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Ronald B. RichardExecutive Office
President and Chief Executive Officer
Executive Assistant: Kimberly Sabo 216.685.2001
Ronn Richard is president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Richard has held a variety of senior management positions in government, the private sector and the nonprofit sector.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2003, Mr. Richard was managing director and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital fund. In this role, he worked to ensure the prompt and effective delivery of new technologies to the U.S. intelligence community.
Before joining In-Q-Tel, Mr. Richard spent 13 years at Panasonic in key management positions, including president of the company’s North American research and development operations; president of Panasonic Home & Commercial Products Company, a major sales and marketing division of Panasonic USA; president of Panasonic Strategic Ventures Company, in charge of mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances; vice president for planning, technology, and public affairs, which included heading up Panasonic's corporate philanthropy; and vice president for internet business development.
From 1983 to 1988, Mr. Richard was a career U.S. Foreign Service officer, serving at the American consulate general in Osaka/Kobe, Japan, and as a desk officer for North Korean, Greek and Turkish affairs, respectively, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. He also was a Pearson Program fellow in San Francisco, where he researched and reported on U.S.-East Asian and U.S.-Latin American trade, investment flows and technology transfers.
Mr. Richard began his career as director of the national public affairs program service at the nonprofit Japan Society in New York City.
Mr. Richard has served on the board of trustees of Spelman College and the board of advisers of the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He was a visiting professor for international business at Bennett College in North Carolina during the spring 2003 semester. For many years, he served as chairman and then as a member of the board of trustees of the International Biomedical Research Alliance (an academic joint venture between NIH-Oxford and Cambridge universities). In 2012, he was a scholar in residence at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service Center on Community Philanthropy.
Currently, Mr. Richard serves on the board of directors of Global Cleveland, NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology, Hispanics in Philanthropy and the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine. He is board chair of Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation and the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation. He is lead director of the board of directors of Emergent Biosolutions, a public biopharmaceutical company.
Mr. Richard is a former member of the board of the Council on Foundations. From January 2009 to November 2010, he served then-Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration as the appointed, volunteer infrastructure czar, overseeing the expenditure of federal stimulus funds in the state. He currently serves on the Jobs Ohio oversight board.
Mr. Richard holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a bachelor’s degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, and honorary doctorates from Notre Dame College and Baldwin Wallace University. He is a recipient of the African-American President’s Council Champion Award for his work in inclusive economic development. In 2007, he received Wheaton College’s Otis Award for Social Justice (previous recipients include Sen. Edward Kennedy, Gloria Steinem and Marian Wright Edelman). Mr. Richard was inducted into Hiram College’s Garfield Society, the college’s highest honor, and received Entrepreneurs for Sustainability’s 2007 Champion of Sustainability award. In 2014, Mr. Richard received Case Western Reserve University’s President’s Award for Visionary Achievement. Mr. Richard is the recipient of the Council on Foundations' 2017 Distinguished Service Award.
Mr. Richard is married to Bess Rodriguez, an artist, and has two children, Susanna and Nicholas.
India Pierce LeeGrantmaking
Senior Vice President, Program
Executive Assistant: Annabel Bryan 216.615.7177
India Pierce Lee is Senior Vice President, Program at the Cleveland Foundation. She leads the foundation’s grantmaking team, working with the board, staff, and community leaders to define Greater Cleveland’s critical needs and leverage resources to help meet them. Pierce Lee joined the foundation in 2006 as Program Director for Neighborhoods, Housing and Community Development. She worked with Cleveland’s community development corporations and neighborhood intermediary organizations, and oversaw the Greater University Circle Initiative, a multi-institutional neighborhood revitalization partnership, including Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and the City of Cleveland.
Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, Pierce Lee served as Senior Vice President of Programs at Neighborhood Progress Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Science in management from Cleveland’s Dyke College and is a graduate of the Louis Stokes Fellowship in Community Development from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, where she obtained a Master of Science in social administration.
In 2009, Pierce Lee completed the prestigious Loeb Fellowship from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where she studied neighborhood revitalization, with a special interest in sustainability. She completed a Master of Art in Psychology specializing in Diversity Management at Cleveland State University in May 2017.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Executive Assistant: Pamela Jaffe 216.615.7183
In her current role as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Rosanne Potter manages the finance function for the Cleveland Foundation and its $2.5 billion endowment. Prior to joining the foundation in April 2016, she was responsible for managing $10 billion of global retirement assets for Eaton Corporation in Cleveland. She also held the position of treasurer for five major companies including the Lubrizol Corporation, RTI International Metals, Inc., and Dexter Corporation.
Ms. Potter received her Master of Business Administration in Finance from Loyola University Chicago and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and French from Boston College, graduating cum laude. During her undergraduate studies, Ms. Potter attended the London School of Economics where she studied international business and economics.
Serving charities has been important to Ms. Potter and she is currently on the board of Walsh Jesuit High School. She is a former board member and founding chairperson for the Cleveland American Heart Association’s Circle of Red and the Vision and Steering Committee for Go Red Goes STEM Cleveland. She is also a former board member with the Northeast Ohio Make a Wish Foundation, Adoption Network Cleveland and In Counsel with Women.
Ms. Potter was a Crain’s Cleveland Business 2015 Women of Note Recipient and an Athena Finalist in 2004 for Inside Business Magazine. She resides in Twinsburg, Ohio, with her husband and children.
Senior Vice President of Advancement
Executive Assistant: Donna Johnson 216.615.7168
As Senior Vice President of Advancement, Kaye Ridolfi has direct responsibility for all of the foundation’s fundraising activities. As such, she leads the 18-member Advancement staff, with backgrounds in estate law, banking, wealth management, accounting, and nonprofit leadership. This team of seasoned professionals works in charitable gift planning, donor relations, and donor communications, to bring new donors into the foundation and then steward these donors on an ongoing basis as they strive to achieve their philanthropic goals. Kaye is a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s Executive Committee and oversees the Advancement Committee of the foundation’s board of directors.
An experienced development professional, Kaye joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2011. Prior to that, she spent two decades in the field, primarily in the academic sector. Her previous positions include five years at Case Western Reserve University, where she served as associate vice president of institutional development and director of the $1 billion capital campaign. She joined CWRU after six years at The Ohio State University, initially as director of the campaign to renovate the main library and then as assistant vice president for major gifts, which included eight regional major gift offices on the east coast, west coast, and southeastern U.S. Previous positions were with Ohio Wesleyan University, initially as director of its annual fund and ultimately as director of alumni development, and the American Lung Association of Ohio in 1990, initially as the organization’s first director of planned giving and later as vice president.
After moving to Cleveland in 2005, Kaye planted deep roots in her new hometown. She has served on the boards of several area organizations, including the City Club of Cleveland, the Cleveland Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and on the Union Club of Cleveland’s Membership Committee and Engaging Women Committee. She is a graduate of the FBI’s Citizens Academy and is a member of the Citizens Academy Foundation. Kaye is a frequent speaker on capital campaigns, board development, and nonprofit leadership.
Kaye graduated magna cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She later earned a master’s degree in public policy and management from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Policy.
Monica BrownHuman Resources
Vice President, Human Resources & Administration
Human Resources Coordinator: Wenzhu Sun 216.615.7139
Monica Brown is a highly regarded and recognized human resources professional and business leader that has been with the foundation since January 2007. In her current role as Vice President for Human Resources & Administration, Monica is a valued member of the leadership team, responsible for the ongoing, organization-wide development of human capital strategies that align with the foundation’s mission, values and strategic objectives, promoting a culture that ensures the foundation’s ability to attract, engage and retain the most talented employees.
Monica also oversees the foundation’s Administrative Services team, ensuring that programs focused on internal service, employee safety/security and business continuity are employee-focused, comprehensive and continually evaluated for effectiveness. Prior to her role at the foundation, she was the human resources leader for the Western Reserve Historical Society.
Monica earned a bachelor of science from Kent State University and a master’s degree in labor relations and human resources management from Cleveland State University. She is certified as a senior human resources professional by both the HR Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). In addition, Monica was awarded the distinction of Business Leader in both the 2012 and 2016 HR Awards, sponsored and presented by the Employers Resource Council (ERC) and the Cleveland Chapter of SHRM.
Being actively involved in the community is equally as important as her role within the foundation. In 2013, Monica founded the Collaboration for Nonprofit HR Professionals. This important initiative, supported by the Cleveland Foundation, Thompson Hine, LLC, Oswald Companies and ERC, provides educational and networking opportunities for nonprofit HR professionals that focus on building the capacity of the human resources function across Northeast Ohio nonprofits. Monica also serves as a board member and chair of the Allocation Committee of the board of directors for Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation.
Lillian A. KuriGrantmaking
Senior Vice President for Strategy
Executive Assistant: Mary Clare Donnelly 216.685.4000
Lillian joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2005 as a consultant to develop a comprehensive strategy for one of the Foundation’s priority strategic initiatives: the revitalization of the Greater University Circle area – now one of the nation’s leading comprehensive anchor institution development strategies. This placed-based initiative places equity and sustainability at its core through the integration of cross-cutting issues such as transportation, mixed-use development, housing incentives, education, sustainability, community health, and economic inclusion. Lillian also leads the foundation’s program related investments and recoverable grants which are part of the Foundation’s $150 Million commitment to Social Impact Investing.
In 2015, Lillian took over the Foundation’s Arts, Culture and Placemaking Initiatives. She manages the Foundation’s International Residency program - Creative Fusion - which has brought more than 70 foreign artists to Cleveland since 2008. Each year, approximately a dozen accomplished or rapidly rising artists from underrepresented cultures spend three months in Cleveland. In recent years, Creative Fusion welcomed artists from Armenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Chile, Iran, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Brazil, Senegal, Egypt, Pakistan, and South Africa from a variety of art forms, including painting, multimedia installations, print-making, sculpture, ballet, experimental dance, and photography.
Lillian also develops and implements the Foundation’s new Arts Mastery Initiative, bringing year-round, rigorous, mastery-based programs in theater, music and visual arts to over 3,000 underserved children each year.
Lillian has more than 20 years of experience as a civic leader. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Cleveland Public Art and held positions as the project manager for the City of Cleveland’s Citywide Plan under Mayor Michael R. White as well as project coordinator for the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. As the Executive Director of Cleveland Public Art from 2000-2004, she was responsible for the implementation of over $4 million in projects over her 4-year tenure.
Lillian is a licensed architect in Ohio and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited professional. She holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree from Harvard University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Kent State University. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Cleveland’s Planning Commission.
Ginger F. MlakarAdvancement
General Counsel & Senior Director, Donor Relations
Donor Relations Coordinator: Brittany Schultz 216.685.2004
As General Counsel, Ginger Mlakar serves as in-house legal counsel. As Senior Director, Donor Relations, she oversees the Cleveland Foundation’s donor stewardship program. In this role, she connects donors to their charitable interests. Additionally, she serves as in-house legal counsel on charitable gifting and estate administration issues, and facilitates the acceptance of complex charitable gifts. She came to the Cleveland Foundation in July 2009 after 16 years practicing law in the area of estate and charitable gift planning and administration. Her previous positions include partner in the personal succession and planning practice group at Thompson Hine LLP and of counsel in the estate planning and probate practice group at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. She is also a certified public accountant.
Ginger has served on the boards of several area organizations, including the Girl Scouts of Lake Erie Council, the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, the Bay Village Education Foundation, the Bay Village Foundation, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Leadership Center, and as treasurer for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation, and Bay Soccer Club. She was the president for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. She is currently on the board for the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and is an AEP® Accredited Estate Planner. She has been a member of advisory groups for University Hospitals, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Case Western Reserve University. Additionally, she is an active fellow of the American College of Estate and Trust Council, and an Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Council member for the Ohio State Bar Association. Ginger is a frequent speaker on legal and tax issues surrounding charitable giving.
Ginger has been named among the Best Lawyers in America and the Top 50 Female Ohio Super Lawyers List by Law and Politics magazine. She was a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2014. Ginger has received the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's Women in Law Making a Difference and President's Awards, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation's Outstanding Leadership Award, and the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland’s 2019 Distinguished Estate Planner Award. She graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and earned her juris doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Michael D. MurphyMarketing & Communications
Chief Marketing Officer
Marketing & Communications Coordinator: Melissa Huber 216.615.7140
Michael D. Murphy serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at the Cleveland Foundation, providing strategic oversight for the organization’s communications and outreach initiatives. Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation in 2013, Michael served as a managing director in the corporate/financial practice at the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, where he served as a senior counselor for Fortune 100 corporate and financial clients, driving strategy development and issues management, message creation, spokesperson and presentation training, and public affairs engagements. In this role, Michael launched CSR/thought leadership platforms for global clients in various sectors, including concept development, partnership procurement (including USA TODAY and the Financial Times), plan design and implementation and media execution. Michael's leadership on Telefonica's millennial campaign with the Financial Times earned recognition as one of the World's 50 Best PR Campaigns and a Gold SABRE award by The Holmes Group.
Prior to his time at B-M, Michael was a senior vice president and partner at the international integrated communications firm Fleishman-Hillard, implementing reputational campaigns and establishing coalition and community partnerships targeting consumer, public health and HCP stakeholders on behalf of clients at the national and grassroots levels. As part of the senior team in both the Cleveland and New York office, Michael managed the agency’s global FH Out Front practice group, focused on developing engagement strategies for corporations seeking to interact with growing influence of the LGBT segment. During his tenure at Fleishman,Michael helped the cities of Cleveland + Akron land the 2014 Gay Games as the lead on the marketing and communications strategy that secured the winning bid against Boston and D.C.
An Ohio native, Michael began his career at Ketchum Public Relations in New York and Washington, D.C., where he worked in the corporate and social marketing practices, managing external and internal communications campaigns on behalf of multiple clients. Michael served as the day-to-day client counselor on the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Part D launch public awareness programs, including the coordination, involvement, and on-site support of HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and CMS Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan. He coordinated community relations, partnership procurement, and event logistics for the HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking public awareness program and provided on-site counsel during the 2003 corporate reputation crisis of the New York Stock Exchange and subsequent leadership change of the Board and senior staff.
Named one of Crain's Cleveland Business "40 under 40" in 2014, Michael is a graduate of Ohio University and is happy to be back in Cleveland.
Leon WilsonInformation Systems
Chief of Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer
Leon Wilson joined the foundation in October 2015 as the Chief of Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer in a dual role capacity. In this dual role, Leon is part of the executive committee and leads the foundation’s Information & Technology Services department, focusing on strategic and transformational use of technology and data within the foundation. Additionally, as the Chief of Digital Innovation, Leon oversees the foundation’s Digital Excellence grant-making strategy geared toward “building a stronger, more equitable and inclusive digital community,” which includes elevating Greater Cleveland’s position as a major regional smart community and technology innovation hub.
Leon brings more than 25 years of senior-level technology experience to the foundation and our community. Previously, Leon served as the Senior Director of Technology & Data Engagement for the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), advising executive staff, board and advisory committee members and nonprofit and philanthropic leaders across the State of Michigan on technology strategic planning initiatives and investments that would positively impact support, delivery and expansion of the nonprofits’ respective social missions. He is a 2015 Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Lifetime Achievement Awardee and board member for the Council of Foundation’s Technology Affinity Group, as well as other national and local nonprofit technology-oriented organizations.
Prior to his work at MNA, Leon held numerous internal staff and consulting IT leadership positions with large companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Minnesota, Federal-Mogul Corporation, Chrysler, RR Donnelly, Deluxe Checks, General Mills and the IRS.
Leon holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Michigan State University, an M.S. in Software Engineering from University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and PhD graduate work in Computer Science from Wayne State University. He is a frequent speaker at many nonprofit conferences and a recent adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan, teaching information technology in the schools of business and public administration. He is a graduate of Leadership Detroit 2015 and also had a distinguished military career with the U.S. Army Reserve, where he was a commissioned Signal officer, earning multiple badges, medals and commendations, along with completing airborne paratrooper and air-assault training.
Megan WilsonExecutive Office
Chief of Staff
Megan Wilson rejoined the foundation as chief of staff in April 2018 after working in operations with BioMotiv, the mission-driven company associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a national initiative centered at University Hospitals in Cleveland. While at BioMotiv, Megan’s core work was with the Technical Operations team, leveraging technologies and process to create more efficient workflows for the team. Megan also led the marketing and communication efforts for BioMotiv and its portfolio companies.
Prior to joining BioMotiv, Megan worked with the foundation on the donor relations team. She served as a donor relations assistant providing support to the director of donor relations and the donor relations officers. Megan assisted with donor events, responsive donor services and several of the foundation’s supporting organizations.
Megan serves the Cleveland community through various volunteer capacities related to social services and human trafficking. In her graduate coursework, she focused her studies on the relationship between city, state and federal governments as they address the issue of human trafficking. Megan previously served Cleveland’s art community in various capacities with the Cleveland Museum of Art, SPACES gallery, Art House, Inc. and Rachel Davis Fine Arts.
Megan received her master’s degree in public administration from Cleveland State University and her bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University, with a focus on business administration and art history.
Tammi Amata has shared responsibility over the daily accounting processes of the Finance department. In addition to the day-to-day operations, she manages the month-end closing process, financial statement reporting to donors and supporting organizations, and various other special projects. She also provides guidance and oversight to the fund accounting staff.
Tammi joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2009 as the accounting manager and has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and auditing. Before coming to the foundation, she spent 12 years as an auditor for Ernst & Young in Cleveland with such nonprofit and manufacturing clients as the Cleveland Foundation, RPM International Inc., and American Greetings Corp.
Tammi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with majors in accounting and finance, from Ashland University and a master’s degree in business administration from Case Western Reserve University. She is also a certified public accountant.
Dale Robinson AnglinGrantmaking
Program Director, Youth, Health & Human Services
Administrative Assistant: Kirby Suntala 216.685.2017
Dale Robinson Anglin joined the foundation in May 2017 as a consultant, and was hired in October 2017 as Program Director for Youth and Social Services. For the past 11 years, she was Associate Director for Programs at the Victoria Foundation in Newark, NJ, where she was responsible for successful programming in higher education, STEM/STEAM, K-12 education, summer youth employment and leadership efforts.
Prior to her role at the Victoria Foundation, Dale served as Director of Resource Development for New Community Corporation in Newark, as the Executive Director of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and was a social analyst for the Congressional Research Service, both in Washington D.C.
Dale earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in government and African American Studies from Smith College, and a master’s degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as an Alfred P. Sloan/Association for Public Policy and Management Fellow.
Dale served on the Community Foundation of New Jersey board for nine years, the state’s largest community foundation, and she currently serves on the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation board. She is originally from Chicago, IL and is excited about living back in the Midwest.
Alan AshbyMarketing & Communications
Media Relations Officer
Alan Ashby joined the Cleveland Foundation in April 2017 and is primarily focused on increasing awareness about the foundation’s innovative work and impact in Cleveland with the organization’s donors and grantee partners through various media channels at the local, regional and national levels.
Alan has more than 20 years of marketing and media relations experience. Most recently, he served as an account supervisor at WhiteSpace Creative, where he managed the strategic marketing initiatives for a diverse portfolio of nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Prior to WhiteSpace, Alan spent nearly five years at Kent State University as Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, overseeing the athletic department’s media relations strategy, and eight years at Cleveland State University, where he was responsible for a number of athletic media relations initiatives.
Alan earned his bachelor of arts in history from the University of Virginia and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Program Manager for Arts & Culture
Courtenay A. Barton joined the foundation in September 2017 as a National Urban Fellow and was hired in September 2018 as Program Manager for Arts & Culture. Courtenay has more than 12 years’ experience in nonprofit management in media, arts, and education. Prior to joining the foundation, Courtenay was the Associate Director of Stewardship at the Brooklyn College Foundation. She also had roles at New York City’s public television station Thirteen/WNET and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Courtenay earned a bachelor of arts degree in English, Creative Writing, and African American Studies from Columbia University. She also received a master of public administration degree from Bernard M. Baruch College, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Her Master’s thesis, “A Foundation for Equity: Philanthropic Strategies to End Racial Inequity in Cleveland” won a Philip J. Rutledge Award for Outstanding Academic Capstone Achievement.
Karen Bartrum JansenGrantmaking
Karen Bartrum Jansen joined the Cleveland Foundation more than 10 years ago. She currently works in Grants Management, helping donors and grantees through the foundation’s systems and processes. Prior to joining the foundation, Karen worked in various sales and office management roles for a metal broker, a small computer company, and an international plastics manufacturer.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business with a minor in computer information systems from Ohio State University.
Program Director, Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement
Administrative Assistant: Ciba Jones 216.615.7184
Nelson is the Program Director for Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement. He rejoined the foundation in January 2018 after spending four years at Saint Luke’s Foundation, where he served as Senior Program Officer for a Strong Neighborhood. In that role, Nelson oversaw their Strong Neighborhood program, with the goal of making enhancements to the built environment and improving social conditions in the Buckeye-Shaker, Mt. Pleasant and Woodland Hills neighborhoods. Before that, Nelson served as Program Officer for the Cleveland Foundation’s Responsive Grantmaking, focusing on community development, environmental sustainability and program management of the Summer Internship program.
Nelson has also worked for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, University Hospitals Health System, Cole Managed Vision, and the American Red Cross. Nelson also served with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Cleveland State University. Nelson and his wife are empty nesters and live in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland.
Donor Relations Officer
As a Donor Relations Officer, Michelle Blackford focuses primarily on fostering and strengthening relationships with individuals, families, organizations and corporations who seek to fulfill their charitable giving goals.
Michelle joined the Advancement Team in September 2009, bringing with her more than 10 years of development experience. Prior to joining the foundation, Michelle served as the assistant director for the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, where she played a significant role in advancing the fundraising efforts of the college. Serving in this role, Michelle was responsible for overseeing homecoming and alumni reunion activities, senior class giving initiatives and the alumni student council.
Michelle has served in many volunteer leadership roles, including: co-chair for the PA 50 Best Women in Leadership Award, committee member of the capital campaign for Harrisburg Church and Centennial Planning Committee for Messiah College. She has also served as a committee member for the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio Dessert First Event and as a volunteer for the North Chagrin Reservation for Cleveland Metroparks. Michelle is currently on the Executive Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Michelle is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and a certified trainer in Family Philanthropy through 21/64. She earned her Graduate Certificate in Philanthropic Studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Eastern University in St. David’s, Pennsylvania. Michelle enjoys living in the Edgecliff Neighborhood in Euclid, Ohio with her husband Randy.
Program Officer, Education
Katie Brennan joined the Foundation in 2016 as 2016-2017 Public Service Fellow, during which time she staffed the Cleveland Community Police Commission and assisted on projects within the Foundation. She now serves as a Program Officer with projects focusing on education and youth-related issues.
Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame—where she was a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar—with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and minors in Irish Studies and Irish Language & Literature. She received a Master’s with Distinction in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Her MA thesis focused on police reform in Cleveland and what could be learned from Northern Ireland’s reform process.
Katie also serves as a teacher in the St. Ignatius/Walsh Jesuit Irish Studies Program and has worked at length with the Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership. Previously she has also served as a research assistant on the Northern Ireland Project at the University of Notre Dame, a 1916 Easter Rising Project at Notre Dame, and with the Cleveland Irish American Archives Society. She also served as an intern on a PBS/BBC documentary about the Irish 1916 Easter Rising.
Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President
Annabel Bryan joined the foundation in 2004 as a program assistant and supported board-directed and special initiatives for two program directors in Arts and Urban Design and Community Development. She now serves as executive assistant to the Senior Vice President of Program. In this capacity, she provides project and meeting management support to internal and external partners including Board members and senior management. Annabel also coordinates the local nomination and selection process for the American Marshall Memorial Fellows program in partnership with the German Marshall Fund in DC. Her previous experience includes working as an executive assistant at Hyatt Legal Plans and as a research assistant at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Annabel received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Boston University. She currently volunteers in Cleveland schools.
Program Officer, Workforce & Social Investments
Stephen Caviness joined The Cleveland Foundation in 2015 as a Program Officer on the Community Responsive Team. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stephen served six years as a Congressional Staffer in Ohio’s Eleventh Congressional District Office. In that capacity, Stephen met community needs by representing constituents’ ideas, resolving their concerns with all levels of government, and facilitating conversations with local organizations that fostered positive change in the community.
Stephen brings a wealth of knowledge to the foundation around navigating complex government systems and an understanding of how public policy influences a nonprofit’s ability to serve its clients.
Outside of work, Stephen enjoys finding ways to connect with and give back to the local community through volunteerism and service. Over the years, Stephen has actively served the Greater Abyssinia Federal Credit Union and the Cleveland Animal Protective League as a foster care volunteer. Stephen earned a bachelor's degree in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University and went on to earn his Master of Business Administration in Systems Management from Baldwin Wallace University.
Judith joined the foundation in 2007 as a member of the Finance team. Prior to that, she spent more than 20 years in the public utility and governmental sectors specializing in financial reporting and auditing.
Judith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, majoring in accounting, from John Carroll University. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of CPAs.
Donor Relations Officer
Brenda Cummins joined the foundation in 2015 and works with donors and organizations to help them plan and achieve their philanthropic objectives.
Brenda brings senior level development experience from her previous role as director of Foundation Administration and Community Engagement at Summa Health System. In her role, she advanced Summa’s priorities through philanthropy and connected the greater community to the work of the organization. Prior work includes her position as a development officer at the Akron Civic Theatre, where she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising for the 1920’s atmospheric theatre.
Through her first career path as an Audiologist and her community volunteer work in social services, healthcare and the arts, her strength is connecting people to organizations that make an impact in the lives of our greater community.
Brenda serves on the boards of several non-profits, including Greenleaf Family Center, 91.3 The Summit - WAPS, and Summit ArtSpace. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron, Class 2007. She serves on the American Heart Association Go Red for Women committee, and has volunteered with the Summa Medical Team for the Akron Marathon. She holds a master’s degree in Audiology from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing from Bowling Green State University.
Luke Denton joined the Cleveland Foundation in May 2019 as a member of the Finance team. In his role as an accountant, Luke supports the controller and assistant controller with the month-end closing process, financial statement preparation and various other areas. He brings 12 years of nonprofit accounting experience with a focus on financial reporting and budgeting. In his previous position, he remotely managed the accounting records for numerous churches and religious nonprofits across the country. Luke also serves as a board member and secretary of his family’s private foundation.
Luke holds a Master of Science in accounting from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a Bachelor of Arts in finance from Anderson University (Indiana).
Vince DiNunzioInformation Systems
Technology Support Analyst
Vince DiNunzio began working at The Cleveland Foundation as a consultant in 2014 for a year and then joined the foundation staff in 2016. He provides a high level of desktop support to foundation staff while also helping to drive helpdesk management and training initiatives that are a part of the overall IT strategy.
At his previous job, he supported a large portfolio of clients while assisting with the management of the ticketing system and the company Wiki. He also helped with the onboarding of new clients and various other tasks.
Vince graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Information Systems.
Senior Project Director, Cleveland Purpose Built Communities
Administrative Assistant: Sarah King 216.615.7155
Kimalon Dixon brings extensive experience in public and community service to the Cleveland Foundation. Kimalon served as Program Officer of Health at the Cleveland Foundation from October 2013 until May 2018. She is now Senior Project Director, Cleveland Purpose Built Communities – a joint initiative of the Saint Luke’s Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation. Cleveland Purpose Built Communities is a holistic neighborhood revitalization initiative with a goal of transforming areas within the Buckeye/Woodhill and Glenville neighborhoods. The initiative is modeled after the successful Purpose Built Communities’ model that originated in a community outside of Atlanta, GA approximately 20 years ago. The model is built upon multi-sector collaboration of three strategic focus areas - education; mixed income housing; and community health & wellness.
Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, Kimalon was Project Director at the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) where she managed a multi-sector collaborative that focused on the elimination of childhood lead poisoning and pursuit of healthy homes in Greater Cleveland. Kimalon earned her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from The Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management & Labor Relations from Cleveland State University. She has been recognized by the City of Cleveland and State of Ohio with awards for her impactful work at CDPH and was honored by Who’s Who in Black Cleveland in 2012. Kimalon is a graduate of the Cleveland Management Academy. She was selected by Grantmakers In Health’s Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders in Health Philanthropy Fellow in 2016. Kimalon was recently selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, Cohort 3.
Mary Clare DonnellyGrantmaking
Executive Assistant/Program Assistant Coordinator
Mary Clare Donnelly joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2004 as a program assistant and now serves as the executive assistant to the vice president, strategic grantmaking, arts & urban design initiatives. She provides advanced administrative support, and included among her duties are coordination and communication with senior management and board members, extensive calendar maintenance, management of various in-house processes, and collaborative work across all departments.
Her prior experience includes various executive administrative positions at IMG, a global sports, fashion, and media business, and in the legal department at Key Bank.
Leslie A. DunfordAdministration
Vice President for Administration and Strategic Projects
Leslie Dunford manages the foundation's facilities, office services, and risk-management programs, and serves as the executive director of Suite 1300 Services, Inc., an affiliate of the Cleveland Foundation that provides support services to the foundation’s resident-led, community-building program.
From 1997 through 2014, Leslie also served as the foundation's corporate secretary and liaison to its board of directors and legal counsel, advising on matters of regulatory compliance and governance.
A graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders and Leadership Cleveland, Leslie serves on the boards of Philanthropy Ohio and Vocational Guidance Services. She is a former trustee of the Cleveland Leadership Center. Leslie is an honorary life trustee of Youth Opportunities Unlimited and a past recipient of the YWCA’s Women of Professional Excellence award. From 2005 through 2011, Leslie served as a standards reviewer for the Community Foundations National Standards Board. She has a Certificate for Non-Profit Board Consulting from BoardSource.
Leslie earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Gannon University in Pennsylvania.
Senior Director, Gift Planning
Administrative Assistant: Linda Gersten 216.615.7143
Terri Bradford Eason manages the foundation’s Gift Planning Program as a member of the Advancement team. Her primary focus is cultivating relationships that help individuals establish current and deferred philanthropic funds, legacy gifts and charitable giving strategic plans. As such, Terri works closely with professional advisors and their clients to identify, create and provide charitable planning options tailored to achieve specific philanthropic goals.
Terri joined the Foundation in October 2008 after gaining two decades of experience in the financial services industry. She had several positions with National City (now PNC) and supported several functions including wealth management, relationship management, new business development, and both private and corporate banking. As director of nonprofit business services, she was responsible for new business development and relationship management of nonprofit and higher education organizations. Throughout her tenure, Terri was dedicated to quality service for which she received the company’s NCC Excel Award for extraordinary client and community service. She also was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award, TLOD Status of Women Award, the NCNW Phenomenal Women of Extraordinary Leadership and Service Award and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.’s Woman of Vision award.
Terri has served the nonprofit community as a director on several area nonprofit boards, including Recovery Resources, Junior Achievement, the Women’s City Club Foundation and the Legacy Village Lyndhurst Community Fund Committee. In addition, she is the Former President of the Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and Former Chairman of the Alpha Omega Foundation, Incorporated. Currently, she serves on the Board of Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (Past-Board President), Northern Ohio Charitable Gift Planners Council, Milestone Autism Resources, Inc., AKA Educational Advancement Foundation, Inc. (At-Large Director) and member of the Board of Trustees for Ohio North First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Former Board Chairman).
Terri is a member of the National Black MBA Association, Inc., NAACP, Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, Cleveland Chapter of Links, Inc., Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America, Inc. She earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University.
Terri resides in South Euclid, Ohio with her husband Clayton Eason, Sr. and their two sons Clayton II, age 20 (Senior at Notre Dame College) and Bradford, age 18 (Sophomore at John Carroll University).
Jackie FitchMarketing & Communications
Marketing & Communications Officer
Jackie Fitch supports external and internal communications by helping plan and execute comprehensive content marketing with a focus on digital media and social media properties. She crafts content that articulates our grantmaking priorities and initiatives and helps tell stories that celebrate the work of our nonprofit partners and the generosity of our donors.
A native Clevelander, Jackie brings more than 15 years of editing and marketing experience to the foundation. Most recently, she served as Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications for the Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University where she helped manage the school’s strategic communications and oversaw digital content and website maintenance. Prior to her work with the engineering school, Jackie worked on university publications across multiple schools at Case Western Reserve as an Editor for University Marketing and Communications.
Jackie earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a double major in journalism and history, and she went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Emily Foote-HuthMarketing & Communications
Executive Communications Officer
Emily Foote-Huth joined the Cleveland Foundation in January 2016 as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator after serving as an intern with the Marketing & Communications team from June 2014 – December 2015. In her current role as Executive Communications officer, Emily serves as the primary creator of written content on behalf of the Cleveland Foundation, including the writing and editing of executive speeches and talking points as well as content for print, online, and other media. Prior to joining the foundation, Emily supported admissions and enrollment operations at John Carroll University and served as an intern at Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society.
Emily holds a Master of Business Administration from John Carroll University and a bachelor’s degree in art history with a minor in Spanish also from John Carroll University.
Maureen Forrest joined the Cleveland Foundation in March 2007 as a donor relations and scholarship assistant. Prior to that, she was an administrative assistant in the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office for 15 years. Maureen provides administrative support to the Donor Relations team to ensure that those supported have the tools and information necessary to successfully carry out their objectives.
Senior Director, Development & Philanthropic Initiatives
Administrative Assistant: Maureen Forrest 216.685.2002
Michelle Fritz consults with individuals, families, and organizations to help donors identify and achieve their charitable giving interests and goals. She also works collaboratively with the Marketing & Communications team to develop donor communication strategies.
Michelle joined the team in 2012 with more than 15 years of development experience. In her previous role as executive director of donor relations and events for Case Western Reserve University, she played an instrumental role on the leadership team that successfully launched the university’s $1 billion capital campaign in the fall of 2011. In addition, Michelle created comprehensive stewardship and donor recognition programs for schools and departments across the university.
Prior to working at Case Western Reserve, Michelle worked in various development roles for the American Cancer Society, Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, and Bowling Green State University.
Michelle holds an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bowling Green State University. She has been an active volunteer for several nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Association of Donor Relations Professionals and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Director, Investments & Treasury
Anthony Gattuso joined the foundation in October 2016 as Manager of Investments. Anthony works with members of the finance team and the foundation’s independent investment consultant, trustee banks and various other investment managers in overseeing the successful administration of the foundation’s $2.5 billion investment portfolio, cash management and finance/treasury analysis.
Anthony brings an accomplished eleven-year history of investment experience to the foundation. Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, he has worked in the investment office of the Cleveland Clinic Health System as Senior Investment Analyst. In this role, Anthony was part of a team responsible for the oversight and ongoing analysis of a diverse $10 billion pool of assets.
Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Bonaventure University in New York and went on to earn an MBA from Cleveland State University. In addition to his academic credentials, he is also a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.
Office Services Manager
Adam joined the foundation in September 2019 as Office Services Manager. In this role, Adam is responsible for the oversight of facility operations and a variety of office and security services to ensure the foundation’s office space is efficient, safe, and sustainable.
Prior to his role with the foundation, Adam spent over four years working in professional athletic facility operations. In his most recent role as the Manager of Ballpark & Event Operations with the Pittsburgh Pirates he oversaw the training and management of over 200 employees, ballpark incident management and many of the sustainability efforts at PNC Park.
Adam graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration from Ohio University. He is actively involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Gift Planning Assistant
Linda Gersten joined the foundation in 2001 and currently works as a gift planning assistant. Linda earned a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in business from Lake Erie College.
Program Officer, Community Revitalization and Engagement
Administrative Assistant: Ciba Jones 216.615.7184
Keisha González joined the Cleveland Foundation in June 2018 as the Program Officer for Community Revitalization and Engagement. Keisha brings 6 years of dynamic placemaking experience. Prior to joining the Foundation, Keisha served the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton, and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods as the Managing Director for Metro West Community Development Organization. In this capacity, she implemented the organization’s strategic plan, management of programs and operations, and cultivated productive relationships in the public, private and civic sector. During her career at Metro West, Keisha also held the positions of Community Organizer (2014) and Director of Economic Development (2016). In these capacities, she focused on community-building initiatives designed to improve conditions in the neighborhood through the involvement of residents, businesses and community institutions.
Keisha earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Cleveland State University and went on to earn her Master of Arts in Historic Preservation from the University of Delaware. During her time at the University of Delaware she worked for the Mid-Atlantic Historic Buildings and Landscape Survey at the Centre for Historic Architecture and Design documenting at-risk historic dwellings, infrastructure and landscapes for local and state governments.
Committed to the equitable placemaking, Keisha has worked on many key projects in the cities where she has lived. Locally, Keisha was a part of the executive steering committee that launched La Placita and has elevated the La Villa Hispana as a priority placemaking initiative for the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. On the east coast, she worked on the Delaware City Oral History Project, a campaign designed to digitally document local recollections pertaining specifically to the history of the natural areas surrounding Delaware City, Delaware.
Kristen joined the foundation’s Advancement team in 2019. She provides strategic advisement and support to a portfolio of donors to ensure their philanthropic activities are aligned with their long-term goals.
Kristen brings more than fifteen years’ experience in corporate citizenship, client service and fund development to the foundation. Most recently, she was Community Relations Manager at Forest City Realty Trust, where she served as a vital liaison between the company and the community, overseeing grantmaking, employee volunteering and community engagement initiatives. She played a key role in re-envisioning the company’s community investment strategy and created programs and policies to support employee community involvement.
Kristen graduated magna cum laude from Miami University with a B.S. in business. She holds an M.A. in arts administration from New York University and an M.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia. She is an alumnus of the Cleveland Bridge Builders and has served on the board of Dobama Theatre, as a College Now mentor and as co-chair of a corporate chapter of the United Way Young Leaders.
Program Director, Leadership Development
Administrative Assistant: Ciba Jones 216.615.7184
Kathleen Hallissey is currently the Program Director for Leadership Development at the Cleveland Foundation where she has responsibility for its leadership programs including the Foundation’s summer internship program, the Public Service Fellowship program and the Encore Cleveland Initiative which focuses on tapping into the time, energy and talents of experienced Clevelanders to solve community challenges and fill unmet needs. She also oversees grantmaking and provides leadership in the aging and early learning sectors.
She joined The Cleveland Foundation in August 2005 as a program officer, focusing on education and health, human services grants, and strengthening nonprofit organizations across Greater Cleveland. She was promoted to Director of Community Responsive Grantmaking where she worked with a team of program officers to align grantmaking with the needs of the community and the foundation’s priorities.
Previously, Kathy served as a management consultant to the Head Start community working on special projects such as the grantee monitoring system, data analysis and the development of training and technical assistance materials. She served as a program analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, focusing on programs and policies impacting children, youth and families specifically Head Start and Early Head Start. She began her career in the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow. This two-year program was designed to build excellence in the public sector. During her fellowship she completed key projects in legislative affairs, planning and evaluation, and program implementation.
Kathy earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Drew University in New Jersey. She is a 2013 Leadership Cleveland graduate and a graduate of the YWCA Women’s Momentum program.
Danielle HannaHuman Resources
Human Resources Manager
Danielle Hanna has proudly served on The Cleveland Foundation’s human resources team since 2008. She was hired as the human resources generalist and promoted to her current role of human resources manager in 2011 where she is responsible for managing and administering key departmental functions and being a strategic thought partner to the vice-president, human resources and administration. Earlier, she worked in human resources and employee benefits at IMG, a global sports, fashion, and media business.
She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Baldwin Wallace University and is a certified professional in human resources. Danielle is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) as well as the local Cleveland SHRM chapter. She also sits on the Steering Committee for the Collaboration for Nonprofit HR Professionals. Founded in 2010 and supported by the Cleveland Foundation, Thompson Hine, LLC, Oswald Companies and ERC, the Collaborative provides educational and networking opportunities for nonprofit HR professionals that focus on building the capacity of the human resources function across Northeast Ohio nonprofits. In 2013 Danielle received the award for Emerging Leader from the Northeast Ohio HR Awards, presented by ERC and Cleveland SHRM.
Stephanie Hicks ThompsonMarketing & Communications
Senior Marketing & Community Engagement Officer
Stephanie Hicks Thompson is responsible for planning and supporting multiple event and community engagement projects including the Fred Talks community conversation series, Cleveland Book Week, and the new county-wide Common Ground initiative. In this role, Stephanie works to enhance partnerships and strategic initiatives with foundation stakeholders and grantees. In addition, Stephanie provides communications strategy, design and development across multiple foundation teams.
With more than 10 years of communications experience, Stephanie previously held the position of external affairs manager for the Cuyahoga Health Access Partnership, where she managed communications, development and operations in the lead-up to the 2013 implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to her health care work, Stephanie managed graphics and communications for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Stephanie earned a bachelor degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a dual major in journalism and English and went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from Ohio University.
Jaelen HollingerHuman Resources
Human Resources Generalist
Jaelen joined the Cleveland Foundation in June 2017 as Human Resources Generalist after serving as an intern with the human resources team from January-May of 2017. Jaelen supports the HR team and other organizational leaders in the research, implementation and execution of human capital initiatives and programs.
Jaelen graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor of arts in human resources management and a minor in entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University, where he also played varsity basketball. He was recognized at the university’s Obie Bender Multicultural Awards, which acknowledge the accomplishments of diverse students and others who advance diversity and inclusion.
Jaelen is very committed to the community in which he lives. He is a member of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s (i)Cleveland Advisory Committee and an active affiliate for The Cutting Board Academy, an organization whose mission is to impact communities by educating children and their families on the importance of food and nutrition.
Melissa HuberMarketing & Communications
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Melissa Huber joined the Cleveland Foundation in March 2019. She provides administrative and special event support for the Marketing & Communications team.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Melissa worked in development at Cleveland Public Theatre and in marketing at American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco), Cleveland Play House, and the Almeida Theatre (London). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Denison University and a master’s degree in Arts Policy and Management from Birkbeck, University of London.
Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Pamela Jaffe joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2002. In her current role she provides executive level assistance and management support to the foundation’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. She works to meet the needs of the finance team; investment, audit and finance and administration committee members; investment managers and external constituents. She previously worked on the executive team serving as assistant corporate secretary for the foundation where she oversaw the foundation’s e-governance software and provided administrative support to the foundation’s board of directors.
Pamela serves on the board of the Legacy Village Charitable Fund and is secretary of the Medical Mutual of Ohio Charitable Foundation. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
Executive Assistant to SVP, Advancement
Donna Johnson, who joined the foundation in 2006, is executive assistant and operations administrator for the Advancement team. She provides administrative support for the senior vice president for Advancement, oversees department operations, and handles special projects.
Donna has more than 25 years of administrative experience in the nonprofit and community development sectors. Prior to joining the foundation, Donna served as an executive director for a nonprofit community arts organization. She has worked as a consultant for nonprofit arts organizations providing grant writing and project management services. Donna also worked at ShoreBank, Cleveland, and in the development department of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Donna is a graduate of John Hay High School and attended Bowling Green State University.
Ciba “CJ” Jones is the program coordinator for community-responsive grantmaking and two program officers. CJ joined the foundation in August 2003. Prior to that, she was the human resources coordinator for the Benjamin Rose Institute’s administrative office.
CJ received a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University, an artistic diploma in theory from the Royal College of Music, and an artistic diploma in performance from the Julliard School.
Director, Grants Management
Diane Kaszei has been with the foundation since 1990. She was promoted to grants manager in 2004 when the foundation centralized its grantmaking. Prior to that, Diane worked in the Gift Planning and Donor Relations Department helping donors with grantmaking and as an assistant in the civic and economic development program area.
Diane holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Myers University.
Sarah King provides administrative support to three program officers on the community-responsive grantmaking team and collaborates with other program staff as assigned. She has more than 20 years in administrative experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, she was office manager/administrative assistant for the Cleveland Cultural Coalition, an umbrella organization for arts groups. She grew up in the Glenville area, graduated from John Hay High School, and attended Cuyahoga Community College.
Sarah is active in the community, currently serving as a member of Morning Star Baptist Church and as a long-time volunteer on the Shoes and Clothes for Kids’ Entertainment and Decorations Committee.
Office Services Coordinator
Ellen joined the Administrative Services team of the Cleveland Foundation in 2015 as the organization’s receptionist. In the fall of 2016, Ellen assumed the role of Administrative Services Coordinator, and in summer 2019, she assumed the role of Office Services Coordinator. She is responsible for office space mapping technology and provides oversight on daily maintenance issues, serves as liaison with building maintenance and is responsible for the implementation of a broad range of office services in addition to the operation of the Steven A. Minter Conference Center.
Prior to her assignment at the foundation, Ellen worked for 12 years at the Cleveland Housing Network, most recently as the Administrative Program Manager. In this role, she was responsible for the coordination of support services for low-income programs serving over 28,000 customers as well as the oversight of the programs’ $21.5 million budget.
Ellen studied business administration at David N. Myers College and earned a certificate in customer service management facilitation from Kent State University. She is also a certified notary public.
Senior Fund Accountant
Christine Lawson joined the foundation in 2001 and is responsible for overseeing accounts payable and 1099 reporting, the funding of grant requests, and the creation of quarterly board financials.
Previously she worked at Alltel Communications in the finance department, monitoring and creating reports for the collections department.
Christine holds a bachelor's degree in business, with a concentration in finance, from Colorado State University.
Katherine M. LeParAdvancement
Manager, Legal Affairs
Kathy LePar is part of the Advancement team of the Cleveland Foundation and is responsible for processing new gifts, supporting the setup of new funds, preparing fund agreements and charitable gift documents, and serving as a liaison with the Finance team and other cross-disciplinary teams.
Kathy has more than 30 years of experience in the legal profession with specific expertise in the areas of estate planning, probate administrations, and asset liquidation. Before joining the foundation in September 2012, Kathy spent 13 years as a paralegal with the firm of Behm & Henry, LLC. Prior to that, Kathy spent nine years as a legal assistant/paralegal with Bowlus & Bowlus, Ltd. During her employment with Bowlus & Bowlus, Kathy also provided paralegal support for a number of years to Sara J. Sherick, Esq., and Roger W. Hafford, Esq., in the area of probate administrations.
Kathy is currently working toward obtaining her certified paralegal designation from the National Association of Legal Assistants.
Calvin LewisInformation Systems
Director, IT Infrastructure and Operations
Calvin Lewis joined the foundation in July 2016 as Director, IT Infrastructure and Operations. In this role, Calvin collaborates with the Chief Technology & Information Officer to develop and implement the strategic technology direction for the foundation to support, facilitate and enhance the foundation’s overall strategic plan.
Calvin brings more than 15 years of professional IT experience to the foundation, including networking, infrastructure, SQL and operations systems. In his most recent role as IT Manager, Enterprise Network Services for Forest City Enterprises, he was responsible for resource planning, technical leadership, management, cost center ownership and the complete operation of a network consisting of approximately 165 sites distributed across the US, including their corporate headquarters.
Prior to his work at Forest City, Calvin served as Lead Systems Engineer for Progressive Insurance, where he was responsible for leading and supporting technical infrastructure and platforms that supported their business systems. This included providing technical leadership in evaluating, implementing and maintaining complex systems and hardware/software components.
Calvin earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio.
Chang Liu joined the Cleveland Foundation investment office in April 2018 as finance analyst. Chang is responsible for daily treasury functions as well as investment research and analysis related to the foundation’s $2.4B endowment. She works with finance team members, trustee banks, the foundation’s independent consultants and other investment managers.
Prior to joining the foundation, she worked as a controller for a local manufacturer and was responsible for all the finance and accounting function of the company.
Chang holds a Master degree in Accountancy from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor degree in Finance Management from Wuhan University of Technology. She is a Certified Public Accountant and she speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Karen R. LongGrantmaking
Manager, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards
Karen R. Long manages the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the only juried prize given each year for the best books to confront racism and contribute to our understanding of rich human cultures. She supports the jury deliberations, the celebration of the winners and works to bring the Anisfield-Wolf canon – stretching back to 1935 – into the lives of more readers each year.
Karen came to the Cleveland Foundation in 2013 after eight years as book editor of the Plain Dealer. She continues as a literary critic, writing for Newsday, Kirkus, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times. In 2016, she finished a seven-year stretch as a vice president for the National Book Critics Circle, where she was a judge for its six annual prizes, awarded each spring in New York City.
In addition, Karen served the Plain Dealer as a science writer, investigative reporter and a religion and ethics writer, and served her co-workers as a vice president of Local One of the Newspaper Guild. She won a Penny Missouri award for best magazine feature and an Associated Press award for best feature writing. A voracious reader since she wore her cat-eyed glasses to kindergarten in Seattle, Karen was educated at the University of Washington and Oxford University in England. She raised three children in Cleveland Heights with her husband Joe Frolik. In 2015, Cleveland Magazine named her one of the most interesting people in the city.
Program Officer, Environment
Administrative Assistant: Sarah King 216.615.7155
Stephen Love joined the Foundation in 2014 as part of the community responsive grantmaking team. In this capacity, Stephen also managed the Foundation’s Summer Internship Program and oversaw implementation of the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship. In 2018, Stephen became the Foundation’s Environment Program Officer, overseeing development of an Environmental Grantmaking strategy, including efforts to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the parks and greenspaces we enjoy by supporting policies and practices that link environmental protection, climate action, health, equity and economic prosperity.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2014, Stephen worked for the Cuyahoga Land Bank, researching and compiling property data for vacant property reuse opportunities as part of the President’s Special Projects team. Additionally, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, focusing on neighborhood stabilization and urban agriculture projects. Stephen founded a volunteer beach cleanup and advocacy effort directed at improving Euclid Beach Park. Previously, he served on the board of directors of the Cleveland Lakefront Conservancy and the Northeast Shores Development Corporation.
Jane Marquiss formally joined the foundation in December 2013 as a Grants Assistant after serving as a consultant from 2012-2013. In her new capacity, Jane supports higher education students by managing online data for the summer internship program and a broad range of scholarships.
Jane previously served as the Assistant Director for Administration in Student Health Services, at The Ohio State University, retiring in 1994 after 15 years employment. Since that time, she served in a volunteer capacity for various organizations performing administrative and database management functions.
Jane holds a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Professions from The Ohio State University.
Program Officer of Evaluation & Learning
As a Program Officer of Evaluation & Learning, Myron leads the Cleveland Foundation's efforts around data collection, analysis, measurement, evaluation and learning to ensure grantmaking and programmatic efforts, both foundation-led and with stakeholders, have a positive, measurable and lasting impact. As a National Urban Fellow assigned to the Cleveland Foundation, Myron focused his capstone project on how learning and evaluation can be applied to the foundation’s grantmaking and programming to improve community outcomes.
Myron has served as a Legislative Aide for the Delaware House of Representatives and as a STEM & Arts Program Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. With a passion for public service, he’s volunteered as an Public Ally AmeriCorps member, served as a Civic Engagement Chair for the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals, and mentored youth in True2U. A Philadelphia native, Myron earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a focus in applied public policy. In July 2018, he received his Master of Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College with honors.
Jamie McGuireInformation Systems
Business Systems Analyst
Jamie McGuire joined the Information Systems team in 2007. In her current role, she supports staff with business processes and analytical reporting.
Jamie brought more than two decades of experience to the foundation, having previously worked at British Petroleum and as a custom-software developer for a variety of small- to medium-sized businesses in the Cleveland area.
Mary Mink has shared responsibility over the daily accounting processes of the Finance department. Mary joined the Cleveland Foundation in October 2013 as accounting manager and has more than 30 years of experience in accounting and auditing. Before coming to the Foundation, she spent almost 5 years as general accounting manager for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio. Her experience includes accounting and supervision mainly for governmental, retail, health care and public accounting entities.
Mary is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Program Officer, Leadership Development
As Program Officer, Stephanie provides support for the planning, implementation, and management of the foundation’s programs focused on community leadership and development, including the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship and Summer Internship Programs, scholarships, and Encore Cleveland.
Stephanie joined the foundation as a summer intern in 2016, first supporting Greater Cleveland Volunteers. She then interned with the foundation's Community Responsive Grantmaking team, helping plan and manage the Summer Internship and Public Service Fellowship programs.
Stephanie is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration as well as a certificate in nonprofit management at Cleveland State University. She earned her bachelor of science in education from Kent State University. She is a former teacher and two-term AmeriCorps Alumna, having served with the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, Florida, and Notre Dame Mission Volunteers in Washington, D.C.
Valerie Moreland joined the foundation in August 2013 as a member of the Finance Team and has more than 15 years experience in Finance and Accounting.
For the past 15 years, Valerie has served in a similar role at Community United Head Start, a non-profit organization committed to educating and working with families of greater Cleveland to provide a safe and positive learning environment to its children.
Valerie received her Associate of Applied Business from Cuyahoga Community College and plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Finance.
Kathy Parker oversees the foundation's accounting, audit, tax, and reporting activities. She is also responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of the Finance Department.
Kathy joined the foundation in January 1990 as an accountant. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility including senior accountant, accounting manager, and her current role, which she assumed in 1999.
Kathy is a member of the Fiscal and Administrative Officers Group for Community Foundations and a past recipient of the YWCA's Women of Professional Excellence award. She serves as treasurer of the Cleveland Chinese Christian Church and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from Cleveland State University.
Nate PetznickInformation Systems
Information Systems Analyst
Nate Petznick joined The Cleveland Foundation in March 2018 as an Information Systems Analyst. He is responsible for The Cleveland Foundation’s OnBase Enterprise Content Management Software. He works with internal staff leveraging the software to its fullest by incorporating it into The Cleveland Foundation’s day to day operations.
In his previous role, Nate spent 7 ½ years working on an ECM team at Quadax. Quadax implements OnBase to hospitals and laboratories throughout the United States. His responsibilities included developing and implementing capture solutions for various clients and assisting in the design, installation, and troubleshooting of an effective solution.
Nate earned a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Bowling Green State University. He is also an OnBase Certified Installer and a Certified Document Imaging Architect. As a lifelong resident of Cleveland, Nate enjoys raising his family in the Northeast Ohio.
Paul G. PutmanAdvancement
Donor Relations & Technology Officer
Dr. Paul Putman is responsible for fostering and strengthening relationships with individuals, families and nonprofit organizations that seek to turn their passion into purpose through philanthropy. He has a special focus on improving the foundation’s online interface with donors and improving processes using technology. Before transitioning to his current role on the Advancement team, Paul was as a member of the foundation's Program team.
Paul joined the foundation in October 2008 as a Program Officer on the Community Responsive Grantmaking team where he facilitated grantmaking across multiple sectors by focusing on efforts to strengthen nonprofit organizations and improve access to services for underserved populations. In this capacity, he also coordinated the Fenn Educational Fund and oversaw special projects. Most recently he provided leadership in the review of arts education in the Cleveland schools and supported the Cleveland Foundation summer internship program. Prior to joining the foundation, Paul was the manager of the Center for Leadership and Service at Cleveland State University, where he coordinated leadership development and service-learning experiences.
Paul holds a doctorate in urban education from CSU with a focus on leadership and lifelong learning. He earned his master's in psychology, with a specialization in diversity management from CSU and his master's in education, guidance, and counseling from Eastern Illinois University. Paul earned his bachelor's in English from Kent State University. Paul has published in multiple scholarly journals and authored several book chapters. His most recent work explores the development of strategic leadership competencies.
Paul remains active in the community. He has continued teaching since earning his doctorate – five years teaching in the Diversity Management master’s program at CSU and more recently, several years teaching undergraduate classes at Baldwin Wallace University in leadership in philanthropy and grant proposal writing. He is a mentor with College Now Greater Cleveland and currently serves on the board of the Cleveland Public Library Foundation.
Kimberly SaboExecutive Office
Senior Executive Assistant to the President and CEO
Kimberly Sabo joined the staff of the Cleveland Foundation in December 2011. She has served in various capacities at the senior executive assistance level for more than two decades. For the majority of her career, Kimberly directly supported Peter B. Lewis, former president and CEO and the current chairman of the board of Progressive Corporation, where she managed his calendar, travel, and correspondence; arranged for board meetings and off-site retreats; served as liaison to staff; and supported Lewis' philanthropic initiatives. After leaving Progressive in 2003, Kimberly became the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Lake View Cemetery where she worked for four years. She also has worked as the executive assistant to the president and CEO of Magellan Biosciences, Inc., a privately held, global medical and laboratory equipment developer headquartered in Massachusetts.
Kevin ScanlonInformation Systems
Director of IT Systems & Information
Kevin Scanlon joined the foundation in March 2017 as the Director of IT Systems & Information. Kevin partners with the CTIO to develop and implement the foundation’s technology strategy and is responsible for the foundation’s ERP, ECM, Intranet, and Office software systems. He collaborates internally to improve and increase operational effectiveness while also ensuring the foundation is a technology leader.
Kevin brings more than 20 years' of increasing IT responsibility of the design, development, deployment, and support of enterprise business applications across many industries. In his most recent role as Director of Credit Technology & Strategy at Signet, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, Kevin managed systems for over 1,400 employees in the Customer Care, Authorizations, and Recovery departments and conceptualized a multiyear technology plan. He also created and directed an innovative department infrastructure that translated business objectives into system-driven solutions to support the strategy and management of a $1.9 billion Accounts Receivable. Prior to this role, he managed Signet's HR, AP, Payroll, and Merchandising software during his tenure with the company.
Kevin earned his Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has managed software packages in the manufacturing industry, insurance industry, and retail industry while living in Cuyahoga County. Kevin is raising his family, continuing his career, and planted his roots in Cleveland, which he is pleased to call home.
Carol ScheuerInformation Systems
Business Systems Analyst
Carol Scheuer began working at the foundation as a consultant in the fall of 2012 and joined the foundation staff a year later. Carol is responsible for the analysis, design, development, and implementation of both applications and reports that enhance the business processes of the Cleveland Foundation.
Previously, Carol spent more than 14 years providing technical support for a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she served as a technology coordinator and also a teacher at Menlo Park Academy. She received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts in the same subject from Smith College. She is an active volunteer with her children's school.
Donor Relations Coordinator
As Donor Relations Coordinator, Brittany Schultz provides support to the Donor Relations Team through donor stewardship and responsive services. Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, Brittany worked at JumpStart Inc. as a Traffic and Events Specialist where she managed marketing projects as well as event planning initiatives including their annual meeting, Startup Scaleup.
Brittany was the Assistant Director, Cleveland Project with Horizon Education Centers where she developed and managed five after-school programs and site coordinators of programs. She directly oversaw the Scranton School after school program and worked on grant proposals for the organization. Brittany has been actively involved with the Cleveland International Film Festival since 2012 and works as an Operations Assistant Manager during the festival. She was on the Shorts Selections Committee from 2013-2016.
Brittany holds a Master of Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Literary and Cultural Studies and received her Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University in English with a concentration on Film Studies and Professional Writing. In addition to her work in the nonprofit sector, Brittany is actively involved in the community, volunteering her time and talent to support initiatives around Cleveland.
Debbie Slocum provides administrative support to the program director for education and the director of institutional learning and arts initiatives. In that role, Debbie manages calendars, budgets, and travel; arranges meetings; and serves as a liaison to staff and external clients to support her directors’ initiatives.
Debbie joined the foundation in March 2012 and brings several years of senior executive-assistant support experience from varied industries, including insurance, accounting, a trade association, and, most recently, education.
She is actively involved with the International Association of Administrative Professionals, a nonprofit professional association for office professionals. She serves as board president of IAAP’s North Coast chapter.
Reception and Safety Coordinator
Bridget joined the Administrative Services team in November 2016. In this role, she is often the first point of contact for guests, staff, and community business partners. She also provides general administrative and project support throughout the organization and is responsible for safety and security policies, procedures and programs. Previously, Bridget has held a diverse variety of administrative roles in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Most recently, she served as a job coach in the summer youth employment program for Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Prior career experience included positions at Alego Health, Telarc International, and the Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation.
As a Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (via the Ohio State University Extension/Ohio Department of Natural Resources), Bridget is actively involved in the community and outdoor education. She is also a volunteer for the Cleveland Metroparks and Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.
Gift Planning Advisor
Dave joined the Cleveland Foundation’s Advancement Team in July 2019. He focuses on providing individuals, families and organizations with information regarding current and deferred charitable giving options. In addition, Dave works closely with professional advisors and their clients to identify those options that will achieve specific philanthropic planning goals.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Dave lead The Cleveland Orchestra’s planned giving program, offering guidance on charitable giving, tax and estate planning to individuals and families with an interest in supporting the Orchestra. Dave previously held positions the Cleveland Museum of Art, PNC Bank, and Stark & Knoll, LPA.
Dave serves as the President of Northern Ohio Charitable Gift Planners, an organization dedicated to improving the quality and quantity of philanthropic planning in Northeast Ohio. He also serves on the board of the Cleveland Baseball Federation and is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland.
Dave earned his Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Wittenberg University and his law degree from The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.
Wenzhu SunHuman Resources
Human Resources Coordinator
Wenzhu joined the Cleveland Foundation in September 2018 as Human Resources Coordinator. Wenzhu supports the recruiting, onboarding, training and engagement of foundation staff as well as the development and implementation of human resources programs and strategies focused on the continued enhancement of the foundation’s organizational culture.
Wenzhu earned a Bachelor of Sociology from East China Normal University in Shanghai, China and a Master of Sociology from the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Labor Relations and Human Resources program at the Cleveland State University.
Kirby Suntala serves as Program Coordinator for Youth, Health & Human Services at the Cleveland Foundation. In his role, Kirby provides administrative support to members of the Youth, Health & Human Services team and to the Manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.
Prior to joining the Foundation’s Program team in August 2019, Kirby served Cleveland’s youth and families as Rainey Institute’s Administrative Assistant, where he carried out registration, marketing, proposal writing, and business development functions for the community arts center. While at Rainey, Kirby also served as Graduate Assistant to the Director of the Master of Public Administration Program at Cleveland State’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. There he analyzed and coded emergency communications by state and local officials across several social media platforms.
Kirby holds a Master of Public Administration and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Nonprofit Administration & Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. Alongside his work in the nonprofit sector, Kirby is passionate about the arts and is an actively performing musician in the community.
Program Officer, Health & Human Services
Kate Terrell joined the Cleveland Foundation in June 2019 and currently serves as a Program Officer focusing on projects related to health and human services. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kate spent nearly a decade working with and for out-of-school time programs across Cleveland where she focused on leveraging education, outreach, and direct service provision in order to promote well-being for youth and families. Most recently, she coordinated fund development and evaluation design for the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, an organization that provides outreach and case management services to at-risk and gang-involved youth. Kate began her career in the classroom where she taught literature, journalism, and creative writing to high school students.
Kate holds a Master of Science in Urban Studies with a concentration in Public Policy from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated English Language Arts with a concentration in Cultural Studies and Public Life from Miami University. She is an involved and active community member and currently serves on the board of Twelve Literary Arts and the Junior League of Cleveland.
Program Officer, Youth & Human Services
Darlene Toney joined the Cleveland Foundation in August 2019 and currently serves as a Program Officer focusing on projects related to Youth and Human Services. Prior to joining the Foundation, Darlene spent many years dedicated to serving Cleveland area youth and families, most recently as a Community Resource Manager with College Now Greater Cleveland. As Community Resource Manager she partnered with community organizations to align community, school, and family resources to eliminate the barriers of student development and post-secondary success. Throughout her career she has developed and championed programs and strategies that engage youth and families to participate in the academic process, out of school time enrichment and leadership development activities that advance the whole child. Darlene earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kent State University and her Masters of Public Administration from Cleveland State University, with a graduate certificate of nonprofit administration and leadership.
Jennifer L. TrivelliMarketing & Communications
Director, Content Marketing
Jennifer L. Trivelli joined the Cleveland Foundation in October 2013 and is responsible for planning and executing comprehensive external and internal communications strategies and for providing integrated marketing support to the foundation’s Advancement, Finance and Program teams.
Jennifer previously held the position of public relations associate for Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. In this role, Jennifer served as a spokeswoman and reputation strategist for several major business lines including cardiology, oncology, surgery, emergency and trauma, women’s health and the Summa Foundation. During her time with Summa, Jennifer earned Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt certification in process improvement after leading a project related to scheduling ER follow-up visits for patients without a primary care physician. The team’s initiative was among the first of its kind nationally as the health care sector moves toward integrated delivery of care across a continuum of services. She is also certified in Hospital Incident Command as a public information officer and completed training at FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness. Prior to this role, Jennifer was the marketing & public relations coordinator for Robinson Memorial Hospital.
Jennifer holds a Master of Business Administration in finance from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science in public relations with a minor in political science, graduating summa cum laude, also from Kent State University.
As a member of the Grants Management team, Denise Ulloa works closely with staff and grantees in managing all administrative aspects of awarded grants and incoming requests. The Grants Management team works internally and externally to structure and coordinate workflow and communication to complete grantmaking requirements.
A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, Denise relocated from New York City, where she was development associate with American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and administrative director of Bel Canto Institute, an organization she co-founded. Denise has been with the Cleveland Foundation since 2001.
Donor Relations Assistant
Melissa Waddell joined the Cleveland Foundation in May 2019 as a Donor Relations Assistant. In this role, she provides administrative support to several Donor Relations Officers, helping donors meet their philanthropic goals. A Pittsburgh native, Melissa moved to the Cleveland area to attend Baldwin Wallace University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship with minors in theatre and accounting.
Melissa has extensive experience working and interning with nonprofit organizations in both Pittsburgh and Cleveland, including Little Lake Theatre and Tickets for Kids Charities in Pittsburgh and Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, Melissa worked under the Director of Academic Grants at Baldwin Wallace University, where she engaged with a variety of public and private foundations, conducted prospect research, and crafted compelling proposals in support of various academic programs.
Donor Relations Officer
Jason Weiner joined the foundation’s Advancement Team in October 2017 where he works to foster and strengthen relationships with individuals, families and organizations seeking to impact the causes and issues they care most about through philanthropy. Jason was introduced to a career in the nonprofit sector as one of the first Cleveland Foundation Summer Interns in 2001.
Jason brings more than eleven years of senior level fundraising experience in arts and human services organizations to the foundation. In his most recent position as Director of Development for Beck Center for the Arts, he was responsible for developing and implementing the fundraising strategy for the organization as well as building and maintaining individual and institutional relationships.
He currently serves as a board member with Ohio Citizens for the Arts and a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s Summer Internship Program Advisory Council. He earned a bachelor of arts in sociology and a master of arts in sociology both from Cleveland State University.
Program Director, Education
Administrative Assistant: Debbie Slocum 216.615.7586
Helen Williams oversees the foundation’s grantmaking in all areas of education. She has more than 25 years of experience in executive management and consulting in nonprofit, public, and corporate organizations, specializing in strategic planning and leadership development. Helen is the former associate director of the Cleveland Initiative for Education. Under former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste, Helen directed the State of Ohio’s regional office in Cleveland.
She holds a doctorate in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University.
Curt WilliamsInformation Systems
Digital Innovation Fellow
Curt Williams is responsible for the implementation of the Digital Excellence Initiative, as well as supporting the Chief of Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer in strategizing future grantmaking. The Digital Excellence Strategy is multi-pronged – encompassing digital equity, civic technology, government innovation, and more – and geared toward building a stronger, more equitable digital community.
Prior to joining the Foundation as the Digital Innovation Fellow in July 2019, Curt participated in the Cleveland Foundation’s 2018-2019 Public Service Fellowship with Cuyahoga County Council. In this role, he aided County Councilmembers in all necessary capacities and was most useful for his technical research and statistical analyses.
Curt is originally from the Northeast Ohio exurbs but is proud to now call Cleveland his home city. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Statistics from Kenyon College, where he first fell in love with data-driven decision-making and iterative policy. With a passion for civic service, Curt is a member of Cleveland’s Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and mentors high school students through Minds Matter every Saturday. He continuously looks for other ways he can serve his community.
Joyce WilsonInformation Systems
Joyce Wilson joined the foundation in 2004 and currently works as a records technician, handling the filing, scanning, and processing of data. Prior to that, she worked as a workers’ compensation assistant at Thompson Hine.
Joyce earned an associate’s degree from Kirkland Business College in Albuquerque, N.M.
Alicia Wray joined the Cleveland Foundation’s Advancement Team in November 2016. She oversees and implements Advancement related events focused on cultivation and engagement of donors, advisors, and prospects.
Alicia brings more than ten years of event planning experience to the foundation that includes work in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she served as Conference and Event Management Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where she was responsible for planning programs for groups of internal and external stakeholders. Prior to her role at the Federal Reserve, Alicia was the Event and Donor Relations Coordinator at YWCA Greater Cleveland. In addition to these key positions, she has worked in event planning at National Concession Company, United Way of Lake County, and the Cleveland National Air Show.
Alicia earned a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Baldwin Wallace University. She has completed additional training through the Disney Institute as well as Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management and is a member of the Professional Convention Management Organization (PCMA) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Association.
Frank Yang joined the Advancement Team in July 2018. He works under the direction of Michelle Fritz to research, analyze, organize, and present information on potential donors to ensure that Advancement Team members are provided with the information and resources necessary to solicit gifts and cultivate and steward donor relations.
Prior to joining the foundation, Frank was an intern for Asian Services in Action, KPMG, and Société Générale. He has had the opportunity to intern and volunteer in different countries and served in multiple capacities across industries.
Frank holds a Master degree in statistics from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor degree in Public Administration from University of International Relations. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Nicole YappMarketing & Communications
Common Ground Fellow
216.615.7150 | Email Nicole
Nicole Yapp joined the foundation in September 2018 as a 2018-2019 Public Service Fellow. She now serves as the Common Ground Fellow. In this role, she co-manages the foundation's Common Ground initiative—a regional day of community conversation designed to foster meaningful connections between residents and catalyze improvements to Northeast Ohio.
She is a former project coordinator for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program's Mississippi Freedom Project, an award winning oral history collection that centers on civil rights activism and organizing in the Mississippi Delta. As project coordinator, she managed the collection and organized and lead the annual Mississippi Freedom Project fieldwork research trip. Nicole graduated from the University of Florida Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in History, African American Studies and International Studies.