W. Frank Fountain
Former Chairman, Africare
A longtime supporter of Africare and a member of Africare's Board of Directors since 2001, W. Frank Fountain assumed the chairmanship in January 2006.
Fountain leads Chrysler's corporate social responsibility initiatives and charitable efforts. He serves as president of The Chrysler Foundation, the company's philanthropic organization involved in community and civic outreach. As senior vice president, external affairs and public policy (Auburn Hills), he also represents and advocates the company's business interests before state and local governments.
As a 30-plus year veteran of the automotive industry, Fountain has held 19 different positions, gaining experience in many business functions of the company. Fountain joined the Chrysler Corporation in 1973 as an investment analyst and continued to gain responsibility, rising to the position of assistant controller in 1990. After a successful 20 years in finance, Fountain shifted gears to government affairs with his appointment as executive director of Washington affairs in 1993. He ascended to the positions of vice president of government affairs for the DaimlerChrysler Corporation in 1995, and senior vice president of government affairs in 1998.
Fountain was appointed to his current position in January 2004 and was named one of 18 corporate officers for the Chrysler Group. He is currently the company's highest ranking African-American executive and was voted one of Michigan's Extraordinary African American Achievers by Corp! magazine in 2005.
Fountain is passionate about bringing economic and social progress to Africa. In November of 2004, he led a business opportunity mission to South Africa to increase global opportunities and competitiveness for minority- and black-owned suppliers in the United States and South Africa. He lends his expertise in business management and finance to govern Africa-focused organizations, serving as chairman of the Board of Directors for both the Corporate Council on Africa and Africare. Through The Chrysler Foundation, he supports many organizations and initiatives, including the Africa Society, the University of Stellenbosch, the AllAfrica Foundation, Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Medical Education for South African Blacks, to name a few. Through Fountain's efforts, Chrysler recently became the inaugural member of the Peace Parks Foundation Club 21 USA ― raising funds for peace, conservation and ecotourism development in Africa. In 2005, Fountain twice delivered testimony before UK Prime Minister Blair's Commission on Africa, urging the G-8 nations to increase aid for Africa. He has delivered many speeches around the world encouraging corporations and governments to invest and foster business development in Africa.
Fountain is also active in local community and civic affairs, serving on 20 boards of nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, including Hampton University (chairman of the Board of Overseers), the Michigan Manufacturer's Association (past chairman), the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce (vice chair), the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Fountain holds a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Hampton University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Bengal, India.
Fountain was born in Tunnel Springs, Ala., and currently lives in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., with his wife, Sharma Fountain.
(Updated, Dec. 17, 2007)