Philanthropy, Racial Equity and Fiscal Policy 

October 10, 2017 
Washington, DC



Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy
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Ana María joined CPD from our sister organization, Make the Road New York (MRNY), where she served as Co-Executive Director since its formation in 2007. Before that, Ana María was the Executive Director of the Latin American Integration Center (LAIC), which merged with Make the Road by Walking to create Make the Road New York. During Ana María's 13 years at MRNY and LAIC, she focused on shaping the organization’s electoral vision, organizing model, expansion to Long Island, and LGBTQ organizing work. Ana María also co-directs the Make the Road Action Fund.  Ana María emigrated to the U.S. from Colombia at the age of 17 and has become a leading advocate for civil rights, health care access, education equity, and immigrant rights in New York State, and nationally. She was awarded a Coro fellowship in 2004, the year after she became Executive Director of LAIC. Under her leadership, LAIC tripled in size and strengthened adult literacy, youth development and health access services to immigrants in Queens and Staten Island. Ana María helped LAIC to successfully increase immigrant political participation and power-building through voter mobilization, popular education and community organizing.

Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO, ABFE
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Ms. Batten joined the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) as President and CEO in January 2009. ABFE’s mission is to promote effective and responsive philanthropy in Black Communities and counts among its members some of the most influential staff, trustees and donors of grantmaking institutions in the U.S. Under her leadership, ABFE has expanded its base of programming and membership across the country.  Prior to joining ABFE, Ms. Batten was a Senior Associate with The Annie E. Casey Foundation. At Casey, Ms. Batten served as staff in the Community Change Initiatives Unit which provided investments to help transform neighborhoods into family supportive environments. She also coordinated a portfolio on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion where she worked across the Foundation to strengthen its’ focus on addressing racial disparities. Her duties also included assisting Casey in its efforts to build and employ equitable and inclusive management and administrative practices (workforce diversity, grantee diversity, vendor practices, etc.). Prior to working in philanthropy, Ms. Batten held leadership positions in both federal and city government.   She is a co-founder of the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group and serves on the board of the United Philanthropy Forum. Ms. Batten received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Fisk University, and her Masters of Social Work degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Leslie Boissiere, Vice President, External Affairs, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

As vice president of external affairs, Boissiere oversees The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT effort, as well as the areas of policy reform and advocacy, strategic communications, leadership development, equity and inclusion, organizational effectiveness and national partnerships.  From 2015 to 2017, Boissiere served as a senior fellow at the Foundation. In that role, she coordinated the efforts of Casey’s external affairs team and led the development of emerging strategies focused on youth and young adults and on improving the well-being of children in the South and Southwest.  Upon joining the Foundation in 2013, she served as chief operating officer for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a $7 million initiative supported by the Casey Foundation. During this campaign, Boissiere directly managed all efforts related to communications, finance and operations, performance management and investor relations.  Boissiere’s career path includes more than 15 years of results-driven executive experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Foundation, Boissiere worked as a vice president for AARP, the nation's largest nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to serving adults aged 50 and older. In this role, she set the strategic direction for programs and offerings related to the financial security of AARP members.  Boissiere has also served as executive director for the White House Council for Community Solutions, where she led efforts to develop cross-sector, community-based strategies to address the needs of disconnected youth.  She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Orleans.

Amy Brown, Senior Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government, Ford Foundation

Amy Brown is part of the Civic Engagement and Government team. She leads the team's work on the intersection of economic and political inequality, addressing questions of to whom government is accountable and for whom government works. Her grant making seeks to address the outsize influence of money in politics, unfair and regressive tax policies, and budget priorities that do not reflect the public good. Previously, Amy was part of Ford’s Economic Opportunity and Assets program, where her work focused on predatory lending, financial reform, and the racial wealth gap.  Before joining Ford in 2010, Amy was a senior consultant to the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program. Prior to that, she launched New York City’s earned income tax credit campaign and was a professional staff member at the US Senate Agriculture Committee, where she worked on food stamp, child nutrition, and health care legislation. She also ran a community-based organization that provided emergency food, benefits advocacy, and other services to residents in Brooklyn, New York.  Amy earned a master's degree in public administration from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in art history from Columbia College.

Dr. Shakti Butler, Filmmaker and Founder & President, World Trust
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Shakti Butler, PhD, visionary, filmmaker, transformative learning educator, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many - is President and Founder of World Trust Educational Services, Inc., a non-profit transformative educational organization. Rooted in love and justice, World Trust produces films, curricula, workshops and programs that are catalysts for institutional, structural and cultural change. Shakti is an inspirational facilitator, trainer and lecturer who is sought after by schools, universities, public and private organizations, and faith-based institutions. Dr. Butler has produced four documentaries: The Way Home; Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible; Light in the Shadows and Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity.  These films form the core of World Trust’s teaching tools, and have experienced increased exposure -- 23 million views of one clip alone -- generating national dialogue and critical thinking that is impacting institutions and communities across the country.  Most recently, Dr. Butler served as diversity consultant and advisor on the Oscar-winning Disney animated film,Zootopia, which focuses on challenging bias and systemic inequity. Shakti’s work incorporates whole body learning through stories, art, movement and dialogue. Her current film/dialogue project, Healing Justice, is intended to popularizea national conversation about justice, responsibility and healing.

Dr. Heather Cahoon, State Tribal Policy Analyst, Montana Budget and Policy Center
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Heather Cahoon is a policy scholar whose work has focused largely on the ways in which tribal sovereignty has been impacted by federal legislation, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, and the economic solvency of tribes. She has also been involved in efforts to address an array of socioeconomic issues facing Montana Indians and in general seeks to advance the health of tribal communities through the rebuilding of indigenous governments, economies and other social institutions. She holds an Interdisciplinary PhD in History, Native American Studies and Anthropology from the University of Montana, where she taught American Indian Studies prior to serving as the State-Tribal Policy Analyst for the Montana Budget and Policy Center. During her tenure at UM, she was named the first Cobell Institute Scholar, a title reserved for faculty who are continuing Eloise Cobell’s legacy of working for justice and equity for American Indians and tribal communities. Heather grew up in St. Ignatius, Montana and is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Consultant and former Senior Advisor and Vice President for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Web: |Twitter: @DrGCChristopher

Dr. Gail C. Christopher is an award winning social change agent and former Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), one of the world’s largest philanthropies.  She is the visionary for and architect of the WKKF led Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort for America. TRHT is an adaptation of the globally recognized Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) model. TRHT evolved from the decade long WKKF America Healing, racial equity and racial healing initiative, designed and led by Dr. Christopher. Over the last ten years she has had responsibility for several other areas of foundation programming. These include, Food, Health and Well-Being, Leadership, Public Policy, Community Engagement and place-based funding in New Orleans and New Mexico.  In August of 2017, Dr. Christopher left her leadership position with WKKF to launch the Maryland based Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature; and to devote more time to writing and speaking on issues of health, racial healing and human capacity for caring. She is currently Chair of the Board of the Trust for America’s Health and a Fellow of The National Academy of Public Administration.

Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director, Gamaliel
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Ana Garcia-Ashley’s family moved from the Dominican Republic to New York City during the 1960s, fleeing the chaos that followed the murder of three activists who opposed dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Her family’s safe passage was, to Garcia-Ashley, a miracle—the first sign that she had a divine mission to fulfill. Garcia-Ashley attended Catholic and public schools in the South Bronx, then moved to New Mexico to study at Highlands University. Longing for a welcoming environment among Latinos, she was shocked when her first experience was getting hit by an egg and called “nigger” in Spanish.  Ana graduated from the University of Colorado in Denver, and began her career in Denver in 1981, where she organized The Concerned Citizens of Westwood. She affiliated with the Metropolitan Organization for People in 1982 and went on to work on local and state campaigns, including enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act and affordable public services.  Intensely interested in the intersection of politics and faith, Ana attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver to develop a foundation for organizing congregations. During her theological studies and organizing, Ana’s conviction deepened that organizing was a divine calling for her—the purpose of the miracle that allowed her and her family to safely emigrate from the Dominican Republic to the United States.  Ana began her work in Gamaliel in the early 1990s, as Lead Organizer of MICAH (Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope). During her tenure there, the organization won a $500 million reinvestment commitment from the city’s banks. Ana was also the founding organizer for WISDOM, the Gamaliel-affiliated Wisconsin state organization.  She has been a member of the Gamaliel central staff for nearly two decades, serving as senior trainer at Gamaliel’s National Leadership Training and co-director of the Civil Rights for Immigrants campaign.  In 2009, Ana was named Associate Director, becoming Executive Director in 2012.  Under her leadership the organization’s Fire of Faith campaign is on track to save or create nearly 1 million jobs over 3 years, while also rekindling the 1,000 interfaith congregations that belong to Gamaliel’s affiliate organizations through community organizing.  Ana’s deep sense of organizing as a ministry, her interest in the relationship between faith and politics, and her status as a naturalized immigrant dovetail perfectly with the goal of Gamaliel to be “a community of people living out our faith and values to collectively transform our communities and bring about justice locally, nationally and globally.”  She splits her home life between Franklin, Wisconsin and Atlanta, Georgia. She is married and has two daughters. She is a member of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Milwaukee.

Hanh Le, Executive Director, Weissberg Foundation

Hanh Le is the executive director of the Weissberg Foundation, where she leads strategy development, grantmaking, operations, and stakeholder engagement. Prior to joining the foundation in 2016, she was the chief program officer at Exponent Philanthropy, where she led educational programming, content development, and internal learning efforts. Hanh has directed training, grant, and technical assistance programs for KaBOOM!, Community Technology Centers’ Network, and the Peace Corps. She holds degrees from the College of William & Mary in environmental geology and the University of Virginia School of Architecture in urban and environmental planning.  Inspired by the power of collaborative impact and the DC-area community, Hanh co-founded the Cherry Blossom Giving Circle; co-chairs the Metro-DC chapter of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers' Racial Equity Working Group; and sits on the boards of Asian American LEAD and North Capital Main Street. She is passionate about family, friends, dogs, biking, food, matrixes, and bad TV. 

Dr. Michael McAfee, President, PolicyLink
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Michael McAfee, President, leads PolicyLink executive and program teams in strategic planning, policy development, policy campaign strategy, capacity building, and programmatic design and implementation at the local, state, and national levels. He came to PolicyLink in 2011 as the inaugural director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. Under his leadership, PolicyLink has emerged as a national leader in building cradle-to-career systems to ensure that children and youth in our nation’s most distressed communities have a pathway into the middle class. His partnership with local leaders in more than 60 communities contributed to significant improvements in the educational and developmental outcomes for children and helped attract public and private investments that exceed $1 billion. Through the 2015 authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Promise Neighborhoods program is now a permanent federal program.  Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While at HUD, he managed a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio where he partnered with local leaders to create more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and 5,000 jobs and ensure access to social services for more than 200,000 families. He also served as the lead instructor with HUD’s Leadership Development Program. He is most proud of personally ensuring the successful matriculation of more than 168 senior executives through the Leadership Development Program and providing fundraising, leadership, management, and organizational development technical assistance to more than 1,000 persons and 800 grassroots faith- and community-based organizations. His partnership with the White House and HUD's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has resulted in nonprofit organizations accessing more than $1 billion in federal resources. Michael believes that every American deserves access to opportunities that give them a fair shot at succeeding in life. He is an Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow, Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar, and Leap of Reason Ambassador. He served in the United States army, completed Harvard University's Executive Program in Public Management, and earned his doctor of education in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University. He is an avid off-road hiker and practitioner of Bikram yoga.

Michael Mitchell, Senior Policy Analyst and Program Director, State Policy Fellowship Program, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Email: | Web: |Twitter: @MikeDMitchell2

Michael Mitchell is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Center’s State Fiscal Policy division, where he focuses on criminal and juvenile justice reform and reinvestment as well as state higher education funding and affordability.  He is also the Program Director for the State Policy Fellowship Program— a two-year Fellowship opportunity for recently graduated Masters students interested in conducting research and analyses on critical state budget and tax policy issues.  Prior to joining the Center, Mitchell was himself a State Policy Fellow for the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, where he conducted research on state taxes and borrowing, the effects of budget cuts on communities of color, and the impacts of the recession on young adults.  Mitchell holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Connecticut and an MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Dr. Yanique Redwood, President and CEO, Consumer Health Foundation

Yanique is responsible for the strategic, programmatic, financial and administrative operations of the Foundation. She joined the CHF team in 2012 as its second President and CEO. Prior to joining CHF, Yanique worked for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed the health and mental health portfolio of grants and the evaluation of Evidence2Success. She also provided leadership for the Race, Class, and Culture Committee of the Evidence-Based Practice Team. Yanique also worked for the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and directed a community-based participatory research initiative in Atlanta funded by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. In 2012, she was named a Terrance Keenan Institute Emerging Leader in Health Philanthropy by Grantmakers in Health and was elected to the Board of Directors of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in 2013.  Yanique has degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S.) and University of Michigan School of Public Health (Ph.D., M.P.H.). Throughout her training and career, she has focused on addressing the social determinants of health including racial equity. In her spare time, Yanique enjoys spending time with family, traveling (and preparing to travel), reading with her book club and Skyping with her nieces.

Paula Sammons, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Paula Sammons is a program officer on the Family Economic Security team at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She provides leadership and oversight for foundation efforts that build economic security for vulnerable families through an employment equity strategy. This includes programmatic and policy solutions focused on workforce development and employer engagement, enterprise development, financial health, and policy and systems change through a family-centered and racial and gender equity lens.  Sammons is also currently leading a national two-generation employment pilot, “STEPS – Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents.” This pilot is focused on sector-based workforce development intermediaries leading and formally partnering with early care and education stakeholders to advance family-centered solutions around employment, economic security, and quality early education for kids.  Outside of philanthropy, Paula’s experiences have included serving as a clinical social worker, therapist and counselor across mental health, secondary education and domestic violence settings. She has also worked in the banking industry and secondary and higher education settings. She holds a B.A. in family life education and a master’s degree in social work.  She currently serves on the Grantmakers Income Security Task Force and is co-chair of the Working Families Success Network to scale bundled, integrated services across various platforms.  She is an avid ice hockey player, mountain biker, and enjoys writing poetry.

Nonet Sykes, Director, Race Equity and Inclusion, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

As director of race equity and inclusion, Nonet Sykes works to promote the most effective strategies to improve access to opportunities and equitable outcomes for children, families and communities of color. Previously, Sykes managed capacity building resources designed to strengthen neighborhoods and families and led an international learning strategy that contributed to the Foundation’s knowledge and experience in using data to advocate for improvements in child wellbeing.  Prior to joining the Foundation in 2001, Sykes served as deputy executive director and director of programs for the Maryland Center for Community Development, managing technical assistance and training. Sykes also has served as a community development specialist with the Baltimore Community Development Financing Corporation and executive director of Tri-Churches Housing, Inc.  Sykes is co-chair of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She also serves on the boards of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Department of Rehabilitation.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services from University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore, where she was a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fellow.