Michael Ainslie has been a champion for education for decades. His passion has been the Posse Foundation which he helped launch in 1994. Michael served as Posse’s board chair for 13 years and continues on the Posse Foundation board.
Posse finds young leaders from public and parochial high schools in ten major cities and sends them to one of Posse’s 57 elite university partners as a cohort of ten Posse scholars. Posse’s first university partner was Vanderbilt University. Posse Scholars receive a full merit leadership scholarship. Over 9200 Posse Scholars have won $1.4 billion in scholarships and they are graduating at a rate of 90%. Posse’s goal is to have these young people assume leadership positions in the workforce and they are doing just that. Posse alums are now partners in law firms, one is president of a college, another is CEO and owner of an advertising firm, another started a charter school and many are teaching at the university and high school levels.
Michael Ainslie had a distinguished business career serving as President and CEO of Sotheby’s from 1984-94, leading a transformation of the worldwide auction business. Previously he was President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1980-84. While at the Trust, he helped rewrite the tax law to provide a 25% investment tax credit for investment in historic buildings. This incentive radically changed the landscape of historic preservation.
Michael is a 1965 graduate of Vanderbilt University, Harvard Business School, and studied abroad as a Corning Foundation World Travel Fellow. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Vanderbilt University and has served on the boards of Sotheby’s, the United States Tennis Association, the St. Joe Company and Lehman Brothers. He and his family reside in Palm Beach, Florida.