Speaker Biographies

Native Philanthropy Institute Speaker Biographies


Aaron Dorfman:

Mr. Dorfman is the executive director of the Nation Committee on Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Before joining NCRP in 2007, he served as a community organizer with two national organizing networks, spearheading grassroots campaigns to improve public education, expand public transportation for low-income residents and improve access to affordable housing.


Bo Thao-Urabe:

As Senior Director of Capacity Building and Organizational Learning, Ms. Thao-Urabe provides leadership for infrastructure building programs that combine grantmaking and capacity building strategies to advance social justice. Aside from serving on the senior management team at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, she co-founded Hmong Women Achieving Together, Sisterhood Laos, and the Building More Philanthropy with Purpose Giving Circle. Bo currently serves on several local and national nonprofit Boards.


Brian Cladoosby:

Mr. Cladoosby serves as the 21st President of National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). In October 2013, he was elected to serve his first term as President of the organization. He previously served as an Area Vice President on the NCAI Board before serving as the President of the Association of Washington Tribes. He has been instrumental in the domestic and international emergence of the northwest Indian country salmon and seafood industry.


Candice Mendez:

Ms. Mendez (Navajo Nation) is the Executive Assistant at Native Public Media. Candice brings her years of experience in entrepreneurship, business management and international experience to the position. Her management experience includes hotel procurement for the historical Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa and food services at the prestigious Phoenix Children’s Hospital. On the international front, Mendez was formerly the owner and operator of a restaurant in the provinces of Guanacaste and Limon in Costa Rica. She also studied Art History in the south of France. She is responsible for the day-today- administrative matters of Native Public Media, which includes program, development, and fiscal management.


Carly Hare:

Ms. Hare strives to live a commitment to advancing equity and community engagement through her professional and personal life. She recently stepped into the role of Director for the Joint Affinity Groups after four years on the steering committee. Previously, Carly served as Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Executive Director from 2010-2015 after five years of membership, as well as serving on the NAP Board of Directors.


Chrissie Castro:

Ms. Castro, (Dińe and Chicana), is an advocate working towards the increased social and political empowerment of the Los Angeles American Indian/Alaska Native community. She is the vice-chairperson of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission, and has represented urban America Indian issues in national and international arenas, including Canada, Bolivia, New Zealand, Japan, and with the United Nations. In addition, Ms. Castro is a Senior Consultant with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, providing consultation to a number of community and systems change initiatives in Los Angeles.


Christine Reeves Strigaro:

Ms. Strigaro is dedicated to philanthropy that addresses root causes of problems, while serving and empowering communities most affected by these problems. As a nationally recognized public speaker, she travels the country giving presentations, weaving networks, and having conversations about philanthropic strategies and opportunities.


Dana Arviso:

After working for the organization since July 2007, Ms. Arviso later became the Executive Director of Potlatch Fund. While primarily focused on the needs of Native Americans, she has dedicated her life to combating the social and economic disparities that affect all communities of color in the Pacific Northwest. She has served on the Board of Directors of Social Justice Fund Northwest since August 2010 and was a part of the inaugural Next Generation Giving Project.


David Cournoyer:

Mr. Cournoyer is an independent consultant who works on issues of communications, facilitation, organizational development, fund development and program development. He has more than 15 years of experience in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he provided communications expertise to youth and education initiatives, including community development and higher education programs.


Don Chalmers:

Mr. Chalmers brings over 40 years experience as a fundraising professional to the SparrowHawk team. A skilled facilitator and engaging trainer, he has worked with volunteer boards, government agencies, and planning committees. His career includes successful capital projects, cultivation of major gifts from individuals, facilitation, training, and strategic planning.


Dr. Donald Warne:

Dr. Warne, MD, MPH is the Director of the Master of Public Health Program at North Dakota State University, and he serves as the Senior Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board. In addition, he is an adjunct clinical professor at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Dr. Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, South Dakota and comes from a long line of traditional healers and medicine men.


Dr. Kathleen Annette:

A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota, Dr. Kathleen Annette is a recognized leader at local, regional and national levels. One of the major events of her career was serving as the on-site coordinator and leader in the response to the Red Lake High School shootings in 2005. A representative of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Annette assisted the community in the aftermath of this tragedy both immediately and long-term. For her service, the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation bestowed honorary membership – an honor received by only three individuals.


Edgar Villanueva:

Mr. Villanueva identifies, develops and solicits grant proposals, conducts site visits and prepares grant recommendations for the foundation’s Midwest region. Before joining the foundation, he was the executive director of Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations, a partnership between the University of North Carolina Wilmington and philanthropic and civic organizations and leaders focused on building capacity in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in southeastern North Carolina.


Eric Stegman:

Mr. Stegman leads the team’s advocacy and outreach strategy, working with a national network of grassroots advocates and coalition partners to build the public and political will to dramatically reduce poverty. He also leads the development of the “Half in Ten Annual Poverty and Inequality Indicators Report” as well as developing policy and analysis supporting opportunity for rural and American Indian and Alaska Native populations.


Erika McDaniel:

Ms. McDaniel is a Business Development Associate in Glenmede’s Philadelphia office. With a focus on endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations, she works directly with Glenmede’s Endowment and Foundation team on business development initiatives and the creation of marketing and thought-leadership materials. Prior to joining Glenmede, she worked as a marketing associate at Turner Investments where she managed general marketing responsibilities and supported acquisition and retention initiatives for asset management clients.


Georgiana Lee:

Ms. Lee, a member of the Dine (Navajo) tribe in Arizona, has been the organization’s Assistant director since 2009. She manages Vision Maker Media’s films created for PBS, including the organization’s open call for proposals, and works with independent Native American producers. She also oversees the acquisition program, and manages the biennial Vision Maker Film Festival. Before joining Vision Maker Media, Georgiana worked in Montana as a field organizer for Barack Obama’s Campaign for Change on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Georgiana currently serves on the board of the National Alliance for Media Art and Culture (NAMAC) in San Francisco.


Janeen Comenote:

Ms. Comenote has spent the last 10 years advocating for American Indians/Alaska Native who live off reservations and endeavoring to provide a voice to this often “silent majority” in Indian Country. For the last 12 years, Janeen has been employed by the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF) in Seattle, WA. As such, she has worked in various positions spanning street youth counseling, Indian Child Welfare advocacy, foster home licensing, poverty reduction/research, local coalition building, and currently, development.


John Poupart:

Born and raised on the Lac du Flambeu Indian reservation, Mr. Poupart has devoted his life to serving American Indians. He was instrumental in starting a number of American Indian social service programs in Minnesota. He founded Anishinabe, an Indian halfway house funded by the Department of Corrections; served in a cabinet-level capacity for the Governor as Ombudsman for Corrections; Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission; Minneapolis City Planning Commission, and; Minneapolis Charter Commission. While in retirement and with a will to honor his Indian ways, John continues to give back and share his knowledge and experience with Indian communities and works to form collaborations and partnerships with non-Indian entities.


Katie Wehr:

Ms. Wehr, program officer, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2010. Her work focuses on discovering and investing in what works to promote the nation’s health as well as working to achieve the Foundation’s vision. Since joining RWJF, Katie has worked to increase the visibility and impact of solutions that advance health and that incorporate emerging research, practice and policy tools to put evidence into action and create policy and system changes that enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.


Keisha Robinson:

Prior to joining Red Star, Ms. Robinson worked as an Epidemiologist at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. Tribal Epidemiology Center, which serves over 40 Tribes in the southwest region. Her experiences include epidemiology, data management, community survey development, database design, and program evaluation.


Ken Vance-Borland:

Mr. Vance-Borland has been concerned with nature conversation for a long time. He believes that sustaining healthy ecosystems and human communities in the face of global change are complex problems. He works with communities to meet this challenge with network mapping tools to discover who has (and has not) been working together, and with network weaving processes for building unexpected new collaborations. He also believes that when people exchange ideas with new partners, innovative solutions emerge.


Kristine Rhodes:

Ms. Rhodes (Bad River and Fond du Lac Anishinaabe) earned a Master’s of Public Health degree in Public Health Administration & Policy and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Community Health Education, both from the University of Minnesota. For more than two decades, her professional work has focused on improving the health of American Indian health communities with a community-led focus. She has developed tribal and urban health programs, resources with a strong focus on evaluation and research in order to develop an evidence base for what works in Native Communities.


Lee Francis IV:

Mr. Francis is an educator, activist, and poet with over fifteen years of experience teaching and conducting workshops with minority populations, especially in and around Indigenous and Native American communities in North America. His primary focus has always been on positive youth development and student success, with an eye towards the arts and exploring creativity in all aspects of education. He currently serves as the National Director of a Native American community-youth development organization, Wordcraft, Inc.


Leonard Wabasha:

Mr. Wabasha is the direct descendant of Wapasha Chiefs. He has been involved as a Dakota Language & Cultural Educator, enrolled at Lower Sioux Reservation; Diversity Foundation & Wapasha Prairie Educational Documentary Consultant & Advisor. He also has experience as a computer specialist at Honeywell Corp in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Loris Taylor:

As President and CEO of Native Public Media, Inc. Ms. Taylor represents the media interests of Native America through legacy and new media technologies including radio, television, video and Internet, journalism, and public policy. She was instrumental in helping to establish the first FCC Tribal Priority for broadcasting and the new FCC Officer of Native Affairs and Policy.


Marita Jones:

Yah’eh’t’eeh. Jones is of the Bitterwater clan, born for the Manygoats clan. Her maternal grandparent is Folded Arms clan and her paternal grandfather is of the Towering House clan. She has been an honored to work with communities throughout Indian country and across multiple cultures through her work in Leadership and Community Health Education and Health Promotion. Healthy Native Communities Partnerships’ work is with communities to realize their own vision of wellness.


Marnita Schroedl:

Ms. Schroedl, the founder and social capitalist of Marnita’s Table, created the successful model of International Social Interaction. A 2014 Roy Wilkins Fellow at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Policy and a 2009 Shannon Leadership Fellow, Marnita is a subject matter expert on women’s reproductive health issues and HIV/AIDS. She is also an entrepreneur who has invented a replicable way to catalyze strong relationships between disparate organizations and individuals in order to deliver a stronger, more engaged communities for the benefit of all.


Dr. Mary McEathron:

Dr. McEathron began her career in nonprofits in 1990, working for the Academy for Educational Development (AED) in Washington, DC, in both domestic and international programs. Returning to Minnesota, she worked for the Community Design Center of Minnesota and attended Hamline University, earning a Masters of Liberal Studies in Creative and Critical Writing. Prior to joining Rainbow Research, Dr. McEathron was the director of the Evaluation Group at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.


Matt Morton:

Mr. Morton is the Executive Director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), a community-based organization dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and families through education, community involvement, and culturally specific programming. He has been actively involved in the Portland community since moving there in 1998 after complete his Masters in Education at Oregon State University.


Melanie Quackenbush:

Ms. Quackenbush is a Relationship Manager in Glenmede’s Philadephia office. She provides advisory and administrative services to endowments, foundations and other not-for-profit organizations. She also assists clients in accomplishing their philanthropic goals through consultations on charitable gifts, grants management, and foundation back-office services. Before joining Glenmede in 2004, Melanie gained experience in the non-profit sector, as well as in the fields of education and journalism.


Robert Sturm:

Mr. Sturm has worked in the nonprofit world for 25 years. Since 2000, a large part of his work has been helping Native American nonprofits build their capacity and strengthen their programs. As Executive Director of the New Mexico Community AIDS Partnership, Sturm has overseen multiple grant cycles, working with applicants and grantees to make the process more transparent and less difficult. Since 2012, he has been the Weaver for NAP’s Southwest Region, working to build the capacity of local Native nonprofits and to support relationships among nonprofits, tribal programs, and funders. Sturm has a strong interest in indigenous models of management, learning and helping and works with funders to make their policies and procedures more culturally appropriate for Native grantees.


Shelley Frazier:

Ms. Frazier is Dzil ti’ahnii, born for Kin lichii’nii. Her maternal grandparents are Tsin sikaadnii, and her paternal grandparents are Tachii’ni. She works with the Shiprock Health Promotion Program and volunteer with the Healthy Native Communities Partnership, Inc. She has coordinated and has been involved with a wide variety of activities aimed at building and strengthening healthy families/communities and partner with many other community health promotion efforts from the local to the national level. She is a faculty member with the Healthy native Communities Fellowship and is also a Digital Storytelling trainer and facilitator and has been a group methods facilitator for 20 years.


Shirley Sneve:

Ms. Sneve is the Executive Director of Vision Maker Media, whose mission is to share Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives through Public Television. As an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, she has been lived in Nebraska for ten years. She has served as director of Arts Extension Service Amherst, MA, and the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science’s Visual Arts Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Shirley was assistant director for the South Dakota Arts Council, and she was a founder of Northern Plains Tribal Arts show.


Stephen Burns:

Mr. Burns, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager for Endowments and Foundations in Glenmede’s Philadelphia office. Along with other members of the team, he provides investment advice and portfolio management for foundations, endowments and other not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Endowments and Foundations at Glenmede, Mr. Burns was employed by the Davidson Trust Company, a division of the Bryn Mawr Trust Company, as a portfolio manager.


Sonya Oberly:

Ms. Oberly is a Native American filmmaker, writer, and occasional fry bread vendor. She’s currently the owner/operator of Daveno Films. She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Nevada, and a MFA in film & television production from the University of Southern California in 2009. Upon graduating from U.S.C., Sonya has worked on several freelance projects including music videos, web commercials, a reality TV pilot and documentary films. She’s also had the privilege of teaching basic film production courses to Native youth in Arizona, Minnesota, and Washington State.


Susan Balbas:

As Executive Director, community organizer and philanthropist, Ms. Balbas holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Teaching. She has been an independent consultant working with tribes, artists and nonprofit organizations, the Chief Development Officer at United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle, Development and Donor Education Coordinator at Changemakers Foundation in San Francisco, Executive Director at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Outreach Director at the Western Water Alliance in Seattle where she was the primary researcher on water and related environmental issues.


Tachini Pete:

Mr. Pete is dedicated to contributing to society by using his education, experience and skills to enhance and strengthen community prosperity. His major accomplishments include publication of the first modern Salish language translation dictionary in 1998 followed up with a more comprehensive 816 page second edition (Medicine for the Salish Language, SKC Press) with thousands of entries published in 2010.


Tina Tso:

Born & raised in Tuba City, Arizona, Tso’s Dińe clans are Towering House and born for Deer Water people. She is married with two girls: Kristin is 25 and Ariana is 11. Tso resides in Shiprock, NM and works for Healthy Native Communities Partnership, Inc (HNCP). Her passion is incorporating Native tradition and culture in the work they do here at HNCP. She works with local and national Native communities doing wellness planning and facilitation.


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