James V. Denova, Ph.D.

Vice President
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

Drawing on his career-long experience leading nonprofits and foundations, Dr. James V. Denova has led the Benedum Foundation’s education agenda since joining as senior program officer for Pennsylvania in 2000and moving to the vice president position in 2007. His passion for education has continued to form valuable alliances in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Foundation’s areas of service. He has co-chaired the innovative Remake Learning Network and other regional initiatives.

Jim will step down for retirement at the end of June, so warm words abound as colleagues cheer his achievements. In April, the West Virginia Department of Education presented a resolution in his honor. This month he is the 11th of Bayer Center’s 21 Stars.  

In the nonprofit sector, Jim is inspired by “people who apply their creative juices to solving social problems.”

Nonprofit role model: Phil Hallen, President Emeritus of the Falk Foundation. “He showed how to make dramatic changes with small grants. He started a private ambulance service in Pittsburgh’s Hill District by employing African American medics returning from Vietnam.”

Memorable early experience: “My most valuable internship was at a state facility for people with disabilities. It taught me humility and appreciation for the gifts all people possess.”

Advice to future leaders includes “Study history; think critically; learn from past heroes but innovate: and “always look for mentors.”

Recommended reading: In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria

Breakfast? Very likely a bagel & cream cheese

Follow and celebrate:

@PADeptofEd @WVeducation @WVed 

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation