Introducing Our New Community Advisory

In January, we announced our new strategy to make advancing racial equity in public education the central focus of our grantmaking. Today, we are excited to share another important development — the onboarding of our new Community Advisory.

We are tremendously grateful to our inaugural Community Advisory, whose contributions last year guided the development of our new grantmaking strategy. As philanthropy seeks to address longstanding inequities that have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that voices from New England communities continue to be involved in foundation decision-making. This year’s cohort, again consisting of individuals who have deep relationships in the communities they represent, will work with our staff and Board to provide perspective and guidance as we implement our new strategy.

Collaborating with this talented array of partners will help ensure that community insights are consistently part of all the work we pursue. We will continue to ask ourselves how our work will ensure that affected communities are driving change. We are grateful and better as a Foundation for the partnership of our Community Advisors in defining our path ahead.

We hope you will join us in welcoming the following members to our new Community Advisory, and we look forward to keeping you updated on our work together.

Grace is the Executive Director for Communications and Community Partnerships for Portland Public Schools. In this role, she oversees the district’s work on family engagement, youth development, and partnerships with community-based organizations. She is an educator with specialization in English Language Learner education, immigrant education and has international experience with non-governmental agencies specializing in refugee work. She is passionate about multi-racial and cross-class coalition centering people of color in leadership to achieve social and racial justice.

Ina is a Program Coordinator at WEE. She previously worked at the Attorney General’s Office as a Program Coordinator for the Safe Neighborhood Initiative and later as a Legislative Aide for then State Rep Marie St. Fleur. After working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ina moved on to the private sector and worked at Pearson Education where her last position was Inventory Analyst.

Olga is the Executive Director of Women Encouraging Empowerment (WEE) located in Revere, Massachusetts. Olga helped launch the Revere Education Justice Alliance (REJA) and was one of the first immigrant women to serve in a leadership role on Revere High School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). She is an alumnus of Revere Public Schools’ Parent Leadership Training Institute.

Manuel is the Head of School at the Cambridge Street Upper School. He has over 30 years’ experience working as an educator in numerous communities in Massachusetts including Boston and Taunton. Manuel views himself as not only a school leader, but also a leader in anti-racist work.

Mario is the Chief of Social, Emotional and Behavioral Learning at Holyoke Public Schools in Massachusetts. Prior to that, he was the Managing Director of Social Emotional Learning at UP Education Network, also in Massachusetts, and the Director of School Climate and Culture for Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut.

Marquis is the Founder and Executive Director of Elevated Thought, a creative arts youth organizing group in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he has deep roots. He holds a master’s in education and previously taught in Revere and Boston, and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership at Northeastern University.

Helen is a student in Lawrence Public Schools and a youth member of Elevated Thought, a creative arts youth organizing group in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Milagros is a high school junior in Lawrence Public Schools and a youth member of Elevated Thought, a creative arts youth organizing group in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She is also a member of her high school’s Student Government Association, and a winner of the Citizenship Award and the “Be Kind, Be Humble” Award. After high school, she plans to major in the health sciences.

Michele is a Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy. She is also Director and Co-founder for New Hampshire Listens at the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Her work on and off campus is focused on inclusive civic engagement, community problem-solving, and building coalitions for community-initiated change efforts. She works to bring people together across perspectives and backgrounds to solve problems and create equitable solutions for their communities.

Sarah is Executive Director of Granite State Organizing Project. She has over twenty years’ organizing experience and is highly engaged in grassroots work. She also founded Young Organizers United (YOU), a group of high schoolers from various backgrounds who are dedicated to strengthening multi-issue and multi-racial coalitions designed to overcome disparate treatment in high schools.

Amaka is a youth empowerment coordinator for Manchester Public Schools, focused on centering youth voices and creating space for intergenerational dialogue and relationships. Additionally, she serves as a School Climate Specialist to provide support to middle school staff, student, and families. Ashley has over five years teaching experience within the Manchester Public Schools. In addition, she organizes the district’s Youth Equity Squad. Ashley is dedicated to positively impacting many lives of all ages, especially the minds of the future. She thrives from serving others and creating a positive atmosphere.

Mohamed is a student in Manchester Public Schools and a member of Granite State Organizing Project’s Young Organizers United (YOU), a group of high schoolers from various backgrounds who are dedicated to strengthening multi-issue and multi-racial coalitions designed to overcome disparate treatment in high schools.

Julia is a high school junior in Manchester Public Schools and a primary leader and member of Granite State Organizing Project’s Young Organizers United (YOU), a group of high schoolers from various backgrounds who are dedicated to strengthening multi-issue and multi-racial coalitions designed to overcome disparate treatment in high schools. Julia’s goals after high school include attending college.

  • Tauheedah Jackson, Institute for Educational Leadership, Connecticut

Tauheeda serves as the deputy director for IEL’s Coalition for Community Schools, where she is responsible for engaging local communities and supervising the programs, logistics, and daily operations of the Coalition. She brings nearly 20 years of experience working in youth development, local government, philanthropy, school districts and out-of-school time programs.

  • Chanda Womack, ARISE, Rhode Island

Chanda is the Founding Executive Director of Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) located in Providence, Rhode Island. She was recently recognized as Studio 10 and Providence Monthly’s Who to Watch in 2020. She was also the recipient of the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the YWCA’s Women in Achievement Award and the Providence Youth Student Movement POWER Award.

  • Jeny Daniels, ARISE, Rhode Island

Jeny is a youth leader at ARISE and class president at her school. She also participates in outdoor track and field, theater, and orchestra. Jeny enjoys these activities because she can make a difference and express herself.

  • Krisnu Chuon, ARISE, Rhode Island

Krisnu is a youth leader at ARISE. They are also a volunteer at their school library, Cranston Central Public Library, and Miriam Hospital.

Karla is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Equity Institute where she oversees the organization’s creative vision and leads strategic initiatives that focus on developing equitable polices and practices. In her previous roles, she has worked to develop frameworks and resources centered in equity, culturally responsive teaching, and personalized learning. Karla is also a strong advocate in her state and beyond voicing the importance of recruiting and retaining teachers of color. She is a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow and was recently selected as a Pahara NextGen Fellow, Winter 2020 Cohort.

Christine is a teacher at Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington, Vermont where she teaches sixth grade Social Studies. Christine aims to place relationships at the center of her work and is committed to dismantling systems of oppression and decolonizing education together with her colleagues in the school’s Diversity Working Group and students in Peer Leadership.

Infinite is a staff member of the Vermont Equity Project, which aims to deepen understanding across the state and among policymakers on how the state’s funding formula discussion needs to be linked to increasing quality education for all of Vermont’s students. Infinite was formerly responsible for the Lead Community Partner (LCP) work in Burlington and Winooski.

Judy is the Executive Director of Gedakina, a multigenerational endeavor to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth and families from across New England. Judy is a life-long award-winning educator who specializes in sharing indigenous knowledge with children, and is also on the Board of Directors of OYATE and the Native American Scouting Association.