Brooklyn Community Foundation Welcomes Four Members to Board of Directors

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Brooklyn Community Foundation Welcomes Four Members to Board of Directors

Brooklyn Community Foundation is pleased to announce the election of four new members to its Board of Directors, effective Friday, February 4, 2022. They are Michelle DeFossett, Lesleigh Irish-Underwood, Lawanna Kimbro, and Andi Phillips.

The new members, with strong ties to neighborhoods across Brooklyn, are leaders in the fields of impact investing, nonprofit management, politics, and social justice philanthropy. Their election expands the Board's expertise on multiple fronts, its lived experience on issues facing Brooklyn’s communities, and its geographic representation of the borough. They are the first members introduced as part of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s new chapter under its President and CEO Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, who joined the organization in December 2021. 

“We are thrilled to welcome these four impressive Brooklyn champions to the Board,” said the Foundation’s Co-Chairs Nicole Gueron and Harsha Marti. “Brooklyn Community Foundation is experiencing outstanding momentum and growth, and we know that their wealth of experience and dedication to our borough’s communities will propel our institution into an exciting next phase as we urgently work for a fair and just Brooklyn.”

Brooklyn Community Foundation Foundation’s Board of Directors works to advance the Foundation’s commitment to racial justice, while providing fiduciary stewardship of $125 million in assets and overseeing a robust Donor Advised Fund program and a discretionary grant portfolio conducted with community advisory councils.

“On behalf of the Foundation’s staff and leadership team, I want to share how excited we are to work with these dynamic Brooklyn leaders,” added Dr. Rainey. “I know that their ideas and insights will energize our institution, open doors, and build connections for the Foundation and Brooklyn’s entire nonprofit community.” 

About the New Board Members:

  • Michelle DeFossett is the Chief Operating Officer at Girls Who Invest, where she partners with the CEO to grow the organization and its impact. She supervises their IT, HR, and Finance departments, contributes to the organization’s overall revenue model, and drives collaboration with board members and external partners. Michelle was previously the Vice President of Finance, Human Resources, and Administration at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. She has also led long-term fiscal planning and growth for organizations with annual budgets of up to $30 million, and oversaw HR and IT needs for entities with up to 110 professionals. Michelle holds a BA in Economics from Vassar College and an MBA from Columbia Business School, where she was recipient of the Robert F. Toigo Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. 
  • Lesleigh Irish-Underwood—known as "LIU" to colleagues and friends—is the Chief Brand & External Relations Officer at MetroPlusHealth (MPH) where she is responsible for the stewardship and execution of their integrated brand strategy. Prior to joining MPH she was the SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for United Way of New York City. In 2018, she was named one of the Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business for being a visionary leader and contributing to her community. Lesleigh is a member of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation Board, an alumna of the American Express Leadership Academy/Center for Creative Leadership, and the UWW Advanced Leadership Program. LIU holds a BA from Stonybrook University, and resides in Brooklyn with her husband, their daughter, and son.
  • Lawanna Kimbro is the Managing Director of the Stardust Fund, where she leads the Fund’s philanthropic investment in leaders, organizations, and progressive social movements by using diverse and innovative strategies to change, build power, and support thriving communities. Lawanna has more than 20 years of leadership experience within social service agencies and nonprofits organizations aimed at improving the lives of those in vulnerable communities. Lawanna serves on the boards of Children’s Rights and Think of Us. She holds a MPA in public and nonprofit management, a MA in mental health counseling from New York University, and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. 
  • Andi Phillips is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Maycomb Capital where she leads one of the firm's two flagship funds, the Community Outcomes Fund, which is the largest outcomes financing fund in the United States. With over 25 years of leadership experience, Andi previously launched and managed Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund and led signature “Social Impact Bond” investments for the firm. Andi was also President of Seedco Financial, a Community Development Financing Institution, which provided affordable capital to small businesses and nonprofits in disadvantaged communities. Andi holds a BA from Tufts University and an MPP from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, and three sons.


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