TITLE: Senior Program Officer
FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, and homelessness
CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)
IP TAKE: Although Miranda is relatively new to the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, she brings a lot of experience and enthusiasm to the table. Pitch your education program to her in terms of a small capital grant.
PROFILE: With more than 4,600 non-profit organizations in a city of 620,000 people, Boston has been tainted historically by turf issues and politics, where non-profit leaders are pitted against each other for severely limited funds. "There has been a great deal of competition, coupled with not enough resources. All of this leads to divide and conquer," commented Celina Miranda, senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation,in a Stanford Social Innovation Review case study in 2012.
The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation hired Miranda at the beginning of 2012 because of her grantmaking experience as vice president at an investment management company, BNY Mellon, and as a charitable giving manager at Boston-based non-profit charity The Hyams Foundation. At the time of her rire, Smith's executive director, Lynne Doblin, commented:
"Celina brings with her significant local grantmaking experience, strong research and academic credentials, content expertise in many of the program areas we fund, and strong ties to many of the communities we serve. We are delighted to begin a working relationship with Celina and know that she will strengthen the foundation's capacity to achieve its philanthropic goals in important ways."
Before racking up those resume points, Miranda picked up her bachelor's degree in Latin American literature and studies from Smith College and then a MSW and EdM from Boston University. She continues to stay well in-tune with philanthropic issues around the state as a member of the Massachusetts chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a moderator for a variety of philanthropic events.
Although three generations of the Smith family technically oversee the foundation's grantmaking, Miranda has a lot of influence over where the $10 million in funds go each year. As part of the foundation's Housing First program area, Miranda helped Boston Health Care for the Homeless secure a $558,623 grant to help community health workers better serve people who used to be homeless. She also helped the Pine Street Inn get $430,000 to build a housing structure for the homeless in 2012. As part of Smith's education grantmaking program, Miranda is helping to distribute $750,000 to the MATCH Teacher Residency training program and $680,000 to the Greater Boston chapter of Teach for America.
In a Boston Business Journal article, Miranda said that the hardest part of her job is turning away requests for grants because there simply aren't enough funds to go around. She describes herself as "eternally optimistic," likes listening to Sara McLachlan and vacationing in Puerto Rico, and believes that "every cloud has a silver lining." In her past work, Miranda has focused most of her philanthropic giving in the areas of affordable housing, literacy programs, and accessible education initiatives. Therefore, your best bet when trying to tug at Miranda's heart strings is to go the education route. Education is one of the Richard and Susan Smith Foundation's largest giving areas, and Miranda has plenty of experience working with grantees in this field.
Since the foundation is only accepting unsolicited applications for Small Capital Grants at this time, put out your feelers by giving Miranda a call or directing an email to her attention. If the initial conversation goes well, perhaps you could discuss the details with Miranda in more detail.