Advisory Board

Anthony Simmons

Chair

Anthony Simmons serves as the Manager for the Racial Equity Grantmaking Program (REGP), commonly known as ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities (RPBC). The REGP focuses on the drivers of poor and disparate outcomes in Black communities—and other communities of color—and provides support and tools for leading community change efforts, particularly in places where there has been a long history of racial inequity.

Prior to joining ABFE, Anthony served as the Senior Adviser for the New York City Mayor’s Office Young Men’s Initiative (YMI). During his tenure at the YMI, he managed the YMI’s Equity Committee—a multi-agency advisory board with the mission toward reducing racialized disparities for the City’s youth of color. Anthony began his career in philanthropy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education where his work focused on developing and supporting equitable funding and policy strategies.

Anthony is the former co-chair of New York Blacks in Philanthropy, a local membership-based organization of Black professionals, particularly representing people of the African Diaspora, committed to strengthening networks, addressing collective challenges and fostering opportunities within the philanthropic sector.

A native New Yorker, Anthony attended Trinity and Brooklyn colleges. In his free time, he is an experienced deejay and music collector.


Maheen Kaleem, Esq.

Vice-Chair

Maheen Kaleem, Esq. is Deputy Director of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, overseeing development and management of G4GC’s programs, grants, and operations.

Maheen has dedicated her life to creating a world where girls of color are safe and free. She has almost twenty years of experience supporting youth and families impacted by interpersonal and state violence, and making way for those traditionally marginalized from formal sites of power to lead efforts to advance racial and gender justice. In the various roles she has held, she has always grounded her work in the wisdom of women and girls of color who have survived the carceral system, sexual exploitation, and abuse. Most recently, Maheen served as Program Officer at the NoVo Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s work to end commercial sexual exploitation and led the development of The Life Story Grants, a $10 million three-year commitment to support projects that close on-ramps into the sex trade and open exit ramps for survivors.

Maheen is committed to providing those most impacted by systems of oppression with the respect and resources to enact change. She was an Equal Justice Works Fellows, a Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow, and is a graduate of the National Juvenile Justice Network Youth Justice Leadership Institute. She holds bachelors and law degrees from Georgetown University In her free time, Maheen enjoys her loved ones, hip hop, poetry, and her beloved Golden State Warriors. She is based in what was once Chocolate City, also known as Washington, D.C.


Michelle Jaramillo

Treasurer

Michelle Jaramillo is Director of Education Initiatives at The San Diego Foundation, where she collaborates with community partners to ensure every San Diego student can achieve their aspiration of a post-secondary education. Previously, as an independent consultant and Principal of Artesana Consulting, she worked to help nonprofits and foundations ignite the power of narrative and diversity of voices to move people’s hearts and minds around the most urgent issues facing communities.

Prior to launching her own firm, Michelle spent fifteen years working to deepen practices of social justice, diversity equity and belonging in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. As the Community Impact Director for The San Diego Foundation, she developed and managed grantmaking strategies and processes to address the most pressing needs of the San Diego region. Prior to that, she served as Director of Communications for the San Diego Housing Federation developing advocacy and communications strategies. She currently serves on the Social Equity Funders Collaborative committee of San Diego Grantmakers.

Michelle is a 2016 Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities PLACES Fellow. As a volunteer, Michelle has served as co-founder and past chair of the Latina Giving Circle of San Diego, and co-founder and chair of the San Diego Chapter of EPIP. She is a 2014 graduate of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Leadership Institute. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Toronto and a M.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego.


Dion Cartwright

Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development, The Funders Network

With a commitment to justice and equity, Dion Cartwright works to develop local, national and international grassroots and philanthropic leaders in supporting low income communities and communities of color. In her formal philanthropic career, Dion served as a member of the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF) Community Investment team for 16 years. She was responsible for the implementation of BCF’s Neighborhood Improvement Strategies that focused on creating safe, clean, green and vibrant neighborhoods.

Dion is an alum of the PLACES Fellowship of the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN). She chaired the PLACES Advisory Board for four years before joining the TFN team in 2016 as the Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development. Dion currently oversees the PLACES Fellowship as its Director and manages the learning and engagement of over 125 alumni. She is also responsible for driving TFN’s commitment to advancing racial equity both internally and externally for its network of members.

Dion has engaged with various local and national nonprofit and philanthropy serving organizations, including the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA), Neighborhood Funders Group, Grassroots Grantmakers, and United Philanthropy Forum.

Dion received her education at Gardner-Webb University where she studied Computer Science and Business Administration. In 2015, Dion was recognized as one of Maryland’s Leading Women by the Daily Record. She currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland and spends her free time traveling, mentoring and enjoying the local arts scene.


Arianna Cisneros

Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Arianna serves as a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she supports equitable and transformative early childhood and education systems change efforts across the country. She has professional experience in consulting, capacity building, facilitation & training, policy advocacy, global research, and program evaluation. Drawing upon her lived experiences as a child of immigrants and first-generation college graduate hailing from Chicago, she is committed to dismantling inequitable systems so that those most impacted by injustice can be fully included and at the forefront of social change. 

Arianna strives to embody and create a liberated world where all individuals have the power, resources, and opportunities they need to reach their full potential. She is a dedicated mindfulness practitioner and liberatory-focused coach. She is passionate about cultivating holistic health & well-being, particularly among Black, Indigenous, and women of color. Of the multiple intersecting identities and roles she holds, she most cherishes being a loving and dedicated mother to a delightful soul. 

Arianna has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.


C'Ardiss "CC" Gardner Gleser

Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Satterberg Foundation

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser is an advocate for social impact and social justice work. CC began her career as a project manager in the tech and engineering sector and then transitioned to non-profit work to match her purpose to her passion. 

CC transitioned from the nonprofit sector and is now entrenched in the philanthropic sector.  CC is the first Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Satterberg Foundation, whose mission focuses on promoting a just society and sustainable environment. She also serves on the boards of Andrus Family Fund, Charlotte Martin Foundation, and Philanthropy Northwest. 

CC is extremely involved in her community, both locally and nationally. She previously served as the National President of the Yale Black Alumni Association and on Yale’s Board of Governors. She was also a Brainerd Fellow and a partner with Social Venture Partners Seattle where she co-chaired the Social Venture Teen Philanthropy Program. CC is a graduate of the 2017 Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) Connecting Leaders Fellowship.

CC also founded Black Ivy Manor, which provides funding and other opportunities for Black scholars, artists, and social justice advocates the space to develop their crafts and voices, while supporting movement in community and cultivating relationships with one another.

CC earned her Bachelor's degree in African American Studies from Yale University, and an M.Ed. in Education Administration from Seattle University. She currently resides in the Detroit area with her husband and three children.


Arielle Milton

Associate Program Officer, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Arielle Milton is an associate program officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. As a member of Mott’s national Education team, she works to operationalize and fund efforts to expand learning opportunities and supports for low- and moderate-income children and communities.

Arielle has dedicated her career to seeking learning opportunities that promote the improvement of life outcomes for children, youth and families in vulnerable communities in the United States and Abroad. Before joining the Mott Foundation, Milton has worked at the GHR Foundation in Minnesota and several philanthropic organizations in Michigan, including The Kresge Foundation, The Skillman Foundation and the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Arielle is a graduate of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelor’s in sociology and political science. Additionally, Arielle earned a Master of Public Administration from the Rackham Graduate School at The University of Michigan with a focus on organizational development and management. 

Arielle has been an EPIP member since 2012 and has served as a Chapter Leader and Chair for EPIP in both Michigan and Minnesota. She is a 2017 New Leaders Council Fellow and past board member for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network in Detroit and the Twin Cities.


Maria Cherry Rangel

Director, Strategic Initiatives at Foundation for Louisiana

Maria Cherry Rangel (she/they) is a cultural strategist, resource organizer, cultural producer, and equity coach. For over 15 years Cherry's work has helped transform organizations, ecosystems, and fields towards justice. As a resource organizer, Cherry’s advocacy has ensured that millions of dollars have been redirected to Southerners, BIPOC communities, and TGNC and queer communities. As Director of Strategic Initiatives for Foundation for Louisiana, Cherry launched FFL's arts and culture program, and utilizes her expertise in organizational growth, cultural strategy, racial justice, and LGBTQ organizing to inform Louisiana’s future. With Ron Ragin, she co-authored Freedom Maps: Activating Legacies of Culture, Art, and Organizing in the US South. With Sage Crump, she co-authored the forthcoming Queer (Re)public: a QTBIPOC Liberatory Artistic Aesthetics Framework for the Theater Offensive. Cherry was a 2018-19 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow and wrote her first arts grant at the age of 15 in support of her father’s application to be a folklife artist, and after that success, hasn’t stopped.


Dr. Cassie Schwerner

Executive Director, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Dr. Cassie Schwerner's life work is dedicated to making positive social change at the intersection of racial justice and public education. Cassie came to Morningside Center in 2018, after two decades at The Schott Foundation for Public Education, most recently as Senior Vice President of National Partnerships. At Schott, Cassie was immersed in many of the same social and racial justice issues that are at the center of Morningside's work, including fostering restorative practices and ending discipline policies that disproportionately target students of color.

Before Schott, Cassie was a research and editorial assistant for Jonathan Kozol, working on his books Savage Inequalities and Amazing Grace. She serves as a trustee of Kozol’s Education Action Foundation and is a board member of New York Appleseed. Cassie has a Bachelor’s degree from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston College, where she specialized in social movement theory. She is a proud mother of two New York City public school students, Ezra and Vivian.


Whitney Wade

Program Officer, Robert M. McCormick Foundation

Whitney has dedicated her career to supporting philanthropy’s talent, leadership, and infrastructure. She currently manages the Robert R. McCormick Foundation's grantmaking with its professional sports team partners (Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and White Sox) and its partnership with A Better Chicago making investments in education (specifically college access, persistence, and career pathways), youth development, and health and wellness. Before transitioning to a program officer role, she was hired as the first Talent Acquisition Specialist for the McCormick Foundation and Cantigny Park. Prior to joining the Foundation, she spent more than three years at Arabella Advisors, a philanthropy consulting firm, managing talent acquisition, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Whitney also served in other recruiting and project management roles at executive search firms and began her career in nonprofit fundraising and development. Whitney is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s in psychology and African and African American Studies. She earned a MSW from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with a focus on children, youth, and families and management. She is a Co-Chair of the South Side Giving Circle at the Chicago Foundation for Women and proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 


Alexis King Wilson

Senior Manager, Social Impact - Spotify

Alexis King Wilson is currently a Senior Manager at Spotify within their Social Impact group. She has worked with celebrities, professional athletes, and philanthropic institutions to maximize their engagement in systems change on behalf of vulnerable communities. She has provided program and grants management, strategic partnerships strategy and produced social impact programs and campaigns for The Root, Living Cities, Open Society Foundations, Annie E. Casey Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Global Philanthropy Group. Alexis attended Spelman College and is in the process of completing her masters at New York University. 


Past Board Chairs

 As of April 2020. Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.


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