Celebrating Promotions and Welcoming New Staff

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Celebrating Promotions and Welcoming New Staff

Core to Philanthropy New York’s ethos is fostering an interdependent community that learns from each other and actively contributes to one another’s learning. This guides how we work with members, how our board approaches their leadership, and how we build a staff team that brings diverse skills, experience, and expertise to shape PNY’s work. 

Recognizing Leadership at Philanthropy New York

In 2021, these four Philanthropy New York staff members stepped into greater levels of leadership at PNY. 

Nora Cusanelli was promoted to Communications Manager and works across the organization to ensure that PNY’s communications support and are well aligned with organizational goals and values. She is the lead producer and coordinator of PNY’s digital communications, ensuring that PNY serves as a hub for information sharing and amplifying learning in philanthropy. Nora partners with members on original Insights pieces and is moving PNY into the social media era on LinkedIn. 

Jelena Kostadinovic recently joined Philanthropy New York full-time as a Learning Services Associate, having served in a part-time role since January. She assists with programming across the organization through event coordination, managing program logistics, and marketing and outreach. As a member of the Learning Services team, Jelena works closely with members and the leadership of peer networks to create engaging and timely learning opportunities for philanthropy professionals. Jelena brings nonprofit experience internationally to the team and the PNY community. 

Promoted to Vice President of Learning, Yi-Ching Lin provides vision and oversight of Philanthropy New York’s learning programs and leads a values-aligned annual program strategy. She guides the development of creative and forward-thinking programs that transform philanthropic practice and equip philanthropic staff to create meaningful social change. Yi-Ching builds relationships with members to connect the dots between learning priorities and PNY programs and partners with colleague organizations to expand the breadth of programming.

Hajrina Shehu was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and leads our finance, administration, and operations. Known throughout Philanthropy New York member finance and administrative circles for her work guiding our Foundation Administrators Network, Hajrina is now leading the Foundation Financial Managers network and PNY’s newly created HR Leadership network focused on reimagining how our sector responds to remote work, employee care, and return to office plans. She steers PNY’s operational finances, fiscal sponsorship programs, and Fund for 2025, and has added responsibilities previously held in the COO role, including leading our facilities partnership, technology, and HR work.  

Bringing on New Leadership at Philanthropy New York 

We also welcomed several new staff to our team who will shape and guide our work going forward.

Stephanie Boarden will be the newest member of the team, joining us as Chief of Staff in mid-October. She will serve as a partner and advisor to the CEO and leadership team as we steward the organization’s journey to live our values. Stephanie will collaborate with the board, staff, and members to align our organizational strategy, implementation, and learning. She brings deep expertise in helping stakeholders craft shared commitments to and accountability for racial equity in organizational culture and practice.  

This summer, Ariane Cruz and Javon Robinson began a two-year Philanthropy Fellowship with Philanthropy New York. Fellows play a critical role in facilitating issue-based collaboration between members and developing relevant, high-quality events and programs. Javon is shaping the work of the New York Environmental Funders Network and Health Working Group and partnering with PNY’s leadership team on our Public Policy Committee. Ariane is shaping the work of the Justice Reform Working Group and New York City Education and Youth Network and supporting the development of PNY’s new Racial Equity Working Group.  Javon and Ariane bring skills in facilitation and critical analysis on how structures of inequity shape the issues funders support.

Donita Volkwijn recently joined us as Senior Director of Member Engagement and will lead member engagement and recruitment, understand member goals and learning priorities, and facilitate several of PNY's signature networks and leadership development programs. Donita brings to this role great skills in facilitation, an orientation toward relationship building, and experience supporting organizations in their racial equity practices.

We are grateful to our colleagues for taking on new and expanded leadership during this liminal moment and excited to work with new leaders to continue to build on PNY's commitment to the sector’s learning and leadership.  

To learn more about how PNY’s staff can support you in your work, please visit our staff page

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