Skip navigation Jump to main navigation

John Tyler

Lecturer; General Counsel, Secretary, Chief of Ethics Officer, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

John Tyler has been general counsel, secretary, and chief ethics officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation since 1999. The Foundation fosters economic independence by advancing education and entrepreneurship. In his roles, John combines an ability to understand and develop theory with a capacity to execute on and translate that theory into practice across the Foundation’s program areas (entrepreneurship, education, and Kansas City engagement), administration (HR, facilities, finance, grants administration, etc.), and investments.

He also serves as a liaison to philanthropy generally, including by serving on boards such as The Philanthropy Roundtable, Alliance for Charitable Reform (steering committee), Independent Sector’s public policy committee (advisory), and NYU’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law (advisory/former), among others. He also has been an advisor to the Council on Foundations’ Evolution of Philanthropy project and policy issues, Columbia University Law School’s Attorney General Project, Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits, and Philanthropy’s Mapping the Fourth Sector Project, among others.

Tyler frequently publishes and speaks on topics relating to the charitable sector, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship/enterprise, social business forms, and impact investing. He has authored or co-authored several law review articles and book chapters on distinctive aspects of impact investing and social entrepreneurship, including fiduciary duties, regulation, social impact, and clarity about priority of purpose and accountability. He also frequently speaks on those topics, including for Columbia Univ., Georgetown, NYU, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Texas, Univ. of Missouri – Kansas City, Washington Univ., United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Independent Sector, Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Roundtable, and others.

He also speaks and publishes on the roles of private foundations in society, transparency, “public money,” public-private partnerships, advancing university innovation and technology transfer, and U.S. policy on high-skilled immigration. Many of Tyler’s academic articles are available through his SSRN page.

He also has had meaningful roles in starting three schools: the Ewing Marion Kauffman (charter) School, St. Michael the Archangel High School (transition team), and Cristo Rey Kansas City (feasibility study committee).

Before joining Kauffman, Tyler was a partner with one of Kansas City's oldest and largest law firms, where his practice focused on commercial litigation.


  • J.D., University of Notre Dame
  • B.A., University of Notre Dam