PLACES Fellows | Alumni

PLACES Fellows | Alumni

Kris Archie

Kris Archie is the Project Manager of the Youth Homelessness Initiative for the Vancouver Foundation. Kris Archie is a Secwepemc and seme7 woman who grew up in small town BC. Her passion for social justice began at a young age with the development of a youth centre in her First Nations community at age 15. Her work as a youth leader led her to various events where she discovered a passion for child rights. In her experience as a young person in foster care, and from her experience becoming a foster parent to her two younger siblings, she learned more about the child welfare system and its impact on families. She worked with the Child and Youth Officer for BC to engage young people in decision making and provide education about child rights. From there moved in a management role with an Aboriginal child welfare organization seeking to increase jurisdiction over their children on Vancouver Island. She then consulted for several years and worked with clients focused on increasing voice in program, policy and organizational decision making. Those lived and systems based experiences led her to her work with the Vancouver Foundation to better enable young peoples transition from foster care to adulthood.  Kris is passionate about the importance of shifting the systems, and moving conversations and awareness building efforts from being focused on the individual to focusing on the system and identifying solutions. She has a soon to be 16 year old son, reads daily to ensure her sanity and enjoys spending time with her family, at home in the Cariboo or here in the city.

William Cordery

William Cordery currently serves as Program Officer for Strong Local Economies at Surdna Foundation where he manages the foundation’s national grantmaking strategy aimed at creating robust and sustainable economies that improve access to quality jobs for low to moderate income individuals, people of color, women and immigrant populations. Prior to joining Surdna last month, William served as the Program Officer the South at Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle, WA for three years where he managed grantmaking programs and its approximately $14 million in annual investment across eight Southern states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Through grants, network development and capacity building, the foundation supports community-based efforts to move low-income families out of poverty.

Additional philanthropic leadership includes appointments as co-chair for the program committee for Grantmakers for Southern Progress—a national working group of the Neighborhood Funders Group, steering committee for the Seattle chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, steering committee for Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ LGBT Southern Funding Project, editorial board for the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, and board of directors for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.  Additionally, William was selected for the 2014-2015 class of the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ Connecting Leaders Fellowship—a year-long experience designed to sharpen the skills and strengthen the leadership capacity of foundation staff, donors, and trustees who are committed to assisting Black communities through philanthropy.


Jill Fuglister

Jill Fuglister, Healthy Environment Program Director at Meyer Memorial Trust, has worked in the non-profit sector for more than three decades. Meyer’s Healthy Environment Program envisions an Oregon where a resilient natural environment and all diverse cultures and communities are nurtured together. Ms. Fuglister has experience in urban planning, coalition building, policy advocacy, and executive management. Prior to joining the Trust in 2011, she co-directed Coalition for a Livable Future (CLF), a diverse coalition of over 100 organizations working together to create sustainable and equitable communities in greater Portland. During her 12 year tenure there, she spearheaded the publication of CLF’s ground-breaking Regional Equity Atlas (2007), a comprehensive portrait of equity conditions and trends in the greater Portland-Vancouver area that has helped establish the importance of addressing equity issues in urban and region planning locally and nationally.  Jill holds a Master’s in Environmental Studies University of Oregon and a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of Notre Dame.

Janel Hines

Janel Hines is the Driector of Grant Programs for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. She joined the organization in January 2011 and has helped to improve its strategic grantmaking process which supports investments in education, neighborhoods, workforce development, racial equity and inclusion, arts and health and human services. Mrs. Hines previously worked for the Wisconsin Departments of Children and Families, Health and Family Services, and Workforce Development with a focus on child welfare and Wisconsin Works policy. Additionally, she worked in nonprofit management and administration and developed and managed domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health programs for men, women and children. Ms. Hines has extensive experience working with various populations and collaborating with multiple systems including workforce development, child welfare, corrections, early care and education and behavioral health. She attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she received her Bachelor of Art and law degrees.

Sana Jafri

Sana Jafri is a program officer with the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust.  She has diverse personal and professional experiences that are knitted together by an emphasis on improving lives and communities through social change. Her previous professional experiences include working in development and at a philanthropic consulting firm that conducted program development and evaluation for foundations and nonprofits internationally and nationally, completing an internship at the Clinton Foundation, as well as serving as a journalism and English teacher in Chicago and India. Interested in learning more about systems change, Sana completed her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration with an emphasis on early childhood education from Northwestern University. During her free time, she serves on the board of directors at the YWCA Evanston/Northshore and is a member of Chicago chapter of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP).

Jaime Love

Jaime Love is a Program Officer for the Healthy Eating and Active Living priorities at Interact for Health. Interact for Health is a local foundation which serves a 20 county region in Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. Prior to working at Interact for Health, Ms. Love was a Health Educator with Hamilton County Public Health for over 10 years. She focused on chronic disease prevention working on the WeTHRIVE! Initiative. The project utilized policy, systems and environmental change strategies in the community and school settings. Ms. Love previously served as the Coordinator of the Hamilton County Tobacco-Free Partnership, the Hamilton County Safe Communities Coalition and the Hamilton County Fall Prevention Task Force which included being responsible for the coordination and implementation of tobacco-control and injury prevention efforts in Hamilton County.

Ms. Love is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a member of the Ohio Society for Public Health Education. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at Union Institute & University teaching a graduate-level course in Grant Writing. Ms. Love received her Master of Education degree in Health Promotion and Education at the University of Cincinnati in 2001 and her BS in Health Fitness at Central Michigan University in 1999.

Davian Gagne

Davian Gagne is the Grants and Operations Manager at Mile High Connects . Davian is instrumental in operationalizing the work of MHC, administering the grant fund, and co-leading the local and national fundraising efforts. Prior to joining Mile High Connects, Davian spent over ten years working in both the nonprofit and government sectors managing violence prevention education programming and leading development activities. Throughout her career, she has worked with low-income communities of color and other undserresourced communities. Davian is deeply committed to social justice issues and served on the Inclusiveness Committee for Boulder County AIDS Project and on the Board of Directors and Grantmaking Committee of the Chinook Fund. She is currently a commissioner for the Health Equity Commission for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Davian holds a masters degree in social work and an undergraduate degree in psychology, both from the University of Denver.

Michelle Jaramillo

Michelle Jaramillo is the Community Impact Director at the The San Diego Foundation. As Community Impact Director, Michelle develops and manages strategies that advance the Foundation’s WELL (Work, Enjoy, Live, Learn) framework.  Through collaboration with nonprofits, community stakeholders, government, business, philanthropy, and academia, she helps drive systemic change to address the needs of the region.  Previously, as Communications Director of the San Diego Housing Federation, Michelle supported a coalition of leaders and organizations, working to ensure all San Diegans have access to a safe, stable and affordable place to call home. She also served as Director of Communications and Programs for the U.S. – Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, overseeing development and public outreach efforts to grow philanthropy, leadership and collaboration in the binational region. Michelle was a co-founder and chair of the San Diego Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and a co-founder and current chair of the Latina Giving Circle of San Diego.  She has B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at the University of San Diego.

Aaron Robertson

Aaron Robertson is a Community Programs Officer at  Seattle Foundation. Aaron staffs the Foundation’s Center for Community Partnerships, working to advance collaborative, systemic change to achieve greater economic and racial equity in King County. He also leads the Foundation’s Civic Leadership approach, guiding Seattle Foundation’s advocacy efforts. Prior to his role in the Center for Community Partnerships, Aaron led Seattle Foundation’s Youth Grantmaking Program, offering youth the chance to inform the Foundation’s approach to local issues and use philanthropy to create positive change in their community. Aaron serves on the Board of Directors for the Service Board – a Seattle nonprofit that empowers low-income teens through social justice curriculum and public service, and the Washington Bus – a statewide organization that engages and empowers young people through hands-on democracy. Aaron is a graduate of Seattle University, the University of Washington’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute and the Leadership Tomorrow program.

Karen Abrams

Karen Abrams began her acreer at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh in 2011 as a Community and Diversity Affairs Manager.  She works directly on planning and design projects with residents and community groups in “blighted areas” – the parts of the City that have been historically underserved and suffered through decades of disinvestment and neglect. Ms. Abrams currently is managing Urban Matters, an arts-and-design based pilot program teaching youth within Pittsburgh’s distressed neighborhoods how to examine and communicate key civic processes to their peers, community residents and other stakeholders.

In 2016 Ms. Abrams will continue her work within the community by managing a community reinvestment fund housed at the URA.  This fund will provide grants to residents and community organizations within six Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Ms. Abrams holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and African American Studies from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Science in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.  She currently sits on numerous boards and committees and frequently speaks at seminars and conferences about sustainability, particularly in low-income and distressed communities. A Harlem, NY native, Ms. Abrams currently lives in the historic Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  She can be reached on Twitter at @unblight.

Gilbert Achay

Gilbert Achay is a project manager at the Center for Prevention at  Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota. He joined the Center in 2013 to support its efforts to advance health equity through tobacco control, healthy eating, and active living. His portfolio includes managing projects across multiple funding initiatives, overseeing technical assistance, leadership development and community engagement. He is also a co-chair of Blue Pride, the company’s employee resource group for LGBTQ staff and their allies.

Prior to Blue Cross, Gilbert spent a decade at local and national non-profit groups in youth work and health advocacy serving diverse communities. He was born and raised in Hawai’i, and studied child psychology at the University of Minnesota

Bryan Hogle

Bryan Hogle is a program officer with The Kresge Foundation‘s Detroit and Community Development programs. He joined Kresge in September 2013, serving as a fellow in the Executive Office and transitioned to the program staff in June 2014. Before that, he worked with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company in Detroit for two years. “I was looking for a way to have a greater impact on the day-to-day life of the city,” says Bryan, who moved to Detroit in 2012. Bryan earned master’s degree in business administration and master of science degrees in 2011 from the University of Michigan. As a graduate student at the Erb Institute, he did a consulting project for a socially focused division of the cement company Cemex in Mexico and worked at Turtlerock Greentech LLC, an Ann Arbor-based consulting firm focused on sustainable transportation and renewable energy. He is using his business background to advance the Detroit Program team’s efforts to strengthen city neighborhoods by fostering sustainability, expanding economic opportunity and stabilizing property values and tax base. Bryan holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and served five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, in communications on the USS Mahan and in the Reactor Electrical division on the USS Ronald Reagan.

Punita Dani Thurman

Punita Dani Thurman is a Senior Program Officer at the  Skillman Foundation. In her work at the Foundation, she leads the education portfolio at an embedded foundation improving outcomes for children in Detroit. Punita has worked in urban education reform for the past nine years with a strategic focus on human capital as a transformation lever. She has led Human Capital Development for an urban district in Fort Worth, Texas, supported the launch of TeachingWorks, an initiative housed at the University of Michigan School of Education focused on transforming teacher training nationally, and has served as an an advisor to the Michigan Future Schools portfolio of high schools in Detroit. Thurman was selected to join the Broad Residency in 2006 and had worked in the private sector for nearly 11 years prior as a management consultant. She has consulted for a number of Fortune 500 firms and federal governmental agencies on human capital strategy, change management, and organizational effectiveness. She holds a BBA in finance and management from the University of Michigan and an MBA focused on organizations and strategy from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Mac Howison

Mac Howison joined  The Sprout Fund  in 2004 and today leads the organization’s grantmaking activities as the Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding, managing a funding portfolio that spans a history of more than 700 projects and $5 million invested. He works with the team at Sprout to inspire innovation through a blend of catalytic support, community building, and communications.

Alfredo A. Cruz

Alfredo A. Cruz joined Foundation for Louisiana in 2011 as the Program Officer for Economic Opportunity and was named Director of Programs in 2013.  Alfredo’s responsibilities include identifying partnership and investment opportunities throughout the state that are aligned with the Foundation’s goals, providing technical assistance and aid in proposal development to grantees and potential grantees, and helping to scale economic opportunity strategies for statewide impact. He also led the Foundation’s development of an evaluation framework for grant-making programs and special initiatives.  Prior to his position with the Foundation, Alfredo worked at the Florida Legislature as the Legislative Assistant to Florida State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-9).

Alfredo also worked as a program officer for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where his program areas included arts and culture, youth development, civic engagement, and economic-community development. During his career in philanthropy, he has served on the board of affinity groups such as Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and is currently a board member of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.  Alfredo has also served on various nonprofit boards including Whole Child Leon Project, Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, Council on Culture and Arts,  Council of Neighborhood Associations and the Committee for a Better New Orleans.  Alfredo earned his B.A. in English Literature from Florida State University where he also completed a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning and M.P.A. studies.  He grew up in Miami and lived in Tallahassee for eight years before moving to Louisiana and currently resides in Baton Rouge.

Anneliese Grytafey

Anneliese Grytafey, Esq. serves as Senior Program Officer at the Toledo Community Foundation, managing the Foundation’s competitive grants and special initiatives. Ms. Grytafey came to the field of philanthropy after career as a legal services attorney. Through an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, Ms. Grytafey started a clinic to provide legal advice to low-income entrepreneurs.  She later brought small business capitalization services to under-resourced entrepreneurs as manager of the Toledo office of the Economic & Community Development Institute.

She has also served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Regional Growth Partnership, a regional economic development agency serving Northwest Ohio.  Ms. Grytafey received a B.A. in Art History from State University of New York College at Buffalo, and a J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law.

Chan Brown

Chan Brown is a program officer with the Kansas Health Foundation where she directs several grant programs specifically designed to respond to the needs and assets of Kansas communities experiencing high concentrations of social and economic risks. Chan also manages the foundation’s responsive grant portfolio, targeted for organizations and agencies proposing meaningful and charitable projects, programs, and policy initiatives that fit within the foundation’s mission. She is experienced in non-profit organization administration, leadership development, and process management training.

Prior to joining the foundation she held the position of Executive Director of H.O.P.E. Ministries, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in Atlanta’s urban core excel academically and socially through leadership development. During her tenure, she implemented afterschool, summer and youth programs. Before that she negotiated contracts on behalf of the Purdue Research Foundation with the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation. Her leadership experience is diverse as she has worked in both the non-profit and corporate sector in positions responsible for program development, public relations, human resources and training.

Chan has a Bachelor of Science degree in General Management from Purdue University and is a certified Zenger Miller trainer. She has been involved in the Wichita community through her volunteer efforts for International Ministries, Kansas Benefit Bank, and the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. Chan is passionate about promoting social change in communities with the greatest needs.

Christopher Stallworth

Christopher J. Stallworth is an associate program officer with the Flint Area Program at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.  Since joining Mott in 2013, Chris has helped advance the Foundation’s hometown grantmaking in Flint, Michigan, focusing on such areas as community and economic development, workforce initiatives, and entrepreneurship.  He also serves on a number of local advisory committees and working groups.

Prior to joining Mott, Chris held positions at the Council of Michigan Foundations, serving as a program coordinator and the director of learning services and diversity inclusion.  He previously served as program director for West Michigan TEAM, a nonprofit organization pioneering breakthrough approaches to workforce development in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Chris attended Grand Valley State University, where he earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English Literature.

Dan Soliman

Dan Soliman is a Program Manager in the Housing division at the AARP Foundation. Dan is developing the Foundation’s Impact Investing portfolio, as well as launching new enterprises and joint ventures that benefit vulnerable older adults.

Dan’s professional experience has focused on impact investing, finance, strategy, and social enterprise, which has included: developing over $300 million in affordable housing/urban revitalization projects nationwide; establishing a social/impact investment fund for a national nonprofit; advising the Government of Dubai on how to reframe/restructure its foreign direct investment policy; and founding several social enterprises.

Dan holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.

Evelin Montes

Evelin Montes is the Director of Grantmaking & Capacity Building Initiatives at the Liberty Hill Foundation. In her role, Evelin is responsible for Liberty Hill’s competitive grantmaking programs and oversight of the Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change, Liberty Hill’s innovative capacity-building and training support for grantees. Evelin also manages Liberty Hill’s external capacity building services, Training for Impact, which assists foundation partners to enhance their grantee’s community engagement and advocacy skills.

Evelin is a trained executive and organizational development coach and her 15-year community organizing background is rooted in the MacArthur Park/Westlake area, a gateway community for immigrants, and the community in which she was born and raised. Evelin holds a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College. Evelin is a proud Los Angeles native and resides with her regal beagle and a rambunctious cat.

Fabiola Greenawalt

Fabiola Greenawalt is a Program Officer for The Russell Family Foundation. As a program officer, Fabiola manages several portfolios of grants and community relationships for the foundation’s Environmental Sustainability Program.  Fabiola’s portfolio includes a regional Environmental Education program focused on middle and high school students and a 10-year place-based, collective impact effort known as the Puyallup Watershed Initiative. Additionally, Fabiola spearheads the Foundation’s work on equity, diversity and inclusion and co-manages a cross-program fund which supports work combining environmental sustainability and grassroots leadership development.

Previously, Fabiola was the Senior Executive Assistant at the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods where she worked on special projects and represented the Department in various community-facing initiatives. Fabiola has also been an active member of the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative and the Seattle Latino City Employees committee.  Fabiola can be reached at (253) 857-1660 and

Heather Pontonio

Heather Pontonio is the Art Program Director at the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (EHTF) where she has worked since April 2012.  Heather oversees the Art investments focused on business skill development for individual artists and support for contemporary art curators.  EHTF’s signature national grant programs include Marketplace Empowerment for Artists (MEA) and the prestigious Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award.

From 2006-2012 she worked at the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (ASC) where she managed over $8million in grants annually to organizations and individual artists.  She began her career in New York City where she worked with a number of arts nonprofits in a variety of roles including development, membership, marketing, and box office management.

Heather has a master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration from State University of New York at Fredonia.  She is currently the co-chair of Grantmakers in the Arts’ Support for Individual Artists Committee and serves on the board of the Bethel Education Foundation.

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones is Director of Government Relations at Urban Partnership Bank where she manages relationships with elected and appointed officials, government agencies, and the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) community in support of the bank’s mission. Prior to that, she was a member of the bank’s Nonprofit and Foundation Banking Group, where she managed the banking and lending needs of a $300MM portfolio of nonprofit organizations. In addition to her banking career, Kimberly has over 15 years of nonprofit management experience—particularly in the areas of program development and fundraising. Her professional experience includes organizations such as Project Exploration, River North Chicago Dance Company, Chicago Children’s Choir, Boston Arts Academy, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Columbia College Chicago, University of Minnesota-Morris, and Ballet Folclorico de Universidad de Guadalajara.
Kimberly holds an MA in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota-Morris.

She has served on the boards of The Names Project Chicago-AIDS Memorial Quilt, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School Alumni Association, and Investing In Communities.  She was also a founding board member of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network – Chicago, Boston Children’s Chorus, and Changing Worlds’ Associate Board. Kimberly is a passionate advocate for the arts, community and economic development, and youth education and remains active in organizations that addresses and supports these causes.

Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor is the Program Director for Livable Communities at the Hyde Family Foundations. She oversees the Foundations’ grantmaking for Memphis-based initiatives that support a strong urban core where people live, work, and play; connect people via a network of green assets, streetscapes, and transit opportunities; and create thriving neighborhoods through inside out leadership and engagement. Additionally, Lauren manages the Foundations’ grants management department. Prior to assuming her current position, Lauren developed the Foundations’ Greening Memphis portfolio, which included active, hands-on engagement with various partners and projects. Via this program area, the Foundations approved more than $32 million in grants between 2007 and 2013—all supporting a quality, interconnected green space, park, greenway, trail, and bike lane system in Memphis. Additionally, she served as the Foundations’ Director of Grants Management between 2005 and 2008.

Before joining the Foundations, Lauren worked in development as the Grants and Research Officer at the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). She currently serves on the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis Board of Directors; Memphis Area Transit Authority
(MATA) Board of Commissioners; Memphis Grantmakers Forum Steering Committee; Mid-South Regional Greenprint Executive Committee; Mid-South Greenways Steering Committee/Executive Subcommittee; Overton Park Conservancy Board of Directors; and Shelby Farms Park Conservancy Project Board Committee. Lauren received a BA in Geology from Smith College and has lived in Memphis since 2000, previously residing in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. She is an avid runner, is passionate about vegan cooking, and can often be found riding bikes and playing in Overton Park with her husband and two young children.

Maranda Witherspoon

Maranda Witherspoon joined Missouri Foundation for Health in 2011 as a program officer. In her role, she is responsible for preparing, monitoring and analyzing grants and proposals for the foundation’s largest funding portfolio and geographical area. Previously, she worked with the City of St. Louis Department of Health as an epidemiologist in emergency preparedness and communicable disease and with United Way of Greater St. Louis as community investment associate. She is an adjunct professor at Webster University, co-chair for the Siteman Cancer Center’s Disparities Elimination Advisory Committee and a member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.

Witherspoon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health care administration and planning from Tennessee State University in Nashville, and a master’s degree in public policy administration with a concentration on nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Missouri—St. Louis.

Mia Ramirez

Mia Ramirez, Community Partner, Colorado Trust

Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey is a Program Officer with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. His responsibilities include leadership in both the Foundation’s newest issue area of Job Creation and the more established Strong Communities portfolio, which includes community economic development and civic engagement. He also advises several private donors who have a range of interests, including special needs youth, the elderly, animal welfare and basic services.

Previously, Michael was a Program Officer with the Hill-Snowdon Foundation in Washington, DC. He was responsible for an initiative aimed at strengthening community organizing in our nation’s capital. Equal parts grantmaking, research and coalition building, his role supported the institution’s commitment to addressing the District’s deep poverty and social divisions in ways that recognize those most affected by the issues as key change agents. Similarly, Coffey consulted with the Compton Foundation in Menlo Park, California to foster a greater awareness of global affairs among young leaders. This work was a natural progression from his role as the Director of Youth Programs with Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, California, where he engaged high school and college-age youth around issues of nonviolence, US foreign policy and community service.

Michael has held numerous board or advisory positions with the Fund for Santa Barbara, Endowment for Youth Committee, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and the Kennedy Heights Montessori Center. He and his wife were founding members of Black Benefactors, a giving circle focused on improving the well-being of Black children, youth and families in metropolitan DC metropolitan. The Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund selected him for their inaugural “Forty Under 40” cohort.  Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

A Cincinnati native, Michael is married with two children.

Surabhi Pandit

Surabhi S. Pandit is a Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.  In her work at the foundation, she manages grantmaking programs that focus on human services, the LGBT community, and youth leadership (through special programs such as the Detroit Auto Dealers Association Charitable Foundation Fund). From 2012 to mid-2014, Surabhi served as the Public Policy Fellow in Government Affairs & Philanthropy at the Council of Michigan Foundations.  Her work at CMF was focused on developing programs that respond to public policy issues in the areas of aging, health, education, arts & culture, women & girls, and the environment for member foundations and state government officials.

Surabhi is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a Master of Social Work degree focused on social policy & evaluation in community & social systems and a BA in Sociology and South Asian Studies.  She currently serves on the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Michigan Chapter’s steering committee.

Tobi Printz-Platnick

Tobi Printz-Platnick is a Program Officer with The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, which funds nonprofit organizations in the metropolitan DC area. Her portfolio focuses on education and workforce development. She served as the founding Co-Chair of the Early Care and Education Collaborative, a collective funding effort established by local and national private and corporate foundations. In addition, Tobi served as Co-Chair of the Washington Area Partnership for Immigrants, a funding collaborative comprised of representatives from private philanthropies and local governments.

Before joining the Cafritz Foundation, Tobi worked as a Campaign Manager for a state assemblyman in western New York and served as the Vice President of Community Development for a Planned Parenthood affiliate handling fundraising and special events. She was also a Fiscal Analyst for the Michigan League for Human Services examining budget and tax issues affecting low-income families and workers. At the Urban Institute, Tobi worked as a Research Associate in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy studying the role of faith-based organizations in social service provision.

Tobi received a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University with a focus on social policy and a Bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University with a dual concentration in political science and legal studies. She is a graduate of Leadership Maryland (’14), Leadership Montgomery (’07) and Leadership Niagara (’01).  She serves on a number of advisory committees for nonprofit organizations and local governments.

Tobi lives in Boyds, Maryland, with her husband Geoffrey and their daughters Morgan and Gracyn.

Tom Linfield

Tom Linfield is Vice President of Community Impact for the Madison Community Foundation (MCF).  In this capacity he oversees $1.8 million in annual grantmaking to Dane County, Wisconsin organizations.  Recent MCF grant initiatives include a two-year Basic Needs capacity building campaign, a $1.4 million public library endowment campaign, and multi-agency coalition projects around outdoor learning at schools and STEM education at community centers. Tom has spent his career in non-profits, first as a grant writer and then as a foundation program officer.

Prior to the Madison Community Foundation he worked at Edgewood College, Wisconsin Public Television and the National Center for Outreach. He is a practicing fine artist, exhibiting regularly in the Madison area. He heartily recommends the art book Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page, by Matt Kish, and still wished “Bridesmaids” had won an Oscar.

Lynn Coriano

Lynn Coriano is Director of Community Investment at Social Venture Partners.  SVP seeks to advance the common good by engaging and connecting a community of philanthropic leaders, strengthening nonprofits, and catalyzing efforts to accelerate system change.  Lynn oversees SVP’s grantee portfolio where she builds and manages relationships with executive directors, volunteers and consultants to advance multi-year capacity building projects.  She manages SVP’s annual refunding process and works closely with program staff and volunteers to align grantmaking strategies. Prior to joining SVP, Lynn was Associate Director of Communities In Schools of Washington.

Lynn is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs where she received a Master in Public Administration.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Syracuse University. In her spare time Lynn enjoys photography, design and – when the sun cooperates – nurturing her organic garden.

Susan Dobkins

Susan Dobkins is the Jane’s Fund Program Manager at the Russell Family Foundation in Gig Harbor, Washington. Jane’s Fund encompasses the Jane’s Fellowship Program for grassroots community leaders in the area as well as a small legacy grants program. The Fellowship recruits diverse leaders doing many kinds of community benefit work and mixes them in a two year experiential learning cohort. Before Susan arrived at the Foundation in 2008, she worked for her local church developing and leading its social justice ministry, which focused on economic development, workers’ rights, and peace issues. She was selected as a Jane’s Fellow in Class 2 of the program from 2006-2008.

Susan is originally from Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain……), is married and has an 11 year old daughter named for a dear friend in Nicaragua. She and her husband love to bicycle and recently completed a fundraiser ride of 130 miles over two days.

Edward Egnatios

Edward S. Egnatios is Program Officer for  the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Previously the Program Director, Neighborhoods at the Skillman Foundation, he was responsible for coordination of the Foundation’s Good Neighborhoods work.  Prior to his joining the team at the Skillman Foundation, he held executive management positions in both the for-profit and the nonprofit sectors, serving most recently as the President/CEO of EK & Associates LLC, a consulting firm. Egnatios has also held leadership positions with O/E Learning Inc. as National Executive Director of the UAW-Ford Family Service and Learning Centers; with United Way Community Services in Detroit as Vice President, Volunteer Services, Communications & Marketing; with United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit as Executive Vice President.

Edward received his BA from John Carroll University in Cleveland and his MSW in Community Practice from the University of Michigan. Born and raised in Detroit, he is the son of Arab American and Latino immigrants, married and the father of four daughters.

Jennifer Downing

Jennifer Downing is the Executive Director of Leadership SouthCoast (LSC), a community leadership program in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Jennifer was previously a Program Assistant and Administration Manager for the Garfield Foundation and had been working for the Foundation since it opened its doors in 2001.  She also managed the New Bedford Fund, a small portfolio of grants under the umbrella of the Foundation’s Community Revitalization program specifically supporting economic development and urban revitalization projects in Greater New Bedford, Massachusetts. In addition, she represented the Garfield Foundation as a member of the New Bedford Area Funders Group and serves on its advisory committee.  Jennifer’s past work experience includes Assistant Director for Brick by Brick, a local nonprofit organization providing support services to at-risk youth.

Jennifer loves practicing and teaching yoga; she is a certified instructor and in her free time teaches classes locally.  She holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

Juan Sebastian Arias

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

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

Caitlin Brune served 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.

Sandra Byrd Chappelle

Sandra Byrd Chappelle is currently the co-chair of Cuyahoga PlaceMatters, an organization whose focus is to ensure health implications and equity considerations are in the forefront as policy makers and others make decisions that substantially impact the residents of Cuyahoga County.  She is also the founder and principal of Strategic Solutions, a consulting firm which partners with public and private non-profits to develop solutions to complex issues faced by urban communities. Prior to that, Sandra served as a Senior Program Officer for Strong Communities with Saint Luke’s Foundation. A native of Northeast Ohio, Sandra possesses an extensive background in the health and human services policy arena. Prior to her work at the foundation, Sandra served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners.

Her work at the foundation was centered on long-term community change efforts. In this regard, she served as the foundation’s chief steward to advance work that builds stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods of choice; ensured the foundation’s core commitment to resident engagement; and addressed the social determinants that impact places where people live, learn, work, play, and age. Collaboration has always been a core tenet in how Sandra approaches her work, and she describes herself as a “21st century change agent who is passionate about the people that she serves and the work that she has been entrusted to accomplish.”

Sandra has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and the Invest in Children Partnership. She is a founding member and co-chair of the Cuyahoga County Place Matters team and serves on the leadership committee for the national Place Matters affiliated groups. Her most recent board service includes the Cuyahoga Health Access Partnership, which awarded her the 2012 CHAP partner award for her stewardship and dedication. Additionally, she is a 2013 Fellow of the Center for Health Leadership and Practice’s National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health. As well, Sandra was one of eleven individuals invited in 2013 to serve on the Federal Reserve Bank’s inaugural community leaders forum, an advisory group convened to strategize around best practice related to community development.

Sandra earned both a bachelor and master’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.

Alison Corwin

Alison Corwin joined the Surdna Foundation as a Program Officer on the Sustainable Environments team in February 2013. She engages in grantmaking to advance just and sustainable communities through a “Next Generation Infrastructure” lens that looks at sustainable transportation networks and equitable development patterns, energy efficiency in the built environment, urban water management, and regional food supply. In this role, Alison promotes meaningful collaborations and innovative thinking regarding ways to integrate infrastructure solutions and prioritize infrastructure decisions that better meet the needs of historically underserved communities including low-income communities and people of color.

Alison previously served as a Project Manager at New Ecology, Inc., in the field of community-based sustainable development. Through technical support, her work with developers, engineers, and architects resulted in cost-effective, environmentally sensitive affordable housing projects, community and healthcare facilities, and elder care developments. Additionally, she worked for nonprofits focused on social enterprise development and breaking the cycle of family homelessness. She has engaged in community organizing, political campaigns, and volunteer efforts addressing issues in her local community. Alison is a LEED Accredited Professional and an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow. She holds a masters degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University.

Jonalyn Denlinger

Jonalyn Denlinger is a Program Officer at the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF), where her portfolio includes education and neighborhood grantmaking. She leads the target neighborhood grantmaking strategy in Greater Highlandtown, where she works on issues of neighborhood development, resident engagement, and increasing organizational capacity. Jonalyn manages the Neighbors in Deed initiative, focused on community development in Baltimore city and county, which sunsets in December 2013. She is the lead staff for the evaluation efforts in neighborhood grantmaking and supports the education evaluation at BCF.

Jonalyn holds a graduate degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Liberal Arts from Eastern Mennonite University. Jonalyn is currently teaching a graduate level course at her alma mater, University of Maryland. She is also completing a part-time graduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore with a focus in organizational development.

Bridget Flood

Bridget McDermott Flood currently serves as the executive director of the Incarnate Word Foundation, a conversion foundation sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio.  In addition to overseeing the Foundation’s $1 million grant making budget, Bridget also works collaboratively with other funders to address community issues, such as youth empowerment, foster care, and collective impact. Under Bridget’s leadership, the Foundation has piloted micro-lending projects to empower women in low-income communities. Currently, the Foundation is targeting its resources toward projects in North St. Louis, an urban core area with a primarily African-American population.

Bridget graduated from St. Louis University with a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs. Her B.A. is from Saint Louis University in English and Political Science. Bridget is a life-long South St. Louisan and in her spare time is a potter at Carondelet Pottery, her studio. She is also a beekeeper.

Eric Dregne

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.

Jose Garcia

Jose A. Garcia has been a Program Officer in the Strong Local Economies program at the Surdna Foundation since February 2013. As part of the Strong Local Economies, Jose and the rest of the team aim to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that increase access to quality jobs. Jose manages the Business Development and Acceleration line of work and is part of the Living Cities Capital Innovation Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Surdna Foundation, Jose worked as a Policy Fellow at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) in the Wealth Building Policy Project where he was responsible for evaluating, analyzing, and advising NCLR on relevant housing and banking public policies that affected the Latino community, with an emphasis on developing public policy that incorporated access and affordability into the secondary mortgage market. During his tenure, he coauthored the book Foreclosure to Fair Lending: Advocacy, Organizing, Occupy, and the Pursuit of Equitable Credit and the policy report Making the Mortgage Market Work for America’s Families. Shortly before his time at NCLR, Jose deviated from his career path to help assist his family’s small business during a period of transition where he was able to see first-hand how economic policies affect mom and pop shops.

Jose has dedicated much of his career to public policy analysis and implementation on issues related to household credit and debt, youth economics, voting rights, census advocacy, and social-demographic analysis. As the Associate Director for the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos, a multi-issue national organization which combines research, policy development and advocacy to influence public debate and catalyze change, he authored dozens of reports on household economic insecurity, and co-authored the book Up to Our Eyeballs: How Shady Lenders and Failed Economic Policies are Drowning Americans in Debt.

Sarah Gillespie

Sarah Gillespie served in the Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  In this role, she coordinates the office’s philanthropic research and initiatives in collaboration with a wide range of HUD program and field offices and a network of philanthropic partners. Sarah’s work includes facilitating strategic processes for engaging with other funders and lifting up cross-sector innovations and best practices to inform HUD’s goals. Sarah recently completed a full-time rotation with The Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Social Investments Program.

Sarah received a Master of Public Administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs and currently serves as a Presidential Management Fellow.  Sarah also holds Bachelor degrees in Human and Organizational Development and Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University where she was named Most Outstanding Graduate in Community Leadership and Development.

Tamu Jones

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.

Christopher Goett

Christopher Goett is the Senior Program Officer in charge of housing, economic development and Smart Growth programs at the California Community Foundation. Goett came to CCF from the Council on Foundations, where he led a team responsible for a national portfolio supporting place-based philanthropy, community foundations, civic engagement, coalition building, and community development.

Throughout his career, Goett has been actively involved with community development and civic engagement in low-income neighborhoods across the country. Prior to joining the Council, he worked with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Community Preservation and Development Corporation – a community development corporation in the Washington D.C. area – and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Goett graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts from Villanova University and earned a master of social work degree with an emphasis on community organizing and economic development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Beth Herz

Beth Herz is Senior Associate for Programs and Strategy at the Surdna Foundation, a New York-based family foundation. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and sustainable communities in the United States – communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. In her role, Beth supports foundation-wide strategy development and collaboration, in concert with all three of the foundation’s programs. She was previously in Surdna’s Sustainable Environments program, where she worked with a portfolio of about 80 grantees in climate change, green economy, transportation, and smart growth and conducted research on food systems funding and strategies.

Beth received a B.A. from Wesleyan University in science and technology studies and an M.S. from the University of Michigan in natural resources and environment.

Monica Lyle

Monica Lyle is an associate program officer for Healthy Living at the Colorado Health Foundation. She works to implement one of Healthy Living’s key funding strategies, Healthy Communities, which focuses on the built environment and access to physical activity and healthy food, and community education to promote healthy eating and active living. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2008, she worked as a research assistant at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and University of Michigan School of Public Health. She also served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with Metro Community Provider Network, a group of federally-qualified health centers serving metropolitan Denver.

Monica earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Margot Kane

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.

C.J. Eisenbarth Hager

C.J. Eisenbarth Hager is Associate Director, Community Development for Vitalyst Health Foundation. She is directing the healthy eating and active living element on a project funded by a HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant. She is also leading a broad coalition of residents and organizations to pass a Complete Streets policy for the City of Phoenix. Her other work at SLHI includes addressing low access to healthy food retailers and increasing the use of health impact assessments during the policy decisionmaking process.

Prior to SLHI, Hager was a Senior Policy Analyst for Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, where she served as co-investigator on a number of projects including how Arizona’s Latino community will shape the future of the state’s economy, how Arizona’s economy is positioned in the global economy, and an analysis of the state’s post-secondary education options. Hager also served as the Director of Government Relations for NeighborWorks America, a national affordable housing and community revitalization nonprofit organization. While there, she directed interaction between the organization and Congress, the President’s office, and federal agencies. She has also worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives as a fiscal analyst and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency as a policy analyst.

Hager received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisc., and a master’s degree in Community Planning from Kansas State University, where she was given the Alumni Honoree award for her professional accomplishments.

Meisha McDaniel

Meisha McDaniel joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in July 2011 as the 2011-2013 Fellow. Meisha brings her breadth and depth of experiences with social change nonprofits to the Foundation. Most recently, through Climate Corps Bay Area, an innovative AmeriCorps pilot program, she researched community-scale energy efficiency and renewable generation projects with the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, CA. Before going to the San Francisco Bay Area, she was awarded a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, which allowed her to work with two nonprofits in the DC area (the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and DC Hunger Solutions), crafting local and national policy analysis and recommendations concerning the impacts of climate change on communities of color and food security among older adults.

Meisha graduated with honors from Guilford College with a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Justice Studies and a concentration in Nonprofit Management.

Jasmine Hall Ratliff

Jasmine N. Hall Ratliff is a Program Officer on the Childhood Obesity team at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her programs include leading the team’s New Jersey-focused childhood obesity work, managing projects focusing on childhood obesity prevention through local policy change, and exploring the use of program-related investments to fund childhood obesity prevention initiatives.Prior to joining the foundation in 2008 she was a program officer at the Missouri Foundation for Health in St. Louis, Mo., where her responsibilities included the Healthy & Active Communities initiative.

Jasmine received her Master in Health Administration from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and her bachelor of arts from the University of Virginia. She is chair of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Board of Advisors and a member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives. Jasmine is a Virginia native and is married with a young daughter.

Bina Patel

Bina Patel was Managing Director for the Grand Victoria Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, Bina served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Daley, where she was responsible for overseeing programs and policies for Human Infrastructure. Her professional experience includes serving as a Policy Associate at the National Conferences of State Legislatures in Denver, providing strategic policy and capacity building services to a diverse array of clients as an independent consultant, working with low-income populations on asset building, and working on human rights efforts in India and the Middle East.

Bina earned an M.S. in Social Protection Finance (Public Finance & Social Policy) from University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, where her concentration was on Economic and Community Development. In addition, she earned an M.A. from University of Denver in International Studies with a concentration on Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation. Bina was born and raised in Chicago.  Surfing, exploring the outdoors, and traveling are among her favorite activities.

Bryna Lipper

Bryna Lipper was the 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.

George Jacobsen

George C. Jacobsen joined The Kresge Foundation’s Community Development and Detroit programs in January 2011 after three years with the foundation’s Arts & Culture program. George is responsible for the administration of the foundation’s grant programs to support and sustain a robust arts and cultural ecosystem in Detroit, including its signature Artist Fellowship initiative, and the Art X Detroit festival. He additionally pursues grantmaking opportunities that advance the foundation’s comprehensive strategic framework, Re-Imagining Detroit 2020, to reverse decades of disinvestment in Detroit and reposition the city as a model for revitalization.

From 2006 to 2008, George worked at the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition in Detroit, where he assisted in the development of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life in the Southeast Michigan region. Previously, he was a planning assistant at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and a community organizer at Clean Water Action.

George has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the Michigan Association of Planning, and Urban Land Institute. He serves on the Michigan Advisory Board for the Cultural Data Project.

Kirsten Scobie

Kirsten W. Scobie is the Program Director for the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Tilllotson Fund is a place-based donor advise fund focused on building a sustainable community and economy in northern NH and surrounding communities in Vermont and Quebec. Previously Kirsten worked as an independent organization development consultant, a case manager for TANF recipients, and an ESL teacher and a volunteer farm hand in Chile.

Kirsten graduated with an M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 1999 and has taken additional coursework in evaluation. Kirsten cherishes time to cook, travel, garden, run and play with her family and friends. She lives in northern NH with her husband and two children, ages 7 and 10.

Craig Martinez

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.

Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson is Director of Community Impact for Social Venture Partners Portland (SVP), where she provides strategic guidance and operational management of SVP’s portfolio of nonprofit investments. With the goal of ensuring that all children in Portland have the foundation for learning and life success, she oversees SVP’s venture philanthropy partnerships with early childhood organizations—leveraging the time, expertise, influence, and resources for strategic and sustainable solutions to this intractable community problem.

Previously, Lauren was a program officer at Thrive Foundation for Youth, an innovative venture philanthropy foundation based in Silicon Valley. Her focus was studying research on how to help young people thrive and translating it into practical application. She helped youth-serving nonprofits adopt best practices, improve professional development, as well as build their evaluation capacity. Lauren also brings experience as a grant reviewer for the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette as well as the Growth Philanthropy Network’s Social Impact Exchange. In addition to her experience as a high engagement grantmaker, Lauren was the founding program manager of a Schools Uniting Neighborhoods community school, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) case manager, and a kindergarten teacher in Concepcion, Chile. Her degree in Psychology from Williams College has been foundational to her work.

When Lauren’s not hard at work, she’s usually hard at play in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She’s passionate about distance running, hiking, road biking, and camping in the summer months; when the rain arrives, you’ll still find her competing in elite running races across the U.S., as well as reading, cross-country skiing, cooking, or traveling internationally.

Sheena Solomon

Sheena E. Solomon is entering her fifth year as a Program Officer and was recently promoted to Director of Neighborhood Initiatives at The Gifford Foundation, a private foundation serving Central New York. Sheena serves as the Foundation’s representative in their community engagement work and recently created and implemented Gifford’s new city-wide initiative, the “What If…” Mini Grants, which provides a resource in fostering growth in neighborhoods and strengthening the capacity of residents. Prior to joining the Foundation Sheena spent six years working at Home Headquarters where she developed a defined housing background and awareness of community needs.

Sheena has a passion for helping others and the patience and understanding that many in today’s society need.  She truly believes the “teaching people how to fish” concept is the best way to building strong vibrant communities.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and treasuring every moment because tomorrow is promised to no one.

Jean McKeown

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.

Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller joined The Heinz Endowments in 2011 as a program officer for Civic Design and Community Revitalization. His grants portfolio seeks to advance community development in targeted Pittsburgh neighborhoods in a comprehensive fashion, in part by empowering community members and developing leaders who can advocate for ambitious revitalization strategies. Eric is also a member of the African American Men Boys Task Force and the lead staff for the Civic Design Task Force, both internal working groups at the Endowments. Before coming to the Endowments, Eric practiced Urban Planning in both the government and non-profit sectors.

A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Eric earned a bachelors degree in urban studies and psychology from the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois.

Curt McPhail

Curt McPhail, Executive Director, The Space in the Mungo Center at Wofford College

Amoretta Morris

Amoretta Morris is the Senior Associate for Family-Centered Community Change at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She leads the foundation’s newest place-based investments, which support a two-generation approach to improving academic and economic well-being for children and their families.

Prior to joining the foundation, she served as the Director of Student Attendance for the District of Columbia Public Schools. She led a continuum of activities ranging from chronic absence intervention and dropout prevention to supports for homeless students. During her tenure, the district cut the truancy rate by 40 percent. Previously, she served as a youth and education policy adviser in the Executive Office of the Mayor in the Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty administrations. She joined local government after serving as the founding director and lead organizer for the Justice 4 DC Youth! Coalition, an advocacy group that mobilized youth and adults to promote juvenile justice reform.

Arriving on the east coast by way of Alabama and Texas, she is an active neighbor and civic leader in her chosen home of Washington, D.C. She is a member of the D.C. Commission for Women and also serves as a lay leader in the spiritual community at Unity of Washington, D.C. She is also a member of Black Benefactors, a local giving circle that leverages the resources of grassroots philanthropists to effect social change in the D.C. metropolitan area. Ms. Morris has served on several non-profit boards including her current membership on the board of the Third Wave Foundation and presidency of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Black Alumni Association. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., with a degree in Economics and African Studies. She received her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Terri Thao

Terri Thao is a program officer for Nexus Community Partners. Prior to joining Nexus in 2005, she worked at the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute. Her work at the Wilkins Center involved an evaluation of after school programs, managing a leadership development program and assisting with teaching courses on public policy and race.

Terri grew up in the Frogtown area of St. Paul as a member of St. Paul’s Hmong community. She now lives with her husband and daughter on the East Side of St. Paul. Terri is an active community volunteer, serving as a board member for Neighborhood House, the Asian Pacific Endowment of SpectrumTrust at the St. Paul Foundation and the Asian Economic Development Association. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Russian and a Masters of Public Policy, both obtained from the University of Minnesota.

Tyronda Minter

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.

Mary Rose Navarro

Mary Rose Navarro joined Metro, the regional government serving the Portland, Ore., metro area, in 2007 to establish the Nature in Neighborhood Capital Grants program after voters approved a bond measure that protects natural areas and safeguards water quality. In response to public concern about the inequitable distribution of natural assets, the Metro Council directed $15 million in bond funds to a grant program that would inspire projects to increase the presence of nature in fully built-out urban neighborhoods. As the program coordinator, Mary Rose combines her creative thinking and collaborative problem-solving skills with a sincere interest in working with diverse communities to support projects that are truly responsive to local needs. She is a member of Grantmakers of Oregon & Southwest Washington where she helps coordinate monthly learning programs that explore a wide gamut of issues that affect the vitality and health of Oregon communities. Before joining Metro, Mary Rose organized grassroots tree plantings for Friends of Trees and coordinated citizen engagement for Portland Parks & Recreation.

Mary Rose holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BS in Landscape Architecture from Purdue University. Together with her husband and two children, Mary Rose likes to actively explore Oregon’s natural beauty through hiking, biking, rafting, and birding. The family volunteers their time and energy in a variety of ways from the conventional, such as delivering food for Meals-on-Wheels, to the whimsical, such as the Audubon Society of Portland’s annual Birdathon.

Alece Montez

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.

Erik Takeshita

Erik Takeshita is a Community Creativity Portfolio Director with the Bush Foundation. Takeshita has over 20 years of experience working at the intersection of community development and the arts. From 2008-2015 he led a breadth of work at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), including launching a nationwide Creative Placemaking initiative. He was previously a senior policy aide to the mayor of Minneapolis, where he advised the framework for a 10-year Plan for Arts and Culture, and led an art center in Honolulu, Hawai’i, helping to revitalize the city’s downtown.

He serves on numerous boards and commissions, and is nationally recognized for managing high-impact initiatives that express a community’s unique culture through the arts. Takeshita holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School—an opportunity he pursued through a 2005 Bush Leadership Fellowship.

Eula Tatman

Eula Tatman currently serves as Vice President of Grants, Scholarships, and Initiatives for the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, which serves nine counties. The mission of the foundation is to wisely assess needs and channel donor resources to maximize community well-being.

Ms. Tatman has over 27 years of experience in not-for-profit administration and grant management. Her work experience has afforded her the opportunity to work for state governments, municipalities, school boards, and not-for-profit agencies in the states of Texas, Maryland, Kentucky, and Alabama. Eula holds a degree in sociology from Western Kentucky University.

Tatman received a certificate of completion in Foundation Management from Cannon Financial Institute and Advanced Proposal and Financial Analysis from The Grantmaking School of Grand Valley State University. She is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Calhoun County and recently received a certificate of completion in 2012 from the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits. Tatman is an active member of the Grant Professionals Association, Southeast Grant Managers Network and serves on the Board of Trustees for Altrusa International and District Four Foundation’s.

Eula and her husband Ronald currently reside in Anniston, Ala.

Susie Seidelman

Susie Seidelman was 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.

Sharmila Rao Thakkar

Sharmila Rao Thakkar is a Senior Program Officer at The Siragusa Foundation, a family foundation in Chicago, Ill., where she oversees grantmaking and administration. In addition to making funding recommendations, she provides technical assistance to foundation grantees, leads the board’s strategic planning and board development activities, including stewardship of the next generation, and spearheads the foundation’s communications and outreach initiatives.

She serves on the board of the Chicago Foundation for Women, where she chaired the program/grantmaking committee and served as a CEO search committee member. Sharmila is a long-time member and past chair of the CFW Asian American Leadership Council/Silk Fund, a leadership development and giving circle housed at the foundation, which serves as a liaison between the community and the foundation. She recently joined the board of directors of Allowance for Good, a nonprofit that develops the next generation of philanthropic leaders who cultivate global citizenship and empower others around the world to achieve their full potential.

She is a member of the Donors Forum of Illinois and sits on the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana’s Council of 100. She is a member of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and serves as a director for the South Asian Philanthropy Project.

Sharmila is a 2011 graduate of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Leadership Pipeline program, a leadership development fellowship that prepares candidates from diverse backgrounds to succeed as senior-level philanthropic leaders.

She holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Master of Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a bachelor of arts degree in International Relations from Brown University.

Kurt Sommer

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.

Danielle Torain

Danielle Torain is a Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Baltimore Civic Site. In this capacity, Danielle manages strategies and investments under the unit’s Family Economic Success, Two-Generation, and Neighborhood Transformation portfolios. Prior to joining Casey, Danielle served as Senior Director of Strategy & Development at the Center for Urban Families, a non-profit human services organization devoted to serving Baltimore’s most challenged communities by connecting low-income men and women to viable career paths and strong family models.  Prior to CFUF, Torain worked as an associate with Baltimore City Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice and as a research assistant with the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC.

Danielle’s board involvements include the Job Opportunities Taskforce, the Congressman Elijah Cummings Youth Leadership Program in Israel, the Green Street Academy, and the Maryland Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance. Recent honors include:  Leading Woman of Maryland (Baltimore Business Journal); Spirited Woman Rising of Maryland (Red Cross of Central Maryland); and Maritime Magic Rising Star of Baltimore (Living Classrooms Foundation). Danielle was one of ten women featured in the October 2011 issue of Essence Magazine in an article devoted to uplifting essential traits of existing and emerging “power players”.

Danielle is a 2010 graduate of the Associated Black Charities Board Pipeline Leadership Development Program, and a 2012 graduate of the LEADership, a program of the Greater Baltimore Committee. Danielle is a member of the Associated Black Charities’ Change Fund, an initiative devoted to encouraging the involvement of young, African American professionals and local communities in philanthropy and community service. She is a 2010 graduate of the University Of Maryland School Of Law and holds a B.A. in Sociology and Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond. Her deep commitment to Baltimore is reflected through her numerous community and outreach involvements.

Geri Yang-Johnson

Geri Yang-Johnson is the Community Development Officer charged with implementing Wells Fargo’s community and economic development programs in Central California and representing the company in all aspects of community outreach. Geri is also charged with maintaining the company’s CRA initiatives that support underserved populations.

For over 10 years she has dedicated herself to improving Central Valley communities through advocacy, philanthropy, and development. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Geri was a Program Officer for the Fresno Regional Foundation where she focused on empowering underserved communities and strengthening the capacity of nonprofits. Geri serves on the board of The Women’s Foundation of California and a member of Central California Asian Pacific Women.

One of 13 children from a farming family in the Central Valley, she has a profound interest in food and sustainable agriculture—in California and worldwide. Most recently she traveled to India to work with Navdanya, a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 16 states in India. Geri earned her bachelors of arts degree in Women Studies from California State University, Fresno.

Willie Barney

Willie Barney, Executive Director, Empowerment Network Omaha.

Len Bartel

Len Bartel, Independent Consultant

Timothy Block

Timothy Block, Program Manager, SE Energy Efficiency Alliance

Evelyn Burnett

Evelyn Burnett, VP of Economic Oppportunity, Cleaveland Neighborhood Progress

Dion Cartwright

Dion Cartwright, Program Officer, Baltimore Community Foundation

Mark Hallett

Mark Hallett, Program Officer, IL Humanities Council 

Zainab Hassan

Zainab Hassan, Independent Consultant

Sarah Hernandez

Sarah Hernandez, Program Officer, McKnight Foundation

Katy Locker

Katy Locker, Program Director, Knight Foundation

Michael Maroney

Michael Maroney, Executive Director, Omaha Minority Community Development Fund

Brian Moore

Brian Moore, Associate, United Way of Central New York


Vi Ngyuen

Vi Ngyuen, Program Officer, Vancouver Foundation

Carolina Quezada

Caroline Quezada, Executive Director, Latino Center of the Midlands

Toya Randall

Toya Randall, Program Director, Casey Family Foundation

Michael Shaw

Michael Shaw, Program Officer, Kresge Foundation

Mary Skelton Roberts

Mary Skelton Roberts, Program Officer, Barr Foundation

Jasmine Thomas

Jasmine Thomas, Program Officer, Citi Foundation

Todd Vogel

Todd Vogel, Managing Director, Loom Foundation

Susanna Weckerle

Susanna Weckerle, Independent Consultant

Kristin Williams

Kristin Williams, Executive Director, Sherwood Foundation

Elisa Wong

Elisa Wong, Kaiser Permanente

Sylvia Zaldivar-Sykes

Sylvia Zaldivar-Sykes, Independant Consultant