Journalism Staff

Clark Bell, Program Director
Clark Bell is the McCormick Foundation's Journalism Program Director. Clark, who joined the Foundation in October 2005, oversees journalism grant-making initiatives and shapes the program's focus on critical issues facing the news media. He manages an annual grantmaking budget of nearly $6 million.
Clark is a veteran reporter, editor, publisher and communications consultant. Prior to joining the McCormick Foundation, he was managing director for American Healthcare Solutions, where he developed communications strategies for hospitals, medical foundations and technology firms.
His extensive journalistic background includes serving as editor and associate publisher of Modern Healthcare magazine, executive business editor of the Dallas Times Herald and business columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Earlier, he served as a consumer affairs reporter for the Chicago Daily News and sports writer for the Des Moines Register.
Clark earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Drake University and a master's degree in urban studies from Loyola University of Chicago. He was among the first group of journalists awarded a Sloan Fellowship to study economics at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Bell serves on the board of the American Society of News Editors Foundation and the Accrediting Council on Education and Journalism and Mass Communications. He is on the board of the Chicago Journalists Association Foundation and serves as chair of the advisory council of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness.
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Jennifer Choi, Program Officer
Jennifer Choi is a program officer for McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program. Jennifer joined the Foundation in 2012, and is interested in forward-thinking business models for media organizations featuring collaborative and asset-based approaches, building capacity for utilizing audience market research for mission-driven news organizations and evaluating the social impact of journalism on civic engagement, including investigating skills-based assessment tools for news literacy.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Jennifer served as Chicago Public Media/WBEZ’s Director of Institutional Initiatives. She has also held staff positions with the Illinois College of Optometry, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago and Korean American Women in Need (KAN-WIN). Jennifer began her career as an English Literature and Composition teacher at Wheeling High School.

Jennifer participates in the Chicago Women in Philanthropy’s mentorship program. She also serves as grantmaking co-chair for the Asian Giving Circle, a donor advised subsidiary of the Chicago Community Trust.
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Aaron Smith, Administrative Officer, General Fund
Aaron Smith joined McCormick Foundation in November 2000. As administrative officer, Aaron manages the grant making processes for the general fund, which encompasses the journalism, education and citizenship programs. Among other duties, he is responsible for scheduling payments, editing reports and correspondence, maintaining files, conducting technical training when necessary and coordinating internal and external events.
Aaron has a background in broadcasting and corporate communications. He also worked in the legal department of a major U.S. electronics company.

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Robert R. McCormick Foundation
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