NFG Board of Directors

Michael Brown
The Seattle Foundation
Board Co-Chair

Shona Chakravartty
Hill-Snowdon Foundation

Alison Corwin
Surdna Foundation
Board Co-Chair

Andrea Dobson
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Lavastian Glenn
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

Marjona Jones
Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Amy Kenyon
Ford Foundation
Board Secretary

Amoretta Morris
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Mark Paley
The Hyams Foundation

Carmen Rojas
The Workers Lab

Mary Sobecki
The Needmor Fund

Aaron Tanaka
Center for Economic Democracy
Board Treasurer 

Sandra Witt
The California Endowment 

Dennis Quirin
Neighborhood Funders Group


seattle-foundation-michael-brown-bio-lrg.jpgMichael Brown is the Vice-President of Community Leadership at The Seattle Foundation. Michael oversees the Foundation’s community impact efforts, strategic grantmaking initiatives, and convening activities. He also leads the Foundation's economic opportunity agenda.  From 1997 to 2000, Michael served as a legislative aide to City of Seattle Councilmember Richard McIver. Michael also served as Deputy Director for the Washington Association for Community Economic Development, a non-profit organization that provided training and technical assistance to statewide community-based development organizations.

A native of New Orleans, Michael received his Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Loyola University (New Orleans). Michael is board member of Building Changes, Impact Capital, the King County Housing Authority, and the Washington State Budget and Policy Center. Michael is also an American Marshall Memorial Fellow and a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow.

photo_shona_chakravartty.jpgShona Chakravartty is a Senior Program Officer at Hill-Snowdon Foundation, and is responsible for leading and managing HSF’s Economic Justice grantmaking program, as well as developing and implementing learning and leveraging activities related to HSF’s economic justice interests. She was previously the co-chair of NGG’s Working Group on Labor & Community Partnerships, now Funders for a Just Economy, and currently serves on the steering committee of the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing.
Before joining the Hill-Snowdon Foundation staff in 2006, Shona served as Program Officer for the Four Freedoms Fund, and at the Jewish Fund for Justice (now known as Bend the Arc). Shona has also worked at a variety of non-profits in New York City including the National Council of Jewish Women, Sakhi for South Asian Women, and Women and Philanthropy. She currently serves on the board of Chhaya CDC in Queens, where she resides. Past board service includes the New York Women’s Foundation, South Asian Youth Action, and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants & Refugees (GCIR). Shona was born in India and holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Master’s degree from Oxford University.

corwin-alison-600x600.jpgAlison Corwin is a Program Officer for Sustainable Environments at the Surdna Foundation. She engages in grantmaking to advance just and sustainable communities through a ‘Next Generation Infrastructure’ lens that looks at sustainable transportation networks and equitable development patterns, energy in the built environment, urban water management, and regional food supply. In this role, Alison promotes meaningful collaborations and innovative thinking regarding ways to integrate infrastructure solutions and prioritize infrastructure decisions that better meet the needs of historically underserved communities including low-wealth communities and people of color.

Alison previously served as a Project Manager at New Ecology, Inc. in the field of community-based sustainable development. Through technical support, her work with developers, engineers, and architects resulted in cost-effective, environmentally sensitive affordable housing projects, community and healthcare facilities, and elder care developments. Additionally, she worked for non-profits focused on social enterprise development and breaking the cycle of family homelessness. She has engaged in community organizing, political campaigns, and volunteer efforts addressing issues in her local community.

Alison is a LEED Accredited Professional, an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow and a PLACES Fellow. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University.

Ddobson_portrait_staffbios.jpgAndrea Dobson is the Chief Operating & Financial Officer of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing the investment, finance, accounting, human resources, operating, and information technology functions of the Foundation.  Andrea is responsible for ensuring WRF generates sufficient revenue to achieve its programmatic objectives and maintains good stewardship of its financial resources. Andrea leads the Foundation’s efforts in mission investing and provides support to the Finance and Audit Committees of the Board. She is committed to addressing the issues related to poverty, racial and social justice, education, and community development, particularly through sound fiscal policies and transparency.  Before joining the WRF team in 2000, Andrea was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Central Maryland Farm Credit Agricultural Credit Association. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, investment oversight, and financial governance.  Andrea is a Certified Public Accountant with a bachelor of business administration from the University of Michigan.



lavastian2.jpgLavastian Glenn directs the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation's Program Team and its efforts in mission investing, including program-related investments. Lavastian also is responsible for strategic grantmaking, relationship and network development in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. She supports grantee partners engaged in asset development, community economic development and public policy/systems reform. Prior to joining the foundation in 2007, Lavastian served as Executive Director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN), a grassroots support organization in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During her tenure, Lavastian expanded NBN’s program activities beyond neighborhood grantmaking to include grassroots organizing, leadership development through the Neighborhood Institute for Community Leadership, technical assistance/project development support, and simultaneous English/Spanish language translation.

Lavastian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Wake Forest University and has participated in a number of local, regional and national trainings, including Neighbor Works, the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Crossroads' Dismantling Racism, the North Carolina People’s Coalition on Giving, Southeastern Council of Foundations Hull Fellowship (2007) and the ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship (2012). Lavastian serves on the steering committee of Grantmakers for Southern Progress, a working group of the Neighborhood Funders Group that advocates for increased investments in the South for structural change and equitable outcomes for low-wealth communities.

Marjona_headshot.jpgMarjona Jones is a Program Officer at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock. Marjona, a native of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Since August, 2014 she has been a Program Officer at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock focused on racial justice and economic equity. Prior to entering the field of philanthropy, Marjona organized for 14 years in varying capacities for social and economic justice. From 2009 to 20014 she was the Organizing Coordinator with Brown Community Development Corporation (BCDC) in Brooklyn, NY--part of a coalition with Brooklyn Speaks that organized a deal to guarantee affordable housing as part of the Atlantic Yards development. She was a member of NY Jobs with Justice staff as a coalition organizer and then organizing director until 2007. Prior to that she was an organizer with UNITE organizing industrial laundries up and down the eastern seaboard. NY Jobs with Justice was the place she sharpened her organizing skills and analysis about movement building. Marjona brings all of her experience, expertise and whole self to her practice as a grant maker. She has great respect for the privilege do this work and be a movement partner. 

amy_kenyon.jpgAmy Kenyon oversees the Ford Foundation’s Connecting People to Opportunity initiative, which is focused on reforming the rules that shape regional development in U.S. metropolitan areas in order to expand economic opportunities for low-income people. Her grant making supports integrated approaches to equitable development, through improving access to permanently affordable housing and transit choices and deepening community engagement in land-use planning processes.

Amy has more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and public sector, with an emphasis on developing and implementing finance and community development solutions for low-income communities. Before assuming the role of program officer in 2013, she worked for three years as a program manager with the foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunity program, coordinating its evaluation and helping to build a unified theory of change and place-based strategies that span its three initiatives. In collaboration with a cross-program working group, she also supported the development and rollout of a foundation-wide results reporting process.

Earlier, Amy was a consultant with numerous government agencies and nonprofit organizations on projects that helped to improve the viability of low-income communities, promote entrepreneurship among disadvantaged populations and maintain environmental sustainability. She also served as the director of economic and community development for a community in upstate New York.

Amy earned her master’s degree from the New School for Public Engagement’s program in urban policy and management, where she concentrated in organizational effectiveness and community development finance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from Messiah College. 

Headshot_Morris.jpgAmoretta Morris is the Senior Associate for Family-Centered Community Change at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy dedicated to helping build better futures for children. She leads the foundation’s place-based investments which support a two-generation approach to improving academic and economic well-being for children and their families.

Ms. Morris is a visionary leader with over a decade of experience shaping policies and programs to improve the lives of youth and families. She has moved between the non-profit sector and government either organizing for social change from the outside or reforming institutions from the inside. Ms. Morris brings deep experience in youth development, community organizing, interagency collaboration, performance measurement and non-profit management. Prior to joining the foundation, she served as the Director of Student Attendance for the District of Columbia Public Schools. She led a continuum of activities ranging from chronic absence intervention and dropout prevention to supports for homeless students. During her tenure, the district cut the truancy rate by 40%. Previously, she served as a youth and education policy adviser in the DC Mayor’s Office where she launched the District’s inaugural children’s cabinet, authored the first Children’s Budget and coordinated youth violence intervention efforts. And, prior to joining local government, she ran a local advocacy organization that mobilized youth and adults to promote juvenile justice reform. Ms. Morris’ work has been featured on national and local media including the Washington Post and National Public Radio.

She has served on several non-profit boards and local commissions. And, she is a lay leader in the spiritual community at Unity of Washington, DC. She is a member of Black Benefactors, a local giving circle that leverages the resources of grassroots philanthropists to effect social change in the DC metropolitan area. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, MO with a degree in Economics and African Studies. And, she received her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Mark Paley joined The Hyams Foundation in 2001. Before coming to Hyams, he was the CFO at YouthBuild USA where he helped to build the national youth servicing non-profit to a nationally recognized network of groups working with out of school youth. His first position in Boston was with Boston Neighborhood Housing, which financed affordable housing rehab projects in three Boston neighborhoods. Mark was part of the initial steering committee of the Non-Profit Financial Managers Group, which continues to meet monthly. In the summer of 2017, Mark became a member of the board of the Schott Foundation. Mark earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters of Management at the University of California, Davis.




carmen.jpgCarmen Rojas is the CEO of The Workers Lab, an accelerator that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, technologists, economic justice organizations,issue campaigns, and businesses to create scalable and self-­sustaining solutions that improve conditions for low-­wage workers. The Workers Lab is focused on ideas, services, and products that will achieve sufficient scale to impact workers across sectors, industries, and geographies, and result in self-­sufficient revenue models.

Prior to assuming this position, she was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. In this capacity, she played a pivotal role supporting the work of Living Cities’ member institutions, which represented 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world. Her work focused on improving economic opportunity for low ­income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building.

From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the Foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Her charge involved participating in efforts to build power in low­ income communities and communities of color.

Prior to joining the Kapor Foundation, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out­Migration. As Coordinator, she developed qualitative and quantitative reports for a taskforce established by San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom to address African American displacement from the city.

In 2004, Carmen served as the Coordinator of the Social Equity Caucus, a program of Urban Habitat, a regional nonprofit organization in the Bay Area. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the work of a regional network of over 75 public, private, and nonprofit organizations to build a regional social and environmental justice movement that represents the needs of low­ income communities and communities of color.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. She taught in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley from 2009­-2011. Her teaching focused on the history of cities in the US, a practicum on local economic development, planning pedagogy, and race in the practice of city planning. 

mary-sobecki_lrg.jpgMary Sobecki has been with The Needmor Fund for ten years and currently serves as its Executive Director.  Prior to joining Needmor, she was employed by the Toledo Community Foundation for fifteen years, where she served as Senior Program Officer and later as the founding Director of the Nonprofit Resource Center. 

Before entering philanthropy, Mary worked for several nonprofits in Northwest Ohio, including Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, and the Y.W.C.A. of Greater Toledo.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Bowling Green State University.

Mary’s current board memberships include Philanthropy Ohio, The First Tee of Lake Erie and FOCUS (a Toledo-area nonprofit that provides rapid re-housing and other support services for homeless families).  She also serves on the Grants Advisory Committee for the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.



Aaron Tanaka is a Boston-based community organizer, grantmaker, and impact investor. As the director of the Center for Economic Democracy, Aaron stewards funding and technical assistance to grassroots groups that build power and vision in low-income communities of color for a new economy. As the startup managing director for the Boston Impact Initiative (BII), Aaron helped create Boston’s first local impact fund, directing loans and private equity investments toward Boston’s growing localist economy. Until 2012, Aaron was co-founder and executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA). From 2010 to 2012, Aaron served as a special commissioner appointed by the governor to advise on equitable job creation strategies for Massachusetts. He is a former Green For All Fellow, a current Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Fellow, and a visiting practitioner at Tufts University, and he is co-chair of the Asian American Resource Workshop and the national New Economy Coalition. Aaron holds a BA from Harvard University and an MS in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.

Sandra-Witt-for-collage-620x777.jpgSandra Witt joined The California Endowment in August 2011 as director of Healthy Communities North. Witt is responsible for advancing the vision and strategic direction, as well as helping achieve established goals and outcomes, through The Endowment’s philanthropic efforts in Northern California.

Prior to joining The Endowment, Witt served as the Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Health Equity for the Alameda County Public Health Department where she was responsible for ensuring that programs and policies were accurate, effective and responsive to County residents, and consistent with the goal of eliminating health inequities. Concurrent to that role, she also served as the director of the Community Assessment, Planning, Education and Evaluation (CAPE) Unit of the Alameda County Public Health Department for which she developed and directed a unit of epidemiologists, evaluators and health educators responsible for assessing and monitoring the health status of County residents, and providing technical assistance to county, department, and community programs. In this capacity, she received an Outstanding Manager of the Year award.

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of public health, Witt has served in a variety capacities, including as an epidemiologist/community researcher for the Alameda Public Health Department (1998-1999); public health consultant for the International Health Programs of the Western Consortium for Public Health in Santa Cruz, CA (1997); and as a health and development program officer and consultant for the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada (1985-1990).

Witt received a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship and Inter-American Foundation sponsorship for her doctoral dissertation research, “Child Health, Resilient Households and Protective Practices in Ecuador Shantytown.” She earned Dr.PH. in Maternal and Child Health from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Latin American Studies/Anthropology.

Dennis_Headshot.jpgDennis Quirin is the President of the Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG). NFG is a national membership association of grantmaking institutions who are committed to improving the economic and social conditions of communities of color and low income communities across the US. As President of NFG, Dennis has lead an extensive organizational change process that has resulted in doubling the programming and membership of NFG. Dennis comes to this position with two decades of experience as an activist, organizer, fundraiser, and grantmaker working for social change.

He has extensive experience working in a variety of roles with nonprofits, designing and implementing strategic programs, and working effectively with diverse stakeholders. Prior to his work at NFG, Dennis designed and led the Race & Equity Collaborative at the Proteus Fund, a multi-city funding strategy supporting the growth of city-level alliances working at the intersection of racial justice and voter engagement.

As a bridge builder between sectors and strategies, Dennis has worked with some of the most respected social change organizations and leaders in the county, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, SCOPE/AGENDA, Californians for Justice, and California Forward. Dennis began his philanthropic experience working at The San Francisco Foundation funding hundreds of social justice organizations in the Bay Area.

Dennis has served on the boards of Intersection for the Arts, Californians for Justice, Northern California Grantmakers Emergency Loan Fund, Civic Engagement Fund for AMEMSA Communities, and Bay Area Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. He currently serves as a trustee of the Common Counsel Foundation and as an Advisor to the Bay Area Justice Funders Network.