Sterling Speirn is Senior Fellow and former Chief Executive Officer of the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), which was chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization in 1953. In addition to an annual conference, NCoC’s mission is to assist in the development of more dynamic procedures for making citizenship more effective and to indicate the ways and means by which various organizations may contribute concretely to the development of a more active, alert, enlightened, conscientious and progressive citizenry in our country.
Sterling was the President & CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation from 2006-2013, and President and CEO of the Peninsula Community Foundation (now the Silicon Valley Community Foundation) from 1992-2005. Previous to working in private and community philanthropy, he got his start in corporate philanthropy leading the Community Grants program at Apple Computer from 1986-1990.
From these philanthropic platforms, Sterling has been a long-time investor in efforts to promote civic and community engagement as well as service and volunteering. He has championed support for local and national dialogues in partnership with organizations such as America Speaks, the National Center for Deliberative Democracy, Public Agenda, the Harwood Institute, Everyday Democracy, and many others.
Sterling began his career as a seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. After a stint as a law clerk in the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., he worked as a Legal Aid lawyer in North Carolina; and later managed a large community health center in Arcata, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan.