2013 PLACES Fellows
Julie Brown, Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation
Caitlin Brune, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Eric Dregne, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
Tamu Jones, The California Endowment
Margot Kane, Calvert Foundation
Bryna Lipper, HUD IPI
Jean McKeown, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
Curt McPhail, Mary Black Foundation
Tyronda Minter, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Alece Montez, Orton Family Foundation
Susie Seidelman, The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread
Kurt Sommer, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
Juan Sebastian Arias joined Living Cities in March 2012 as a Program Coordinator with the organization’s Green Economy Working Group, which has the aim of harnessing the momentum of the green economy to generate opportunity for low-income people. In this capacity, his work currently focuses on energy efficiency, green stormwater infrastructure, and food systems. Before joining Living Cities, he served as a Commercial Revitalization Intern with WHEDco, a community development non-profit in the South Bronx. Prior to that, he was a Harvard Fellow with the New York City office of Enterprise Community Partners. There, he supported Enterprise’s various policy, partner support, and weatherization initiatives.
Juan Sebastian graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Social Studies and wrote his senior thesis on the role of ethnic and spatial identity in the revitalization of a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago. He is a proud native of Chicago and resident of Spanish Harlem in New York.
Julie Brown is a Senior Program Officer at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation (Ohio). The Foundation owns and manages the Family Center, a multi-tenant nonprofit center that houses 15 nonprofit agencies and addresses poverty-related issues: homelessness, hunger, health care, dental care, and legal services. Julie manages grantmaking in the areas of human service, health, and poverty. She is also responsible for the Foundation’s capacity building initiative to improve the long-term sustainability of local nonprofit agencies by strengthening fundraising, leadership development, and board governance. Prior to joining the team at Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, she served as executive director of a grassroots food pantry housed at the Family Center.
Julie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Ohio State University and is a non-practicing CPA. She gains personal satisfaction from connecting people with opportunities and is also passionate about travel, college football, and soccer. Julie is married and the parent of three adult children.
Caitlin Brune currently serves as a Program Officer at the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, an independent foundation based in Sausalito, Calif. The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust supports organizations that offer opportunities to children and youth; elders; the disabled and critically ill; and disadvantaged adults and families which enrich the quality of life, promote self-sufficiency, and assist individuals in achieving their highest potential. Caitlin administers grantmaking within the Disadvantaged Adults & Families program area, as well as grantmaking through the Trust’s special initiatives addressing Health and Microfinance & Livelihood Development.
Prior to joining the Trust, Caitlin spent two years working with the Global Fund for Women as a Grant Writer and nearly five years as a Program Officer at the Firelight Foundation. Caitlin holds a Master of Public Health degree from UC-Berkeley, and a B.A. from Georgetown University. A firm believer in connecting people to place, Caitlin volunteers with the Homeless Garden Project, a transitional employment program for homeless young adults. Caitlin is a certified yoga instructor and, when not working, loves to be swimming, cycling, or teaching yoga to elders or prisoners.
Eric Dregne is Vice President of Programs for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. He leads strategic initiatives that focus on areas like youth, underserved communities, and healthy neighborhoods as well as the Foundation’s grantmaking initiatives.
He joined the Foundation in 2010 after a 20-year career in retail executive management. As a volunteer, Eric held leadership positions on initiatives that included: Envision 2010--community visioning (Dubuque, Iowa), Vision2020--community visioning (Galena, Ill), Every Child|Every Promise--a youth promise organization, and Dubuque 2.0--a community information and engagement initiative around sustainability.
Eric and his wife Carolyn live just across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa in Galena, Ill., where Carolyn owns and operates MainStreet Cheesecakes, Inc. They have two boys, Jake and Jack.
Tamu F. Jones is the program manager for South Los Angeles under The California Endowment’s 10-year strategic plan Building Healthy Communities. she joined the foundation in February 2011. Prior to her appointment as a program manager at The Endowment, Jones served for five years as a program officer for the California Community Foundation, where she directed and managed the foundation’s health care portfolio consisting of grants to policy advocacy organizations and non-profit safety-net providers, including community clinics and nonprofit hospitals. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Jones managed a variety of public health programs for the City of Pasadena Public Health Department and Contra Costa County Health Services Department.
Jones is a past Fellow of the Coro Health Leadership Program (2007) and is also a graduate of Leadership Pasadena, an eight-month program designed strengthen leadership skills and to develop new and innovative strategies to address community issues and create multi sector solutions. She earned her B.A. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She also earned a Master of Public Health and a Master of Business Administration from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Margot Kane is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Calvert Foundation. Margot brings over seven years of community development finance and international development experience to her role at the Foundation. Margot leads the design and implementation of investment initiatives spanning multiple teams and external partners around key impact areas, such as the recent Women Investing in Women Initiative. She also manages and develops relationships with the Foundation’s strategic partners and funders. Previously, Margot was responsible for originations and portfolio management of a $75 million loan portfolio in community development organizations and developed investment strategies in the U.S. community development space. She began her career in the field of reproductive health and international development, where she was inspired to learn how strategic investment could change the world for the better through witnessing the success of microfinance programs.
Margot has an M.B.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, where she was a founding principal of a $1.5 million student-run social investment fund, and a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Bryna Lipper is Associate Director, Philanthropic Research and Initiatives, for the Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Lipper helps guide and develop IPI’s philanthropic and social sector engagement, leading several initiatives to spur partnerships, innovation, and investments aligned with HUD’s mission. She is also involved in research to help the agency evaluate new and emerging practices in housing and urban development such as public challenges and social impact investing.
Prior to serving at HUD, Lipper was Vice President for Marketing, Communications, and Government Affairs at the National Building Museum—the country’s cultural institution dedicated to the built environment. Lipper is actively volunteers for organizations that improve the urban environment and increase equity. In addition to possessing a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Sydney, Lipper was awarded a Masters of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Craig Martinez, Dr.PH, joined The California Endowment in May 2012 as a program manager to work toward policy and systems changes that will result in improved neighborhood environments that support health. Prior to joining The Endowment, Martinez served as a health policy advisor in the Majority Health Policy Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. He is based in The California Endowment’s Los Angeles office.
Martinez received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Stanford University, and holds both a Master of Public Health Degree and a Doctorate in Public Health in child and adolescent health and development from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has also worked in a number of community-based organizations addressing adolescent health concerns in the San Francisco Bay Area including HIV/AIDS, violence prevention, and environmental health. Martinez is a member of the American Public Health Association.
Jean McKeown is presently the Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and has been employed there for over 15 years. Jean manages scholarships and grantmaking and provides expert advice to the Foundation’s donors. Jean also administers the Niagara Greenway Fund and the Fund for the Arts. Prior to her position with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo she held diverse positions at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Research Foundation of the Statue University of New York at Buffalo. Her background includes both administration and research experience and included planning for the Major Modernization of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and coordination of work for a multi-center Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Trial.
Jean is a Board member of the Western New York Grantmakers Association and serves on the Western New York Women’s Fund Grant Committee and several advisory committees.
Curt McPhail is the Program Officer for the Mary Black Foundation in Spartanburg, S.C. The Mary Black Foundation is a private foundation focused on early childhood development and active living. In 2008, the Foundation began work on the Northside of Spartanburg. Curt spearheads the Foundation's involvement in this work, which includes engaging residents, managing investors, and coordinating a holistic redevelopment effort that honors the culture and community. Curt is a Fellow with the Frameworks Institute and was awarded the 2012 Alumni of the Year for Leadership, Spartanburg.
Curt is a 1996 graduate of Wofford College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics and Sociology. Curt was Wofford’s 2012 Young Alumni of the Year. In his spare time, Curt loves spending time with his wife and two boys, ages 11 and 8. Curt is an avid cyclist, bike commuter, and is the founder of globalbike, an organization that uses the transformative power of bicycles to create social change and solve challenges throughout the developing world.
Tyronda Minter’s career in philanthropy came through an opportunity that allowed her to use her skills, knowledge and relationships in building cross-sector partnerships to create opportunities for the benefit of disadvantaged children, families, and low-income communities. Her path into philanthropy was through The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. She joined the Foundation in 2004 to direct a local pilot of a national philanthropic initiative that helped youth successfully transition from foster care to adulthood. Prior to that time, she had spent a decade managing numerous housing and community development programs and grants designed to foster opportunities for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color through a public housing authority. Her role with the Foundation has increased over the years. She currently directs a portfolio of community initiatives and grantmaking programs, which includes neighborhood transformation and environmental sustainability work designed to have regional impact.
Alece Montez is a Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Projects, for the Orton Family Foundation and has been instrumental in the experimental Heart & Soul Community Planning work. This alternative to the traditional planning approach implements activities for broad community engagement which offers ways for all townspeople to contribute their energy, talents, stories, and legacies to planning a future together. Before working for the Foundation, Alece spent more than ten years working in the public and private sectors doing development review, code writing, and comprehensive plan work for cities, counties, and the U.S. Air Force. A mom since high school, Alece now has three beautiful children. Meanwhile, she also earned a BA in Environmental Design, Urban and Regional Planning, with two minors, sustainable environments and human geography, and a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis on environmental policy, management, and law.
Susie Seidelman is the Environment Program Associate at The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread (TJF), a small family foundation based in Racine, Wisc. At TJF, Susie manages all externally-driven environmental conferences, from the selection process through convening (rather than give monetary grants, the Johnson Foundation works with co-sponsoring organizations to develop and convene solutions-driven conferences). Prior to her time at The Johnson Foundation, Susie worked with Wisconsin Public Radio, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2003 with a BA in English/Cinema and in 2010 she received her MA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Media Studies. Susie is also on the boards of the UWM LGBT Alumni Association and Residents for Off-Leash Milwaukee Parks.
In her spare time, she likes to cook, eat, learn about cooking, talk about eating, and generally spend as much time as possible doing fun things outside. She's fortunate to live three blocks from the Milwaukee River, where she takes daily hikes with her wife, Laura, and their dog, Maury (she also has a cat, Captain, but he is not allowed to visit the river). With any luck, she hopes to one day live on a farm.
Kurt Sommer is the Director of the Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP) for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. BIP is an initiative designed to connect workforce development opportunities and revitalization projects in targeted Baltimore City communities. BIP is comprised of government, philanthropic, financial, academic, and nonprofit representatives guiding and managing grant and loan dollars made possible by Living Cities and enhanced by other area organizations.
Prior to joining the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Kurt was a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and served as Legislative Director overseeing and managing state legislative affairs. Kurt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Washington College and a Master of Community Planning from the University of Maryland. He is a Baltimore native and is married with one child.