Russlynn H. Ali, Emerson Collective

TITLE: Managing Director, Education


CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Ali has been a key figure in the growing ed philanthropy of Laurene Powell Jobs 

PROFILE: Russlynn Ali leads education work at the Emerson Collective, LLC, an organization quietly established by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, more than a decade ago that mixes traditional grantmaking with social investing. 

Ali earned her Bachelor's from American University and a JD from Northwestern. She worked as an attorney at several California-based law firms and has also taught the subject at UC Davis and University of Southern California.

In the nonprofit sector, she's served on the review board for the Broad Prize for Urban Education, as well as several review boards of education programs such as College Track, Great Schools and Institute for College Access and Success. The Aspen Institute has awarded Ali their New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellowship. She has also served as vice president of Washington, DC's Education Trust, and was the founding managing director of Education Trust West.

Working in the government sector, Ali first served on former California Governor Schwarzenegger's Advisory Committee on Education Excellence. Later, President Obama appointed her as US Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in May of 2009. There, Ali worked as "US Secretary of Education [Arne] Duncan's primary adviser on civil rights and [was] responsible for enforcing US civil rights laws as they pertain to education." She made sure the "nation's schools, colleges and universities [received] federal funding [that did] not engage in discriminatory conduct related to race, sex, disability or age," according to the Department of Ed's site. She also directed an army of around 600 attorneys to this end.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education says that during Ali's time at the Office for Civil Rights, she directed their focus more toward discrimination complaints, a topic that did not receive adequate attention under the aegis of former president George Bush. She also "issued new guidance for how colleges and universities should respond to incidents of sexual assault."

Laurene Powell Jobs hired Ali to oversee to play a key role at the Emerson Collective in 2012. 


John Morgridge, TOSA Foundation

TITLE: Co-Founder and CFO

FUNDING AREAS: Animal welfare, arts, education, environment, higher education, human services, international affairs, international development, youth development

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Morgridge is a quiet philanthropist, but make no mistake, he's an ardent one who intends to give away the vast majority of his Cisco-made fortune before he dies.

PROFILE: John P. Morgridge, known for his Cisco Systems heritage, is co-founder of the TOSA Foundation with his wife, Tashia. Here's his bio on the Wisconsin Technology Initiative website, where he serves on the advisory board:

John P. Morgridge and his wife, Tashia F. Morgridge, established the Wisconsin Technology Initiative (WTI) in December 2010 to help make 21st century instructional technology more accessible to forward-thinking school districts. John is chair of the WTI Advisory Board.

John has had a lengthy career as a business executive, an educator and a philanthropist. He is currently chair emeritus of Cisco Systems, a multinational corporation that designs and sells networking and communications technology and services. John joined Cisco in 1988 as President and CEO, and grew the company from $5 million to more than $1 billion in sales and from 34 employees to more than 2,250. In 1990, he took Cisco public; in 1995, he was appointed chair; and in November 2006, he became chair emeritus. During his tenure, Cisco became the world leader in networking for the Internet, with approximately $30 billion in annual revenues and 54,500 employees in 77 countries.

Throughout his career, John (along with his wife Tashia) has made education one of his top priorities. John and Tashia established the Morgridge Center for Public Service on the UW-Madison campus, gave $31 million to the UW-Madison School of Education to modernize and expand the Education Building, gave $50 million to a research center on the UW-Madison campus, and participated in an $85 million donation to help the UW School of Business attract and retain top faculty and staff. They also established the Fund For Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS) with a $175 million gift, providing needs-based scholarships for higher education to public high school graduates.

John is on the boards of Business Executives for National Security, CARE, the Cisco Foundation, the Morgridge Institute for Research, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, the TOSA Foundation, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). John also teaches management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and serves on its School of Business Advisory Council.

John and Tashia are both graduates of Wauwatosa High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University.

Morgridge gives most of his support to organizations in his home state of Wisconsin, with a smaller portion going to worthy causes in the Silicon Valley area of California. He and his wife both seek to be inspired in their giving, stating in an interview that they "are very much aware" and are "always looking" for the next idea. Morgridge's passion for philanthropy has also been passed down to his son, John, who along with with his wife Carrie, runs the Morgridge Family Foundation. Morgridge himself has stated very clearly that he intends to mindfully give as much away as he can in his lifetime.


Serena Ritch, O’Donnell Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Manager & Director of Arts Programs

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 and higher education arts programs

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: This foundation does its work under the radar, and therefore so does Ritch.

PROFILE: Serena Ritch is senior program manager and director of arts programs for the O'Donnell Foundation. Her official foundation bio shares:

In particular, she works with the AP Arts and Music Theory Incentive Program, overseeing the Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Programs, which operate in 21 Metroplex middle schools and 22 high schools. Ritch has vast experience in the non-profit sector, and has previously worked for UT Southwestern Medical Center and Sotheby’s Auction House. Other community activities include the Hockaday Alumnae Association, where she was a board member, and the Oak Hill Academy Long Range Planning and Development Committees. Ritch received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.

Carolyn Dickson, O’Donnell Foundation

TITLE: Executive Director

FUNDING AREAS: K-12, Advanced Placement, teacher training, higher education, and STEM education

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: For Carolyn Bacon Dickson, executive director of the O'Donnell Foundation, improving student achievement, especially in mathematics and science, and preparing students for success in college doesn't require magic or special programs. If students take academically rigorous courses taught by knowledgeable, qualified teachers, they are far more likely to achieve success in college and in the workplace.

That is why the O'Donnell Foundation has long championed initiatives designed to strengthen teacher knowledge so that they can better prepare students to take Advanced Placement (AP) and pre-AP courses in high school. Building on its work in the 1990s with a Texas public schools system, the O'Donnell Foundation has created non-profit organizations and funded programs designed to create outstanding teachers who can deliver an academically challenging curriculum, especially in math and science. This is a rather narrow focus for O'Donnell, but an important one. And Dickson is definitely a go-to person for all things AP.

Dickson's work with the O'Donnell Foundation has emphasized teacher training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, but that doesn't mean she is not interested in other academic areas. The foundation also has supported AP incentive programs in art and music. 

Dickson's advocacy of greater academic rigor is not limited to AP-related programs in secondary schools or to traditional public schools. O'Donnell also has supported charter schools, giving grants such as $337,000 in 2010 to Dallas-based Uplift Education, a charter school operator. So if you're a charter school operator that's serious about challenging your students academically to better prepare them for success in college, Dickson is a funder you should get to know. It's important to remember, however, that the foundation concentrates most of its work in Texas. In addition, O'Donnell does not award grants or fellowships to individuals.

In addition to its K-12 programs, the O'Donnell Foundation under Dickson has supported higher education programs that emphasize STEM-related fields.

Fred Frelow, Ford Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 education

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: As a program officer on education issues at the Ford Foundation, Fred Frelow brings a from-the-trenches perspective. For 12 years, he was a teacher in the public schools of Newton, Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in educational administration and policy analysis from Teachers College at Columbia University and a master's in education and policy analysis from Boston University. Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2008, Frelow was director of early college initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He also oversaw the school reform program at the Rockefeller Foundation.

His foundation bio shares: 

Frederick James Frelow is part of the Youth Opportunity and Learning team. His grant making has focused on improving the quality of teaching in secondary schools serving low-income, minority, and immigrant children.

Fred has worked on issues of education and scholarship in the United States. Before joining the foundation in 2008, he was director of early college initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, where he was responsible for managing the development of 14 early college high schools. Previously, he was associate director in the Working Communities division of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he oversaw development and implementation of the foundation's school reform program.

He has also served as director of national affairs and associate director of urban initiatives for the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future at Teachers College, Columbia University; director of curriculum for the Nyack, New York, public schools; and director of the US Department of Education's Magnet School Assistance Program at Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, New York.

Fred taught for 12 years in Newton, Massachusetts, public schools. He has an doctor of education degree in educational administration and policy analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a master's degree in education and policy analysis from Boston University.


Mike Newman, Travelers Foundation

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Education, community development, arts and culture

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Mike Newman is vice president of the Travelers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the insurance corporation.  (For the corporate side his title is Director of Community Relations.)  Here's his official foundation bio:

As Vice President of the Travelers Foundation, Mike Newman gives direction to the charitable contributions arm of the company and its foundation. Previously, he was Manager of North American Field Operation where he developed the capacity of field offices to implement the company's community affairs strategy. He joined The St. Paul Travelers Foundation in February 1997 after spending the early part of his career in the nonprofit and governmental arena.

At the state Department of Human Services, he directed community affairs and human resources, management and organizational development for a department of 8,000 employees and 15,000 volunteers. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Volunteer Services for the department, providing training and consultation in volunteer management to local agencies. Mike has previously directed two local volunteer programs in addition to having done development work with the United Way of Minneapolis.

Mike served from 1995-1999 as President of the international Association for Volunteer Administration and has served in numerous board capacities with Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, Page Education Foundation, Minnesota Association of Volunteer Directors, Dakota Woodlands, Minneapolis Red Cross, Minnesota Social Service Association, Minnesota Children's Trust Fund, the Arts and Culture Partnership, and other organizations. He has served or continues to serve as a volunteer with a diverse number and type of nonprofit organizations.

Newman has a bachelor's degree in social work from Bemidji State University and his graduate work was in community development at the University of Minnesota.

John M. Bendheim, Leon Lowenstein Foundation

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Education and medical research

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: John Bendheim is vice president of the Leon Lowenstein Foundation. Here's Bendheim's bio on the Businessweek website:

Mr. John M. Bendheim serves as the President of Bendheim Enterprises, Inc. Mr. Bendheim serves as Vice President at Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc. He founded Inland Homes in 1994 and has specialized in providing equity funding for real estate transactions. He works with several developers and affiliates on single family lots totaling over one thousand lots. He served as President of Benditel Incorporated from 1988 to 1994. He has owned apartments, surgery centers, office buildings, condominiums, model homes, industrial buildings, recreational vehicle parks, and convenience centers. He served as the Chairman of Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai from 2000 to 2002. He serves as a Director at Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Inc. He serves as an Outside Director of California Republic Bancorp. He has been a Member of Advisory Board at Mandalay Digital Group, Inc since May 4, 2012. He served as an Independent Director of Zoo Entertainment, Inc (indiePub Entertainment, Inc). from June 2008 to June 13, 2011. He served as Director of Advanced Biotherapy, Inc. from June 2000 to November 23, 2005. Mr. Bendheim serves as the Chairman of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. From 2001 to 2002, he was Executive Chairman of the International Young President Organization. He was Chairman of the Cedars Sinai Sports Spectacular. He serves as Vice- Chairman of the Psychological Trauma Center. He serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Brentwood School, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Lowenstein Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, American Fidelity Corporation, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, University Of Southern California Alumni Association Board of Governors, Cedars Sinai Medical Genetics Institute- Community Advisory Board, USC Marshall School Board of Leaders, Wallace Annenberg Center For the Performing Arts, Los Angeles Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Evergreen Community School. Mr. Bendheim received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1975 and an MBA in 1976 from the University of Southern California.

Elizabeth A. Smith, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation

TITLE: Grants Program Director

FUNDING AREAS: Cultural activities, health, education, environment, human services and public affairs.

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: It was April 2005, and Elizabeth Smith had just spent seven years advising nonprofits on how to obtain funding. She was campaign director for the consulting firm Coxe Curry & Associates. But then she found herself in a new role: She'd be the one offering the funding. That month was the beginning of her new job as grants program director at the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, a position she has holds to this day. 

Her foundation bio shares:

Lizzy joined the Foundations’ staff as Grants Officer in 2005 and became Grants Program Director in 2011. She previously worked for the fundraising consulting firm of Coxe Curry & Associates for more than seven years, and also served as Director of Special Events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Raleigh, NC. Lizzy is a former trustee of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and a past chair of the Foundation Center-Atlanta Advisory Board. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. degree in economics.

Tashia Morgridge, TOSA Foundation

TITLE: Co-Founder and President

FUNDING AREAS: Animal welfare, arts, education, environment, higher education, human services, international affairs, international development, youth development, and services

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Tashia Morgridge is the co-founder of hte TOSA Foundation.

Her foundation bio shares: 

Tashia Morgridge is Co-founder of the TOSA Foundation, a private family foundation that awards gifts to charitable and educational causes. In addition to being on the board of the TOSA Foundation, Mrs. Morgridge serves on the boards of the Science Center, the Stanford Schools Corporation, the Morgridge Institute for Research, the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, and the board of visitors for the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin.

The author of a book of lessons for use in elementary classrooms, Mrs. Morgridge is a retired special education teacher. In addition, she is the Grandma who wrote the book “Cousins Camp”.

Mrs. Morgridge holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in Special Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Morgridge and her husband John have three children and have six amazing grandchildren.


Nancy Cable, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

TITLE: President

FUNDING AREAS: Private higher education, religion, and public television

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Nancy J. Cable is a passionate believer in a sound liberal arts education and the ability of higher education institutions to help provide high school teachers with the content knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to deliver quality instruction to better prepare students for college. These qualities make her a perfect fit for leadership of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, where she was appointed president in October 2012.

Her foundation bio shares:

Dr. Nancy J. Cable was appointed as President of The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations in October of 2012. A nationally recognized leader in higher education, educational access, finance and affordability, and liberal arts curricula, she served as faculty member and dean at Denison University from 1977-1986, Guilford College from 1986-1991, and Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Davidson College from 1991-2005 leading a college wide effort to advance selectivity, diversity, financial capacity, and strategic planning. In this role and together with Davidson trustees, faculty and student leaders and alumni, she advanced the knowledge -- and national positioning -- of Davidson College into the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the nation. From 2005-2009, she served as Vice President for Development in the College of Engineering at the University of Virginia and later with UVa’s Semester at Sea Program. Following 3 years of service as Bates College’s Vice President, the Bates College Board of Trustees elected
Dr. Cable as Interim President, a position that allowed her to help lead college wide efforts on governance, faculty and curricular issues, and matters of diversity and inclusion.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she earned her B.A. in history from Marietta College, a Master’s degree from the University of Vermont and her Ph.D. in higher education history from the University of Virginia. She also graduated from the Harvard University Institute from Educational Leadership. A noted writer on the history of American higher education, she has focused on the history of liberal arts colleges during the progressive era from 1870-1915. She has written articles on higher education governance, access and quality in selective college admission, and assisted in the writing and research for an amicus brief from a small group of liberal arts colleges for the Supreme Court’s Grutter case on preferential admission for underrepresented populations at highly selective colleges.

Dr. Cable is one of the charter founders of the University of Virginia Semester at Sea Desmond Tutu Program in Global Understanding and the CY Tung Scholars program on US-China Relations. She is a Fulbright Senior Specialist and has consulted with the Director of the Fulbright Center in Hong Kong on the development of the liberal arts curricula within the evolving Chinese higher education system.

Her professional service has included membership on many Boards of Trustees for schools and colleges, and includes the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Marietta College, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, The College Board Task Force on Equity in Higher Education, The Council of Independent Colleges, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Admission and Financial Aid Task Force, the Maine Public Broadcasting System, the WJCT Public Radio and Television Board in Jacksonville, and she currently serves as Chairperson of the Better Angels Society that advises and supports Ken Burns’ work as America’s leading filmmaker of long form historical documentaries. In January 2017, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Trust for the Humanities in Washington D.C.

Kevin Hall, Charter School Growth Fund

TITLE: President & CEO

FUNDING AREAS: Charter management organizations, charter schools, elementary and secondary education

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Kevin Hall is the CSGF's President and CEO, and has led the fund’s investment strategy since 2009. His foundation bio shares: 

Kevin has served as CEO of CSGF since 2009. Before joining CSGF, Kevin was chief operating officer of the Broad Foundation, where he led various aspects of the foundation’s grant investment strategy. Prior to Broad, he cofounded and led business development for Chancellor Beacon Academies, a manager of charter and private schools across the United States. Previously, he also ran a division of infoUSA and worked at McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs, and Teach for America. Kevin taught elementary school in central Los Angeles. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Swarthmore College.

Paula Golden, Broadcom Foundation

TITLE: Executive Director

FUNDING AREAS: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Paula Golden may be a trained lawyer with a history as a TV and radio host, but her true passion lies in science and engineering. Her Broadcom bio shares: 

Paula Golden initiates innovative partnerships with universities, non-profits and non-government organizations (NGOs) to create equitable access to STEM education, close the STEM education gap for young women and the underserved, and ensure that young people are STEM literate with the necessary skills to succeed in 21st century STEM careers.  She is a leader in the National STEM Funders Network and STEM Education Ecosystem Initiative that create collaborations among formal and informal STEM educators throughout the United States.  As a former host of community cable programs, Emmy finalist, TedX presenter and blogger for the Huffington Post, Paula promotes communication as a critical tool in STEM education.

Paula spearheads the Broadcom MASTERS® and Broadcom MASTERS® International, world-renowned middle school science and engineering competitions of the Society for Science & the Public that enable students to become future scientists, engineers, and innovators by encouraging them to elect requisite math and science courses in high school.  She has developed after-school coding programs such as Broadcom Presents: Design_CODE_Build that use the Raspberry Pi® to inspire middle schoolers to excel in algebra in order to gain access to ever-expanding career opportunities in computer science.

Paula earned her B.A. in English and Education from Wellesley College and her J.D. cum laude from New England School of Law where she later served as Assistant Dean and Instructor of Law.  Her contributions to nonprofit leadership and to creating inclusion, equality, and access to STEM education have been recognized by the University of California at Irvine, the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), and the Women In Defense (WID).


Huilan Krenn, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

TITLE: Director of Learning and Impact 

FUNDING AREAS: Literacy and school preparedness, birth through grade 3

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Huilan Krenn is the director of learning and impact at the Kellogg Foundation. An announcement about a past promotion shared:

Krenn joined the foundation in August 2002 as an evaluation manager providing leadership and technical assistance to grantmaking efforts in the area of impact assessment and program evaluation. Most recently, she was a program officer for Education & Learning. Prior to the foundation, Krenn was director of evaluation and research with a large child welfare agency, Starr Commonwealth, where she held the positions of director of research, assistant director of evaluation and research, research associate and program evaluator. She was also an adjunct faculty member at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., for six years. She holds a doctoral degree in evaluation, research and measurement and a master's degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University. She also holds a master's degree in teaching English as a second language, and a bachelor's degree in English and American language and literature from Nankai University in China.
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Fawzia Ahmed, Walton Family Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 education reform

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Fawzia Ahmed, a Yale MBA, is no outsider to the world of education. As a tutor in an inner city school in Boston, Ahmed witnessed the dysfunction of schools firsthand, attributing it to not so much the teachers or the pupils, but to the organizational structure and management of the school system itself. That's when she became interested in educational reform. In 2005, she contributed to a publication comparing the educational policy governing ethnic minorities in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her interest in the management of low-income schools and those with diverse student populations didn't end there, though. As a director at Arabella Advisors, Ahmed consulted with donors in the education space and in 2010, contributed to a brief that advised funders to "look for organizations that hire leaders and effective implementers for every team." Of course, this is a notion that is in keeping with the Walton Family Foundation's overall philosophy as well. In 2010, Walton Family Foundation Executive Director Buddy Phillpot threatened to withdraw funds intended to provide D.C. teachers with raises and bonuses, arguing, "The Foundation reserves the right to discontinue support for this initiative if there is a material change in DCPS' leadership."

The message for grant-seekers is clear: If you're looking for the monetary support for a cause that involves education reform for minorities, low-income students, or inner city schools, then you're more likely to attract Ahmed's attention, so long as you can prove that the leadership is in place to realize the goals for the initiative. Remember, though, that the foundation is currently focusing on select "Investment Sites," which include schools in Albany, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Harlem (NYC), Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Newark, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.

Allan C. Golston, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

TITLE:President, US Program

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 educational reform

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Currently president of the U.S. Program, Allan C. Golston has been working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2000. His foundation bio shares: 

Allan C. Golston, president of the United States Program, leads the foundation’s efforts to advance educational opportunity and student achievement in the United States to ensure that all students – and particularly low-income students and students of color –receive a high-quality education that leads to success in college and their careers. He oversees the U.S. Program’s major areas of investment—Education, Pacific Northwest, and Special Initiatives.
Originally joining the foundation in 2000 as the chief financial officer, Allan felt a deep connection to the U.S. Program work—which spans early learning, K-12, and postsecondary—and began serving as president in 2006.
Allan believes education provides a bridge to opportunity unlike any other in America, and he is committed to ensuring all young people have the education and opportunity they deserve. This includes a deep focus on equity in education and using data to get to better outcomes for students of all backgrounds.
Allan’s professional background is in finance, health care, and education. He holds an MBA from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Colorado. Allan is an active community volunteer and serves on the boards of a number of regional and national organizations, including Seattle University, Charter Schools Growth Fund, and Stryker Corporation.


Bruno V. Manno, Walton Family Foundation

TITLE: Senior Advisor, Systemic K-12 Education Reform 

FUNDING AREAS: K-12, charter schools

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Bruno V. Manno, Ph.D. has had a long and accomplished career in education, dating back to 1975 when he became the director of the Office for Moral and Religious Education at the University of Dayton. His Fordham Institute bio shares: 

Bruno V. Manno is a Trustee Emeritus of Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Senior Advisor to the Walton Family Foundation's K-12 Education Reform Initiative. He previously worked as the Senior Program Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland.
Prior to his appointment with the Hudson Institute, Dr. Manno was Assistant Secretary of Education for Policy and Planning in the United States Department of Education. In that post, he was a principal advisor to both Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander and Deputy Secretary of Education David Kearns. Dr. Manno first came to the U.S. Department of Education in 1986 as Director of Planning for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI). He then held several senior policy and management positions in that office, including Chief of Staff and Acting Assistant Secretary.
A graduate of the University of Dayton (B.A., 1970; M.A., 1972), Dr. Manno received his Ph.D. from Boston College in 1975. He is the author of numerous articles and book reviews. He has also been a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute. He is the co-author of Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education and The Strategic Management of Charter Schools, and also the co-editor Customized Schooling.


Joe Siedlecki, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

TITLE: Senior Director, Quality School Options 

FUNDING AREAS: K-12 education improvement

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Joe Siedlecki is "the point person for the foundation's federal policy activities" at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and runs its Quality School Options Portfolio. His foundation bio shares: 

Joe directs the U.S. Education team’s Quality Schools Options portfolio, which supports the growth of high performing or high potential schools and assists school system leaders in the implementation of the school portfolio management model – ensuring that government entities focus on regulating for performance and equity. Joe has experience with citywide reform strategies, unified accountability, unified enrollment, equity reporting, strategic regional analysis, school portfolio management and authorizing. He has supported the creation and growth of charter school operators, school restart operators, and district schools with protected autonomies.
Joe’s previous professional experience includes roles at the White House Office of Management and Budget and with Deloitte Consulting. He earned a bachelor of science in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a master of public policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sanjiv Rao, Ford Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

FUNDING AREAS: Educational equity, redesign and scalability of a new school day

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE:  Sanjiv Rao completed a bachelor's degree in History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master's in education from University of California, Berkeley. Rao began his career as an elementary school teacher in California, Texas, and Mexico. His first position in the world of policy was at Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform. His foundation bio shares: 

Sanjiv Rao is a program officer on the Youth Opportunity and Learning team. He has focused on educational equity issues in the United States, making grants that have supported improvements in the public education system’s school day to benefit low-income communities in particular. He has supported innovative efforts around the development, advocacy, and scalability of a redesigned school day and year to close opportunity gaps so that underserved youth have access to the high-quality educational and other learning experiences they need to succeed.

Sanjiv has been with Ford since 2012. Earlier, he served as executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network, where he led policy efforts to link and integrate youth development and expanded learning more effectively with the public education system. Sanjiv began his career as an elementary school teacher in California, Texas, and Mexico. He has worked in school system improvement as a senior associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and as a member of the research team studying the Ford-funded Leadership for a Changing World program while a doctoral student at New York University.

Sanjiv has a PhD in public administration from New York University, a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles.


John Fisher, Charter School Growth Fund; KIPP Foundation

TITLE: Chairman, KIPP Foundation; Co-Chair, Charter School Growth Fund; Board member, Silicon Schools Fund

FUNDING AREAS: Charter management organizations, KIPP Foundation, charter schools

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: John Fisher's Charter School Growth Fund bio shares:

John is president of Pisces, Inc., a company he founded in 1992 as a family investment and management office for the Fisher family. In addition, John is a founding partner of Sansome Partners, a private equity investment group with investments in timber, hotels, and several operating businesses. He has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Paula Lawrence, The Starr Foundation

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Education, healthcare, human needs, public policy, culture and the environment.

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE:  Paula Lawrence has been with The Starr Foundation since 2003 as its vice president. Her official bio on the foundation's website shares:

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Lawrence worked in the field of international cultural exchange for over 20 years.From 1992 to 2003, she was Director of Performing Arts atThe Japan Society in New York City where she curated and produced the Society's annual season of performances that appeared in New York City and toured across the United States. She also developed exchanges and commissioning programs for American artists to create new work related to Japan and fostered numerous collaborations between Japanese and American artists and institutions. From 1976 to 1991, she worked in the Performing Arts Department of The Asia Society. She has been an active consultant, author and lecturer on Japanese and Asian performing arts.

A graduate of Barnard College, Ms. Lawrence also holds as M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University and taught at the secondary level for five years.