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Staff team

Rahsaan K. Harris
Executive Director

Rahsaan Harris has over 10 years of experience working in Philanthropy and Non-Profits at a major foundation and two community-based organizations. Additionally his experience includes teaching high school and serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. His expertise is in grant-making, organizational assessment, diversity and teaching and he has strong consulting, facilitation and fund-raising skills and is fluent in Spanish. Mr. Harris holds a doctorate in Public and Urban Policy from The New School in New York City.

From 2003 until December 2010, Mr. Harris worked as a fellow and Program Executive at The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation with assets over $3 billion. At Atlantic, he led diversity and racial equity initiatives and worked across Atlantic’s Ageing, Children & Youth and Reconciliation & Human Rights programs in the U.S., with an explicit focus on integrating social justice principles into grant-making. He managed such initiatives as the foundation’s philanthropic response to the Haitian Earthquake and oversaw annual grants of $2 million to promote social justice outcomes for youth and older adults in Bermuda.

Before joining Atlantic, Mr. Harris served as the Executive Director of Playing2Win, one of the country’s first public access technology learning centers to be established in an inner-city, low-income area. During his career, he has worked as an educator, helping both youth and adults develop skills that allow them to create better opportunities for themselves. Prior to Playing2Win, Mr. Harris received a fellowship from the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation to work with HarlemLive (www.harlemlive.org), a web-based publication run by Harlem teens. The focus of his fellowship was to create and implement a plan for the organization’s growth and sustainability. Before HarlemLive, he taught science in New York City public schools between 1997 and 2000 and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay from 1995 to 1997.

Mr. Harris received his doctorate in Public and Urban Policy from the New School, where his dissertation was on understanding how socio-economic diversity in the African-American community affects their philanthropic interests. He also holds masters degrees in Management and High School Science Education from New York University and Columbia, respectively, and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University.

Mr. Harris has received numerous leadership awards including selection to the Association of Black Foundation’s (ABFE) 2005 Connecting Leaders Fellows Program and selection as an American Express NGen Fellow in 2009. He received the Notre Dame University Science of Generosity Dissertation Fellowship for graduate students conducting research on the topic of generosity. He is also an active volunteer in his community.

He is a Board member of the Upper Room AIDS Ministry and FROST’D (the Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases); a member of the Council on Foundation’s professional development committee; an advisor to the board of FC Harlem, Home of Harlem Youth Soccer; and is a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor. He also volunteers as a research fellow at the Twenty-First Century Foundation and participates on New York Blacks in Philanthropy’s leadership team. He is a class agent for Princeton University’s Annual Giving campaign.

Michael Barham
Membership & Operations Manager

Michael is EPIP’s Membership and Operations Manager. He supports EPIP’s general operations and programming, manages EPIP’s data and finances, liaises with EPIP’s fiscal sponsor, and provides nationwide support to EPIP membership. Michael previously worked as Program Manager for the Champion Learning Center, a federally funded program that provided tutoring to low income students, and served as a Research Apprentice with the Board of Jewish Education. He has additional experience in human resources gained through an internship with The Atlantic Philanthropies.

He has worked extensively with underserved communities and brings an understanding of public sector dynamics, as well as experience in operations, management and human resources. Michael is passionate about equal opportunity, especially as it relates to education. New to philanthropy himself, Michael is uniquely positioned to appreciate the lasting impact the EPIP network can provide to members across the country.

Michael was born and raised in New York, attended Stuyvesant High School, received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and is currently working towards his Masters in Public Administration from Baruch’s School of Public Affairs. When not busy with school and EPIP, Michael enjoys both playing golf and basketball, and sauntering through the city with his wife.

Kate Seely
Field Operations

Kate supports EPIP’s 11 chapters nation-wide and develops and manages EPIP’s national partnerships. Kate loves the EPIP chapters! She believes wholeheartedly in their power to achieve EPIP’s mission and to enhance chapter participants’ experience in the field of philanthropy. She also sees EPIP chapters as a valuable and exciting leadership opportunity for chapter leaders. Her work is focused on making these goals a reality.

While Kate was working at Hispanics in Philanthropy in San Francisco in 2008, she became involved in her local EPIP Chapter and chaired the Chapter for two years. She began working part-time with the organization in July 2010, until she joined the team full-time in January 2012.

Kate has been working in philanthropy, international development, and food systems reform for the past 10 years. Upon graduating from college, she co-founded the nonprofit Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Bridge to Community Health) and co-directed the organization for three years. Puente contributes to food sovereignty and advances the health and well-being of rural communities in Mexico. Upon leaving Oaxaca in 2006, she became the President of the Board and maintains a strong connection and dedication to the organization and the communities it serves.

Originally from San Francisco, Kate graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont where she studied Latin American Literature and Political Science. She has spent five years living in Latin America, specifically in Mexico, Argentina, and Costa Rica. She is intellectually passionate about national food system reform, trying to move our country’s agriculture from an industrialized system to a more sustainable and regionally focused one. In practice, that means that she spends a lot of time in her garden and at her local farmer’s market, cooking tasty, seasonal, and sustainable meals, and talking about food, food access, and food policy.

Christen Lee
Regional Coordinator

christen profile Christen has seven years of experience working with nonprofits, social enterprise, and funders. Currently, Christen is the Bay Area co chair for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and a member of theBay Area EPIP chapter. With Kordant Philanthropy Advisors, Christen provides research and other support to funders and nonprofits.

As an attorney in private practice, Christen helped nonprofits, cooperatives, and social enterprises to
meet their startupand financing goals. She also served as Director of Legal Education for The Sustainable Economies Law Center, which conducts legal research, education, and advocacy in support of environmentally resilient and inclusive community economies.

At the National Community Development Institute, Christen managed capacity building programs, trainings, and peer exchanges for culturally diverse social and environmental justice groups throughout the country. Christen is on the board of Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, a 30-year old community organization that empowers limited-English speaking working-class women through community organizing and grassroots leadership development.

Through all these experiences, Christen gained a broad perspective on philanthropy’s power and potential, as well as its challenges and opportunities for change, especially when it comes to impactful and equitable investments that engage people from historically marginalized communities as leaders and change agents. Christen graduated from Yale University and U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

Tamir Novotny
Regional Coordinator for Northeast Chapters


For the past seven years, Tamir has been working his way up at Living Cities, a consortium of 22 major foundations and financial institutions focused on economic opportunity in cities — starting as an intern and now as a Senior Associate on their Public Sector Innovation team. He’s worked with Living Cities’ members, other foundations, and local governments and practitioners to seed and spread innovative policies and practices on issues including foreclosures and neighborhood stabilization, Sustainable Communities, and Big Data and civic technology. He’s also been a force for programming for EPIP both locally in his home chapter in NYC and nationally since joining earlier this year. (You may have seen the webinar he hosted with June Holley on “Open-Sourcing Social Change” in August 2013!)

Iliana Perea
Social Media Fellow


As one of EPIP’s Social Media Fellows, Iliana is the voice of EPIP National, reaching out to the EPIP community through Twitter and Facebook. She currently works for the Illinois Department of Human Services as a Social Services Career Trainee, and volunteers with Mujeres Latinas en Accion in Chicago. Iliana is also working toward a Masters degree in Non-Profit Management at the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She received her undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology and Sociology from the University of Chicago. Aside from @EPIPNational, you can find her on Twitter at @ilianap.

Sophia Guevara
Social Media Fellow 

Guevara Picture

Sophia Guevara is the former chair of the Consortium of Foundation Libraries affinity group and a member of the Council on Foundations Next Gen Task Force. An experienced writer, Sophia is a long time contributor to RE: Philanthropy. As our other Social Media Fellow, Sophia connects with the EPIP network through LinkedIn. Sophia is currently working towards her MPA at Wayne State University.

Melvin Johnson
Digital Media Fellow

melvinMelvin Johnson has over 10 years experience working in the non-profit sector focusing on media instruction and IT support. Melvin has worked with several community-based organizations, particularly in the Harlem Community where he resides with his family.  He is also a freelance cinematographer, photographer and editor in the greater New York tri-state area. Melvin is training for certifications with industry leaders AVID Technology and Adobe, while completing his undergrad studies in communications at The College of New Rochelle.

Acknowledgement of Past Staff
EPIP wishes to recognize the personnel, consultants, fellows, and interns who have contributed to the vitality of the organization since it was launched in September 2002. These include:

Christopher Anderson
Administrative Assistant

Sarah Ashcroft
Graduate Fellow

K. Emerson Beyer
Program Consultant

Sheena Brown
Development and Communications Manager

Omisade Burney-Scott
Program Consultant

Elizabeth Cuccaro
NYC Chapter Organizer

Milano Harden
Program Consultant

Jen Kramer-Wine
Program Consultant

Kristina Lucien

Bodi Luse
Graduate Fellow

Bodi Luse
Graduate Fellow

Rebecca Schumer
Deputy Director

Sophia Silao
Associate Director

Sam Stegeman
Program Consultant

Rusty M. Stahl
Founder and Executive Director Emeritus

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