Over the past year, Nellie Mae has grown our work in several ways, from the implementation of our new grant strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education, to continuing to learn how to best serve as an engaged and supportive grantmaker. We have also expanded as a staff over these past several months and are excited to welcome five new team members who together bring a vast array of knowledge and experience to our organization.
Alex Toussaint, Senior Accountant
Alex Toussaint joined the Foundation in April 2020. Prior to joining Nellie Mae, Alex worked as an independent business consultant for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals around business strategy and personal finance. He also has experience as an elementary school educator. Alex is passionate about promoting financial literacy, as well as educational justice.
Julita Bailey-Vasco, Senior Communications Manager
Julita Bailey-Vasco joined the Foundation in October 2020. Prior to her work at Nellie Mae, Julita worked at Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that leads the workforce and education system in achieving economic advancement for all. Julita is committed to the work of an equitable education system in hopes of restoring a fraction of what has been stolen from Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color.
Michael G. Williams Jr., Program Officer
Michael G. Williams Jr. joined the Foundation in October 2020. Prior to his work at Nellie Mae, Michael worked at Duet, a non-profit that partners with the University of Southern New Hampshire to help students of color enroll in and complete degree programs. Michael brings a strong dedication to community-centered service; this commitment has led him to roles in community organizing, politics, and nonprofit case management and partnership development focused on helping young people achieve their educational and career goals.
Kathiana Amazan, Program Associate
Kathiana Amazan started at Nellie Mae in November 2020. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kathiana served as the Operations Coordinator for the Letters Foundation, an organization that provided one-time humanitarian grants to individuals experiencing hardship when no other options existed. A first-generation student and Boston Public Schools graduate, Kathiana believes all students should have access to equitable public education and opportunities to realize their full potential.
Lucas Codognolla, Senior Manager of Partnerships and Advocacy
Lucas Codognolla is joining the foundation at the end of December 2020. Prior to joining Nellie Mae, Lucas served as the founding Executive Director of Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D), a youth-led, statewide network fighting for the rights of undocumented youth and their families. A community organizer at heart, Lucas is a relationship-builder and passionate about using his positionality to leverage resources for and with communities of color.
Welcoming New Team Members to the Foundation was originally published in Nellie Mae Education Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.