Staff

 
Office of the President
 
Grant Oliphant
President

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Grant Oliphant is president of The Heinz Endowments. He rejoined the foundation in June 2014, after serving as president and chief executive officer of The Pittsburgh Foundation for six years. For nearly two decades, Grant held several senior management posts with Heinz family foundations, including vice president for programs and planning at the Endowments, his position before taking over the helm at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2008. He also served as press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz from 1988 until the senator’s death in 1991.

Grant was The Pittsburgh Foundation’s fourth head in its 66-year history and led a major transformation in the organization’s engagement of key constituents, its efficient stewardship of its assets, and the development of ground-breaking initiatives to enhance services for donors and maximize grantmaking impact in the regional community.

This included the launch of The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program for students in the city’s district and charter schools, and the development of PittsburghGives, an online giving and research portal that has raised $13.5 million in two years for local nonprofits with special Day of Giving events. Both of these programs have become national models for similar initiatives by other community foundations and fundraising organizations across the U.S.

In 2009, The Pittsburgh Foundation achieved a landmark in its history under Grant’s leadership with the formation of the Legacy Fund, creating for the first time the vehicle for the foundation to invest its own assets. Until that time, the foundation had delegated its asset management to outside organizations.

In less than four years after Grant’s appointment, The Pittsburgh Foundation and its supporting organizations had received new funds, gifts to existing funds and other charitable donations of more than $150 million. During his tenure, the number of funds grew by nearly 50 percent, and the foundation had more than 1,600 donor funds and assets of more than $820 million. Strategic development also included the realignment of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s grantmaking and the merger with the Foundation by the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County in 2010.

Grant frequently leads community conversations around critical issues such as public school reform, civic design, the ongoing sustainability of anchor institutions, domestic violence, riverfront development and various socio-economic concerns. He has taken a prominent role in building advocacy programs to support the work of local nonprofits and the families and individuals they serve. He serves extensively on the boards of local nonprofit and national sector organizations, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which he chairs.

Grant is immediate past board chairman of Riverlife, which is working to transform Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, as well as a board member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which oversees the city’s celebrated Cultural District, The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the Pittsburgh Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

In addition, Grant has served on the boards of Grantmakers Evaluation Network, Pennsylvania Partnership for Children, and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, and as board chairman of the Communications Network, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes strategic use of communications as part of effective philanthropy.

Grant originally joined The Heinz Endowments in 1993 as director of communications for the foundation, the Heinz Family Philanthropies and Endowments Chairman Teresa Heinz. After holding several senior positions, he became vice president of programs and planning and was responsible for managing the Endowments’ $70-plus million annual grantmaking portfolio. He also led special task forces promoting civic design, school reform and stronger links between environmental stewardship and economic development. He was responsible for strategic planning and led the organization’s board and staff through a major review and refocus of its strategic orientation and grantmaking priorities. As a corporate officer, he served on the Endowments’ Investment and Budget committees, which guided management of the foundation’s assets and expenditures.

Prior to his service as press secretary for Sen. Heinz, Grant was founding editor of American Politics, a monthly political magazine. Grant received a Master of Science degree in organizational development from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College. He lectures frequently on communications, leadership and organizational dynamics.


Donna Evans Sebastian
Executive Assistant

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Donna Evans Sebastian is the executive assistant to Endowments President Grant Oliphant. Donna’s duties include coordination of all conferences and special events, as well management of the President’s schedule. In addition, she assists the President with communications with the Endowments’ board members and coordinates all board meetings. She supports various initiatives and special projects as directed by the President and also serves on the editorial team for h, the foundation’s full-color magazine.

Prior to joining the Endowments, Donna was with the Heinz Family Foundation for 15 years. She served as the program administrator for the Heinz Awards and was the information technology manager, with responsibility for overall network administration and support for the Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., offices. Additional duties included website development and graphic design.

Donna attended Carlow University where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in information management and minor in business communications.


Wayne A. Jones
Director of Organizational Learning and Development

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Wayne Jones is the director of organizational learning and development at The Heinz Endowments. In this position, Wayne leads efforts to assess the impact of grantmaking, supports talent development and manages change to improve the Endowments’ effectiveness.

He previously served as the foundation’s impact officer and as an Endowments senior program officer for Children, Youth & Families. His grantmaking portfolio sought to improve the quality and availability of high-quality learning opportunities for adolescents during non-school hours to nurture their development as individuals and members of larger communities. He also managed the Endowments’ annual Summer Youth Philanthropy Internship Program.

Prior to joining the Endowments in 2002, Wayne worked for Great Lakes Behavioral Research as a consultant to Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services. He was responsible for training users of the department’s data warehouse and improving the timeliness and quality of reports used for decision-making. In addition, he coordinated early development of the data warehouse as a community resource. A Pittsburgh native, Wayne returned to the region after serving as an analyst for Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, where he conducted management reviews of state agencies.

He will soon receive a Master of Science degree in organization development from Pepperdine University. Wayne received his Master of Business Administration from Yale, and earned a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Virginia.


Ruth Hodsoll
Administrative Assistant

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Ruth J. Hodsoll is the administrative assistant to the president. She joined The Heinz Endowments as the receptionist and grants administrative assistant in September 2015.

Previously she worked for other area nonprofits, including the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Animal Friends and the University of Pittsburgh’s Chemistry Department.

Ruth received a bachelor of arts in psychology and philosophy from the University at Albany, State University of New York.


 
 
Communications
 
John M. Ellis
Vice President for Communications

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John Ellis is vice president Communications for The Heinz Endowments. He moved to the organization from The Pittsburgh Foundation, the region’s major community foundation, where he worked for almost 10 years as Vice President of Communications. Previously, his career spanned more than 20 years in corporate communications and public affairs, primarily with the international airline industry, and before that he worked as a newspaper journalist and editor in the UK.

Ellis was responsible for building integrated media relations, marketing and public affairs programs at The Pittsburgh Foundation that succeeded in heightening public awareness around critical community issues and strengthening the engagement of key constituents in the organization’s work.

Prior to moving to the U.S. in 2000, Ellis ran his own communications firm in London, England which operated as one of Europe’s largest commercial aviation communications and public affairs specialists.


Linda S. Braund
Communications Manager

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Linda Braund is the communications manager at The Heinz Endowments. Her primary responsibilities include development and management of the Endowments’ Web site, and production and distribution of h magazine, a full-color, quarterly magazine that uses narrative writing and documentary-style photography to explain the work of the foundation and its grantees. Along with a wide range of communications functions, Linda also maintains Endowments’ photography and publication archives; provides research support to the program departments; assists in various planning activities; and serves on the Breathe Project.

Linda graduated from Clarion University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She has taught second grade and operated her own registered family daycare. Linda joined the Endowments in 1994 and held various positions prior to joining the communications department in 1999.


Carmen J. Lee
Communications Officer

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As The Heinz Endowments’ communications officer, Carmen J. Lee is responsible for editing h, a full-color magazine that uses narrative writing and documentary-style photography to explain the work of the foundation and its grantees. Her duties also include editing various reports and internal publications, and participating in different initiatives, particularly the Endowments’ African American Men and Boys Task Force, lending her journalism expertise to discussions that affect grant making.

Carmen joined the foundation in 2005 after working 20 years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She reported on municipal government; religion; and education, including nearly 11 years covering the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pennsylvania’s second-largest school district. During her last two years at the Post-Gazette, she was editor of the newspaper’s weekly East section, which publishes news and feature stories about Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs.

Carmen has won several state and local journalism awards. But her most rewarding experiences include the many summers she has worked with the Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation to publish a newspaper produced by high school students in the federation’s Frank L. Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Carmen has a bachelor’s in journalism and mathematics and a master’s in journalism, both from Indiana University.


Scott Roller
Strategic Communications Officer

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Scott Roller is the strategic communications officer for The Heinz Endowments. Scott works with the communications team and grantmaking colleagues in bringing visibility to grantee projects, with an emphasis on those that serve to promote a more just and equitable region.

Scott’s interest in the environment, arts, education and community development have shaped his professional work in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds. He joined the Endowments in 2017 after four years heading the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy’s media work, which included generating regional, national and international coverage for The Frick Environmental Center, Mellon Square and August Wilson Park projects.

Prior to the Conservancy, Scott lent his marketing and communication skills to Giant Eagle’s entertainment division, including work with their diversity and inclusion and government relations groups. Stints as area coordinator and environmental human rights program regional representative for Amnesty International, and marketing/communications representative for Universal Music Group round out his professional portfolio.

Scott received his bachelor of arts in English literature from Wittenberg University, and holds a master’s degree in English literature from Duquesne University. He grew up on a farm in Greenford, Ohio, serves on the board of the Environmental Charter School, and has exhibited his photography at the Andy Warhol Museum, Imagebox, Epcot Center and Carnegie Museum of Art.


Courtney Tolmer
Communications Associate

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Courtney Tolmer is the communications associate for The Heinz Endowments. She joined the staff in January 2014. Courtney’s duties include managing all social media activities for the Endowments, Breathe Project and p4 initiatives. She also assists in website development and maintenance, and video production. In addition, she manages department databases; serves on the editorial team of h, the foundation’s full-color magazine; and distributes local and national press releases.

Prior to coming to the Endowments, Courtney worked in various positions, including three-and-a-half years as human resources coordinator for the advertising agency Brunner, serving their Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., offices. She also spent seven years as director of operations for Donelly & Company International Business Jets.

Courtney is married, has two children and lives in Bridgeville, Pa.


 
 
Finance & Administration
 
Edward Kolano
Vice President Finance and Administration / Chief Investment Officer

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Ed Kolano joined The Heinz Endowments in July 2013. As the Endowments’ principal financial officer, he provides operational and financial management leadership. As the chief investment officer, he is responsible for overseeing, at the direction of the Investment Committee, all investments and investment managers of the Endowments.

Before joining the Endowments, Ed was a senior financial executive with The Hillman Company. Hillman is a private, fully integrated family office, which manages a multi-billion dollar, diversified, global portfolio with an emphasis on private equity investing. Ed gained 23 years of investment-related experience with Hillman, where his last position was vice president, treasurer. Prior to Hillman, he started his career as an analyst with Westinghouse Corp. and an auditor with KPMG Peat Marwick.

Ed is a certified public accountant in the state of Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s in accounting in 1984 and his Master of Business Administration, concentrating in finance, in 1990, both from Duquesne University.


Michele Sullenger
Controller

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Michele is the controller for The Heinz Endowments. She is responsible for the Endowments’ accounting and tax functions, including accounting and reporting for the Endowments’ investment portfolio. Michele also is responsible for both payroll and benefits administration.

Prior to joining the Endowments in January 2015, Michele worked for The Hillman Company, a private family office in Pittsburgh, where her main duties included investment analysis, accounting and fair value reporting for its multi-billion dollar portfolio. Michele also has worked as a senior manager in corporate finance for Madison Marquette, a national commercial real estate investor, developer and operator based in Washington, D.C. She began her career as an auditor with Ernst & Young in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Michele graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She is a licensed CPA in Pennsylvania.


Cheryl L. Dabat
Grants Administration and Facilities Manager

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As The Heinz Endowments' operations and systems manager, Cheryl Dabat helps ensure that the foundation’s offices run smoothly and efficiently. Cheryl oversees all of the Endowments’ office technologies, from the computer systems, servers and databases to the audio-visual equipment, telephone network, fax machines and copiers. She works with staff to make sure each person has the equipment and technology training he or she needs on the job. She also coordinates the technical arrangements for speakers who give presentations in the Endowments’ conference rooms.

Cheryl’s other responsibilities include addressing facilities issues, such as providing ergonomic evaluations of staff workspaces and supplying offices with the appropriate furnishings. She also coordinates staff training in the use of automated external defibrillators and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and makes sure employees are familiar with building emergency procedures.

Before joining the staff in 1989, Cheryl was asset coordinator for Wang Laboratories in Pittsburgh for five years. She was in charge of inventory and had database and administrative duties.

Cheryl juggled work and school for 10 years, starting with night classes at Duff’s Business School, where she earned an associate degree in business. She then attended night school at Robert Morris University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in management information systems.


Denise Ficorilli
Accountant

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Denise Ficorilli is the accountant for The Heinz Endowments. She provides support to the controller and the director of payroll/benefits administration. Her major responsibilities include preparing and posting journal entries to the general ledger and maintaining and reconciling supporting sub-ledgers. Her other duties involve processing payables, assisting with year-end analyses with auditors and preparing 1099 tax forms.

Prior to joining the Endowments part time in 2003 -- a move that eventually led to a full-time position -- Denise gained a wide variety of experience as a fiscal consultant for a certified public accounting firm for two years. She visited several not-for-profit clients, including the Endowments, and assisted each of them with their unique accounting needs

She also gained experience from working 11 years as a staff accountant at the St. Francis Medical Center’s Institute for Psychiatry and Addictions, where she performed general accounting duties.

Denise earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Robert Morris University, with a major in finance.


Charles Richardson
Chief Technology Officer

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As chief technology officer, Charles oversees the technology and cyber security direction for the Endowments as well as coordinates all of the technology vendors and consultants. He assesses and anticipates the needs of the organization and introduces new technologies as needed. He also performs the same duties for the Heinz Family Office and the Heinz Family Foundation.

Prior to his work with the Heinz organizations, Charles served as the director of operations for the John Kerry for President campaign. For two years during the Clinton administration, he worked in the White House as a special assistant to White House Operations. Additionally, he performed duties for the state of Arkansas as a network engineer and as network administrator for the Ozarks Unlimited Resource (O.U.R.) Educational Cooperative.

Charles has a bachelor of science from Point Park University.


Kimberly H. Gillespie
Administrative Assistant

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Kimberly Gillespie is the administrative assistant for The Heinz Endowments’ Finance and Administration Department. She joined the foundation in 1989 as a receptionist and became the secretary for the Finance and Administration Department the following year.


Linda G. Jones
Treasury and Investment Assistant

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Linda Jones is the treasury and investment assistant for the Endowments’ Finance and Administration Department. Linda is responsible for cash receipts, cash disbursements and cash management functions. Linda is also the Endowments’ main administrative contact on investment matters. Prior to joining the Endowments in 1994, Linda worked as an administrative assistant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and earlier worked at Molson Breweries in Toronto, Canada as a bilingual administrative assistant.

Linda received a Certificate in Office Administration from the Canadian School of Management in Toronto and is a certified administrative professional. As well, Linda obtained the CFA Institute’s Claritas Investment Certificate.


Leah White
Financial Analyst

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Leah White joined The Heinz Endowments in November 2015 as a financial analyst. In this role, Leah provides analytical support to the Finance & Administration team. Her primary focus is to consolidate, interpret and report on financial data relating to the Endowments’ investment portfolio.

Prior to joining the Endowments, Leah worked as an analyst for Citizens Bank, where her primary responsibility was analysis of the consumer banking portfolio.
She also worked for Mylan Labs where she was a member of the financial planning and analysis team and focused on the forecasting process as well as consolidation, analysis and presentation preparation.

Leah has an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

 


Michele Tonti
Receptionist & Grants Assistant

 
 
Strategic Areas
 
Janet L. Sarbaugh
Vice President for Creativity

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Janet Sarbaugh is vice president of Creativity for The Heinz Endowments. Under Janet’s leadership, this program has focused on three major goals: expanding opportunities for arts learning and participation, building regional creative capital and advancing Pittsburgh as a cultural center. Highlights of her work in these three areas include continuing development of the Pittsburgh Cultural District; operating support programs for major institutions; establishing initiatives to advance small arts organizations and multicultural arts groups; and encouraging new efforts in civic design, arts education, artist training and arts in community settings. The program distributes approximately $8 million annually.


Michelle M. Figlar
Vice President for Learning

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Michelle Figlar is the vice president for learning at The Heinz Endowments. Before joining the foundation in August 2016, Michelle served as deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. She also has been executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) and has held various professional positions in the field of education.


Andrew S. McElwaine
Vice President for Sustainability

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Andrew McElwaine is The Heinz Endowments’ vice president for Sustainability. He oversees the Endowments’ Sustainability team and is responsible for building the foundation’s sustainability-related work and infusing the principles of environmental and social sustainability across the full range of the organization’s grantmaking and other activities.


Matthew Barron
Program Officer, Sustainability

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Matthew Barron joined The Heinz Endowments in 2015 as the foundation’s sustainability program officer. He is responsible for helping to drive a comprehensive sustainability agenda tying together community and economic development with environmental quality.

Before coming to the Endowments, Matthew served in various roles in nonprofits and local governments, with a particular focus on issues of sustainability, civic design and planning, and policy analysis. As program director for The Buckminster Fuller Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., Matthew ran an international design program called The Buckminster Fuller Challenge and a youth-focused design and sustainability workshop called The Design Science Lab. As a graduate researcher he contributed to PlaNYC, New York City’s long-term sustainability plan, focusing on food systems and stormwater management. After moving to Pittsburgh in 2010, Matthew worked as policy director for then-City Councilman William Peduto, and later served as policy manager for the City of Pittsburgh after Mr. Peduto was elected mayor.

Matthew received a bachelor’s degree in urban environmental planning from The New School and a master’s degree in environmental science and public policy from Columbia University, both in New York City. He lives in Lawrenceville with his partner Adam and their two dogs, Henry and Yuki.


Yassiris M. Mahan
Administrative Assistant, Sustainability

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Yassiris M. Mahan is the administrative assistant for the Sustainability and Environment & Health areas at The Heinz Endowments. She joined the staff in November 2016 as the receptionist and grants assistant.

Prior to coming to the Endowments, Yassiris worked at Merrill Lynch and PNC Bank, where she provided financial-related administrative support to executives for 17 years. She is completing her bachelor’s at Robert Morris University in communications and information systems.


 
 
Arts & Culture
 
Janet L. Sarbaugh
Vice President of Creativity

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Janet Sarbaugh is vice president of Creativity for The Heinz Endowments. Under Janet’s leadership, this program has focused on three major goals: expanding opportunities for arts learning and participation, building regional creative capital and advancing Pittsburgh as a cultural center. Highlights of her work in these three areas include continuing development of the Pittsburgh Cultural District; operating support programs for major institutions; establishing initiatives to advance small arts organizations and multicultural arts groups; and encouraging new efforts in civic design, arts education, artist training and arts in community settings. The program distributes approximately $8 million annually.

From 1982 to l992, Janet was a program officer for the then-jointly operated Heinz Endowments and Pittsburgh Foundation. She worked on arts, human services and education projects, as well as served as a liaison for the satellite funds. Prior to entering the foundation field, Janet was an intern with the Council on Foundations and an assistant to the president of Chatham College in Pittsburgh. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga.; a master’s in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a master’s in public management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Janet serves on the board of Chorus America and is a member of the Arts Education Partnership Steering Committee and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. She was a member of Gov. Ed Rendell’s Transition Team on Arts and Culture and has previously served on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Americans for the Arts and Leadership Pittsburgh. She has received awards from City Theatre and Pittsburgh Dance Alloy for leadership in the Pittsburgh arts community. In 2003, she was named Pittsburgh’s number one cultural force by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Cindi A. Stueber
Program Assistant

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Cindi Stueber is the program assistant for The Heinz Endowments’ Arts & Culture Program. She joined the foundation in 1989 as support staff for the planning and evaluation officer; two years later, she moved to the Arts & Culture Program. Prior to working at the Endowments, Cindi was secretary to the steel editor for Chilton’s Iron Age magazine and then joined Creamer Inc./Della Femina McNamee WCRS advertising agency where she was assigned to the McDonald’s account.


 
 
Children, Youth & Families
 
Michelle M. Figlar
Vice President of Learning

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Michelle Figlar is the vice president for learning at The Heinz Endowments. Before joining the foundation in August 2016, Michelle served as deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning. She also has been executive director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) and has held various professional positions in the field of education.

Throughout her career in government, the nonprofit sector and the classroom, Michelle has been a strong advocate for young children, their families, and the caring adults in their lives. She served as co-chair of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education, and as a board member for the Birmingham Foundation, the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), and Jeremiah’s Place, western Pennsylvania’s first crisis nursery. She also was a member of the advisory council for Remake Learning and early education organizations such as the Pennsylvania Early Learning Council and the Early Learning PA Campaign.

Michelle is a native of Hazelwood and lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Greg Quinlan and their children Grady and Tilly.


Carmen A. Anderson
Director of Equity and Social Justice

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Carmen Anderson is a director of equity and social justice with the Endowments and also works within the Children, Youth & Families Program. Her focus is advancing the program’s primary emphases: targeting the critical needs of children in the first eight years of life, addressing the special needs of adolescent youth and strengthening families as a means to promoting healthy development among children. Carmen’s work includes identifying innovative programs to strengthen parents’ skills in child rearing and supporting their children’s health. She examines ways to provide financial education for parents and adolescents. Since 2007, Carmen has led the Endowments’ African American Men & Boys Initiative, which was created to identify educational, economic, social and leadership opportunities for African American men and boys in the Pittsburgh region. Carmen also assists in the Endowments’ development of strategies to make inclusion and diversity a defining element of the region.

Prior to joining the Endowments in 2000, Carmen was the executive director of Healthy Start, Inc., a federal public health initiative to reduce infant mortality in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Her leadership and commitment to the mission helped Healthy Start meet its primary goal of reducing the infant mortality rate – one of the historically highest in the country – by 50 percent in the six areas served by the program.

Carmen's professional work has focused primarily on women and children’s issues, particularly family violence and child maltreatment. In addition to many years of administrative and management work in the community, she has lectured and conducted workshops on a variety of topics pertinent to women, children and families. She has been active in promoting healthy families through community organizing and public awareness, including co-hosting a 15-part television series on the issue.

Carmen has a master’s degree in mental health, a bachelor’s degree in mass and interpersonal communications, and certificates in nonprofit management, business administration and victim services. She has received the U.S. Department of Human Services Commissioners Award for outstanding service in the field.


Vicki Beattie
Program Assistant

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Vicki Beattie joined the Endowments in June 2012. She was previously employed by WESCO International as a benefits administrator for 11 years. Vicki attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Excellence in the Arts prior to enrolling in California University’s Theater and Communications program. During the 1980s, she lived in Chicago and performed in various productions at the Wisdom Bridge Theater.


 
 
Community & Economic Development
 
Rob Stephany
Program Director

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Rob Stephany is The Heinz Endowments’ director of Economic and Community Development. Before joining the foundation in 2012, Rob served five years as executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. His expertise in leading stakeholder-driven, market-based revitalization efforts and his ability to achieve consensus among disparate parties produced successful economic transformations in several of Pittsburgh’s most distressed communities.
 
Prior to heading the URA, Rob was director of real estate for East Liberty Development Inc. and successfully led a coalition that brought market strength, lost through unsuccessful urban renewal, back to the neighborhood’s blighted commercial district, leveraging some of the first major private reinvestment in decades. Under his leadership, a variety of redevelopment projects in Pittsburgh exceeded expectations, including Bakery Square, South Side Works, Summerset and South Shore Riverfront Park. His development and implementation of city planning strategies rejuvenated communities and improved the quality of life for their residents.
 
Rob has participated in several partnerships of private and governmental organizations to improve Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods while ensuring existing stakeholders remain key beneficiaries in the process. He is a recognized expert in sustainable urban revitalization and has presented the multifaceted story of Pittsburgh to numerous national and international media outlets and trade conferences.
 
As an Endowments program director, Rob brings to the foundation his unique ability to frame an issue, taking into account multiple perspectives, which allows for robust community dialogues that lead to sustainable development solutions.
 
A lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, Rob is married and has three sons.

Megan Andros
Program Officer

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Megan Andros joined The Heinz Endowments in 2013 as a Community & Economic Development program officer. At the Endowments, she focuses primarily on improving the quality of life for veterans in western Pennsylvania. Her goals are to strengthen the community of veterans and their supporters, improve veteran access to quality health and service organizations, and increase opportunities for veterans in the workforce.

Before joining the Endowments, Megan served for five years as an ordnance officer in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, reaching the rank of captain. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in northwest Baghdad from January 2009 to January 2010. Megan’s first collaboration with the Endowments was through Coro Pittsburgh, a nine-month fellowship program that trains leaders in private, nonprofit and government sectors. As a Coro fellow, she developed a survey to gauge veterans’ knowledge of organizations that serve them and to identify their individual needs, including employment opportunities and social support networks.

Megan is from Charlotte, N.C., and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in international law.


 
Mary M.
Program Assistant

 
 
Education
 
Stanley W. Thompson
Program Director

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Stan Thompson is director of The Heinz Endowments’ Education Program, which works with schools and community-based organizations to improve student achievement and promote high-quality learning, instruction and educational leadership in the Pittsburgh region. Before joining the Endowments in September 2008, he was the executive director of Times2 Academy for Engineering, Mathematics, Science and Technology. As a charter school in Providence, R.I., Times2 provides a learning environment that exposes children, particularly students of color, to challenging, real-world applications of engineering, mathematics and science.

Before becoming executive director of Times2, Stan was the school’s academic dean for kindergarten through 12th-grade education. His diverse professional background also includes working as a middle and high school English teacher in Kansas and New York; a middle and high school principal in Wisconsin and Rhode Island; a senior associate with the Coalition of Essential Schools, which was formerly based at Brown University; director of a career and technical center in Rhode Island; and associate director of high schools for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in Massachusetts. He also has served as an adjunct faculty member for National Louis University in Illinois.

Stan has presented at regional and national conferences on the topics of school change, team building, assessment and leadership. He was the 2000 Metropolitan Life/National Association of Secondary Schools State Principal of the Year for Rhode Island High Schools. In addition, he has served as a former member of the Coca-Cola School Partnership Council, which nationally promotes healthy lifestyle initiatives for students in grades six through 12. Stan has been on numerous panels, committees and advisory boards including those of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Mathematics and Science Education in Rhode Island, Breaking Ranks in the Ocean State Steering Committee, and Exchange City. Currently, he is the co-chairman of the Education Committee for the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., a master’s in English literature from The State University of New York at Stony Brook, a master’s in educational administration from Harvard University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.


Mary Jo Wise
Administrative Assistant

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Mary Jo Wise is the administrative assistant for the Education Program director at The Heinz Endowments. Her duties include scheduling for the director, coordinating meetings, and assisting in the management of reports.

Prior to joining the Endowments in 2016, Mary Jo lived and worked in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for more than a decade. There she worked as a senior account director for a full-service advertising and marketing firm, specializing in the aviation and travel industry as well as handling accounts for federal and local government agencies. Accounts managed by Mary Jo included the Washington, D.C., Office of Tax and Revenue where, under her creative direction and management, her firm produced the “Tax Friendly Campaign,” winner of a Silver Inkwell Award for Media and Relations & Publicity. She also managed the creative concept development and production of an air traffic control exhibit for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is permanently displayed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Mary Jo attended Robert Morris University, where she studied administrative management, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in library science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Moon Township, Pa., with her family.


 
 
Environment & Health
 
Philip R.S. Johnson
Program Director

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Philip Johnson is director of The Heinz Endowments' Environment & Health Program, which is part of the foundation's Sustainability team. He currently manages a grants portfolio and community initiatives that focus on environmental systems, public health, susceptible populations and vulnerable communities, as well as energy impacts and alternative energy, green infrastructure, community resilience and climate change. He also directs the Breathe Project Initiative that focuses on improving the region’s air quality.

Prior to joining the Endowments, Phil worked for government agencies and nonprofits in fisheries/ecological restoration, public health and environmental science.

Phil received his Master of Public Health, Master of Environmental Science and PhD in Risk Management from Yale University. Phil currently serves as co-chair on the Health & Environmental Funders Network steering committee.

 

 

 

 


Yassiris Mahan
Administrative Assistant

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Yassiris M. Mahan is the administrative assistant for the Sustainability and Environment & Health areas at The Heinz Endowments. She joined the staff in November 2016 as the receptionist and grants assistant.

Prior to coming to the Endowments, Yassiris worked at Merrill Lynch and PNC Bank, where she provided financial-related administrative support to executives for 17 years. She is completing her bachelor’s at Robert Morris University in communications and information systems.


 
 
 
 
 
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