Funders Together to End Homelessness
Ana Marie Argilagos
Hispanics in Philanthropy
An immigrant from India, Kiran spent her childhood in Savannah, Georgia, and most of her adult life in Washington, DC. She spent the greater part of her professional life being an advocate, both in and out of government, and brings that passion to the Philanthropy Northwest network and region. Most recently, Kiran served in the Obama Administration as chief of staff at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She's a former civil rights litigator and nonprofit CEO. Her passion for service and commitment to improving the lives of communities of color grew out of a formative educational experience at her alma mater, Spelman College. Kiran received her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.
Kiran is an avid yoga practitioner with a teacher certification and is working toward building a stronger meditation practice; however, as in all efforts in life, it is a continuous journey to find balance.
Amanda Andere has spent over fifteen years working in the nonprofit and public sector as a leader committed to racial equity, social justice, and housing affordability through advocacy for systemic change. Prior to joining Funders Together to End Homelessness as their CEO, she served as the CEO of Wider Opportunities for Women, a national advocacy organization. Currently, she serves as a board member of the United Philanthropy Forum, the James Madison Political Science Alumni and Co-Chair of A Way Home America, a national movement to end youth homelessness. She is also a member of the steering committee for The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding. Previously she served as an adjunct professor at George Mason University teaching Nonprofit Management, Executive Director of FACETS, and Vice President of Cornerstones; who have similar missions of preventing and ending homelessness and breaking the cycle of poverty.
President & CEO
Ana Marie Argilagos is guiding HIP with a bold vision: to usher in a new generation of philanthropy that is for, by, and about the Latino community. Under her leadership, HIP has spearheaded rapid responses to the biggest challenges facing Latinos today. HIP is coordinating a regional response to the migration crisis in the U.S. and Central America, supporting Puerto Rico’s long-term recovery from Hurricane Maria, and investing in nonprofits to fight for an inclusive and accurate 2020 Census, among other critical efforts.
Ana Marie is an entrepreneurial thinker bridging diverse agendas with a track record of working within the philanthropic, public, and nonprofit sectors. Previously Ana Marie was a senior advisor at the Ford Foundation, where she focused on urban development strategies to reduce poverty, expand economic opportunity, and advance sustainability in regions across the world. She also served as deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where she created the Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) to deepen and scale collaboration between public and philanthropic sectors. Previously, she taught international urban planning at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service; and was a senior program officer at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, director of the New Workplace for Women Project at the National Council of La Raza (now UNIDOS US), and deputy director of Ayuda, a community-based legal clinic serving immigrants in Washington, DC.
Ana Marie currently serves on the board at Foundation Center and Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors. She received her master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and her bachelor’s degree in international relations from American University.
Deborah Aubert Thomas
David Aynejian Household
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
President & CEO
Deborah Aubert Thomas serves as the president and CEO of Philanthropy Ohio and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 30 years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. She is committed to leading and equipping Ohio philanthropy to be effective partners for change in their communities.
Prior to her appointment as president and CEO in August 2019, Deborah served as vice president, programs & learning from 2014 – 2019, providing vision and oversight for all Philanthropy Ohio local, regional and statewide educational programs. In addition, she led the organization’s strategy to apply a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to examine and execute its learning and networking programs.
She previously served as director of grants and programs at the Princeton Area Community Foundation where she provided strategic leadership to implement a $1 million annual competitive grantmaking program. She also designed and implemented educational
programs for donors and nonprofits, including the development and launch of a giving circle for The Fund for Women and Girls utilizing a participatory grantmaking process.
During her career, Deborah has worked at: Girls Inc.; the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University both teaching and in administration; and at Women & Philanthropy where she coordinated their diversity internship program. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York; a Master of Arts from the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University; and a Master of Science from the Milano Graduate School, New School University.
Deborah values her service on many boards and her role as a volunteer, currently serving on the board of directors for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and United Philanthropy Forum. She formerly served on the board of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. She is a member of the Columbus chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., the parent affinity groups MOSAIC and SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) at Columbus Academy and MOSAIC and the DEIB committee at Columbus School for Girls.
Deborah resides in Bexley, Ohio, with her husband L’Quentus Thomas and their two children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, music, film, food, dancing and cycling.
David Aynejian serves as the Director of Finance at Candid (formerly The Foundation Center). He joined the organization in October 2018. He is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years’ experience in public accounting, internal audit and non-profit. He began his career working for Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, and also worked for Wyeth (now Pfizer), Akzo Nobel and Orchid Cellmark, where he started and led the Internal Audit department. Prior to joining Candid, David was Director of Finance for the Armenian Missionary Association of America where he further enhanced his knowledge and understanding of non-profit finances and operations. David is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey State Society of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Master of Theology from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
As Field Director, Ben strengthens NCRP’s relationships with U.S. social movements and philanthropic organizations to move money and power to community-led advocacy and organizing. Ben manages the Movement Investment Project and leads NCRP’s external engagement with the pro-immigrant, pro-refugee movement. He also oversees staff travel and presentations for NCRP’s major initiatives. Prior to joining NCRP, Ben worked at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, where he facilitated grantmaking and special projects around the racial and gender wealth gap, democracy, criminalization, environmental advocacy and public education. Ben hails from Georgia, and received his undergraduate degree in political science and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Council of Michigan Foundations
Funders Together to End Homelessness
Community Centered Evaluation & Research
Director of Government Relations and Public Policy
Regina Bell is director of Government Relations and Public Policy at the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF). She is responsible for the effective development and support of CMF's government relations goals and public policy agenda. Regina works to leverage the collective voice of Michigan philanthropy to improve outcomes for Michigan communities and beyond.
As a policy professional with over 20 years of experience working in the public and private sectors, Regina has provided oversight for program execution, played a key role in driving policy development, served as a credible and trusted voice among various stakeholders, and has successfully built and maintained strategic relationships to advance Michigan's economy. Regina has served in numerous capacities including most recently as program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), policy director for the Governor and director of government and external affairs for AT&T.
Regina's keen understanding of the importance that policy plays in the way we live is of no surprise, given her family history. Her paternal grandfather was the first person of color to serve in an elected position in a rural town in Georgia; and she spent endless hours watching and learning from her maternal grandparents, who dedicated their lives to community service and never missed an opportunity to reinforce the importance of participatory democracy. She recognized at a young age that her legacy would be wrapped in civic involvement and facilitating transformational change in the communities in which we live.
Regina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy and a Master's in Organizational Management. She is also a Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) fellow. Regina has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the American Red Cross Mid-Michigan Blood Services Division Board of Directors, the James Madison College Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Community Development Advocates of Detroit Board of Directors, the City of Lansing Housing Commission and co-chaired the city of Lansing's 2010 Census Complete Count Committee. She is a member of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority Board.
Director of Communications and Policy
Lauren is responsible for all communications, grantwriting, and advocacy/public policy efforts for Funders Together. She has gained experience in both the not-for-profit and private sectors focusing mainly on public relations, social media, and community outreach. Previously, she held the position of Communications Leader for a not-for-profit healthcare organization focused on payment reform and price and quality transparency. Lauren is passionate about advocating and using influence to bring about awareness and social change around reproductive rights, infertility, and family planning. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from Eastern Illinois University.
While she lives in North Carolina, Lauren is a native Midwesterner from Illinois and stays true to her roots by keeping up with her Chicago sports teams. She loves to run and enjoy the beach with her family.
Nayeli Bernal, MPH, is a community-based research consultant with 15 years of experience supporting social sector organizations and community partners with program evaluation, strategic planning, and assessments of assets, needs, and capacity. Her work focuses on supporting partners to engage in research and action efforts that center community wisdom and advance racial equity efforts across a range of health, education, and economic outcomes. She is committed to providing communities and partners the information and tools they need to achieve their greatest possible impact. Nayeli earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honors from the University of California, Berkeley; a certificate in English/Spanish Translation and Interpretation from the National Hispanic University; and a Master in Public Health with Distinguished Achievement from San Francisco State University. She is the mother of three young children, a proud immigrant and bicultural Bay Area resident, and lives where she grew up in East Oakland, CA.
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
United Philanthropy Forum
Funders' Committee for Civic Participation
Director, Digital Civil Society Lab and Senior Research Scholar
Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the annual Blueprint Series on Philanthropy and the Social Economy, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She is a co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies (2016, Chicago University Press) and of the forthcoming volume Digital Technology and Democratic Theory. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, and policy on her award winning blog, philanthropy2173.com.
She studied history and has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
President & CEO
David Biemesderfer is a President and CEO of United Philanthropy Forum, a role he began in January 2016. Since starting at the Forum, David has led the organization through a period of notable growth and transformation. He was named to the "2018 NPT Power & Influence Top 50" list by The NonProfit Times.
David is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience in the philanthropic sector and deep expertise in communications, public policy, research and association management. Prior to his role at the Forum, David served as President and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN), a statewide network of philanthropic organizations working to strengthen and grow philanthropy in Florida. He joined FPN in 2009 as Vice President and served as FPN’s President & CEO starting in June 2010. Under David’s leadership, FPN’s membership grew sevenfold, its budget grew fourfold and its statewide presence increased significantly. He served on the Forum’s Board of Directors for six years.
David’s past experience also includes working for 10 years at the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF). He left MCF in 2004 as its Vice President of Communications and Information Services. David has also served as a consultant for a variety of foundations and other philanthropic clients in the areas of communications, public policy and accountability.
David has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota.
Director, Funders Census Initiative
Jocelyn Bissonnette is the Director of the Funders Census Initiative at FCCP. For nearly a decade, she served as Director of Policy & Advocacy for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), where she represented public school districts that encompassed American Indian reservations and military installations before Congress and the Administration. At NAFIS, she led the organization’s grassroots and grasstops advocacy, engaging members across the country and national stakeholders in several successful advocacy campaigns around the $1.4 billion Impact Aid program, school infrastructure investments, and private school vouchers.
Jocelyn earned a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Policy Management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, where her capstone focused on the undercount risk of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 2020 Census.
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Susie has spent her career in the nonprofit sector, beginning at Planned Parenthood of Connecticut and Planned Parenthood of New England, where she served as Public Affairs Director. After relocating to the Twin Cities, Ms. Brown acted as Public Policy Director at The Family Partnership before becoming Executive Director for Child Care Works, an organization dedicated to improving Minnesota’s child care system. She then held the role of Public Policy Director at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits from 2010 to 2016. During that time, Ms. Brown served on the MCF Public Policy Committee and the Minnesota Office of Grant Management.
An active community member, she now serves on the Community Advisory Council of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and on the boards of MACC: Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities and GrantAdvisor. She also has participated actively on various committees of the National Association of Bar Executives and the Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations.
She holds a BA degree in international affairs from Lewis and Clark College and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Vermont where she earned the Frank Smallwood Student award. She was a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey Institute in 2006.
She is an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University where she teaches courses in nonprofit management and governance.
Vice President, Global Services
Dan is responsible for development of CGNET’s cloud and cyber security services. He oversees all aspects of CGNET’s Office 365, Teams/Skype for Business, Azure, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Dynamics CRM Online cloud services. He is responsible for CGNET’s vulnerability testing projects as well as GDPR compliance, risk assessment and security consulting services.
As a consultant, Dan has conducted many technology planning, change management and tool selection projects for customers including the World Food Programme, Energy Foundation, PYXERA Global, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Lemelson Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, Education Pioneers, the California Wellness Foundation, Clinica Sierra Vista, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Duke Endowment Fund, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Carnegie Hall.
Dan served as Director of Marketing and Business Operations at CGNET from 1999 to 2003. Prior to rejoining CGNET in 2011, he held Director and VP positions in Product Management and Marketing at iPass (acquired by Parateum), SOMA Networks, Daintree Networks (acquired by GE) and YouSendIt (acquired by OpenText). He has been responsible for product lines generating up to $100 million in revenue. Dan has more than 20 years of experience in Product Management, Product Marketing and Software Engineering in the broadband, networking, energy management, mobility and cloud-based services industries. He has managed large-scale systems software projects and specified requirements for software supporting millions of concurrent user sessions. Dan’s undergraduate degree is in Anthropology from Stanford University.
Overseeing Perspective Fund's direct film support (DFS) grantmaking, Andrew is responsible for tracking and identifying independently produced documentary projects that are well positioned to reach social justice-oriented impact and distribution objectives. Working with grantees to provide financial and logistical resources across all stages of production, a primary interest of his work is to support healthier workflows between film completion and campaign implementation. He seeks to recommend and structure robust grants that leverage existing team strengths and expertise, and capitalize on opportunities for highly-informed audience building and responsive campaign planning.
Rosalie Sheehy Cates
The Giving Practice
More Equitable Democracy
Rob Chlala Household
Senior Advisor and Executive in Residence
Rosalie Sheehy Cates combines respect for the fiduciary role with a curious and generative approach to strategy and investing. Rosalie has helped boards investigate new strategies, make decisions and craft policies and procedures. She also trains and mentors foundation staff and investment committees, often by working through investing transactions hands-on. Rosalie has written two investment-focused reports on diversity, equity and inclusion in foundations and she works closely with foundation collaboratives, particularly around sustainability issues.
Rosalie was CEO of a $45 million non-profit loan fund in Montana for 14 years. She lived in Wisconsin during the 1980s, where she was an organizer for family farms and sustainable agriculture and helped with her family’s small cattle operation.
Rosalie lives in Missoula, Montana, where she is part of an informal investor group, reads and walks a lot and has served as vice-chairperson of the board of Headwaters Foundation.
George is the Director of More Equitable Democracy. Prior to this, he served as Program Director for the Joyce Foundation’s Democracy Program and Co-Chair of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. Cheung was also executive director of the Win/Win Network, an affiliate of State Voices, and founder/executive director of Equal Rights Washington, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brown University.
Rob supports Funders for a Just Economy's Senior Program Manager and membership in efforts to bring funders, community and labor organizations, and other grassroots experts together to address pressing political-economic challenges and resource movements towards economic, racial, gender and ecological justice. His work includes supporting member-led initiatives that build knowledge among funders about current economic justice issues and lead to concrete shifts to support power-building and increased labor-community-funder alignment. Rob draws from research, communications, and popular education as tools for change, in ways that can both lift up effective power-building strategies and create spaces for imagining alternatives.
Rob comes to NFG from more than 15 years of front-line community organizing and movement-building experience that address intersecting questions of race, gender/sexuality, ecology, and inequality. He is currently completing his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California, where he has been charting intersectional economic justice efforts to create alternative economic/ecological models that empower workers and challenge mass incarceration through the lens of Los Angeles’s cannabis industry. This research has been developed in conjunction with five years of work with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 on their innovative social equity and unionization campaign in cannabis. During this time, Rob also researched movement-building with the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, which works closely with funders to understand strategies to shift power towards inclusive economies/democracies, and previously worked with the California Fund for Youth Organizing. While still deeply-rooted in Los Angeles (and Beirut, where he was born), he is happy to be exploring new horizons in Providence, RI, and learning from communities on the East Coast.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders
Vincent Coleman Household
UNC School of Government
Virginia Clarke is the executive director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF), a network of grantmakers working to strengthen connections, build capacity, and foster collaboration of the philanthropic and investment communities in support of vibrant, healthy and just food and farm systems. She started with SAFSF in 2003 as a part-time coordinator and has led the network in its growth and impact ever since.
Prior to SAFSF, she worked with a variety of international education programs including the University of California’s Education Abroad Program as the regional director assistant for Asia and Africa, and the Salzburg Seminar in Austria where she was a program director and led outreach efforts in Latin America. Other life/work opportunities involved a stint at the World Bank; leading a management reorganization for a private clothing manufacturer; assisting immigrants in their efforts to secure legal residency in the U.S.; and creating/running a restitution project for juvenile offenders in Western Massachusetts. Her fluency in Spanish stems from living and working in Spain, Bolivia and Mexico.
Virginia has a Masters in International Administration from the School for International Training and a B.A. with honors in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A TEDx Manhattan alumni (2014), Virginia lives in Santa Barbara, CA and has two daughters.
Vincent Coleman is the Public Policy Manager at Philanthropy Ohio, formerly known as Ohio Grantmakers Forum. He joined the Columbus-based organization – which is a statewide membership association that provides the network, tools and knowledge to help those engaged in philanthropy become more effective, powerful change agents in their communities - in February 2019.
As Public Policy Manager, Vincent is responsible for managing Philanthropy Ohio’s Health, Education, Housing and Opiate Crisis Funders member coalition groups, building relationships with state and federal legislative policymakers and staff as well as monitoring legislation and executive department activities related to the priority policy work. Additionally, Vincent is responsible for delivering policy-focused learning events and drafts content for white papers, newsletters, testimony and special reports.
Vincent began his career in public service as a Legislative Service Commission (LSC) Fellow – through the competitive Statehouse Legislative Fellowship Program – and came to call Columbus, Ohio his hometown. Prior to joining the Philanthropy Ohio team, Vincent served as a Legislative Aide in the Ohio General Assembly where he served as chief of staff and political advisor to a State Representative. Vincent also worked on a statewide campaign as political director, responsible for connecting the campaign to state and local political operatives and organizing the day-to-day engagement for the candidate.
In his free-time he coaches youth socce and enjoys leisurely reading on various topics. Vincent is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in International Affairs and Political Science.
Brian Dabson joined the School of Government in July 2016 from the University of Missouri’s Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs, where he served as Associate Dean, Research Professor, and Director of the Institute of Public Policy. Previously, he served as President of the Rural Policy Research Institute and President of CFED (now Prosperity Now), a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity through asset-building, entrepreneurship, and economic development.
He was a member of the National Steering Committee of the National Rural Assembly (2007–2011), a member of the Community Development Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (2007–2012), and President of the Consortium of University Public Service Organizations (CUPSO) (2014-2015).
His current work focuses on rural and regional development and resilience with an emphasis on regional strategies that bridge rural and urban places. He serves as Senior Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s Urban Institute and as Advisor to LOCUS Impact Investing.
Prior to coming to the United States in 1992, he was director of the Center for Employment Initiatives (CEI) a UK-based research and technical assistance nonprofit that worked across Europe on community and economic development programs, and before that, served in a number of local government planning and economic development positions in Liverpool and Glasgow. He also held the position of President of the Social Innovations Forum at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2000–2003).
Dabson has a master’s degree in social science from University of Birmingham Institute of Local Government Studies (Birmingham, England, UK) and an undergraduate degree in town planning from Oxford Brookes University (Oxford, England, UK). He was a chartered town planner and member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
Matthew L. Evans
United Philanthropy Forum
Director of National Programs
Kevin Douglas (he/him/his) joined GCIR in February 2019 and has more than 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. He most recently worked as the Co-Director of Policy and Advocacy for United Neighborhood Houses of New York, a network of New York City’s settlement houses and community centers. While there, he led advocacy campaigns that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in community services by city and state governments. His areas of focus included immigrant opportunity, youth education and skill building, nonprofit contracting, older adult programs, and community services at large. As a consultant, he developed and led what is believed to be the first training in Saudi Arabia for the philanthropic and nonprofit community on effective advocacy techniques.
Kevin was named one of New York Nonprofit Media’s 40 under 40 and a Next Generation Leader by the Human Services Council. He co-founded the giving circle 100 New Yorkers Who Care, and has served on several boards, including the New York Immigration Coalition. Kevin earned an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a BSW from Eastern Connecticut State University. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two cats, and can often be found in the outdoors running or cycling.
First Vice President, Philanthropy Banking
Caitlin Duffy comes to Amalgamated Bank with nearly a decade of experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management. Caitlin specifically works with foundation, family office, and nonprofit clients across their investment and banking needs. Previously, Caitlin worked with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in progressive leadership roles in research, engagement, and programming. She has served as a lead coordinator for the DC TimeBank; as a member of the Board of Instigators of the Diverse City Fund, a community-led grantmaking fund in Washington, DC; and as a member of the steering committee for the DC chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). Caitlin is most looking forward to helping the Bank’s partners resource systems change work that furthers racial justice.
Senior Director of Public Policy
Matthew L. Evans is the Forum’s Senior Director of Public Policy. Evans brings to the Forum more than 15 years of public policy, government relations, and external affairs experience. Before joining the Forum he served as Director of Public Policy & Special Projects for the Southeastern Council on Foundations (now Philanthropy Southeast) in Atlanta, where he has worked to ensure the legislative and regulatory success of the philanthropic sector in the South.
Prior to that, he was Senior Manager, Government Relations for SmithBucklin in Washington, D.C., where he directed the legislative and regulatory affairs efforts of multiple clients from a diverse group of industry sectors. Most of Matthew's professional career has been shaped in Washington, D.C., having held multiple positions that gave him direct experience in working with elected officials, corporate groups, and associations, where he led advocacy efforts for several national organizations. He currently sits on the Public Policy Committee of Independent Sector, the Leadership Council of Nonprofit Vote, and serves as the staff lead for the Forum Public Policy Committee. Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Tennessee State University, an HBCU in Nashville, TN.
a multi-disciplinary folk healing artist
Yabsera Faris Household
The Giving Practice
Richael Faithful (they/them/theirs) is a multi-disciplinary folk healing artist and healing justice practitioner rooted in the African diasporic tradition of conjure. They were born in Washington DC and raised in Virginia, with a strong affinity to their southern family line in Georgia, Alabama and Texas.
Faithful supports national and local activists of all backgrounds, particularly leaders of Black Liberation movements. They are known for creating spaces to help activist identify and process trauma and invest into healing justice frameworks.
Their work has been featured in national publications, including in Colorlines, The Root, Everyday Feminism, HuffPost, among others. They also publish their own words in several books and law review articles.
Faithful is former Shaman-in-Residence at Freed Bodyworks. Before formal shamanic initiation, Richael was a healing-oriented community organizer and peoples’ lawyer.
Yabsera is originally from Washington, DC and is the Digital Strategist and Membership/Program Coordinator at The Communications Network. The Communications Network is a collegial, peer-driven community of foundation and nonprofit communications professionals who share ideas, evidence, and lessons about how smart communications improve lives. Yabsera has been with The Communications Network for the past three years.
Yabsera earned a B.A. at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies.
Lisa is passionate about thoughtful, collaborative and participatory approaches to philanthropy. For 17 years, Lisa has served as a coach, a facilitator and an educational, organizational and development consultant to both for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Prior to joining The Giving Practice, Lisa served as a senior program officer at a family foundation. She also served as faculty at Presidio Graduate School and has worked with universities on their social impact strategies and programming. In 2015, she published the best-selling and award-winning book, Admissions by Design.
Lisa is a certified Immunity to Change facilitator, a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer (CGT) and a Level 1 Partnership Broker. In 2014, she was named a Social Impact Fellow by RSF Social Finance. Lisa graduated from Wellesley College and holds three advanced degrees: a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Arts in leadership and organizational development and a Master of Arts in psychology. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in organizational systems. Lisa is a certified yoga instructor, a former Junior Olympic alpine ski racer and, most joyfully, a mother.
Cosmo Fujiyama Ghaznavi
The Management Center
Chief Operating Officer, SCG/Chief Administrative Officer, Philanthropy California
Karen Freeman is responsible for financial management, human resources, legal, facility, IT, Board of Directors. She also works with the membership to pursue public policy issues of mutual concern. Karen also leads our statewide collaboration work to ensure that joint projects move forward in the areas of programing, communications, and public policy. This includes working with the three RAs to develop Philanthropy California’s infrastructure for sustainable collaboration channels across the state. In addition to leading the strategic development of PhilCA, Karen currently manages the finances and human resources for all three RAs.
Karen has over 29 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors, beginning her career as an aide to U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum (Ohio). She previously worked at Alzheimer’s Family Services Center in Orange County as Director of Operations, responsible for volunteer management, fiscal management, human resources, programming, and building maintenance. Karen also served as Associate Executive Director at the nonprofit 1736 Family Crisis Center and as Associate Executive Director of the LA County Bar Association Dispute Resolution Services. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Saginaw Valley State University and an M.P.A. from the University of Toledo, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.
Cosmo is an educator, learning designer, and consultant with over 14 years of experience working in the education sector. Her career began in Honduras where she started a non-profit organization improving access to quality youth education. Since then, she served as Managing Director of UPenn’s Center for Social Impact Strategy where she designed and launched executive education programs in social innovation. She has worked at The Future Project, New York University, and Ashoka developing curriculum and advancing educational products that help people learn and grow. Cosmo earned her M.P.A in Non-Profit Management from New York University and a B.A. in American Studies and Women Studies from the College of William and Mary. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and invests her free time in bringing people together, testing new recipes, and learning languages.
Maria Gonzales Jackson
Grantmakers in Aging
Senior Director, Northern Ohio Member Engagement
John Gest is Managing Director of the Northern Ohio office of Philanthropy Ohio, formerly known as Ohio Grantmakers Forum. He joined the Columbus-based organization – which is a statewide membership association that provides the network, tools and knowledge to help people engaged in philanthropy become more effective, powerful change agents in their communities - in 2010.
In his role managing the Cleveland-based office, Mr. Gest works to develop and deliver educational and informational programs for the philanthropic community relating to grantmaking core competencies, professional development, funding interest areas and issues of importance to the communities across Northern Ohio. Additionally, he handles member services and manages relationships within the largest and most generous philanthropic region in the state.
Prior to joining Philanthropy Ohio, Mr. Gest most recently served as an admission officer at Case Western Reserve University. There he was charged with recruiting undergraduate students by conducting admission interviews and making presentations at high schools, college fairs and off-campus programs throughout the nation. Back on campus, he managed the entirety of the transfer admission process and reviewed the academic and extra-curricular credentials of an increasingly larger and diverse annual docket of first-year students.
His first stop after university was a four-year stint working at the International Headquarters of Sigma Chi Fraternity in Evanston, IL. While at Sigma Chi he held various roles including Director of Undergraduate Services, serving as chief liaison to university administrations throughout the United States and Canada. He also provided support to numerous educational and policy committees.
In addition to an undergraduate degree in secondary education from Bowling Green State University, the Rhode Island native holds an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve. He is a former chair of the special programs committee at The City Club of Cleveland and currently serves as a member of the community advisory board for ideastream, which is Northeast Ohio’s premier multimedia public broadcasting system.
Director, Member Services
As Director, Member Services, Allyson Goldhagen plays a key leadership role in Philanthropy New York’s knowledge management activities. She is responsible for managing PNY’s membership database, overseeing the system’s ongoing functioning and integration across the organization and with the Philanthropy New York website. Allyson also partners with PNY’s Senior Vice President of Member Services on the overall strategy, management and implementation of our membership recruitment and retention efforts; serves as a resource to the Board of Directors and the Committee on Members; responds to member requests for assistance and research; and provides general information to inquiries about PNY membership.
Prior to working for Philanthropy New York, Allyson served as the Member Programs Coordinator at Philanthropy Massachusetts, the regional association for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. There, she helped develop member programs, funder networks and tools to support and encourage strategic regional philanthropy. Allyson began her work in philanthropy education as a teaching assistant for Northeastern Students4Giving, an experiential philanthropic education program through Northeastern University and the LearningbyGiving Foundation. Prior to focusing her career on advancing the practice of philanthropy, she traveled throughout Egypt, Syria and India researching economic development, civil society and women’s rights as a tool for democratic change. Allyson graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in International Affairs and Human Services and minored in Middle East Studies with a focus on Arabic. She is currently working on her M.B.A from NYU Stern School of Business.
Director of Member Services and Knowledge Management
Maria Gonzales Jackson joined GIA in September 2014 as Director of Programs and Membership. She was previously with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), where she was program manager. Her career includes varied aspects of aging, including mentoring programs, international programs, dementia care, and social service grants management. Maria’s affiliation with the aging network began as a high school intern at an Ohio AAA working on a minority outreach project. A licensed social worker, Maria has more than 15 years of experience in the aging field providing direct care to older adults in a range of settings. She served in director positions at various agencies where she secured funding for aging programs. She also has volunteered as a guardian ad liteum and a hospice bereavement counselor, and served on advisory committees for the Alzheimer’s Association, Ohio Chapter. A graduate of Marywood University, Maria holds master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Administration, and a master’s certificate in Gerontology. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology from Bowling Green State University. She has attained the National Academy of Certified Social Workers Credential and the Advanced Social Worker in Gerontology Credential.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Heather is a Vice President in Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ San Francisco office and leads the organization’s strategy and program development in global philanthropy and systems approaches, including collaboratives, global programs, research, and publications. She drives thought leadership through efforts like the Scaling Solutions toward Shifting Systems initiative, which aims to fuel the placement of longer-term, responsive and adaptive resources to fund and accelerate scalable solutions that target systemic changes focused on pressing global issues. Heather also serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Executive Management Program at the China Global Philanthropy Institute. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and has authored numerous publications.
Heather’s philanthropic advising has been shaped in part by two decades living and working in countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, managing development and humanitarian programs focused on a range of themes including climate livelihoods, education, health, agriculture and trade policy, and microfinance. Heather was previously a Vice President for Foundation Initiatives at The Rockefeller Foundation where she oversaw an annual grantmaking budget averaging $65 million that included work on climate change, employment, and gender. Prior to that, she served as the Managing Director of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, a decade-long partnership between Columbia University, The Aspen Institute, and the International Council on Human Rights Policy founded by former Irish President Mary Robinson. During this period she also served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Heather has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard and a B.A. from Smith College. She is conversant in Chinese. She serves on a number of Boards and Advisory Groups including the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the Wildlife Justice Commission, the Dropbox Foundation, Doc Society, and Forum for the Future. She has served as a member of the WEF Global Future Councils. Heather has lived in 8 very different countries on 4 continents, and appreciates the unique wisdom and expressions of generosity she has found in each of their cultures.
Director of Education and Outreach
Karen is a sought-after speaker, trainer, writer, and consultant with expertise in technology leadership and innovation, nonprofit software, and digital strategy. As Tech Impact’s Director of Education and Outreach, she leads the Idealware team of researchers, presenters, and writers who create technology information resources designed to help nonprofit leaders put their vision into action. Her past experience includes leading the technology consulting services and nonprofit technology learning and networking programs at MAP for Nonprofits, helping to build the nonprofit CRM/database solution provider thedatabank from a startup to a thriving software company, and various roles in arts and human services organizations. She holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of St. Thomas.
Director, Policy Development and Analysis
Allison Grayson joined Independent Sector as director of policy development and analysis in 2013, where she develops public policies to increase the capacity of nonprofits to fulfill their missions. Prior to joining Independent Sector, Allison served as a legislative analyst with the Administration for Children and Families, where she worked with Congress to support $23.5 billion in federal programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start, and the Social Security Block Grant. Her experience with state and local nonprofit organizations began in 2003, working with state nonprofit associations in Minnesota and Alabama on sector-wide issues.
She then joined United Way, where she led coalitions that secured $11 million in federal funding to prevent chronic health conditions, delivered 4,600 services in one day to people experiencing homelessness, and served 10,000 Hurricane Gustav evacuees. Allison holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota. When she is not crusading on behalf of nonprofits, you can find Allison painting, hiking with her husband D.J., and pursuing her Ph.D. in public policy at George Mason University.
Health and Environmental Funders Network
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation
Consultant, Climate, Health, and Equity Project
Shalini Gupta joined HEFN as a consultant to its Climate, Health, and Equity Project in June 2019. She has been involved with climate, energy and environmental policy - with a focus on building grassroots/frontline community capacity - for the past 20 years. Through her consultancy work, Shalini works with a range of philanthropic, governmental and community-based organizations across the country. At HEFN, her work is focused on improving health and equity outcomes by expanding philanthropic investment in communities most impacted by climate change and the fossil fuel economy.
Shalini’s past work experience includes research and advocacy positions at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany, and the Izaak Walton League of America. A former governor appointee to the Minnesota Next Generation Energy Board, Shalini has served as co-Chair of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice Board of Directors and on the founding leadership team of the Midwest Environmental Justice Network. Prior to starting her consulting work, Shalini was the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, an environmental justice research and policy nonprofit. She is deeply grounded in environmental justice where she lives, having been involved with the formation of the Green Zones initiative with the City of Minneapolis.
Shalini holds a BA in the Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago and an MA in Environmental Management from Yale University. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband, two sons, mother, and a community of friends and extended family.
Audrey is passionate about people and communities. She has served as managing director of The Giving Practice since 2011. She has worked with dozens of foundations and foundation leaders, helping them develop strategies, improve their board governance and feel joy in their work. She also plays a key role in designing and supporting learning and leadership cohorts.
Audrey began her career in the field of sexual assault prevention before joining the staff of the Women’s Funding Alliance, followed by The Pride Foundation, where she served as the Executive Director. As a former foundation executive, she considers the six years she served on Philanthropy Northwest’s board invaluable.
Audrey is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She loves to hike, ski, have provocative conversations with her children and sing loudly while alone in the car.
Chief of Staff
Guided by a passion for advancing opportunity, equity and inclusion for all communities, Meredith connects with and collaborates across Philanthropy Northwest’s broad network to strengthen the sector’s leadership and advocacy work on public policy issues.
A fourth-generation Seattleite, Meredith brings a decade of experience in public policy, legal advocacy, cross-sector coalition-building, and engagement with diverse communities to her role as Senior Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy at Philanthropy Northwest. Meredith began her career in Washington, DC, as an attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, a national civil rights organization. She also helped lead policy initiatives for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. After returning to the Northwest, Meredith most recently was a partner with the VENG Group, a Washington, DC-based public affairs firm, working with non-profits and civic leaders around communications and advocacy strategies. Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and law degree from the University of Washington.
She is admitted to practice in Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court. Meredith enjoys spending free time traversing old haunts and discovering new places, especially coffee shops, in the many Seattle-area neighborhoods she considers home. She is also an avid Seahawks fan and loves the connection that brings with so many different people across the region. Go Hawks!
Alice Y. Hom
Northern California Grantmakers
Marissa Jackson Household
Equity and Social Justice Director
Alice Y. Hom is a community builder invested in bridging diverse and overlapping communities for social change. As the Director of Equity and Social Justice at Northern California Grantmakers, Alice centers racial equity with an intersectional lens that brings multiple issues, communities, and sectors together to build on the common good. Before joining NCG, Alice was a Soros Equality Fellow and prior to that, she worked as the Director of the Queer Justice Fund at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. She serves on the Borealis Philanthropy board and on the Advisory Council for the Conscious Style Guide. Alice is a historian with a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University and is the co-editor of Q & A: Queer Voices from Asian North America (Temple University Press, 2021) and Q & A: Queer in Asian America (Temple University Press, 1998).
Director, Communications & Marketing
Jessica Howard is responsible for sharing members organization’s news through social media, newsletter and other communications channels of Philanthropy Ohio. Through this she is able to learn about the incredible and innovative things that are happening in the field among Philanthropy Ohio's members. Previously, Jessica worked for several years in nonprofit marketing and communications roles including at a health care system and then at United Way. In her free time, you can find Jessica in her garden, sailing on Lake Erie or the Hoover Reservoir, running/biking the Olentangy Trail or roasting coffee with her husband. Jessica is originally from the Toledo area, and received her bachelor’s degree is in journalism from Bowling Green State University.
Marissa is passionate about using philanthropy as a tool to advance racial and economic justice and drive social change. Her role with The Giving Practice (TGP) includes supporting client engagements by analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, conducting research and presenting findings that drive action.
Prior to joining TGP, Marissa worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she used storytelling to highlight the power of innovation in global health and PATH, where she developed corporate and philanthropic partnership opportunities to create, deploy and scale global health innovations.
Marissa holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington. She enjoys finding treasures in thrift stores and exploring Seattle's culinary food scene.
Mission Investors Exchange
Sindhu Knotz Household
Gabriel has spent nearly two decades helping leading funders and nonprofits understand the changing context for their work and make sense of what those shifts will mean for both what they do and how they do it. He tracks emerging trends inside and outside the field and translates cutting-edge commercial innovation methods into new approaches for addressing pressing philanthropic and social-sector challenges.
His work with funders at Monitor Institute by Deloitte is grounded in first-hand experience, both as the program officer for philanthropy at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where he was responsible for directing how the foundation used its resources to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy as a field, and as a manager of neighborhood programs at a local affiliate of the East Bay Community Foundation. He has more than 15 years of experience as a consultant, providing applied research, program design, and strategic advising services to foundations, nonprofits, corporations, and international agencies.
He is a prolific writer and thinker about the future of philanthropy and new opportunity spaces in the social sector, having co-authored the Monitor Institute by Deloitte publications What's Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World, On the Brink of New Promise: the Future of US Community Foundations, Intentional Innovation, and Working Wikily: Social Change with a Network Mindset. He has also published and spoken widely on topics including social media tools, diversity and identity-based philanthropy, social investing, and foundation collaboration. He is the designer and creator of several innovative tools for improving philanthropic practice, including the Strategy Landscape™ tool for visualizing foundation funding flows and the Foundation Sidecar Funds platform for helping individual donors piggyback on the grantmaking choices of established foundations. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University and holds a master's in city planning from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was captain of the men's ultimate frisbee team.
Associate, Operations & Fund Development
As Associate, Operations and Fund Development, Elizabeth is responsible for ensuring effective organizational and financial operations for Mission Investors Exchange.
Elizabeth’s previous experience includes approximately six years with financial services organizations, most recently as a member of the Finance and Operations team at Corsair Capital, a private equity investor in the global financial services sector. Prior to that she was a member of the Infrastructure Advisory team at KPMG, where she assisted in providing strategic advice to public sector clients on the financial structuring and delivery of large, complex infrastructure projects.
Elizabeth is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in both finance and accountancy from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Sindhu is passionate about promoting more collaborative, equitable and community-centered philanthropy through her consulting. She brings nearly 20 years of experience leading facilitation, strategy, business planning and assessment projects for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. In her role, Sindhu also co-leads strategy and business planning for The Giving Practice (TGP). She has launched special initiatives for TGP and Philanthropy Northwest including the first class of Momentum Fellows and several peer cohorts of CEOs and trustees advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
Prior to joining TGP, Sindhu held roles at the Center for Effective Philanthropy and in the strategy and operations division of Deloitte Consulting LLC. She began her career in fund development and advocacy through work with the Community Housing Partnership in San Francisco.
Sindhu holds an MPA from Columbia University and a B.A. with honors from UC Berkeley. She is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow and a former board member of 501 Commons. Sindhu loves chocolate, yoga and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her family.
The Funders Network
filmmaker, sound designer, and disability rights activist
Vice President and Director, Member Services
Maureen joined the network in 2002 and currently serves as vice president and director of member services, organizing membership development, outreach, services and strategy. Maureen also directs the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP), a community foundation disaster preparedness and response learning cohort in a ten-state Midwestern region.
Prior to joining the network, she spent her early career managing membership and publications at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. A magna cum laude graduate of Villanova University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy, Maureen later received a master's degree from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (now the McCourt School of Public Policy). While there, she was a Jessie Ball duPont Fund Emerging Nonprofit Scholar at the Institute's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.
An avid sports fan, Maureen often bores her colleagues with tales from her beloved Villanova Wildcats, New York Giants, and Boston Red Sox and other useless sports trivia.
filmmaker, sound designer, and disability rights activist
James LeBrecht is a filmmaker, sound designer, and disability rights activist.
After college, LeBrecht relocated to Berkeley, California, where the disability rights movement was developing at the Center for Independent Living. In Berkeley, he worked as a sound designer. He began his career at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, where he worked for ten years. In the 1980s, LeBrecht obtained an apprenticeship at a post-production facility, which let him break into film. Over the years, LeBrecht has done sound design work for over 145 films, with a particular focus on documentary films. His filmography includes Minding the Gap, The Waiting Room, The Island President, The Kill Team, Audrie and Daisy, Battlefield Earth, and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. He is the founder of Berkeley Sound Artists and co-author of Sound and Music for the Theater: the art and technique of design.
He is a board member of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.
After graduating with a BA in political science from Loyola Chicago in 2004, Natania realized she didn't want to be a lawyer, lobbyist, or politician. Naturally, the nonprofit sector was calling her name.
Natania has an extensive background in nonprofit marketing and fundraising at the national and local scale. She started her career at Feeding America -- initializing their online fundraising program and digital communications plan. Her passion for animal welfare led her to Best Friends Animal Society, where she grew their monthly giving program by 200% in four years and was responsible for raising $3 million annually in online revenue. While at BFAS, she also spearheaded a content governance project to create cohesive messaging and engagement strategies to build enduring and effective user experiences across all digital properties.
Natania is a fundraiser, strategist, and a champion for your mission. And because she's worked in nonprofit organizations, she understands the challenges you face - and is here to help.
Outside of working hours, Natania is an avid photographer, consumer of delicious foods, and enjoys spending time with her husband and 60-pound lap dog, Ducky.
Abby Levine Household
Faith in Public Life
Chief Strategy Officer
Digital strategy isn’t just about what we do on our phones. It offers us all a million chances to be more than what we already are—it changes us IRL. I love being someone who shapes those opportunities and opens those doors.
Before joining ThinkShout, Kate served as publisher at Bitch Media where she implemented an industry-leading engagement model that leveraged the organzation's award-winning editorial work towards financial sustainability. She is a frequent speaker on building digital products and engagement models, and is the recipient of an Institute for Nonprofit News innovation grant funded by the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund to test new membership program strategies. Kate is a member of 2018 Online News Association's Women's Leadership Accelerator and was named one of Media Shift's Top 20 Digital Media Innovators of 2017. For 12 years, Kate's work has centered on the data, systems, and strategies that make us who we are across all digital formats. She has worked as a digital organizer, fundraiser, and strategic program builder with organizations like Democracy for America, Corporate Accountability International, and the Vermont Democratic Party, among others.
A graduate of the University of Vermont with a BA in Political Science, Sociology, and English, Kate also served as team captain for the Women’s Ice Hockey team and scored the first-ever hat trick in the program’s Division I history. When Kate isn’t opening doors for organizations driving change, she can be found either cross-country skiing with her dog in the winter, swimming in a body of water in the summer, or strolling through her neighborhood with her toddler and a cup of coffee at any time of year.
Abby Levine serves as Director of the Bolder Advocacy Program at Alliance for Justice. She provides legal guidance that encourages grantmakers to support advocacy and other nonprofit organizations to participate in policymaking decisions through an understanding of federal tax and election law. Abby’s work includes creating curriculum, teaching workshops, providing technical assistance, writing plain-language legal guides, and describing federal legislative and regulatory developments that impact nonprofits.
Prior to joining Alliance for Justice in 2004, Abby served as the Public Policy Analyst at the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). At NCNA, Abby monitored and analyzed issues affecting the nonprofit sector, such as challenges to nonprofit tax exemptions and advocacy, state budget cuts, government grants streamlining, and corporate governance.
Before working at NCNA, Abby was an associate in the tax department at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio.
(B.A., American University; J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law)
Interim President & CEO
Jeanné is dedicated to building bridges between groups to find new ways to build just and empowered communities. Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she has lived and worked in four states and the District of Columbia to challenge systemic inequities.
As Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), Jeanné leads the team that designs and implements strategies for engaging progressive social justice nonprofit organizations and more than 80 foundation supporters. This includes signature initiatives such as the NCRP Impact Awards and Philanthropy’s Promise. Her efforts result in a deeply engaged philanthropic sector more open to learning from social justice movement leaders.
Her earlier positions have drawn on her expertise in building unlikely alliances which generate new initiatives to promote justice and support marginalized groups. Before joining NCRP she was the Director of US Programs at Search for Common Ground; one of her major initiatives advanced bipartisan conversations among members of the U.S. Congress and other government leaders about the impact of racism on policy. Prior to that, Jeanné worked to build a network of support organizations for military families impacted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also led a restorative justice program for New Hanover County Public Schools in North Carolina, and worked as a faith-based community organizer in Ohio and Florida. Her broad-based experience includes designing discussions and workshops to advance constructive interaction and social justice for international audiences. Jeanné has delivered these forums to elected officials, ambassadors, clergy, executives and other leaders.
Jeanné serves in several volunteer roles, including the Board of Directors of Faith in Public Life and the Parish Pastoral Council of St. Augustine Catholic Parish in Washington, D.C., where she resides. She was an inaugural member of the Leadership Council of Within our Lifetime, a national movement to end racism seeded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She also serves on the advisory council for Talent Philanthropy. In her free time, she sings with SongRise, D.C.’s all-women social justice singing group. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University Midwest.
Ted Lord Household
LOCUS Impact Investing
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Ted believes learning together and humor are essential in sustaining voluntary associations beyond their early blue-sky enthusiasm. In his role with The Giving Practice, Ted works with new and established groups to discern and articulate learnings, and then design engagement strategies that unleash their passions. His multi-year work with numerous philanthropic organizations centers around supporting collaboratives, especially in their adventures to discover how to contribute their various forms of capital.
His staff and board coaching are based in his CEO stewardship of Pride Foundation and Humanities Washington and is supplemented by change management skills developed as interim CEO of Camp Fire, Hedgebrook and DAWN in addition to the Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University.
Ted holds a B.A. from Trinity College and an M.A. from the University of Washington. He is a practicing poet whose work appears in more than forty literary magazines. Co-parenting teenagers provides him an ongoing practicum in punting when faced with unintended consequences and a reminder to value mistakes as part of true life-long learning.
Senior Vice President
Deb Markley has over 35 years of experience working in community economic development and community philanthropy as both a faculty member and practitioner. She is Senior Vice President of LOCUS Impact Investing and helps to manage LOCUS’ consulting services for place-focused philanthropic institutions. Together with the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group, she is working to advance the practice of economic development philanthropy among place-focused foundations. She helped to lead a national peer learning cohort of community foundations in 2017-2018 and is leading a peer learning cohort of Kansas community foundations working to explore, unlock and deploy local impact investments in their communities. Deb has BS and MS degrees from Cornell University and a PhD from Virginia Tech.
Vice President of Programs
Akilah Massey is a vice president at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and an experienced program designer with over a decade of experience creating educational programs for grantmakers. Before joining GEO, she developed programming at Exponent Philanthropy, an association of small-staffed grantmakers.
While at Exponent Philanthropy, she spearheaded the CONNECT Conference, a philanthropy conference devoted to highlighting the connections that sustain philanthropic work. She also led Exponent Philanthropy’s technology content area, writing articles, blog posts and building programs on technology resources for grantmaking organizations. She further collaborated with grantmakers, colleague organizations, and nonprofit organizations to craft seminars, workshops and online programming on a variety of philanthropy-related topics with the intent of improving the effectiveness of small-staffed grantmakers.
At the start of her career, Akilah worked at a small Cleveland-area children’s rehabilitation hospital where she got to interact with very cool kids every day. She currently volunteers as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate or CASA in Washington, DC, working in a different capacity with children currently in the foster care system.
Kari McCann Boutell
Iowa Council of Foundations
The Management Center
Kari McCann Boutell joined the Iowa Council of Foundations as President in 2015. Kari works directly with the Board of Directors and oversees organizational activities including program development and management, membership recruitment and retention, as well as education and outreach for the purpose of strengthening and growing philanthropy in Iowa. An Iowa native, Kari brings her lived, rural experience, passion for place-based leadership, and collaborative spirit to the network each day.
Kari has a bachelor's degree in nonprofit management from the University of Northern Iowa and a graduate degree in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Prior to joining the ICoF, Kari was the Director of Nonprofit Partnerships & Grantmaking at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
Kari serves on the United Philanthropy Forum Board of Directors, Creative Adventure Lab Board of Directors, University of Northern Iowa Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Advisory Board, University of Northern Iowa Leisure, Youth and Human Services Advisory Council, and is a Co-Chair of a United Philanthropy Forum Peer Community. Kari is a Jr. Achievement classroom volunteer and participates in a local Women's Giving Circle, where she participates on the Grantmaking Committee. Kari also provides consulting services for nonprofits and supports youth philanthropy across the state and nationally.
Carmen is a passionate people manager who began her career in the non-profit education sector, working to introduce new technology curriculum into the Los Angeles School District. She then moved to Washington, D.C., and spent seven years in increasingly senior roles with an organization focused on leadership development for high achieving students. She served as Director of Programs for the National Young Leaders Conference and the National Youth Leadership Forums on Law and National Security, shepherding more than 10,000 students through experiential education programming. Most recently, Carmen was the Vice President of Internal Communications for CEB (now Gartner), a research and advisory firm focused on equipping leaders with insights, advice, and tools to achieve their goals. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Arlington, Virginia where she enjoys watching movies, hosting game nights, and playing various recreational sports.
VP, Member Engagement and Strategic Initiatives
Alex joined Philanthropy MA as the Senior Director of Programs in August 2017. With a career in the nonprofit sector that spans 20 years, most recently Alex McCray served in a Resource Development capacity at both the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and the United Way of Rhode Island. Prior to his work within that network, Alex was a Senior Associate at Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), helping to strengthen nonprofits and enabling social sector leaders to make sound strategic decisions. In addition to raising funds and consulting, Alex has held program management and marketing roles within youth, workforce development and arts-focused nonprofits. For four years Alex gained a grantmaker's perspective in his position as a Grant Programs Associate at the Rhode Island Foundation, where he continues to serve on an Advisory Council. In 2017 Alex joined the Board of Directors of Project STEP, and became a Big Brother again. Alex received his M.S. Nonprofit Management - Leadership, from Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) in 2012, where he now serves as a Lecturer. Alex was awarded his B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College.
President & CEO
Debbie McKeon is San Diego Grantmakers’ chief visionary, spokesperson, and external relations builder. Guided by SDG’s mission, vision, values, key work areas, and goals for organizational excellence as described in the 2020 Strategic Framework, she leads a dynamic team of professionals to contribute to positive community change in San Diego and Imperial Counties through leadership, innovation, and collaboration.
Debbie brings a deep commitment to equity, cross-sector partnerships, and catalytic capital to further SDG’s vision of an equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in our region. With a track record of inspiring successful initiatives, innovative philanthropy, impact investing field-building, and systems-level change, she is leading SDG into its next chapter of greatness. A seasoned senior executive, she most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) where she led design and implementation of the strategic framework, suite of services, and embedded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. Prior to joining CMF, Debbie’s extensive experience in leadership and public-private partnerships included design and development of the NorthSky Nonprofit Network, a capacity building organization for over 1800 nonprofits; serving as Co-founding Board Member, Managing Director, and CEO of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas; and Assistant Manager of the New York Philharmonic. A global citizen and civic leader, she has worked in more than 40 countries across six continents. Now that she calls San Diego home, Debbie will focus on lifting the voice of the philanthropy sector in both San Diego and Imperial Counties through cross-sector partnerships such as the Social Equity Collaborative Fund and Philanthropy California and initiatives such as Census 2020. On a personal note, she is a classical music enthusiast and accomplished musician in her own right.
Director, Philanthropy California
Karla Mercado supports SCG's public policy efforts and manages Philanthropy California initiatives.
Prior to SCG, Karla was the director of special events for a public relations firm where she developed and coordinated strategic networking events for local nonprofits, institutions, and corporate clients, with the goal of expanding their community involvement and exposure. She began her work in the nonprofit sector as a case manager for the Los Angeles Chapter of Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she supported and maintained records for youth and their mentors to ensure positive youth and match development. Karla has a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles and an M.P.A. and certificate in Non-Profit Management from the California State University, Northridge.
Vice President of Strategic Communications
David Miller is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Southeastern Council of Foundations. He is focused on driving member engagement with SECF’s events and programming while also promoting SECF’s work cultivating philanthropic organizations and leaders throughout the Southeast. David also manages SECF’s print and online publications.
David came to SECF in 2015 with extensive experience as a writer and editor. He oversaw print and online publications as Communications Director for the Illinois council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and also served as Media Outreach Manager at the headquarters of the Laborers’ International Union of America in Washington. During his time in Washington, David also promoted events and publications for National Journal Group.
David began his career as a political journalist, writing and editing for Congressional Quarterly and CBS News. His interest in politics also led him to work as a researcher for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Director of Public Policy
Katina came to MCF from Grassroots Solutions, an engagement strategy firm based in Minneapolis, where she had the opportunity to work with a number of local and national foundations, partnering with them on community engagement efforts, grantmaking initiatives, project planning, policy change efforts, training, facilitation, and assessment and evaluation. She received her Master's of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 2011. Katina is the director of MCF's public policy team, which promotes philanthropy and charitable giving and advocates for prosperity through inclusion and equity at the state and federal level. Katina organizes all public policy efforts toward a coherent, coordinated approach of lobbying, member engagement, and partner collaboration. She serves as the program lead for MCF's corporate philanthropy programming and issue-based working groups.
Katina is a dedicated world traveler, a card and board game enthusiast, an aspiring yogi, and a mama of two little girls. As a dual German-American citizen, Katina is (relatively) fluent in German and tries to visit family in Europe when she can. When she has down time, she loves spending time on the Minneapolis chain of lakes, seeing friends and family, and trying new restaurants.
Emmy-winning documentary producer and director
Nicole Newnham is an Emmy-winning producer, director, and writer. She co-directed the Emmy-nominated The Revolutionary Optimists and The Rape of Europa, which was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and shortlisted for an Academy Award. Newnham produced the VR films Collisions, winner of the Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches to Documentary, and Awavena; both were featured at the Sundance Film Festival and at the World Economic Forum.
Director, Programs & Conferences
Katy Pelissier is the Director of Programs & Conferences at SoCal Grantmakers. In this capacity, she develops and implements educational and networking opportunities for Southern California's philanthropic community in issue areas including the environment, health, disaster resilience, and pandemic response. She leads planning for the organization's two major conferences per year, which bring funders together to engage in public policy, advance racial equity, and integrate philanthropic best practices into their work. Prior to joining SCG, Katy spent eight years in the Pacific Northwest working on local food and agriculture issues. She graduated from the University of Oregon with B.A.s in Family & Human Services and Theatre Arts, and in her free time, enjoys getting outdoors and being active.
North Peak Solutions
Community Centered Evaluation & Research
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Daranee Petsod (she/her/hers) has played a variety of leadership roles to advance justice and equity for marginalized communities. Since she started at GCIR in 1999, she has driven GCIR’s growth into a national organization that has catalyzed and leveraged hundreds of millions in philanthropic funding to protect the rights of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers—and cultivate their inclusion and contributions to our society.
Daranee's 21-year tenure has been marked by a long list of accomplishments. She grew the organization from a few members and one part-time staff member to more than 130 members, a staff of 12, and an annual budget of $2.5 million. In the mid-2000s, she led the creation of GCIR’s groundbreaking Immigrant Integration Toolkit, which ultimately leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding over a decade. Daranee guided the launch of GCIR’s two major funder collaboratives, the California Immigrant Integration Initiative and Delivering on the Dream, which have become models for collaborative grantmaking. In her own backyard, she co-founded the UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County, which raised over $7 million to help 4,000-plus undocumented immigrants and their families get back on their feet after the 2017 California fires. Under Daranee’s leadership, GCIR was named the Funders’ Affinity Group of the Year in 2017 by Inside Philanthropy for its key role in organizing funder pushback to anti-immigrant policies.
Prior to joining GCIR, Daranee served as interim executive director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and was a program officer at the Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc. and the Sophia Fund, one of the first women’s funds in the United States. She was also a consultant to foundations and nonprofits, helping them strengthen their grantmaking, programming, and communications. Earlier in her career, she worked with Southeast Asian refugee women, counseled abused and neglected children and their families, and mentored inner-city youth.
Daranee currently serves on the boards of directors of United Philanthropy Forum and Northern California Grantmakers. She has authored and co-authored numerous research reports on a range of immigration issues, as well as opinion pieces on the role of philanthropy in advancing the rights and inclusion of immigrants. She earned an M.A. in social policy from the University of Chicago and is a recipient of the 2014 Professional Development Fellowship from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation. When not immersed in immigration and philanthropy, she enjoys the great outdoors and traveling the world with her family.
In fall 2019, Daranee made a decision to step down from her role at GCIR at the end of 2020. The GCIR board will be conducting a national search for her successor in summer 2020.
Founder and Senior Consultant
Brian is a big-picture thinker, fascinated with how things work. This perspective and curiosity drive his passion for helping nonprofits operate as effectively as possible. In 2013, he founded North Peak with a goal to empower nonprofits to grow their impact with sensible, well-run CRM solutions.
As CEO, he guides North Peak to be an industry leader, works directly with clients, and explores the tenets of a CRM-centric approach to nonprofit operations. Reach out to Brian if you want to talk about how-to re-align organization culture and resources to be successful with CRM.
Brian is based in San Diego, CA. When he’s not working, he’s either spending time with his family or surfing his favorite beachbreak.
Maricela Pina, MPH, brings over 15 years of experience in research and evaluation, technical assistance, strategic planning, and facilitation. Maricela’s work is grounded in the belief that communities are best positioned to identify and craft solutions for issues faced within the community. With this guiding principle, she has worked extensively with a range of community-based organizations, public sector agencies, and foundations. Maricela has a wide array of content expertise with a passion for supporting projects that aim to strengthen public health systems, improve educational achievement gaps, empower youth, advocate for immigrant communities, and improve workforce development efforts. She specializes in designing and implementing qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Maricela’s work is strongly guided by culturally responsive principles; much of her work centers on supporting organizations aimed at improving diversity, racial and economic equity, and inclusion within their organizations and in their work with the community. Maricela is bicultural and bilingual in English and Spanish. She is the mother of two young children.
Funders for Justice
Todd is a Partner at Sax with over 30 years of in-depth auditing, accounting and advisory experience, serving a multitude of industries. His wealth of experience has led him to lead the firm’s Transaction Advisory Practice, Accounting & Auditing Department, and Sax’s Not-for-Profit Practice.
Todd understands the world of Private Equity, and the importance of a strong support team when it comes to pre and post acquisitions. He assists PE companies by thoroughly analyzing and validating financial, operational and strategic measures that capture opportunities and minimize loss and liabilities through the transaction process. He counsels clients on deal structuring to ensure the successful integration of business operations, cultures and strategies align to maximize the value of their investment.
As Head of the firm’s Not-for-Profit Practice, Todd has a true passion for advising nonprofit organizations on the key areas critical to their success. Todd provides the highest quality compliance services that not-for-profit’s need, but also focuses on providing added value in the form of advisory services to help nonprofit organizations actualize their overall potential.
As Partner-in-Charge of the firm’s Accounting & Auditing Department, which oversees the policies and procedures our firm follows for any attestation engagement, Todd is focused on building strong client relationships based on the delivery of accurate, timely and meaningful financial information. Todd is also actively involved in the training and education of clients and staff on the new accounting and auditing standards put forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Auditing Standards Board (ASB).
Todd is also Head of the firm’s Innovation Committee, and he is leaned on to support the growth and innovation of Sax and to create new opportunities to sustain a healthy firm culture, attract and retain exceptional talent, and to stand out among competition now and in the future.
Todd is a Certified Public Accountant in New Jersey.
Kristin Purdy (she/her) has dedicated her career to engaging communities and helping build local power for positive change. Before joining the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, Kristin worked in a variety of roles supporting progressive organizations, candidates, and issue campaigns in achieving their goals and creating a more equitable society. Most recently as a strategist for GPS Impact, she provided strategic support to philanthropic partners, helped to build state civic engagement tables throughout the South, and built scalable training programs for national advocacy organizations. Prior to that, she was at 270 Strategies where she created integrated grassroots and digital engagement programs, led strategic planning processes, and trained campaign and advocacy staff.
Her passion for people-powered movements began in her work as a community organizer, where she learned the importance of relationship building and empowering local communities to participate in the civic space. She sharpened her organizing skills and developed a love of metrics while working on both Obama presidential campaigns. In Michigan in 2008 and Ohio in 2012, she led organizing efforts to develop community leaders and increase voter participation in critical urban areas.
Through her advocacy experience at the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Transportation for America, and the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Kristin has worked at the federal and local levels to build campaigns, coalitions, and volunteer organizations in support of sustainable and equitable transportation and development policies.
She lives in the District of Columbia, though remains a proud Michigander and graduate of the University of Michigan.
Lorraine organizes grantmakers, donor networks, and funder affinity groups to move money to grassroots organizing, led by and for people of color, at the intersections of racial justice, gender justice, criminalization, and community safety and justice. She partners with NFG’s members to fund community power building and transformative organizing. Lorraine joined NFG in December of 2012.
Lorraine has worked in social justice philanthropy for 15 years, in the areas of housing and the foreclosure crisis, LGBTQ rights, gender justice, racial justice, immigrant rights, criminalization, and anti-violence organizing strategies. Lorraine previously worked in US Programs at the Open Society Foundations, and began in philanthropy at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, working across their international and US-based grant programs.
Lorraine has partnered with grassroots social justice community-based organizations across the US, on fundraising strategies, organizational development, and coalition-building. She served on the board of the Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice, the Justice Committee, and Resource Generation. She is currently a board member of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT),and Trans Queer Pueblo; she serves on the grants panel for the Mobilize Power Fund of Third Wave Fund. Lorraine holds a B.A. in Women's Studies from Pomona College.
Jamie R. Riley
Center for Law and Social Policy
Neighborhood Funders Group
Media Impact Funders
Director, Racial Equity
Jamie R. Riley is CLASP’s director of racial equity. He leads and coordinates internal and external efforts to enhance CLASP’s overall commitment to racial equity and justice.
Jamie has an extensive 15-year career as a social change agent in higher education and nonprofit administration. He has served in leadership and faculty roles at the University of California, Berkeley; University of Maryland; University of Alabama; Johns Hopkins University; and, Longwood University. He also served as executive director for the non-profit operations of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first intercollegiate fraternity for African American men. Jamie’s published academic research, which is informed by critical race theory, investigates the systemic and environmental impact of race and racism within American institutions and culture. Jamie is a member of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; National Conference on Race & Ethnicity; NASPA-Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education; American College Personnel Association; Association of College Unions International; American Educational Research Association; and the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
Jamie earned his bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and planning and master’s degree in education leadership and administration from Tennessee State University. He also earned his Ph.D. in counseling and student personnel services from the University of Georgia.
Director, Integrated Rural Strategies Group
Lindsay leads NFG’s Integrated Rural Strategies Group, working with funders from around the country to build power and equity in rural communities. IRSG’s programming is designed to build relationships among funders and between funders and rural community leaders, with the goal of mobilizing philanthropy to support racial, economic, gender, and climate justice for rural communities.
Lindsay joined NFG’s staff in 2017, continuing her passion for and experience in grantmaking, capacity building, and technical assistance to support social justice advocacy. Growing up in a rural area, Lindsay is honored to bring this background to her commitment to intersectional justice, which has been the focus of her work throughout her career. Lindsay was herself an NFG member while serving as Program Officer with the Proteus Fund’s Security & Rights Collaborative (now RISE Together Fund), and also worked as a Legal Associate at Alliance for Justice where she supported progressive campaigns to build community power. Lindsay earned her BA from New York University and JD from Brooklyn Law School. Lindsay is also on a mission to impart the joys of rock climbing with as many NFG staff as possible, having taken four NFG colleagues climbing and counting!
Nina Sachdev brings more than 15 years of journalism, news editing and marketing experience to her role as the communications director for Media Impact Funders. She cut her teeth in journalism at The Dallas Morning News, where—as an intern on the copy desk—she was tasked with editing the obituaries of famous people who hadn’t yet died. Since then, Nina has worked at The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Weekly in almost every editorial capacity imaginable, including senior editor, A1 editor (when that used to be a thing) and slot (does anyone remember that being a thing?). Nina is the creator and editor of the award-winning The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse, which exposes the reality of healing from the effects of sexual abuse. Nina holds an M.A. in journalism from Temple University.
The Chicago Community Trust
Environmental Grantmakers Association
Chief Operating Officer
Andrea Sáenz is chief operating officer for The Chicago Community Trust—the first person to hold this position, created in 2018. Sáenz joined the Trust from the Chicago Public Library where she served as first deputy commissioner and chief strategy officer, leading strategy, program design, evaluation, innovation and organizational development. Before joining the Library, Andrea served as chief of staff to Chicago Public Schools’ CEO, coordinating strategy and implementation of district-wide initiatives.
Sáenz’ previous roles include policy advisor to the assistant secretary of career, technical and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education, and executive director of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, a national nonprofit working collaboratively with employers, universities and schools to increase Latinos’ entry and success in professional careers. She began her social sector career leading community-based adult education and workforce development at Congreso de Latinos Unidos.
Sáenz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from Scripps College and a Master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. A 2010 Broad Resident and a 2008 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Sáenz serves as a mentor at 1871, Chicago’s tech entrepreneurship hub; sits on the boards of the Albert Pick Jr. Fund, Blair Thomas & Company, Chicago Learning Exchange and the James Dyson Foundation; and is chair of the board of Instituto del Progreso Latino.
Justice & Equity Director
Malavika Sahai is the Communications Program Manager at EGA. In her role, she connects EGA's community through in-person signature events, communications, and new tools and research for boosting collective learning and knowledge. She also streamlines communications across the organization, using technology to implement new strategic approaches to engage EGA membership with the organization's website, programs, and communications. Malavika is originally from Virginia, and is currently residing in New York City. Outside of work she enjoys strolling around Manhattan with her greyhound Remy, playing bassoon, and visiting local greenmarkets.
As PEAK Grantmaking’s membership director, Sara leads the organization’s efforts to build and grow our network of over 350 Organizations Members and our community of more than 4,000 grants management professionals, all with the goal of improving how grants get made throughout the philanthropic sector.
Sara brings 10+ years of association experience in volunteer management, membership recruitment and retention, stakeholder engagement, and relationship building. For over 2 of those years, she worked as PEAK Grantmaking’s regional chapter manager, during which time she collaborated with volunteer regional chapter officers to dramatically increase engagement and build volunteers as leaders. Sara started her career at the Department of Defense, training military voting assistance officers to help service members vote and ensuring ballots were sent on time to oversees citizens. She has also worked at the League of Women Voters and the School Nutrition Association.
Sara earned a bachelor’s degree in history and criminal justice from The George Washington University. She loves spending time with her family, is an avid sports fan and museum enthusiast, enjoys hobbies like ice skating and knitting, and can’t wait for her next travel adventure.
The Giving Practice
Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants
Jonah Silas Sheridan
Mark’s passion is to help leaders in the social sector develop and spread good ideas and champion the causes they care about. Mark has been a consultant to foundations, philanthropy associations and other nonprofit organizations for the past two decades. At The Giving Practice, Mark helps clients make an impact through strategic planning, collaborative inquiry, group facilitation, influence strategy, research and tool and visual design.
Mark’s prior experiences include directing the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative, serving as The James Irvine Foundation’s first director of communications, working for a public affairs agency and directing projects for the civil liberties group People For the American Way.
Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in public policy, both from Harvard University. He lives in Seattle and will talk about his son, Dash, for as long as you will let him.
Sesay fled Sierra Leone due to the brutal war that led to the murder of his father and younger sister. While he was fleeing the military and the rebels, he was shot and seriously injured. In a refugee camp in the Gambia, he worked with other refugees to advocate for better living conditions in the camp and education for the children. When his injury required further surgery, he moved to the capital, where he met his wife, also a refugee, and when his medical condition deteriorated, Dauda and his new wife and six-month-old daughter were resettled to the U.S.
Today in Baton Rouge, Sesay has a degree in Applied Science in Process Technology from Baton Rouge Community College. He is a founding member and Vice President of Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants, a nonprofit community-based organization assisting refugees and immigrants through their various stages of integration into the United States.
Sesay works with refugee families to enroll their kids in school and assists non-English-speakers during times of difficulties, such as bullying or other issues, at school. He also coordinates to help New Americans in times of natural disasters, including the 2016 flooding in Louisiana. He works to connect communities, amplify refugee voices and build bridges through public speaking, storytelling and organized cultural events. He also engages with faith leaders and elected and public officials to promote welcoming policies.
He is a member of the Mayor Sharon Weston Broome International Relations Commission and Chairperson of the Commission on Culture and Art Engagement, a commission established to help make the city of Baton Rouge more inclusive and welcoming. He is also the proud father of five children.
Jonah Silas Sheridan is a technologist with nearly two decades of experience in IT planning, management, digital security and technical support for a range of organizations, small businesses and foundations. Since forming Information Ecology as a a whole systems rooted movement technology firm in 2014, he has proudly supported social justice organizations in management and capacity building across a range of technology, digital security and organizational development needs as consultant and coach. He brought his experience to filling the mentor role for the 2017-2018 cohort of grassroots embedded Digital Integrity Fellows at the Open Technology Fund. He is a consultant in RoadMap Consulting's Weathering the Storms program as well as an active participant in the Radical Connections Network and global Organizational Security Community.
Before forming Information Ecology, Jonah worked as a consultant, both independently inside larger firms, as well as several stints acting as internal technology staff at mission driven organizations including Rainforest Action Network and The Global Fund for Women.
Jonah has a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Religion and Computer Science from Amherst College and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Urban Permaculture Insititute and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. He proudly became a Certified Community Coach through Leadership That Works in 2018, an empowerment modality he incorporates throughout his consulting and coaching work.
Indiana Philanthropy Alliance
Director of Marketing and Communications
Lissa oversees IPA’s communications and marketing strategy. In this role, she is a skilled communications jack-of-all-trades—maintaining IPA’s website and CRM integration, managing IPA's brand and outreach efforts, and overseeing IPA's digital communication strategy. Lissa currently serves as a member of United Philanthropy Forum’s Knowledge Management Collaborative, which unites philanthropy supporting organizations across the country in an effort to improve a shared CRM and website technology platform based on Salesforce and Drupal. She is also the Forum's Communications Peer Community Co-Chair and on the Forum's 2020 conference planning committee held in Seattle.
Lissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History with Studio Art minor from Indiana University Bloomington. While achieving her degree, Lissa served as president of Golden Key International Honor Society, public relations assistant to the Eskenazi Museum of Art, and collections curator for IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures.which seeks to racially diversify the classical music profession.
Jen is passionate about building bridges between education and meaningful employment. She is particularly interested in how to work across the public, private, and non-profit sectors to support children and families. Jen believes workforce development and social entrepreneurship have a big role to play in improving the lives of those most vulnerable in our society.
Prior to joining the Monitor Institute, Jen worked in Deloitte’s Strategy and Analytics practice, focusing on market growth and the social determinants of health. Jen began her career at Teach for America as an eighth grade English teacher, where she also taught English as a Second Language and Special Education. During her time with TFA, she worked as the Director for Teacher Leadership Development, where she coached teachers on instructional best practice, leadership, and intersectional identity development. She is proud to have led TFA’s expansion to rural Oklahoma, where she grew up.
Program Director, Public Square
Josh Stearns is the Program Director of the Public Square Program at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. The Public Square Program works to ensure all Americans have access to the news and information they need to engage in civic life, and use their voices without fear of being harassed or silenced. Josh leads the foundation’s efforts to support trustworthy local news and investigative reporting, more equitable newsrooms, press freedom, community engagement, and digital spaces that advance democracy, not hate.
A journalist and community builder, Josh joined Democracy Fund from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where he served as the Director of Journalism and Sustainability and worked to support and expand community-driven local news and develop new business models for journalism. Previously, Josh served as Press Freedom Director at Free Press, where he spent seven years running national advocacy campaigns in support of digital rights, freedom of expression, and media diversity. Before that Josh managed communications and policy for Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,000 college campuses committed to renewing the democratic purposes of higher education.
He helped launch the Local News Lab, First Draft News and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. His articles have appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Guardian, Columbia Journalism Review, PBS MediaShift, Orion Magazine, BuzzFeed, and Boing Boing. Josh has served as a visiting scholar in the Journalism and Communication Departments at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has taught at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He has a B.A. in writing from St. Lawrence University and an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts.
Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy
The New York Community Trust
Chief of Staff
Suprotik Stotz-Ghosh serves as Vice President of Strategy and Learning at GEO. Suprotik helps shape and lead GEO’s work focused on racial equity, diversity and inclusion in the field and internally. Suprotik has 20-plus years’ experience in the nonprofit sector and 12-plus years in philanthropy at Kalamazoo Community Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. At Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Suprotik led the transformation of the foundation’s grantmaking policies and practices to integrate an equity lens and facilitated collaborations to strengthen Kalamazoo’s racial equity capacity.
Suprotik is an Advisory Council member of NCRP’s Philamplify/Power Moves project and ProInspire’s Equity in the Center program.
Suprotik holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, Bachelor of Arts in English from Kalamazoo College, Business Solutions Professional Certification from Michigan State University, and is a qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Executive Director, Equity in the Center
Kerrien is director of Equity in the Center (EiC), a new initiative launched through ProInspire and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. Equity in the Center addresses a gap in philanthropic and nonprofit organizations’ current diversity, equity and inclusion practice: The absence of sector-validated organizational development and change management best practices to shift mindsets, tactics and systems that drive racial and ethnic diversity at all levels.
With over 19 years of management and consulting experience, Kerrien has supported executive and leadership teams in bold decision making to solve strategic and operational challenges. As an independent consultant, she managed strategic and implementation planning projects for ProInspire, UNCF, National Black Child Development Institute, National Center for Children in Poverty and Martha’s Table.
Her focus on diversity, equity and inclusion developed through support of emerging leaders in education reform, early childhood education policy and social enterprise. Through Surge Institute, Camelback Ventures, EdFuel and National Black Child Development Institute, she supports emerging and established leaders of color working to define school and community-based solutions that drive educational equity for Black and brown children nationwide.
As an executive coach, Kerrien supports senior leaders and social entrepreneurs in clarifying a vision for measurable social impact, and building the leadership and management capacity to achieve it. In addition to her support of leaders in education reform, she previously coached grantees of the Annie E. Casey, Wells Fargo and Robert Wood Johnson foundations on issues ranging from organizational capacity and sustainability to place-based collective impact.
Kerrien’s experience in education and youth development has focused on taking innovative school and community-based program models to scale regionally and nationally. While at EdisonLearning, she supported implementation of a $15M national charter management pilot, and her work at Communities In Schools focused on securing national accreditation for the affiliate taking its drop-out prevention and student support services model to scale in DC.
Kerrien’s career in management consulting began at AT Kearney and The Advisory Board. Most recently, while at Community Wealth Partners, she led engagements to refine programs and scale impact for national nonprofits, including The First Tee and AARP ExperienceCorps. She is a graduate of Harvard College and London School of Economics.
Senior Program Officer, Civic Affairs, Community Development, And Technical Assistance
Patricia manages The Trust’s grantmaking for community development, affordable housing, civic affairs, and technical assistance. She is a board member of Philanthropy New York, and serves on the advisory boards of Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and the New York City office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s from Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning. She was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University.
Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
President & CEO
Megan oversees San Diego Grantmakers’ facilitation of collaborative efforts among its funder members and other stakeholders; leads the production of philanthropy and impact investing skills-building and issue based learning; and spearheads SDG’s work related to championing equity and opportunity. She provides strategic and logistical support to strengthen San Diego communities through shared learning and pooled and aligned funding strategies. Current focus areas include early education, STEAM education, immigration, homelessness, military/veterans issues, leadership development, racial justice, and impact investing, as well as support for the steering committees of pooled grant funds, including that of Women Give San Diego, which is fiscally sponsored by SDG.
Megan brings 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields to this role, having most recently served as Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper where she built partnerships among the nonprofit, business, and public sectors to advance environmental goals across San Diego County. Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University and her Masters in Business Administration from Yale School of Management. She serves on the long-term vision advisory committee for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and previously served on the board of directors of Hope Horse Ranch, United Way of San Diego County; advisory council for The San Diego Foundation’s Center for Civic Engagement; and the Port of San Diego Environmental Advisory Committee.
Program Associate, Public Square
Lea Trusty is a Program Associate at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Lea supports the Public Square Program in its mission to invest in innovations and institutions that focus on creating audience-centered, inclusive, and trusted newsrooms that reflect the diversity of their communities.
Lea supports Democracy Fund’s Engaged Journalism strategy, leading their grants portfolio centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This work focuses on supporting newsrooms led by and serving communities of color; the recruitment, training, and promotion of student and professional journalists from historically marginalized communities; and creating more equitable and inclusive practices in traditionally white-led and centric news organizations. Current investments include the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund, the Ida B. Wells Society, and the Maynard Institute.
Lea joined Democracy Fund in summer 2017. Prior to joining the team, Lea was a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow, a program for recent graduates interested in philanthropy and social impact. She was placed at WSHU Public Radio, an NPR affiliate in Connecticut. She covered a wide breadth of stories, from minority teacher recruitment to the first family suing ICE for detention center abuses.
Lea is a former member of the EPIP DC steering committee. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where she studied politics and Latin America.
Director, Democracy Program
Jerry has been a leader in collecting electoral data on and protecting Asian American voters, organizing AALDEF’s National Asian American Exit Poll and Voter Protection Program which deployed over 850 volunteers in 14 states and Washington DC, to survey and protect almost 14,000 Asian American voters on Election Day 2016. Jerry has also organized the Asian American community for redistricting, serving as AALDEF’s lead attorney on New York’s Favors v. Cuomo federal redistricting litigation, resulting in more Asian majority and influence districts at all legislative levels. Jerry has also testified on behalf of the Asian American community at redistricting hearings throughout the Northeast, and observed elections for compliance with state and federal voting laws across the country. Jerry litigates cases concerning violations of Sections 203 and 208 of the Voting Rights Act and regularly meets with Boards of Elections across the country to ensure full compliance with federal and local language assistance provisions and the Help America Vote Act. Jerry is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York law School. Prior to joining AALDEF, Jerry worked as a commercial litigator at Proskauer Rose LLP. Jerry received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Binghamton University and is a graduate of Hofstra University School of Law.
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
The Center for Effective Philanthropy
Lori Villarosa is founder and executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE), and has consistently led work at the intersection of racial justice and philanthropy for more than 25 years, deeply engaging with hundreds of funders and funder networks at the community level, regionally, nationally and internationally. Led by a board of racial justice experts and movement leaders, PRE strengthens funders’ capacity to increase the amount and effectiveness of resources to combat structural racism through workshops, Racial Justice Funder Labs, direct consultations, coaching, research and through PRE publications, such as the seminal Grantmaking with a Racial Equity Lens (in partnership with GrantCraft) and the more recent Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens: A Practical Guide.
Prior to launching PRE, Villarosa worked at C.S. Mott Foundation, where she was instrumental in developing and managing the foundation’s portfolio addressing institutional racism moving $24 million in grants. She has been a racial justice change agent from multiple positions within the sector, serving on several foundation boards- currently Board Chair of Edward W. Hazen Foundation - and in leadership roles in the past with ABFE, AAPIP, and now with CHANGE Philanthropy. She is also a member of United Philanthropy Forum's Racial Equity Committee and the Latin American Committee of WINGS (Worldwide Initiatives of Grantmaker Support).
In addition to deep work within every region in the US (with recent focus in the South), she has presented and worked with racial justice NGOs and grantmakers in Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa.
Manager, People and Culture; Diversity and Inclusion Strategist
Leaha Wynn, CDP, Manager, People and Culture; Diversity and Inclusion Strategist, collaborates in the strategy and implementation of talent management at CEP. In this capacity, she plays a major role in staff recruiting, events, professional development, and the incorporation of talent analytics; and works closely with the President, Director of People and Culture, and members of senior staff to develop and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and other initiatives related to organizational culture and development. She is certified as a diversity professional from the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC), a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and has received a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute of Nonprofit Practice as a part of their Community Fellows Program with Tufts University. Leaha also has served for several years on the Board of Directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Boston, most recently as Chair of the Board of Directors, but also as Co-Chair of the Board, Director of Talent and Recruitment, and as a founding member of its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Leaha currently serves as the Director of the Strategic Research & Analysis Committee of the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Boston. Leaha has spoken about diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Young Nonprofit Network’s National Conference and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Annual Conference, and her writing has been featured on Idealist Careers and Work for Good.
Prior to joining CEP in February 2015, Leaha worked as a corporate litigation paralegal. She attended Harvard College for her B.A. and concentrated in Classics. Outside of work, Leaha enjoys hiking, running, discovering craft beer, and curling up with a good book, especially historical fiction, cross-cultural classical literature, and dystopian novels.