Joan Cleary joined the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation in 1999 as Associate Director. In 2006, Ms. Cleary was promoted to Vice President, Foundation and Community Leadership, a position she held until 2010, when she became an independent consultant.
During her tenure with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, she oversaw the development of a new upstream health focus and a transition to grantmaking and operating programs that reflect the new focus. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation is one of only a few foundations in the country to target social determinants of health, such as housing, early childhood education, environmental factors, and social connectedness. It is Minnesota's largest grantmaking foundation focused on health improvement.
Previously, Ms. Cleary served on the staff of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and as a consultant for the Bush Foundation and Northwest Area Foundation. She has a lengthy career in health and human services, including government, community agencies, provider organizations and advocacy groups, as well as philanthropy. Ms. Cleary earned a Master's Degree in Management from Northwestern University. She is also a 2004-2005 alumnus of the Humphrey Institute Policy Fellows Program. This program offers practical training in public affairs leadership for emerging leaders seeking new experiences and skills. The program equips participants with three core leadership competencies to inspire, organize, and work effectively with others to advance the public good.