PLACES Fellows | 2017 - 2018

Alex Camardelle

Program Assistant

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Alex is program assistant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site, where he supports a place-based effort to strengthen economic security for children and families. Specifically, he works with senior staff and grantees to promote policy and practice improvements that aim to achieve equity for low-income communities of color in Southside Atlanta. Alex also leads the design of a strategy for stronger place-based investments in youth and young adult engagement and grassroots organizing. Before joining Casey, he provided legislative research support for various government and nonprofit organizations including Atlanta Public Schools, the Southern Regional Educational Board, and Louisiana State University. Through research advocacy, grantmaking, and thought leadership, Alex has helped community-based organizations and public systems develop new ways for activating and advancing a social justice agenda for the populations they serve.

Alex is currently working on a Ph.D. in Policy Studies at Georgia State University where he studies the social, political, and economic dimensions of policies that impact neighborhoods of color in the South. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Alabama.


Mordecai Cargill

Manager of Fund Development

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

CNP is a community development funding intermediary committed to fostering inclusive neighborhoods of choice and opportunity throughout the city of Cleveland. Mordecai provides oversight and management of all grantseeking processes for CNP and its subsidiaries. Mordecai’s role has evolved significantly since joining Team CNP in 2014, and now includes project management for strategic initiatives such as an Organizational Assessment (2014), and the planning process for the 2017-2021 Cleveland Neighborhood Progress Strategic Plan (2016). He also contributes to CNP’s emerging Policy, Advocacy & Research body of work. Additionally, he leads the organization’s efforts to elevate racial equity and inclusion as a citywide community development priority. Mordecai earned his Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Yale University, with a concentration on black culture in the 20th Century. He was awarded the William Pickens Prize for his senior thesis, “The Black Arts Iconography of John Coltrane.”


Camille Cyprian

Senior Program Manager

Greater Twin Cities United Way

Camille is a native of St. Paul, Minn. A true “80s baby” and lover of all things artistic, Camille's first love is the performing arts. She is a classically trained ballerina, social justice theater actress, performance poet, and was a singer in a past life. Her passions are rooted in community-led and driven solutions, community building, and community healing and well-being.

She currently works at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, serving the community by managing the health partnerships and community investments in the nine-county Twin Cities metro area. As senior program manager she is responsible for developing and maintaining expertise in the health sector, managing multi-year grants, managing larger initiatives and investments, and developing innovative strategies that allow the community to achieve optimal health.

Camille previously served as the SNAP Outreach Manager at Second Harvest Heartland, one of the nation’s largest food banks. Camille began her career at Wellstone Action as a trainer and facilitator. She has been an activist and organizer on behalf of many issues and electoral campaigns, both locally and nationally. Camille has served as the Minnesota state coordinator for the League of Young Voters; was selected in the first class of Green 4 All Fellows; is an O Magazine Women Rule Leadership Award winner; former board member of Urban Embassy, and the former board chair of the Generational Alliance; and is a publish author.

Camille completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Minnesota in an individually designed major of Social Justice and Community Organizing. She earned her Masters of Nonprofit Management from Hamline University.


Mekaelia Davis

Program Officer

Prudential Foundation

In her current role, Mekaelia manages philanthropic investments and relationships that help cities create equity to advance social and economic mobility. Her portfolio includes place-based approaches where she works closely with diverse stakeholders to support local economic development and help improve public education, workforce and safety systems. Prior to joining Prudential, Mekaelia served as a program manager at the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization. Her portfolio at Aspen focused on strategies within the postsecondary, workforce development, and criminal justice systems. In this role, Mekaelia helped design and launch several initiatives, including the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund, Ascend Network and Fellowship. Through these initiatives, Mekaelia worked with, and invested in, executive leaders, and organizations across the country addressing generational poverty through cross-sector approaches.

Prior to joining Ascend, Mekaelia worked at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she helped replicate a career-pathway program for adult learners across several community colleges and supported place-based projects. Mekaelia has previously held posts at Emblem Health, under contract with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services; and, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, working with top-tier investment banks and multinational companies to improve diversity efforts in challenging industries. In 2013, Mekaelia was selected as a fellow with the Center for American Progress Leadership Institute and has completed several other competitive fellowship programs. She earned a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College as a National Urban Fellow; she also graduated Pi Alpha Alpha. Mekaelia received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hunter College.


Michelle Huttenhoff

Program Associate

Knight Foundation


Michelle joined Knight in May 2014. She is the program associate for community and national initiatives, working in Knight’s 18 small to mid-size markets.  In this role she works with community and place-based foundations across the country to promote informed and engaged communities.   
Before joining Knight, she worked with the School Board of Broward County as a college and career adviser. During this time, she implemented a series of community engagement strategies to better connect residents, parents, and anchor institutions together to increase student success.  Prior to that, she worked as the programs associate for the Miami Foundation, where she supported the foundation’s grantmaking in addressing critical quality of life issues throughout the county.


In 2014, Huttenhoff received her master’s degree in public policy from Northwestern University, where her research focused on how to engage cities and neighborhoods to improve their public schools. She holds a bachelor’s in English and education from the University of Miami.


Lisa Jacobson

Mobility Program Officer

Barr Foundation

Lisa joined Barr in 2016 to serve as mobility program officer for climate. She brings significant transportation planning and policy experience to the team, with broad expertise in sustainable transportation at the local, state, and federal levels.

Prior to joining Barr, Lisa worked at Nelson\Nygaard, a transportation planning firm dedicated to promoting vibrant, sustainable, and accessible communities. She worked closely with policy-makers, elected officials, and community members to effectively implement improvements to regional mobility, both in Greater Boston and around the country. She previously worked in Washington, D.C., at Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition, where she developed policies to encourage street design to incorporate all users, regardless of age and ability, and for the Land Trust Alliance, where she initiated the roll-out of several new training programs and tool kits.

Lisa received a master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. She is part of the WTS-Boston leadership and is a co-founder of Young Professionals in Transportation’s Boston Chapter. She enjoys riding her bike daily and outdoor adventures.


Patrick Johnston

Program Officer

Toledo Community Foundation

Patrick has held his current role since January 2014.  Among other responsibilities, Patrick leads the foundation’s efforts to preserve the region’s natural resources, with particular emphasis on water quality and equity.  These efforts center around convening local, national and international thought leaders and supporting a variety of initiatives aimed at addressing the complex factors that influence this area. 

Patrick joined the Toledo Community Foundation following an early career in the public history and education fields.  He held positions at the National Park Service, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and Toledo Metroparks, as well as in higher education.  As a grants developer he secured more than $6 million over four years to support a variety of community initiatives supporting northwest Ohio.  Patrick loves to write and has been published in a variety of scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers.  He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a graduate degree in history from the University of Kentucky.


Melanie Mitros

Director of Strategic Community Partnerships

Vitalyst Health Foundation

In her current role, Melanie works with coalitions and community boards identifying timely and relevant topics and establishing strategic alliances for effective change initiatives such as working with fire departments on their Mobile Integrated Health Programs (e.g. community paramedicine).  Melanie is the lead staff for Vitalyst Health Foundation’s Innovation Grants and Medical Assistance Program, where she oversees the application, evaluation and engagement processes.  In her two years at Vitalyst, Melanie has championed implementation of learning sessions for funded partners as well as a continued evolution of their grantmaking practices.  Formerly, as the founding director of the Arizona Living Well Institute, she engaged public and private partners to build a statewide infrastructure for effective promotion and delivery of evidence-based health promotion programs. She holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in physical activity, nutrition and wellness where her research focused on translational strategies to implement community-based falls prevention programs. Melanie also holds a Master of Science from Wake Forest University in health and exercise science, and a Bachelor of Science from Middle Tennessee State University in athletic training.


Tyler Nickerson

Director of Investments and State Strategy

The Solutions Project

Tyler has nearly a decade of respected leadership on the frontier of social change by integrating expertise in philanthropy, strategic communications, and public policy. Tyler serves as the director of investments and state strategy at The Solutions Project – a cultural campaigning, grantmaking, and big-thinking initiative that is accelerating the transition towards 100 percent clean energy for 100 percent of people. Previously, Tyler served as a program manager at the Dyer-Ives Foundation, and founder and chief executive officer of Motu Communications, which supported clients in strategic communications, public affairs, program design, and evaluation. He has also led a community-based organization responding to the foreclosure crisis, successfully advocated for stronger state housing policies, consulted on more than 20 electoral campaigns, and is co-founder of City Built Brewing in Grand Rapids, Mich. His work has been featured in national media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes, Associated Press, CBS, Huffington Post, NPR, and more.

Tyler holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in public administration at Penn State. He serves as co-chair of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Washington, D.C. Chapter, and on the Andrew Goodman Foundation's Millennial Advisory Council. Tyler rejuvenates by studying the French language, cooking with fresh ingredients from the farmers market, and traveling.


Anne Laplante Phillips

Director of Grantmaking

New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

Anne’s responsibilities include providing leadership for foundation standards and practices for grantmaking and coordinating grantmaking programs, support for the foundation’s work in the Manchester and Nashua Regions, advising donors on multi-year, strategic donor-advised grantmaking, and providing guidance to the foundation on grants and programs in the areas of health and human services.  Prior to joining the foundation, Anne worked at Child Health Services in Manchester, where she held several positions including interim executive director.  She also worked as the agency’s director of special projects.  Her responsibilities included the development and management of programs that support the agency’s mission, strategic planning, fundraising and advocacy.   She also served for five years as director of Child Health Services’ Teen Health Clinic, a community-based primary care clinic providing medical and social support services for medically underserved adolescents and young adults ages 11-21. 

Before joining Child Health Services, Anne worked for Family Health International (FHI), an international research and technical assistance organization dedicated to contraceptive development, family planning, reproductive health and AIDS prevention around the world.  At FHI, Anne served as associate director for health communication and training programs. Anne has worked in more than 15 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central Asia.  She also served as an adjunct instructor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Anne began working in public health while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Central African Republic.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and a Master of Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Anne and her husband Lincoln live in Nashua, New Hampshire.


Marisa Aurora Quiroz

Senior Program Officer

International Community Foundation

Marisa manages the International Community Foundation’s Environment portfolio, which emphasizes marine and terrestrial conservation in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and coastal communities of the Gulf of California, as well as the Eastern Tropical Pacific region. She came to ICF in January 2015, after eight years at The San Diego Foundation where she oversaw the Opening the Outdoors Initiative. As the director of this program, she worked with donors, volunteers and nonprofits in the San Diego region to advance regional conservation efforts that ensure that all communities have access to clean air, water, and nature, and to promote collaborative action on climate change.


In 2010, Marisa was selected one of San Diego News Network’s, “35 Under 35 Community Leaders.” Marisa is a graduate of the 2012 HOPE Leadership Institute, and co-founded The Latina Giving Circle – a regional group of woman engaged in culturally relevant philanthropy. She is certified by the International Association of Public Participation, and currently serves on the national board of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, as well as the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission’s Citizens Forum. In April 2016 she completed four years of service on the California Structural Pest Control Board and previously served as a member of the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Committee.
Marisa holds master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Mills College.


She is a certified massage therapist and doula, with more than 15 years of experience in bodywork. In August 2015 she became a mama and enjoys exploring Baja California with her husband and daughter, Rio.


Chantel M. Rush

Program Officer

The Kresge Foundation's American Cities Practice

Chantel’s grantmaking portfolio includes efforts to seed and scale innovative community development practices aimed at improving the lives of people with low incomes in America’s cities. Her grantmaking work also supports pioneering research, thought leadership and convening to expand urban policymaking and practice. She also stewards the foundation’s place-based work in Memphis and New Orleans.

Chantel joined the foundation in 2015, working as special assistant to Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson. Before joining Kresge, she served as senior analyst of global strategy and business development at Gap Inc. She started her career in management consulting, where her responsibilities included advising both corporate and private equity clients.

A native of Orange County, Calif., Chantel earned a bachelor’s degrees in international relations and Spanish language from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.


Kelly Thompson

Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Initiatives

Community Foundation of the Great River Bend

Kelly leads the Community Foundation’s grantmaking strategies, scholarship programs, and other special initiatives. She particularly loves turning Quad Cities high schoolers into grantmakers that link their passions with community needs through the Teens for Tomorrow Youth Philanthropy program. She first joined the Community Foundation in 2012 as an AmeriCorps Member, creating the Youth Voices Project to gather diverse input on community priorities, before becoming director of programs in 2013.

Before joining the Community Foundation, Kelly worked in social services for nine years. She provided service coordination for children in foster care, women surviving domestic violence, and people experiencing homelessness, then wrote grants for and led two homeless services agencies. She serves on the board of the Scott County Housing Council, which promotes affordable housing and collaboration among service providers, and as a Champion of the Quad Cities Q2030 Regional Action Plan. Kelly earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Augustana College.


Heather Smith

Senior Program Officer

The Field Foundation of Illinois

Heather reviews and evaluates grant requests from Chicago area not-for-profit organizations. In addition to conducting site visits with applicants and making funding recommendations, Heather also manages the foundation’s internship program. Prior to Field, Heather served as the planning director for the congress for the New Urbanism and coordinated the Metropolis Plan activities for Chicago Metropolis 2020. She also received an American Planning Association fellowship to advance sustainable development and planning in the U. S. Senate. Heather is a member of Chicago Women in Philanthropy and the American Planning Association and serves on the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Land Use Committee. Heather is also an adjunct faculty member in DePaul University’s Geography Department and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and Japanese from Macalester College. Heather enjoys biking, sailing, and traveling in her spare time.


Jalonne L. White-Newsome

Senior Program Officer

The Kresge Foundation

Jalonne is responsible for the Environment Program’s grant portfolio on sustainable water resources management in a changing climate. She also leads the foundation’s work addressing the intersection of climate change and public health. She is a professorial lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct professor at Kettering University in Flint, Mich.  Before joining Kresge in early 2016, Jalonne was based in Washington D.C., serving as director of federal policy for West Harlem Environmental Action Inc. (WE ACT), where she helped lead campaigns to ensure that the concerns of low-income communities of color were integrated into federal air, climate change and health policy. A native of Detroit, Jalonne earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health; a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University; and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University. The post-doctoral work she performed at the Union of Concerned Scientists and her appointments to federal advisory committees focused on adaptation and environmental justice issues.  She currently serves on the board of US Climate Action Network, the Health Environmental Funders Network, and was recognized by Grist Magazine as “The 50 People You'll Be Talking About in 2016.”


Cheri Wright-Jones

Regional Vice President

Allegany Franciscan Ministries

Cheri joined Allegany Franciscan Ministries in early 2011.  As regional vice president, Cheri is responsible for Allegany Franciscan Ministries’ grantmaking and community engagement activities in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. 

Cheri’s career has focused on increasing access to healthcare services and building capacity within non-profit organizations.   Most recently she was executive director of the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative. She also worked with the Closing the Gap in Infant Mortality grant at the Central Hillsborough Healthy Start Project.  Cheri has extensive experience in program planning, project coordination, data collection and evaluation. 

Cheri earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. 

Cheri is active in the Tampa Bay area; her community involvement includes Moffitt Cancer Center Advisory Board, Blue Ridge Leadership Institute, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the Greater Tampa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. Cheri enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and volunteering at church and other community and civic organizations.

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