As GE Foundation gets new chief, its Louisville ties are less certain after Haier deal

Ann Klee

The GE Foundation, under fresh leadership today with the appointment of executive Ann Klee as its new president, last year donated $3.8 million to Kentucky non-profits, including $1.1 million to five Louisville health centers. And the company itself contributed another $417,000.

But it’s unclear how much of that support will continue in the future, after the conglomerate sold its GE Appliances division last month to China-based Haier for $5.6 billion. The deal included 6,000-employee Appliance Park in the city’s south end, a fixture since it opened nearly 65 years ago.

Corporate foundations tend to favor communities where they have employees. In April, GE  pledged to donate $50 million over five years to philanthropic causes in Massachusetts, as it prepares to move its corporate headquarters to Boston from Fairfield, Conn. In 2014, the foundation gave $85.9 million to charities, according to its most recent IRS tax return.

Klee, the new president, runs GE’s Environment Health & Safety. She’s replacing Deborah Elam, who’s retiring from the company at the end of the year.

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