Michael Laracy, Annie E. Casey Foundation

TITLE: Director, Policy Reform and Advocacy

FUNDING AREAS: Child poverty, Community Development, Public Policy

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

PROFILE: Michael Laracy is the director for policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children. Laracy is also responsible for the foundation's initiatives and grant-making agenda in income security and child advocacy. His foundation bio shares: 

As director of policy reform and advocacy, Michael Laracy advances the philanthropy’s efforts to inform, guide and influence public policy at the state and federal levels. He is also responsible for the Foundation’s KIDS COUNT network and State Fiscal Analysis Initiatives and grant-making portfolios in poverty reduction and in budget and fiscal issues.   

Before joining the Foundation in August 1994, Laracy was assistant commissioner for policy, planning and program evaluation in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, where he served for 17 years. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at Rutgers University, majoring in urban planning and public policy.


Vuyiswa Sidzumo, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

TITLE: Director-South Africa, Civil Society Program

FUNDING AREAS: Philanthropy, law, human rights, poverty

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

PROFILE: Vuyiswa Sidzumo is a director at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Her foundation bio shares:

Ms. Vuyiswa Sidzumo joined the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation as an associate program officer in 2005. She was promoted to program officer in 2007 before becoming director of the South Africa office in 2009. In addition to her duties as office director, Sidzumo oversees grant-making to support the South African community advice office sector.
Before coming to the Foundation, Sidzumo was a director at the National Department of Provincial and Local Government, now known as the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, where she served as liaison to the donor community in South Africa. Between 1995 and 2002, she worked at the Sedibeng Centre for Organizational Effectiveness and the United Nations Development Program.
Sidzumo currently serves as the Chair of the US based Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group and on the Construction Industry Development Board in South Africa. She holds bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in science from Wits University in South Africa.


Ashvin Dayal, The Rockefeller Foundation

TITLE: Associate Vice President, Managing Director, Asia Program

FUNDING AREAS: Agricultural development, climate change, natural disaster preparedness, economic development, poverty, and women's rights

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

PROFILE: The Rockefeller Foundation employs Dayal as an associate vice president. Dayal's foundation bio shares: 

Ashvin Dayal joined the Rockefeller Foundation in 2008. As Associate Vice President, Managing Director, Asia, he manages the Foundation’s regional office based in Bangkok, Thailand, and oversees work across Asia, strengthening and complementing the Foundation’s initiatives around the globe. Ashvin leads a major initiative aimed at building the capacity of cities to cope with the effects of climate change, through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN). Ashvin also leads the Foundation’s SPEED initiative aimed at scaling up decentralized renewable energy solutions for off-grid rural communities, and oversees global efforts in Asia on strengthening institutional capacities for achieving universal health coverage, advancing cross-border collaboration in disease surveillance, and promoting an enabling environment for the growth of impact investing and philanthropy.

Before joining the Foundation, Mr. Dayal held various leadership roles over fifteen years with the British aid organization Oxfam Great Britain. He most recently headed their South Asia operations from New Delhi, India, where he was responsible for developing and managing strategy and programs focusing on disaster management, climate change resilience, private sector engagement, agricultural development, and promoting women’s economic leadership. He also let a process that enabled the creation of Oxfam India, now an independent affiliate of Oxfam International. Prior to that he was Oxfam’s East Asia Director, where, among other responsibilities, he led their largest-ever relief and recovery effort in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia. In addition to his extensive work experience across Asia, Mr. Dayal spent several years as a program manager for Oxfam in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, covering post-conflict reconstruction and economic development programs in Bosnia, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Mr. Dayal holds a bachelor’s degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University and a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to India, Thailand and the UK, he has lived in Israel and the United States.


Kwaku Driskell, Robin Hood Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Officer, Early Childhood & Youth

FUNDING AREAS: Poverty and early childhood education

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

PROFILE: Investing in early childhood and youth education programs is an important step in breaking the cycle of poverty, and it's one focus that the Robin Hood Foundation uses in its mission to end poverty in New York City.

Leading the foundation's efforts in early childhood and youth education is Senior Program Officer Kwaku Driskell, who first joined Robin Hood in October 2005. He's been in the thick of it with engagingly supporting youth for quite some time, starting as a YMCA camp administrator, moving on to the education departments of first the Chicago Children's Museum and then the Brooklyn Children's Museum, and finally three years as a Program Manager at Young Audiences New York just previous to joining with Robin Hood. He also has his bachelor's degree in communications from Northwestern University, and has worked as an actor in addition to his community and non-profit efforts.

Driskell has described how he visits program sites to observe grantees in action. He tries to gauge the hard-to-quantify aspects of programs: Is the atmosphere an inviting one? Is the program really engaging youth? What happens when a young person breaks the rules? He also noted that proven leadership sometimes induces Robin Hood to make riskier investments than it otherwise would.

Frazierita Klasen, The Pew Charitable Trusts

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Health, social services, homelessness, vulnerable elderly, and vulnerable children

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

PROFILE: Frazierita Klasen used to be the Director of the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services and has provided leadership to this initiative since Pew first established it in 1991. Today she is the funder's vice president. Her foundation bio shares: 

Frazierita Klasen is a vice president overseeing Pew’s work in Philadelphia, seeking to foster a vibrant civic life in our home town. Klasen supervises a portfolio that encourages a thriving arts and culture community and supports the well-being of the region’s neediest people. 
Throughout her career, Klasen has been committed to alleviating the effects of poverty on vulnerable populations and improving outcomes for disadvantaged children and youth. Before joining Pew, she worked in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment; and at Public/Private Ventures, which for more than 30 years was a highly regarded social policy and research firm focused on improving the prospects of disadvantaged youth. Klasen also served on two Pennsylvania commissions: the Governor’s Commission on Children and Families and the Governor’s Commission on Healthcare Reform.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Nadia Brigham, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: Racial equality, poverty, family economic security

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

PROFILE: In March 2014, Nadia Brigham was promoted to program officer in the Racial Equality program for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brigham began as a program associate in 2006.

Brigham specializes in projects that address the structural causes of poverty. While Kellogg invests in projects globally and throughout the United States, half of Kellogg’s domestic grants go to recipients in Michigan, Mississippi, and New Mexico, states with high poverty rates and a need for economic and social investment.

Fortunately for Kellogg, Brigham is an expert on all things Michigan. She hails from Benton Harbor, Michigan, a city with a poverty rate of about 47.6%, well above the 15.9% national average. Brigham was struck by the economic and racial disparities she encountered as a child in western Michigan, where being bused around the area for school-integration purposes showed her that socioeconomic realities can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Brigham has since committed herself to tackling the underlying causes of poverty, in the interest of halting the cycle that traps so many of America’s youth, particularly in Michigan. She studied social work at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University and worked for the Hope Network and the United Way before joining Kellogg in 2006.

Michigan must be happy to have kept a daughter as successful as Brigham. The state is among the worst in the country when it comes to bleeding talent. Michigan is home to some great schools, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, but many graduates leave the state for places with better job prospects. In 2010, Michigan ranked 47th among U.S. states in terms of net migration and 48th in terms of net migration for people with bachelor's degrees. Since about 2000, annual net migration numbers for Michigan have been negative.

At Kellogg, Brigham is the primary point person on about a dozen grants annually, ranging in value from $7,000 to $2 million. Most of Bringham's grants go to poverty-reduction programs (including faith-based and educational services) based in or focused on Michigan.

In recognition of Brigham’s service to improving the well-being of youth in western Michigan, Brigham is a 2012 recipient of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Grant-Making Guru Award. The award is given by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids in recognition of community leaders under the age of 40 who are making a positive impact in the nonprofit sector.

Sandra McAlister Ambrozy, The Kresge Foundation

TITLE: Senior Program Officer, Human Services

FUNDING AREAS: Vulnerable community services, poverty, economic stability, public policy research

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

PROFILE: Prior to joining The Kresge Foundation in 1982, Tufts University graduate Sandra McAlister Ambrozy worked at the Boston Children's Museum and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Her foundation bio shares:

Sandra McAlister Ambrozy is a senior program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services Program. She joined Kresge in 1982 and has served in many roles during her time at the foundation.
With more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, Sandra has developed expertise in human services, arts and culture, green building initiatives and civil legal aid. She helps shape and refine grantmaking for the Human Services Program so Kresge’s philanthropic dollars are used effectively to advance innovative, multi-sectoral policy solutions in human services and foster the next generation of human services organizations. In particular, she helps nonprofit leaders structure their organizations, adapt to evolving forces in the field and access resources.  
Sandra was named as a 2016 Presidio Institute Fellow and is participating in the fellowship program to build cross-sector leadership skills to address complex social challenges. She also serves on the Steering Committee providing guidance and oversight to the Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce (GIST).
Her work has been recognized with six Wilmer Shields Rich Awards from the Council on Foundations for creating transparency and accessibility in Kresge’s communications. Sandra also coordinated the Partnership to Raise Community Capital, a national initiative for community foundations. From 2008 to 2016, she served on the board of the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.
A U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited professional, Sandra was part of Kresge’s Green Building Initiative to encourage nonprofits to design environmentally sustainable facilities. She also served as a reviewer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities and Regional Planning Grant Program in 2010 and 2011.
Prior to coming to Kresge, she worked at the Boston Children’s Museum and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities in Boston. Sandra is a graduate of Tufts University. 

Thomas Peters, Marin Community Foundation

TITLE: President and CEO

FUNDING AREAS: Education, affordable housing, poverty, health

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

PROFILE: Thomas Peters serves as the president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation, where his official bio shares:

Combining his clinical and philanthropic careers, Dr. Peters is in his twentieth year as MCF’s President & CEO. Heading one of the largest community foundations in the country, he is a leading national voice for community philanthropy, advocating and facilitating the dedication of private resources for the public good. During these years, he has served in state and national leadership positions in the field, and written on a broad range of issues. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Peters had a 24-year career as a county public health official. He served in the San Francisco Department of Public Health from 1974-1990, including eight years as Chief of Staff, and was Director of the Marin County Health & Human Services Department from 1991-1998. He received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and for three years was a Fellow of the National Institutes of Health.