Celebrating Leading Women in Philanthropy

Women’s history is part of Cleveland Foundation history. Forward-thinking female philanthropists made some of the earliest gifts to the foundation, and today, women make up 46% of our Board of Directors. From generous donors to bold executives to inspiring community leaders, we’re celebrating women who helped build the Cleveland Foundation and those who continue to shape the world’s first community foundation today. We’re grateful every day for the contributions of women past and present, and we take great pride in honoring their impact this Women’s History Month.

Image of female avatarDonor

Katherine Bohm emigrated from Germany when she was 16 years old and worked as a laundress in the homes of some of Cleveland’s most prominent industrialists. Her hard work and wise approach to investing earned her a nest egg of $10,000, which she left to the Cleveland Foundation after her passing in 1941—an amount that would be worth more than $150,000 today.

Monica BrownExecutive

Monica Brown, Cleveland Foundation vice president of human resources and building operations, is a highly regarded and recognized human resources professional and business leader, who joined the foundation in January 2007. 


Carrie CarpenterBoard Member

Carrie Carpenter serves as vice chair of the foundation’s Board of Directors and is senior vice president, regional manager of Corporate Affairs for Huntington National Bank, where she directs community engagement strategies for the Cleveland region.


Margot James CopelandBoard Member

Margot James Copeland serves on the foundation’s board. She is the former chair and CEO of KeyBank Foundation and also served as KeyBank’s first chief diversity officer.

Kathleen FerryBoard Member

Kathleen Ferry brings more than 30 years of corporate finance and business operations experience to the board of the Cleveland Foundation.

Frances Southworth GoffDonor

Frances Southworth Goff helped found the Federation for Charity and Philanthropy in 1913. In 1923, she was appointed to the Cleveland Foundation board where she served for nearly two decades, helping direct grantmaking activities and personally interviewing hundreds of scholarship applicants.

Rev Dr. Robin HedgemanBoard Member

Rev. Dr. Robin Hedgeman has served as the senior pastor at Bethany Christian Church since 1997 and currently serves on the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors.

Connie Hill-Johnson 2022 PortraitBoard Member

Constance Hill-Johnson is the first African American woman appointed chairperson of the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors. She is the owner and managing director of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services and her professional background includes over 10 years of senior health care management experience in a variety of health care settings.

Arlene HoldenDonor

Arlene Holden was a Lake County philanthropist who provided much needed support to education, science and technology, the arts, and enclaves of natural beauty across Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties through the Arthur and Arlene Holden Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, which she established alongside her husband in 1995.

Carey JarosBoard Member

Carey Jaros, president and CEO of GOJO Industries, is a global consumer and industrial products executive and Cleveland Foundation board member.


Colette Jones, chief marketing officer, brings 25 years of marketing experience to the Cleveland Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she led marketing and communications efforts at Destination Cleveland, including the 2014 launch of the Cleveland visitor brand.


Lillian Kuri credit Angelo MerendinoExecutive

Lillian Kuri, executive vice president and chief operating officer, is leading the development of the Cleveland Foundation’s new strategic plan and the design execution, operations and community planning for the foundation’s move to MidTown.


A. Grace Lee Mims


A. Grace Lee Mims was an educator, musician, well-known radio host and advocate for Black culture. She established a vocal scholarship at the Cleveland Foundation to promote the performance and preservation of Black spirituals.


Ginger MlakarExecutive

Ginger Mlakar, general counsel and vice president of advancement, manages the foundation’s legal affairs. Additionally, she oversees the teams that work with current donors, individuals, business owners, and their professional advisors to identify their charitable objectives and implement strategies to accomplish their philanthropic goals. 



Leta Obertacz, senior vice president of advancement, brings almost 20 years of fundraising experience to the Cleveland Foundation, most recently serving as director of advancement for the Cleveland Zoo Society, where she led numerous highly successful fundraising campaigns.



Rosanne Potter, senior vice president and chief financial officer, manages the finance function for the Cleveland Foundation and its $3 billion endowment. She co-leads the foundation’s new headquarters construction project, manages a $20M budget and co-leads the social impact investing program.


Barbara Haas RawsonExecutive

Barbara Haas Rawson, served as interim CEO of the Cleveland Foundation from 1973-1974, where she was the first woman in the country to hold the top executive position at a community foundation. Rawson was a staunch advocate for community-based philanthropy and her leadership was instrumental in the foundation’s efforts to save the Playhouse Square district.


Mary Coit Sanford helped create the Women’s City Club in 1916 and later chaired the Cleveland branch of the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, a volunteer organization that sought to address local shortages of housing, fuel and food during World War I. In January 1914, she signed her last will and testament, which included the foundation’s first bequest. After her death in 1926, her gift established five funds at the foundation.

Belle SherwinDonor

Belle Sherwin served on the foundation’s board from 1917 until 1924. She and her sister Prudence added substantially to the foundation’s pool of unrestricted monies with testamentary gifts (worth $6.5 million at the time of Belle’s death in 1955) that created the Henry A. Sherwin and Frances M. Sherwin Memorial Fund at the foundation in honor of her parents.

Maria SpanglerBoard Member

Maria Spangler serves on the foundation’s board and is the director of community engagement for the Sherwin-Williams Company, a 154-year-old firm founded in and committed to Northeast Ohio.



Megan Wilson, chief of staff and director of public policy and government relations, brings a wealth of experience in public administration and operations to the Cleveland Foundation, where she leads policy and advocacy efforts.


Edith Anisfield WolfDonor

Edith Anisfield Wolf was a published poet and civic activist. She established the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in 1935 to honor works that confront racism and celebrate diversity.