Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Brooklyn Community Foundation Announces the Addition of Four New Staff and Six New Board Members
Brooklyn Community Foundation welcomes four new staff to its growing team.
Russatta Buford (Director of Strategy and Operation) Russatta joined the team in November 2014. She plays an instrumental role in building Brooklyn Community Foundation’s internal operations and capacity to implement its new strategy program and position it for aggressive growth. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Teach For America where she led a team supporting the strategic direction and execution of priority initiatives across the nonprofit’s 48 regions. Before making her way to the social sector full-time, she worked in petroleum engineering and business development, and led pro bono teams for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Save the Children, and Explore Schools.
Russatta earned her MBA from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and her BS in chemical engineering from Florida A&M University. The Michigan native (but proud Brooklynite!) sits on the Board of Directors at Brooklyn Community Services, volunteers with her church, and loves to get in all sorts of mischief on her bike.
Sarah Shannon (Director of Philanthropy and Donor Services) As Director of Philanthropy and Donor Services, she is the principal fundraising officer for the Foundation. She is responsible for the oversight, planning, and implementation of a comprehensive fundraising program to secure support from individuals, foundations, corporations and others for the Foundation’s core program strategy. In addition, she works closely with the board, leadership, and staff to steward major donors, providing support and advisory services to further their philanthropic goals. With over two decades of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising, Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge about the sector as a whole and specifically the Brooklyn landscape. Prior to joining the Foundation, Sarah was Deputy Director for the Heart of Brooklyn, a partnership of the borough’s leading cultural institutions. She was also National Program Director for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a school-to-career initiative for the culinary and hospitality industries. As a nonprofit fundraising and management consultant, Sarah’s clients have included National Child Labor Committee, The Jewish Museum, Lutheran Medical Center, and Art2Facts, Inc.
Sarah graduated with honors from Barnard College. She is a proud Brooklynite since 1997 and currently lives in Clinton Hill with her husband and two sons.
Prachi Patankar (Senior Program Associate) Prachi plays an instrumental role in implementing the Foundation’s core initiatives and new grantmaking strategies. Previously, she worked at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council managing regrant and professional development programs and at the Tenement Museum bringing contemporary immigration perspective into the Museum's historical immigration focus. She has a MA from New York University in International Education and Communications.
Prachi grew up in rural India, raised by a freedom-fighter grandmother and parents deeply involved in peasant social movements. After receiving her BA from Swarthmore College, she went back to India where she established a school for children of people displaced by dams. For over a decade in New York City, she has been part of movements against war, police brutality, and racism. She has worked in various capacities with social justice nonprofits like WITNESS, CHHAYA, and DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) and has done popular-education and media-literacy training through organizations like Youth Solidarity Summer and Palestine Education Project. Prachi is currently involved South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), a New York–based collective she co-founded that works in solidarity with social movements in South Asia.
Andrew Weaver (Administrative and Program Assistant) Andrew Weaver joined Brooklyn Community Foundation as the Administrative & Program Assistant in December 2014, supporting every corner of the Foundation team. He previously held an array of positions, from law firm file clerk, to bicycle tour guide, to delivery truck driver, to barista, to vegan food truck cook. Andrew studied public relations and the nonprofit sector at Boston University, where he also managed Boston’s oldest student-run food rescue program. After growing up in a quiet New Hampshire town and spending four years in Boston, Andrew moved to Brooklyn in fall 2014. He spends his free time on a bike, in the kitchen, and exploring the city. He resides in Bay Ridge with his partner and their adopted calico cat, Pancake.
Brooklyn Community Foundation is also pleased to announce the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors: Deborah Archer, Genevieve Kahr, Harsha Marti, Gabriel Schwartz, Sarah Williams and John Wright. Each has been elected to serve a three-year term.
“As a community foundation committed to supporting local leaders, developing our own leadership is critical to our long-term success. We are thrilled to have such accomplished and passionate Brooklynites dedicate themselves to our mission and the future of our borough,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation Chair Alan Fishman. “At the same time, we want to honor the outstanding service of three retiring members—Don Elliot, Malcolm MacKay, and Maria Fiorini Ramirez—who have been critical in the establishment and growth of this institution, as they transition to our Emeritus Board.”
Launched in 2009 as the first and still only foundation for New York City’s largest borough, Brooklyn Community Foundation mobilizes people, capital, and expertise to achieve its vision of a fair and just Brooklyn. The Foundation’s now 14-member Board of Directors stewards its strategic grantmaking and special initiatives as well as the growth of its philanthropic assets to benefit Brooklyn communities.
About the New Board Members:
Deborah Archer is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at New York Law School where she is also Director of the Racial Justice Project and the Civil Rights Clinic. She was previously an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and a Marvin H. Karpatkin Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union. Prior to joining New York Law School, Dean Archer was an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP. She lives in Park Slope with her husband, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, and their children.
Genevieve Kahr is a Partner at Jericho Capital, a hedge fund focused on the global technology, media and telecom sectors. Genevieve joined Jericho at the fund’s founding in 2009 and currently directs the firm’s research efforts. Previously, she was an Associate at TPG-Axon Capital, a global investment firm. She is also a founding member of the Foundation’s young leadership group, Brooklyn Now. She and her husband, Daniel Freedberg, a gastroenterologist, live in Brooklyn Heights.
Harsha Marti is a Managing Director and Assistant General Counsel of Warburg Pincus LLC. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, he was at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York where he was an attorney focused on private equity transactions. Harsha was born and raised in New York City and lives in Fort Greene with his wife, Meera, also an attorney, and three children.
Gabriel Schwartz is a Managing Member of Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, a global institutional investment management firm, which he joined in 2009. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director in the Special Situations Group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He lives in Brooklyn Heights with his wife, Jolie Curtsinger, an actress, and their two children.
Sarah Williams works with family foundations, individual donors, social investors, and corporations to help them give and invest smartly and strategically. Sarah is a co-founder of the Advective Capital, an impact investment fund that supports and invests in social entrepreneurs, and a founder of the ImpactAssets 50 guide. She lives in Park Slope with her husband, Andrew Kimball, chief executive at Industry City, and their two sons.
John Wright is Principal of The Wright Group, a governmental relations consulting firm he established in 2010. Prior to starting his firm, John served as Assistant Executive Director for the Center for Children and Families/Safespace, Inc. He was also the Assistant Executive Director of New York City’s oldest African-American-run child welfare agency, the Harlem Dowling-Westside Center. He is originally from Sierra Leone and lives in Bedford Stuyvesant.