We pride ourselves on delivering high-caliber member services, opportunities for action and collaboration, and avenues for learning and sharing innovative strategies and compelling stories. Please feel free to reach out to a member of our team if you’d like to share feedback or learn more about The Funders Network. TFN’s main offices are based in Coral Gables, Fla., although our team of staff and program leads are located in communities across the country.

Dion Cartwright

Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development

dion@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 209

Dion joined the network in October 2016 as director of equitable initiatives and leadership development, directing the PLACES fellowship program and leading the organization’s work to address equity, inclusion, and structural racism. She is a 2010 graduate of PLACES and chaired the PLACES Advisory Board for four years before joining the staff.

Previously, she served as a member of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) Community Investment team for 15 years. With a strong focus on intergenerational community engagement, she was responsible for the implementation of BCF’s Neighborhood Improvement Strategies that focused on creating safe, clean, green, and vibrant neighborhoods, increased leadership development in communities, and the development of community advocates. Under itss previous president & CEO, Dion helped to shape BCF’s commitment to racial equity and inclusion and worked with a committee of board and staff to implement an internal and external equity strategy for the foundation.

Dion has deep experience in community and philanthropic leadership development, capacity building, and technical assistance and is considered a thoughtful, strategic leader with a proven track record for equitable community engagement. She currently serves as chair of the Interim Board of Directors for the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund, is a member of the Board of Advisors for Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), and serves on the Racial Equity Committee of the United Philanthropy Forum.

Dion received her education at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina where she studied computer science and business administration. In 2015, Dion was recognized as one of Maryland’s Leading Women by the Daily Record. She currently resides in Baltimore, Md., and spends her free time traveling and being with family and friends.

Jennifer Cummings

Director of Finance and Operations

jennifer@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 200

Jennifer works both in programmatic and administrative areas including operations, board relations, human resources, finance and budgeting, logistical planning, annual conference, and the GREEN working group.

Before joining the network in 2005, she was the executive director of the Kidney Foundation of South Florida, responsible for all areas of nonprofit management including special events, operations, board development, educational programming, community outreach, and communications.

Jennifer graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in English and Russian. The daughter of a Peruvian mother and American father who flew for Pan Am, she has traveled extensively and lived abroad. Jennifer enjoys her extended family, her playful and affectionate cats, making things with her hands, well-planned trips to interesting locales, and swimming in open water as long as it’s 84 degrees or somewhere foreign.

Tere Figueras Negrete

Director of Communications

tere@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 212

Tere is responsible for developing and implementing strategic communications for TFN and working closely with our staff and members to support and amplify our mission. She spent nearly 15 years as an award-winning writer and editor with the Miami Herald, where she covered everything from national politics to the local police beat. She also worked as senior editor for the Herald’s custom publishing division, developing print and digital products for commercial, philanthropic and nonprofit institutions.

Most recently, she was marketing manager in charge of outreach and special projects for Jackson Health System, the largest taxpayer funded health system in South Florida and which serves as the safety net hospital for much of the region. Tere currently lives in South Miami and spends her free time writing, traveling and trying to discourage the neighborhood peacocks from roosting on her lawn.

Yleinia Jobe

Administrative Associate

yleinia@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 203

Yleinia is responsible for providing programmatic and administrative support to TFN’s programs and operations as well as executive assistance to the president and CEO. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a background in social work. She has worked in diverse nonprofit and faith-based organizations at various levels over the past 14 years, including the resettlement of refugee youth in Miami-Dade County; engaging faculty and students in local, regional and international issues; cultivating a restoration program for adult survivors of sex trafficking in India; serving as a post-earthquake disaster relief worker in Haiti; and assisting medical professionals in rural El Salvador. Her work has included logistical, financial and administrative support along with hands-on service to those in need. Outside of work, she enjoys serving and teaching with her husband at their local church and watching Netflix original documentaries.

Maureen Lawless

Vice President & Director, Member Services

maureen@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 205

Maureen joined the network in 2002 and currently serves as vice president and director of member services, organizing membership development, outreach, services and strategy. Maureen also directs the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP), a community foundation disaster preparedness and response learning cohort in a ten-state Midwestern region.

Prior to joining the network, she spent her early career managing membership and publications at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. A magna cum laude graduate of Villanova University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Maureen later received a master’s degree from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (now the McCourt School of Public Policy). While there, she was a Jessie Ball duPont Fund Emerging Nonprofit Scholar at the Institute’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.

An avid sports fan, Maureen often bores her colleagues with tales from her beloved Villanova Wildcats, New York Giants, and Boston Red Sox and other useless sports trivia.

Lesmarie Nicholson

Senior Program Associate for Learning Opportunities

lesmarie@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 210

Lesmarie works with network members and staff as the annual conference manager and is also the lead coordinator for TFN’s learning opportunities. Before joining the network, she was the program manager at Dream in Green where she managed the organization’s Green Schools Challenge program and worked in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability to coordinate and deliver a series of Home Energy Savings Workshops.

Lesmarie graduated from the George Washington University with a master’s in public policy and has a bachelor’s in zoology from the University of the West Indies. Lesmarie is also a LEED Green Associate.

Allison Jai O’Dell

CRM Manager

Allison leads TFN’s use of data and information resources.  She works to create capacity for reporting and analytics, and generates insights into the network’s membership and programming.

Before coming to TFN, Allison worked for 13 years as a data engineer and backend developer in the nonprofit, academic, and cultural heritage sectors, including positions at The Humane League, Mercy For Animals, University of Florida, University of Miami, Free Library of Philadelphia, and The Barnes Foundation.

Allison holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science, and an M.A. in Art and the Book.  She lives in Miami and devotes most of her free time to advocating on behalf of non-human animals.  She decompresses through fiber arts and cycling.

Martha Cecilia Ovadia (Marci)

Senior Program Associate for Equity Programs and Communications

marci@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 202

Marci (she/her/ella) is primarily responsible for working with the PLACES fellowship and the PLACES alumni network, as well as providing equity and DEI (JL) support and guidance to the organization and our programmatic leads. Marci also works as an integral part of TFN’s communications team that manages the network’s social media platforms, email and marketing campaigns, including managing the PLACES newsletters and outreach. She specializes primarily in equity communications.

Before joining the network, Marci worked as the marketing assistant for social science journals at SAGE Publications in Thousand Oaks, Calif. and was also the graduate assistant to the Arts and Culture/ Economic Development team for City of West Hollywood, Calif.

Marci is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University, working on completing an interdisciplinary doctorate in religion, ethics, and culture (focusing on gender and race relations) and English Literature (focusing on intersectional activism in literature). She has a master’s degree in religion, ethics, and culture from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and art history from Florida State University.

When not working, Marci enjoys traveling with her family and friends, working with rescue animals, olympic Netflixing, napping, and reading on a comfy chair with her dogs Luna, Grizzly, and service dog Jolene (who is a very good girl and will soon be certified and earn on spot on this here page!)

Hazel Paguaga

Program Associate

hazel@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350

Hazel handles the programmatic support for Inclusive Economies, Intermountain West, Mobility and Access, and PPREP. She has a bachelor’s in sociology from Florida International University. She previously worked as an office assistant at Florida International University – Counseling and Psychological Services and as a research assessor at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies.

When not working, Hazel enjoys listening to podcasts, making to-do lists, dancing, and exploring Miami.

Navita Persaud

Program Manager for Member Services

navita@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 211

Navita is primarily responsible for working with Maureen Lawless, TFN vice president and director of member services, to respond to the needs of the network’s membership and design and its implementation of membership strategies.

Before joining TFN, Navita worked as a senior research associate at the Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and as a program associate for community health at the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Navita holds a master’s of public health degree from George Washington University and a bachelor’s of science degree in health science education from the University of Florida. When not working, Navita enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking and cooking, and training for half marathons.

 

Ashley Quintana

Senior Program Associate for Sustainability and Environmental Programs

ashley@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 201

Ashley is primarily responsible for program management for the Partners for Places matching grant program and the GREEN and Urban Water Funders working groups.

Prior to joining the network, Ashley worked as the corporate relations assistant at the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and as the litter prevention project coordinator at the Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches. Ashley holds a master’s in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in environmental studies from the University of Central Florida.

Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her pups Bindi and Brooklyn, taking care of her 523 houseplants, traveling, and macraméing.

Patricia L. Smith

President & CEO

pat@fundersnetwork.org
(305) 667-6350 ext. 206

Pat joined The Funders Network in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of expertise in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Pat took the helm on the cusp of the network’s 20th anniversary, guiding TFN through key milestones during a pivotal moment in our history, including the launch of internal equity training for TFN’s team, an affirmation of our organizational commitment to racial equity and a new strategic framework that will govern TFN’s future direction through 2025.  Pat’s vision is to help create a generation of philanthropic leadership that is engaged and emboldened to tackle the defining issues of our era — namely pervasive racial, economic and environmental injustices — and committed to bringing about a just society.

As president and CEO, Pat drives TFN’s organizational and operational initiatives and systems and provides oversight and direction to its funder working groups and grant and fellowship programs. She also serves as program lead for TFN’s Inclusive Economies working group, which applies a three-part focus — race, place and prosperity — to economic growth and development.

Pat is formerly a senior policy advisor for the Reinvestment Fund, a national leader working to revitalize low-income communities through the strategic and innovative use of capital, data and partnerships. She led the Reinvestment Fund’s efforts to improve access to healthier foods in underserved urban and rural communities, and was instrumental in expanding fresh food finance across the industry of community development finance institutions, helping secure over $243 million in federal funding for that work.

Prior to joining the Reinvestment Fund, Pat directed the City of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI), a $295 million public-private partnership to stimulate investment in Philadelphia neighborhoods. NTI contributed to a paradigm shift in urban redevelopment policy and resource allocation by creating a data-driven framework for assessing opportunities in distressed urban markets.

Throughout her career, Pat designed and managed several nationally-recognized initiatives to develop leaders and strengthen the capacities of community development practitioners.

She served on the board of directors of numerous nonprofits in her hometown of Philadelphia. She also participated in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions. Pat is a current member of the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), and serves on the technical advisory committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national initiative, Aligning Systems for Health, led by the Georgia Health Policy Center.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and juris doctorate from George Washington University Law Center. The Fannie Mae Foundation awarded Pat a fellowship for senior executives in state and local government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. A native of Philadelphia, she is based at TFN’s main office in Miami. An avid sailor, she is the proud owner, along with her partner, of the Pearl, a 1967 Alberg 35 sailboat named in honor of both of their grandmothers.

Ann Fowler Wallace

Director of Programs

ann@fundersnetwork.org
(617) 524-9239

Based in Boston, Ann manages TFN’s working groups and regional networks, staffs the GREEN working group along with team members Jennifer Cummings and Ashley Quintana, and serves on the Governance Committee and Grant Selection Committee for the Partners for Places grant program.

Before coming to TFN, Ann facilitated the planning and design of smart growth collaboratives in Vermont and Massachusetts. She has worked as a program consultant to the John Merck Fund, principally on JMF’s environmental health grants program, and consulted with other foundations and funder networks focusing on environmental, sustainable agriculture, and smart growth issues.

She is a former partner at GMA Foundations, a philanthropic consulting firm serving charitable foundations and individual donors, where for 15 years she headed up GMA’s environmental grantmaking and consulting practice working with the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, the Conservation, Food & Health Foundation, the Dolphin Trust, and The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation. She is currently a trustee of the Environmental League of Massachusetts and the Northern Forest Center. Ann has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. with a concentration in environmental policy from Tufts University. Ann spends her free time gardening, bird watching on the South Coast, and pleading with her dog to stop barking while she is on phone calls or her laptop.