Founder and President Emeritus of The Manaus Fund (MANAUS), is a lifelong educator, philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, physicist, writer, publisher, and fine art photographer. Born and raised in Ohio, Stranahan earned his masters and PhD in physics from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After teaching at Michigan State University, he settled in the Aspen area in the early 1970s with his family. As a community activist and advocate of enduring education, he founded the Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen Community School, and Carbondale Community School. He has also served on the boards of Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Aspen Institute, Colorado Mountain College, Aspen Community Foundation, and the Needmor Fund. A tiny sampling of Stranahan’s myriad colorful and successful ventures includes the Woody Creek Tavern, Flying Dog Brewery, Stranahan’s Whiskey and the 3rd Street Community Center in Carbondale. He started The Manaus Fund in 2005 as a way to change the donor-nonprofit dynamic, cultivate community and address social injustice in the Roaring Fork Valley. George is also considered the founder of Valley Settlement, a spin-off of The Manaus Fund, that engages with immigrants of the Roaring Fork Valley to help improve the prospects of their lives.
Rob is President of the Manaus Fund (MANAUS) and has served in this capacity since 2013. Rob is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Steelcase Inc., the world’s largest office furniture manufacturer. Steelcase considers the unlocking of human potential to be its primary mission. In addition to office furniture the company produces architectural and technology products for industries such as education, health care, and retail.
These days Rob’s focus is on investing in businesses and non-profits that are working to solve societal problems through design from the bottom up. Rob served for 25 years on the board of The Institute of Design in Chicago (as board chair) and today serves on the boards of the Aspen Community Foundation (executive committee), the Steelcase Foundation,and IDEO.org. A long-time resident of the Roaring Fork Valley, Rob embraces the Aspen Idea of healthy mind, body and spirit. When in Colorado, Rob spends as much time as possible skiing, golfing and biking. He also spends time at his home in Asheville, NC, where he also enjoys various outdoor activities. Finally, and most importantly, Rob finds inspiration from traveling the world with his wife, Susan (for the record, he finds both the travel and Susan inspirational).
Cindy coordinates and implements the many visions of MANAUS. After receiving her BA, JD, and MBA from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, she has spent the past 25 years working in the non-profit arena. Cindy started her non-profit work in development at the UW - Madison in the mid 1990’s. After moving to the Roaring Fork Valley, she served as Development Director for Jazz Aspen Snowmass and as Executive Director of the Aspen Education Foundation. Cindy has worked with Rob Pew for the past nine years, and joined MANAUS in 2016. Her passion for the work MANAUS does and how they do it runs very deep.