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

President & CEO

(305) 667-6350 ext. 209

Dion took the helm of The Funders Network (TFN) as president and CEO in January 2024, having joined the network in October 2016 to direct the PLACES fellowship program and lead 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 its 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

Chief Financial Officer

(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

Senior Director of Communications

(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. As a news reporter, she was part of the Herald team that was named a 2004 Pulitzer Prize  finalist in the breaking news category for “immediate and distinctive search for the cause of the Columbia space shuttle disaster,” in addition to awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Association of Newspaper Editors.  She also worked as senior editor for the Herald’s custom publishing division, developing print and digital products for commercial, philanthropic and nonprofit institutions and receiving multiple top honors from the Florida Magazine Association.

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’s writing and storytelling has been featured in multiple digital and print publications and podcasts, including Moth Story Hour, Readers’ Digest 50 Best American Stories, and Lifetime’s 50 Women, 50 States series.

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

(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.

Talissa Lahaliyed

Equity Programs Manager

305-667-6350 extension 217

Talissa is responsible for supporting the implementation of TFN’s Racial Equity Action Plan and contributing to the design and implementation of the PLACES fellowship program, including alum engagement.

She brings experience in program management, communications, and leadership development from her work at community foundations and nonprofit organizations at both national and international levels.

Most recently, Talissa was a programs associate at the Boston Foundation and provided access to capacity building and racial equity resources and opportunities to nonprofit partners and leaders in Greater Boston. She also led the Women of Color Leadership Circle, a transformational leadership program for women of color leaders in Greater Boston. Talissa graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in International Affairs and a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. Before joining the Boston Foundation, she spent time in Jordan researching the legal status of refugees, women’s rights, access to justice and civic engagement. Talissa enjoys learning new languages, baking, and going on nature walks with her husband.

Maureen Lawless

Executive Vice President

(305) 667-6350 ext. 205

Maureen joined the network in 2002 and currently serves as executive vice president, 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.

Brooke McPherson

Communications and Engagement Associate

(305) 667-6350 ext. 202 

Brooke works across the intersections of communications, membership and data management at TFN to build connections, expand learning and deepen engagement across our network.

Before joining TFN in 2023, Brooke was a communications coordinator for a medical organization working to improve healthcare for older adults in America. In 2020, Brooke served as a public policy fellow with Good Shepherd Volunteers, where she advocated at city and state levels to promote funding for programs that provide trauma-informed, strength-based services for youth, families, and communities in New York City.

Brooke holds a master’s of communications and public relations from Saint Peter’s University and a bachelor’s in computer information systems from Caldwell University. When she’s not working, Brooke enjoys traveling, playing video games and listening to the Beatles.

Lesmarie Nicholson

Program Manager

(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

Director, Data and Information Technologies

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.

Hazel Paguaga

Program Associate

(305) 667-6350

Hazel handles the programmatic support for Inclusive Economies, 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

Director, Member Services

(305) 667-6350 ext. 211

Navita is primarily responsible for working with Maureen Lawless, TFN executive vice president, 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

Program Manager

(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.

Ann Fowler Wallace

Vice President, Programs & Partnerships

(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 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.