Nakisha M. Lewis
Nakisha M. Lewis is the Director of Civil, Human and Women's Rights at the AFL-CIO. She is an experienced philanthropic and political impact strategist with deep roots in community organizing. She comes to the Labor Movement after more than twenty years organizing for racial justice, women’s rights and LGBTQ equality at the local and national levels. Prior to joining the AFL-CIO, Nakisha spent ten years in philanthropy working with individual donors and foundations to develop grantmaking strategies that address inequities and strengthen marginalized communities. Most recently, she served as Program Officer and Senior Strategist for Safety at the Ms. Foundation for Women where she created a national portfolio for women and girls with a Black, queer, feminist lens. Her work on women’s rights also includes the co-founding of the #SheWoke Committee—the catalyst for the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls; established in 2016 and the co-convening of “Power Rising” – a national conference to build an agenda for Black women and girls.
Nakisha’s career and community engagement are driven by an unwavering passion for civil rights and justice. She is a longtime advocate and activist who has spent more than two decades supporting youth and grassroots organizing across movements. She has worked on a range of justice issues—from education and fair housing to welfare and workers rights. She is a writer, speaker and lifelong community organizer who has worked on national campaigns like “Why We Can’t Wait and “Black Lives Matter.” She helped to organize the “Black Life Matters Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, MO in September of 2014 and is co-creator of the Philanthropic Action for Racial Justice—an effort to organize philanthropic practitioners around a shared vision for racial justice and investment in Black communities that centers the needs and experiences of Black women, youth and LGBTQ people.
Nakisha has served on the boards of Resource Generation, Project Hip Hop, New York Blacks In Philanthropy and Emerging Practitioners In Philanthropy. She is a transformational leadership coach and is committed to developing opportunities for increased diversity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector by advancing the next generation of social change leadership. She is published in several periodicals and nonprofit journals, including the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Huffington Post and NBC News. She also makes regular media appearances on outlets like CNN, Mic. News, NPR. Huffington Post Live and Essence Live.
Nakisha lives and works in Washington, DC.
Janet Sandoval is the Director, Corporate Social Responsibility for Avery Dennison and the Avery Dennison Foundation. Ms. Sandoval manages the Foundation’s grant programs, including the Global Grantmaking Initiative and the Avery Dennison Granting Wishes program.
She also provides support for the Avery Dennison InvEnt “Spirit of Invention” Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to university students in China and India.
Ms. Sandoval oversees employee volunteerism activities – a critical focus of the corporation’s employee engagement initiative – and acts as lead for large-scale employee volunteer projects, such as Employee Giving Campaigns and Employee Volunteer Days.
Prior to joining Avery Dennison Foundation, she was a communications associate at The California Wellness Foundation, where she provided support in the areas of marketing communications and media relations.
She is an active member of Business for Social Responsibility, Environmental Grantmakers Association and Southern California Grantmakers. She has served as co-chair for the LA chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. In addition to EPIP’s Board of Advisors, she currently serves on the Board for Exceptional Minds, and the YMCA of Glendale.
Ms. Sandoval earned her BS in business with an emphasis in communications from the University of Phoenix. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their two children.
Morgan Shannon is a crusader for communities of color. Morgan’s passion has allowed her to build connections amongst various stakeholders including youth, advocates, organizers, and philanthropy.
Morgan served as Program Manager at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she worked with the Mississippi, New Orleans, and Boys and Men of Color portfolios. She also served as Program Associate at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she supported the Health and Climate Justice programs. Morgan is deeply committed to youth development and racial equity, having worked in both and as frontline staff for CommonHealth Action and Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association in South West section of Atlanta, GA.
Michelle Jaramillo is an independent consultant and Principal of Artesana Consulting where she works 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.
Program Officer, New York Women's Foundation
Bianca D. Alston is a millennial change agent and eternal optimist. She currently serves as Program Officer at the New York Women’s Foundation. Bianca comes to NYWF from the Arcus Foundation where she was Finance and Operations Assistant. In that role, she directly supported the Foundation’s operations, human resources and grants management teams. Prior to Arcus, Bianca served as the Membership and Program Assistant at ABFE. Bianca has been an EPIP member since 2014 and has served as an EPIP-NY Chapter Leader and on EPIP’s conference planning committee. She also serves on the Board for the New York Chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College. Bianca earned her Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven and her Bachelors of the Arts degree in Philosophy from Spelman College. Bianca is native to and resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Director of Equitable Initiatives and Leadership Development, Funders Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities
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.
Caitlin Wagner Fisher
Director of Leadership Initiatives at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Caitlin Fisher is a leadership development practitioner and expert in network theory and management. She currently serves as the Director of Leadership Initiatives at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. In her role, she leads programs dedicated to supporting Greater Boston’s talented workforce. Her portfolio includes leadership development programs such as the Women’s Leadership Program, Boston’s Future Leaders, the Chamber Fellowship for Advanced Leaders and All In for Advancement, a culture change initiative supporting corporations to shift to more inclusive cultures particularly for women.
Prior to her role at the Chamber, she spent ten years working for philanthropist Swanee Hunt in her private family foundation, Swanee Hunt Alternatives. She most recently served as Acting Director of the Prime Movers program, a national fellowship program investing in social movement leaders—individuals who are changing the world in which we live: shifting cultural norms and policy as well as mobilizing people to get involved. She’s been engaged with Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy since 2009. She helped revive the Boston Chapter serving as co-chair for five years and joined the national board in 2015.
Maheen Kaleem, Esq.
Program Officer for the Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women, NoVo Foundation
Maheen Kaleem, Esq. serves as a Program Officer for the Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women and manages NoVo’s portfolio on commercial sexual exploitation.
Maheen has been engaged in advocacy on behalf of women and girls experiencing interpersonal and institutional violence for over fifteen years. Just prior to joining NoVo, she was a staff attorney at Rights4Girls, where she engaged in federal, state, and local policy and research with a specific focus on the intersection of child sex trafficking and juvenile justice. She began as a direct service provider for girls in the juvenile justice system in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, CA, with a specific focus on children impacted by commercial sexual exploitation.
Maheen is committed to providing those most impacted by systems of oppression with the respect and resources to enact change. She was 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.
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.
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.
Manager for the Racial Equity Grantmaking Program (REGP), ABFE
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.