Experienced Thinkers

Our highly experienced, multidisciplinary team brings substantive expertise, rich facilitative skills, creative thinking, a commitment to excellence, and a strong passion for using philanthropy to address the world’s social and environmental issues in just and lasting ways. We are original thinkers with deep experience and a diverse set of skills and talents. For each client engagement, we assemble powerful teams with diverse perspectives that harness the best of who we are to help you increase the impact of your philanthropy with bold, thoughtful strategies that take your efforts further. Meet us!

Staff

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Leslie Pine

Managing Partner

Leslie Pine has been the principal architect of TPI’s creative approach to program design and strategy, managing TPI’s program staff in the research, design, implementation, and evaluation of a wide range of innovative philanthropic strategies and initiatives. This work has transformed the concept of strategic philanthropy into high-impact philanthropic action, helping funders and corporations develop new and more effective approaches to the issues that concern them.

Leslie also oversees TPI’s ongoing assistance to a number of foundations and corporations. She has designed a range of philanthropic strategies including various youth development and mentoring initiatives; grants initiatives to stimulate innovation in K-12 schools and in community programs; corporate models to promote employee giving and community engagement; and initiatives designed to leverage grassroots community improvement efforts.

Leslie participated in founding TPI in 1989 after a decade of policy research and analysis in the academic and governmental sectors. Prior to joining TPI, Leslie was the Senior Health Analyst for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration & Finance, responsible for assessing the state’s most critical health priorities, and developing effective strategies and resources for meeting those needs. She is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, and received a Master of Science degree in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Maggi Alexander

Maggi Alexander

Senior Partner and Director of TPI's Center for Global Philanthropy

Maggi Alexander is a Senior Partner at TPI and directs TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy. In this role she supports individuals and families, foundations, and corporations in aligning their philanthropy with their values in ways that are more strategic. An entrepreneurial leader, Maggi has spent over 30 years focused on philanthropy to improve the quality of life for low-income children, families, and communities in the United States and over 30 countries worldwide. She has extensive experience building partnerships and alliances that cut across traditional divides and has worked in the corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit, and public sectors. Maggi’s experience in organizational development spans the early start-up process to achieving scale and sustainability; she is passionate about turning great ideas into reality.

In 1991, Maggi joined the International Youth Foundation (IYF) shortly after it was established, playing numerous key leadership roles as the organization grew, including direct program and organizational leadership of a fast-growing network of partner foundations across Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Today, IYF is among the world’s leading public foundations focused on investing in young people, with operations in more than 80 countries.

Prior to TPI, Maggi worked with the ImagineNations Group to provide rural young people and smallholder farmers with relevant education, training, and finance, fostering a new generation of Africans who are prosperous along the field-to-fork agriculture value chain. In 2006, Maggi founded Kids-Take-Action, a nonprofit aimed at inspiring service and social action among school-aged children. Over her career, Maggi has held several other senior leadership positions with national and international organizations, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, UNICEF, the Fetzer Institute, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Maggi is currently a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College and serves on the Steering Committee of New England International Donors (NEID). She has a Master’s degree from John’s Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

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Robin Baird

Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Robin works directly with TPI clients to help them achieve their goals and manages a number of scholarship and college success programs. She provides strategic and programmatic support for a variety of TPI client engagements, including facilitating family meetings, developing giving strategies, conducting in-depth landscape scans and research, and managing ongoing client relationships. Robin’s work at TPI aligns with her passion for equity work in philanthropy and efforts to increase opportunities for young people.

Prior to joining TPI in 2016, Robin was an administrator for the Public & Nonprofit and Health Sector MBA programs at Boston University (BU) Questrom School of Business. She also served as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Robin has a Master of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Oberlin College.

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Mahalia Banton

Program Associate

Mahalia Banton supports TPI staff and clients through program management, research, and administrative support. She works on a variety of projects and topics, many of which align with her passion for equity in education and beyond.

Mahalia graduated from Amherst College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While at Amherst College, Mahalia chaired the African & Caribbean Student Union, worked as a tutor at Reader to Reader, and joined the campus theater department as an actress. She also held a summer internship working on the reelection campaign of Mayor Danny Rivera in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

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Ellie Galer

Program Associate

Eliza (Ellie) Galer supports a number of TPI clients, currently with emphasis on college access and success programs. In addition to grantmaking, research, and administrative support on the well-established Red Pine Scholarship program, Ellie is helping with development and launch of a new scholarship program for Maine students. She is also on the Sills Family Foundation team. In addition to expertise in the area of immigration, Ellie is particularly passionate about equal education access, and voting rights and democracy.

Prior to joining TPI, Ellie worked for the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, first as an immigration advocate with the AmeriCorps Legal Advocates, and then as a Civil Legal Aid to Victims of Crime (CLAVC) paralegal. While in college, she interned for current Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who was then a City-Councilor at Large. Ellie holds a Bachelor of Political Science and Sociology degree from Macalester College. When not at work, Ellie follows Boston’s sports teams, reads, and enjoys the outdoors, live music and trying new restaurants. Originally from Massachusetts’ South Shore, she now lives in Boston.

Sophia Hancock

Sophia Hancock

Program Associate

Sophia Hancock supports TPI staff and clients through program management, research, and administrative support for a variety of client engagements and ongoing projects. She is particularly passionate about environmental justice and ending food insecurity, as well as access to quality education.

Prior to joining TPI in early 2021, Sophia was the volunteer and administrative coordinator at Women’s Lunch Place in Boston. Before that, she participated in Americorps VISTA at Mill City Grows in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Sophia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Creative Writing from Goucher College. While in college, she was a teaching assistant and was an environmental justice intern at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

A Massachusetts native, Sophia now lives in Malden, Massachusetts, and enjoys reading as well as caring for her collection of plants, including the challenge of growing new and different types of plants.

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Joseph Lee

Senior Philanthropic Advisor

Joseph Lee assists a range of TPI clients with strategic, operational, and programmatic needs, including grantmaking support, social issues research, and program design, implementation, and evaluation. He also supports some of TPI’s thought leadership and field-building initiatives. Joe’s areas of expertise include research, survey design and analysis, and evaluation work in the field of philanthropy. Joe also has experience working in global health programming, higher education instruction, and organizational financial analysis.

Prior to joining TPI, Joe conducted assessment and evaluation work as a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Effective Philanthropy. Most recently, he managed a team of researchers conducting a meta-analysis of the COVID-19 treatment landscape, which reported on COVID-19 collaborations for academic, healthcare, and philanthropic audiences. Joe received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management from Harvard School of Public Health.

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Jennifer Montone

Senior Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships

Jennifer Montone oversees all strategic and tactical marketing and communications initiatives to advance TPI’s mission and build awareness of its consulting services and thought leadership in strategic philanthropy. Jen supports business development efforts through client management, prospect research, and business communications. In addition, Jen leads TPI’s branding and content marketing work, partnership development, and public relations efforts.

Jen has more than 17 years of experience in marketing and communications, mission-driven strategic planning and implementation, organization and program development, management and relationship building, and philanthropy and fundraising. Prior to joining TPI, Jen served as Director of Marketing Communications and Business Development for Edible Boston magazine where she developed and implemented a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy using print and digital media as well as key strategic partnerships and event sponsorships to support the magazine’s mission and reinforce the brand’s pre-eminence in its industry. Before moving to Boston, Jen served as Director of Direct Marketing at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health where she led the overall strategy creation, execution, and measurement of success of a wide range of development marketing programs and communications efforts in support of the philanthropic goals of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. In addition, Jen held various marketing roles at the San Francisco Symphony.

Jen has a Bachelor in Commerce degree in business and marketing from Santa Clara University, and holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Gastronomy and a Certificate in the Culinary Arts, both from Boston University.

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Lisa Payne Simon

Partner

Lisa Payne Simon is a Partner at TPI who specializes in program strategy, design, management, and evaluation. Lisa has a 20-year track record of designing, implementing, and evaluating high-impact philanthropic programs and partnerships to improve services, systems, organizations, and outcomes. At TPI, Lisa leads a wide range of client consulting projects as well as thought leadership and field-building initiatives. Her areas of issue expertise include early childhood education and health in low-income communities; nonprofit capacity-building; aging and caregiving; health care practice and systems improvement; quality improvement; better health and access through technology; systems philanthropy; and the role, operations, and impact of community foundations.

Prior to joining TPI, Lisa served as consultant and senior advisor to a variety of clients throughout the U.S. including health, family, corporate, and community foundations. Lisa has also held senior level positions at the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and Blue Cross of California. She has published in philanthropy association outlets such as Grantmakers in Health, and peer-reviewed journals such as The Foundation Review, American Journal of Medical Quality, British Medical Journal, and Epidemiology. Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Brown University.

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Elaines Peña

Philanthropic Advisor

Elaines Peña supports multiple TPI client projects, including scholarship and college success programs, strategic grantmaking initiatives, and research scans and benchmarking. She works with corporate clients, as well as with private and family foundations to implement strategic philanthropic programs and measure their impact.

Elaines is a recent graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with concentrations in Latin American and Latino Studies as well as Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. During her time in college she had various internships in nonprofit development. She was an intern at Rosie’s Place in Boston and at Girls Inc. in Worcester. She also worked in the advancement office at Holy Cross.

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Sharon Rajadurai

Program Associate

Sharon Rajadurai supports TPI staff and clients through program management, research, and administrative support for a variety of client engagements and ongoing projects. Sharon is particularly passionate about international development and global justice issues like immigration and refugees, as well as women’s education.

Since before joining TPI in early 2021, Sharon has served as interim executive director of the Lady Doak College Foundation, which supports the women’s college of that name in Madurai, India. Prior to that, she was an operations associate at the Boston Network for International Development.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Relations from Suffolk University. During her time there, she interned at several governmental and nonprofit organizations focused on diplomacy, equity, and social justice, such as WorldBoston, Asian American LEAD, and On Common Ground. In addition, she interned with New England International Donors (NEID), a networking organization that partners with TPI on research, education, and programming for funders.

Born in Torrance, California, Sharon grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and now lives in North Attleboro. She enjoys spending free time with family and friends, reading, staying involved with her church community, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

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Ellen Remmer

Senior Partner

Ellen Remmer is a recognized leader in the field of strategic philanthropy. She is a Senior Partner at The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), the nonprofit philanthropic advisory firm that pioneered the field of strategic philanthropy advising and works around the globe to help donors achieve lasting social impact. Ellen has been with TPI since 1993 and served as President and CEO of TPI from 2007-2012.

Ellen has worked directly with dozens of family, corporate, and community foundations, and developed many of TPI’s philanthropy promotion initiatives. Recently, she has led TPI’s work to help donors amplify their impact through impact investing and launched Invest for Better, a campaign created to help women mobilize their investment capital for good. Among the many publications Ellen has authored are: Navigating the Territory: A Guide to Impact Investing for Donors; Raising Children with Philanthropic Values; Making a Difference: Evaluating Your Philanthropy; and Passion: Discovering the Meaning in Your Philanthropy. Ellen has been featured in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal and Forbes to Chronicle of Philanthropy and Town & Country.

Ellen currently serves as the President of her family’s foundation, which supports girls’ empowerment programs and sustainable fisheries. Ellen also serves on the Board of The Nature Conservancy Maine Chapter, and Prosperity Catalyst, and is a member of the Oxfam Leadership Council. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Lisa Spalding

Lisa Spalding

Senior Partner

Lisa Spalding works with TPI clients to increase the impact of their giving through strategic planning, facilitation, social issues research, and design and evaluation of philanthropic strategies and initiatives. She is a seasoned facilitator and convener, having led retreats and trainings for a wide range of foundations around the country focused on strategic planning, succession, governance, and evaluation. She has led numerous workshops and trainings on engaging the next generation, the power of family philanthropy, finding a focus, and exploring your legacy. Lisa has expertise in a variety of issue areas, including those around the environment and sustainability. She also partners with professional advisors to help their clients to reflect on how strategic philanthropy can play a role in their lives.

Prior to first joining TPI in 2009, Lisa spent ten years in the environmental field. Key roles included working with the Ecosystem Management Initiative to help environmental organizations and collaboratives develop evaluation and adaptive management plans; developing and managing community outreach programs for the New England Forestry Foundation; and numerous roles in conservation and education at non-profit organizations such as Shelbourne Farms in Vermont and the New England Aquarium in Boston. Lisa has a Master’s degree from University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and a Bachelor in Environmental Studies degree from Oberlin College.

Wendy Staggs

Wendy Staggs

Finance Director

Wendy S.C. Staggs is responsible for the accounting and financial management of TPI.

Prior to joining TPI in 1999, Wendy was Director of Technology Education at Nashoba Valley Technical High School where she was responsible for the integration of educational technology into all subject areas. She also served as an accountant and an instructor, training students in computer applications at Nashoba. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University in 1991 and an MBA from New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University) in 1996. Wendy is a part of the adjunct faculty at Southern New Hampshire University and teaches Intro to Computers and Intro to Accounting courses.

Kristen Whelan

Kristen Whelan

Partner

Kristen Whelan works with corporations, individual donors, and family foundations to increase the impact of their giving through the design, implementation, and evaluation of philanthropic strategies and initiatives. Specific efforts include creation of a grants program to improve reading skills; development and management of a youth-focused initiative for a family foundation resulting in multi-year grants to after-school and mentoring programs in Boston; and design of a contemporary music fund to promote the proliferation and awareness of classical music composed within the last 20 years.

Kristen works closely with family foundations and individuals to explore their interests and structure grantmaking partnerships. She also works with a variety of donors to create scholarship programs designed to ensure student success. She has worked with corporations to design, manage and train employees involved in corporate giving and volunteering programs.

Kristen has a Master’s degree from the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University, where she wrote her thesis on the benefits of strategic and integrated corporate giving programs. Prior to joining TPI in 1998, she worked in a number of nonprofit organizations including Planned Parenthood Clinic of Greater Boston, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Oxfam America. Kristen received her Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Psychology at Bennington College.

Senior Advisors

Our Senior Advisors are integral to what TPI has embodied since 1989 – collegial practice, learning, and excellence. As outside resources, often with specialized expertise, Senior Advisors serve as TPI ambassadors, provide counsel and advice with respect to client and philanthropy promotion work, and undertake consulting engagements.

Tom Bird

Tom brings over 30 years of general management and investment experience, has served on numerous boards and invested across a wide spectrum. Tom supports operational management with Sonen Capital, and is chair of the governance committee. In addition, Tom is founder and president of the multi-family office FARM Capital Services LLC, where he created the FARM Fund as an early stage direct impact investment donor advised fund. Previously he was chairman and CEO of FARM, Inc., a venture backed Silicon Valley information management firm that provided data storage and retrieval services from 1988 until the company was sold in 1999.

Tom serves on the board of the GlobalGiving Foundation, as an advisor to Sanku, is on the investment committee of the Patient Capital Collaborative, and is on the University Council as a former trustee and investment committee member of the American University in Bulgaria.

He holds a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College, an M.B.A from Stanford University, and a Master of Theological Studies degree with an emphasis on ethics from Harvard University.

Cynthia Gibson

Cynthia Gibson has more than 26 years of experience in the nonprofit sector where she has held leadership roles for several national foundations and nonprofits and has become a highly regarded strategist, thought leader, writer, and practitioner on issues ranging from civic engagement and nonprofit management to health care and education. At TPI, Gibson leads client engagements, carries TPI’s voice into the conversations shaping philanthropy and uses her skills as a master connector to bring people together to collaborate and get results.

Prior to TPI, she was principal of Cynthesis Consulting, where she specialized in public policy research and analysis, program development, strategic planning, evaluation, and marketing and communications for clients including: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Kettering Foundation. The Case Foundation where she authored Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement.

Previously, Gibson served as a program officer at Carnegie Corporation of New York where she authored From Inspiration to Participation: Strategies for Youth Civic Engagement and The Civic Mission of Schools (co-authored with Peter Levine.) Prior to Carnegie, Gibson was a consultant for numerous organizations and served in senior staff positions at the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Partnership for Democracy (formerly The Youth Project).

In addition to speaking and publishing widely, Gibson has taught at the New School University’s Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy; served as a senior fellow at Tufts University; and been a member of numerous advisory committees, selection panels and boards, including VolunteerMatch.org, Mobilize.org, Nonprofit Quarterly, Public Conversations Project, and Idealist.org,.

Gibson has a B.A. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University (Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude); an M.S.W. from Catholic University of America; and a Ph.D. in social welfare policy and administration from Rutgers University.

Paul Grogan

Paul S. Grogan is former President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. As a leader in the Boston community and beyond, Paul brings holistic philanthropic expertise to his role as a TPI Senior Advisor. Under his leadership from 2001 to 2021, the Boston Foundation’s assets have doubled in size to more than $1.3 billion. Paul also expanded the mission of the Boston Foundation to include a powerful civic leadership role through commissioning and publishing cutting-edge research into urban issues, holding hundreds of public forums, forming task forces and coalitions, and informing and influencing legislative solutions to some of the city’s most intractable problems. Legislation passed through this work has leveraged more than $600 million in public funds for cultural facilities, K-12 public education, community colleges, municipal budgets, and smart growth housing. The model created by Paul has inspired a large number of community foundations nationwide to add civic leadership to their missions.

During Paul’s tenure, the Boston Foundation has also launched a number of high-impact initiatives, such as Success Boston, which has raised college completion rates for Boston Public Schools graduates by 77 percent. Other examples include the youth violence prevention model StreetSafe Boston; Project Catapult, which represents the next generation of workforce development; and the Boston Opportunity Agenda, which is a historic public/private partnership of the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, the city’s other leading public charities, and many local foundations. The Foundation also played a pivotal role in informing and passing sweeping criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, which has rolled back the inequitable and ineffective “get tough” criminal justice policies of the 1980s and 1990s.

Prior to his work with the Boston Foundation, Paul served as Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs at Harvard University and as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. During his time at Harvard, he spearheaded efforts that led the university to make unprecedented investments in the community, including $21 million for affordable housing and $5 million for the Harvard After-School Initiative. He also transformed the University’s previously poor relationship with the City of Boston, paving the way for Harvard to double its property holdings in the Allston neighborhood. During this time, Paul also served on TPI’s board of directors.

From 1986 through 1998, Paul served as President and CEO of the nonprofit organization Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development intermediary. Paul’s passion for cities is rooted in his experiences in Boston where he served Mayors Kevin H. White and Raymond L. Flynn in a variety of positions. He headed Boston’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in the early 1980s, helping to pioneer a series of public/private ventures that have been widely replicated by other cities.

Paul graduated with honors in American History from Williams College in 1972 and holds a Master of Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 1997, Williams College awarded Mr. Grogan the Bicentennial Medal for his leadership in inner-city revitalization efforts. He is also the recipient of five honorary degrees, has been recognized four times by The NonProfit Times through its annual “Power & Influence Top 50” list from 2013 to 2016, and was named one of America’s Top 25 “Disruptive Leaders” by Living Cities in 2016. Paul is a founder and director of The Community Development Trust, the nation’s first real estate investment trust dedicated to affordable housing and has been a trustee of Williams College and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

In 2000, Mr. Grogan, and writer and nonprofit consultant Tony Proscio, co-authored the book Comeback Cities, which syndicated columnist Ron Brownstein wrote is “arguably the most important and insightful book on the American city in a generation.”

Stephen Johnson

Advisor, leader, manager, and donor, for almost four decades Steve Johnson has brought his practical idealism to the fields of philanthropy, law, and public policy. He currently serves as a trusted advisor to foundations, nonprofit organizations, wealthy families and individuals, and sits on half a dozen foundation and nonprofit boards. His special interests include foundation start-ups, strategic planning, governance, trustee succession, next generation training, and program design and implementation.

Until October 2016 Steve served as Executive Director of the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation (2012-2016), prior to which he spent 13 years with The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), working with families, foundations and corporations worldwide to achieve their philanthropic and social investment objectives. He has guided his own family foundation’s work in the Champlain Basin for nearly 30 years.

A principal author of the Code of Ethics for U.S. philanthropy advisors, in his years with TPI Steve worked to advance the scope and quality of philanthropy in the U.S. and abroad. He led TPI’s work to study and improve the philanthropy-related practice of legal and financial advisors, a subject on which he wrote extensively and spoke regularly both nationally and abroad, as well as training countless relationship managers at some of the nation’s leading financial institutions.

Prior to his work in philanthropy, Steve spent 20 years in public policy, the law, and long-range planning, working in the federal courts, private practice, as counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Committees on the Judiciary and Commerce, in government relations, and leading and advising justice reform commissions around the country. He has taught both undergraduate and law students and has written and spoken extensively on public policy and the future of the justice system and the legal profession.

Steve is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law (JD, 1979) and the University of Pennsylvania (BA, magna cum laude, 1974). He and his wife Paula – an expert on global philanthropy at Harvard – live in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Julia Kittross

Julia Kittross has over 30 years of experience in philanthropy as a teacher, advisor, organizer, program designer, grantmaker, CEO and entrepreneur. She is currently is the co-founder of Philanthropy Sherpas, a consultancy working with grantmakers with a specialty in family philanthropy. Prior to this, she built from the ground up the Laird Norton Family Foundation, a 7th generation, 400 family member foundation where 65 family volunteers serve on four grantmaking committees in the areas of climate change, arts in K-12 education, watershed protection and clean water and sanitation in developing countries, plus a youth fund for 14-21 year olds.

Julia was the founding partner of The Giving Practice and worked in this philanthropic firm for six years. She served as Philanthropy Northwest’s first CEO from 1990 – 2002 and solidified Philanthropy Northwest’s leadership role in philanthropy in the region and within the Regional Association of Grantmakers movement nationwide.

Julia has worked with hundreds of trustees, donors and staff of private foundations, individual philanthropists, public and community foundations and corporate grantmakers. Her particular interest is in assisting philanthropists and foundation staff to make their philanthropy as rewarding, strategic and efficient as possible. Experience includes strategic planning, retreat design and facilitation, board governance issues, family communication, program development and design, grantmaking oversight, interim executive directorship, executive staff searches, benchmarking, research, training and coaching. She has experience with both start-ups and organizational management over time.

Before Philanthropy Northwest, she was interim executive director of the Municipal League of Seattle/King County. Julia was a principal architect of the Northwest Giving Project, founding president of the Washington Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and a founding Board member of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. She is a member of the Visiting Committee at Seattle University’s Executive Masters in Not-for-Profit Leadership program. She earned a BA from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Peter Lamb

Peter Lamb is an independent philanthropic advisor providing counsel and philanthropic solutions for family foundations, nonprofit organizations, individuals and their advisors who seek to organize charitable ideas, more strategically approach grantmaking and pursue family legacies.

Peter has served the non-profit field for over thirty-five years. He balances the art of philanthropic planning with the science of achieving effective results that improve community wellbeing while bringing deep meaning to a family’s philanthropic legacy. He is a trustee of several private foundations including his own 65 year old, currently fourth generation family foundation based in the mid-Hudson River Valley outside of New York City. He has served as a board member of numerous environmental, historic, arts and education organizations including the Maine Community Foundation, the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, the bi-country Gulf of Maine Council, and the Wentworth Economic Development Corporation.

Peter served the staff of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation from 1999-2010 where he was the Vice President of Philanthropy and the Foundation’s Senior Philanthropic Advisor. He was a member of the Estate Planning Council and the Council on Foundation’s AdNet Steering Committee, a frequent conference speaker and a founding member of the national “Excellence in Family Philanthropy: Community Foundations Working Group.”

Raised in metropolitan New York with ancient New England roots, Peter received his education in Community Development, Resource Economics and Forestry at the University of New Hampshire. He received that University’s “Profile of Service” and Marine Program Awards.

Peter balances his time learning crafts and folkways that help define the origins of community culture. He is an accomplished woodworker and metal smith and lives with his partner Faith Harrington at their home on Gerrish Island off Kittery Point, Maine.

Laurie Lang

Laurie Lang is the President of BrandCentrics. BrandCentrics is a consulting firm specializing in strategic brand development. Ms. Lang helps clients develop, articulate and implement effective brand strategies. She works with organizations, both in the for-profit and non-profit worlds, on brand visioning, positioning and brand integration, new product and program development and marketing communications. Ms. Lang has held corporate executive management positions at The Walt Disney Company including Executive Director of the Disney Learning Partnership. Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, she was a Vice President and Account Supervisor at DDB Needham Advertising. Ms. Lang received her M.B.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Washington University.

Susan Lewis Solomont

Susan Lewis Solomont works with a number of private, family, and corporate foundations. She works closely with Board members on all aspects of the foundation’s work including governance, trustee succession, next generation training, program design, program implementation and evaluation. Susan is also responsible for marketing TPI’s agenda to a broad audience nationwide and works with corporate giving programs and foundations to develop focused, thoughtful, and results oriented approaches to charitable giving and community relations. This includes shaping a philanthropy program and/or designing programs to meet client needs. Susan also has expertise in developing employee volunteer and matching gifts programs, defining corporate giving guidelines and objectives, and assisting companies in identifying appropriate philanthropies.

Prior to joining TPI, Susan worked as an independent consultant, advising a variety of companies on their corporate philanthropy. Before establishing this business, she was Director of National and Local Corporate Development for WGBH TV and Radio (1981-1996).

Susan is active as a trustee and overseer on many boards including the New England Aquarium (past Board Chair), the WGBH Educational Foundation, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, Newton Wellesley Hospital, The Citi Center for the Performing Arts, Temple Beth Elohim, and The Commonwealth Institute. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a Masters degree from Tufts University.

Neil Maniar

Dr. Neil Maniar is a Professor of Public Health Practice and the Director of the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. Dr. Maniar’s areas of teaching expertise include Urban Community Health Assessment, Health Education, Program Planning and Program Evaluation. Prior to this, he was the Vice President of Health Systems within the American Cancer Society’s New England Division, overseeing cancer control efforts in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. As the Division’s Health Systems leader, he led a team of 40 staff working within and across health care systems to increase utilization of cancer prevention strategies and cancer screening tests; to reduce barriers to care for cancer patients; to help patients navigate their cancer journey; and to engage health care organizations in fighting cancer through the Society’s advocacy and community initiatives. He also served on the Division’s Senior Leadership Team and on national leadership teams.

Prior to joining the ACS, he was the Director of Health Equity Programs in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Community Health and Health Equity. Dr. Maniar was also the founding director of the Massachusetts Youth Violence Prevention Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He created this program through a $200,000 CDC capacity-building grant in 2004 and directed its growth into a program with $3,500,000 in state funding by 2008. He also founded and co-chaired the Massachusetts Coalition for Youth Violence Prevention. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Eastern New England Region of the American Cancer Society, and UTEC. He is also a member of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s Community Impact Council.

Dr. Maniar received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2005 and his Masters of Public Health (MPH) with distinction from the Yale University School of Public Health in 1998. He also has a Bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College with a double major in English and Zoology.

Lisa Richter

Lisa Richter is co-founder and principal of GPS Capital Partners, a national consultancy that assists foundations and other institutions to execute impact investing strategy for social and environmental as well as financial return. The firm’s work spans asset classes, return expectations and issue areas, frequently incorporating place-based and sector focus to increase equitable access to opportunities,including health, healthy and sustainable community development and education. Clients range from family foundations to a number of the nation’s largest foundations, banks and other institutional investors.

GPS collaborates with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on an initiative to promote collaboration at the intersection of health and community development, and with The PRI Makers Network, More for Mission, and The Philanthropic Initiative to expand impact investing services for community, health, place-based and other issue-focused foundations and investors.

Lisa authored the Grantmakers In Health Guide to Impact Investing and co-authored Equity Advancing Equity, a guide to impact investing to advance racial and social equity agendas. She serves or has served as advisor to the Center for Community Development Investments of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Bank of America National Community Advisory Council, Wall Street Without Walls, the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative, New Frontiers in Philanthropy (a project of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies), vice-chair of the Community Development Financial Institutions Coalition, director of the Social Investment Forum, and steering committee member of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, and holds a BA and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mark Sidel

Mark Sidel has worked on issues of development, governance and accountability in international and domestic philanthropy for many years, initially as a program officer with the Ford Foundation, where he managed the Foundation’s law, governance and nonprofit programs in China, developed and directed Ford’s country program in Vietnam, and developed a regional program to help strengthen philanthropy and the voluntary sector in India and South Asia. He is currently Professor of Law, Faculty Scholar, and Lauridsen Research Fellow at the University of Iowa; President of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR); and consultant to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), where he manages a MacArthur Foundation-supported program to strengthen nonprofit law and policy in China.

Sidel has also advised a number of foundations, international nonprofits, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and others on civil society development, philanthropy and legal reform in Asia and beyond. He is author or editor of seven books, including Regulation of the Voluntary Sector: Freedom and Security in an Era of Uncertainty (Routledge, 2009); Philanthropy and Law in South Asia (APPC, 2004, 2007); and More Secure, Less Free? Anti-Terrorism Policy and Civil Liberties after September 11 (University of Michigan Press, 2004, 2007).

Sidel has served as visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, and other institutions. He is a board member at the Community Foundation of Johnson County (Iowa) and the Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB) and a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), foundations, and other institutions. He won the inaugural ICNL-Cordaid Civil Liberties Prize in 2008 for his work on counter-terrorism and the nonprofit sector.

Nancy Snyder

Nancy Snyder brings over thirty years of experience in designing and implementing creative workforce development strategies to serve adults, youth and businesses. Nancy’s consulting work includes program design, strategic planning, business development, research and facilitation.

Nancy served as the President & CEO of Commonwealth Corporation from 2007 until 2017. At Commonwealth Corporation, she managed an annual budget of $45 million in grantmaking and investments to strengthen the skills of current, unemployed, and emerging workers through innovative partnerships with industry, education, and workforce organizations. During her tenure at Commonwealth Corporation, over 7,000 adults participated in education and training services for in demand careers, over 30,000 teens and young adults participated in work experience and work readiness programs, and 966 businesses received grants to train 67,000 workers. She co-authored studies on closing the skills gap and the underlying causes of the decline in teen employment rates. She was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as interim Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development from November 2009 to January 2010.

Prior to joining Commonwealth Corporation, she served as the Deputy Director of the Boston Private Industry Council, launching a competitive model of labor exchange services, welfare to work partnerships, and sector partnerships to train incumbent workers in health care and financial services. She held a number of roles in Boston City government including Director of the Mayor’s Office of Jobs and Community Services and the Staff Director of the Mayor’s Office. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Boston University and a certificate from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Graduate School of Business. She serves as Treasurer of the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and chairs the Board of the Academy of the Pacific Rim.

John Urban

John possesses extensive public and private sector experience, including work creating philanthropic partnerships with regional, national, and global corporations, as well as work in aligning corporate giving and business strategies for one of the nation’s leading media and entertainment corporations.

In the past, John led Northeastern University’s office of foundation relations and corporate partnerships. In this capacity, John forged strategic philanthropic relationships with numerous financial services, technology, media, and manufacturing corporations. Previously, John served in several roles over a period of ten years for New York-based Cablevision Systems Corporation where he was a regional vice president for public affairs and local programming and corporate vice president for government affairs with responsibility for federal, state, and local government affairs for the company’s cable TV operations. John’s public sector experience includes work as the state cable television commissioner under Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld. In addition, Urban later oversaw the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment. In addition, early in his career, John was a tenure-track assistant professor of Telecommunications at the State University of New York – Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome. John holds a BA from American International College and an MPA in telecommunications from George Washington University.

Rachel Weinstein

Rachel Weinstein specializes in supporting multi-stakeholder efforts. Her projects focus on improving outcomes for historically underserved populations. Rachel’s clients have included leaders of the compact between district, charter and Catholic schools in Boston; four public health departments collaborating to share services; numerous philanthropic initiatives; and a cross-sector network focused on strengthening science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Prior to consulting, Rachel worked for elected officials, public schools and non-profits in the California Bay Area, helping each better collaborate with and serve their constituents. In her role directing the Senate President’s Oakland office, she led a team that served 846,791 residents across 11 cities and 148 square miles, served as the bridge between the Senator’s policy staff in the Capitol and District staff, and functioned as the Senator’s chief representative in his district. Rachel’s experiences partnering with communities, organizations and public agencies inspire and inform her consulting work. Rachel graduated from Brown University, where she majored in American Civilization with a focus on Urban Education.

Amy Zell Ellsworth

Amy Zell Ellsworth served as a Senior Philanthropic Advisor at TPI for over ten years where she worked on projects ranging from strategic planning and meeting facilitation for foundations to program research, curriculum development and delivery of donor educational programs. She has worked closely with community foundations on family philanthropy issues through TPI’s initiative Excellence in Family Philanthropy and has authored works on philanthropic planning for TPI and its clients. Additional service to the field includes planning and committee work for the Council on Foundations, Association of Small Foundations and Grantmakers in the Arts.

Amy brings to TPI her experience as the president of a family foundation, along with training in facilitation and workshop development and delivery. She comes from the non-profit field where she founded a school and company in the performing arts. She continues to contribute through board work for arts organizations in Boston.