CIN 2013 Leadership Conference Bio’s

Belinda Alston

The oldest of three girls, I was born in Brooklyn, New York, lived in Florida, Kansas and now I reside in Henderson North Carolina. Blessed am I to know the Lord. I love living life to the maximum, which includes meeting new people, traveling, engaging in activities such as bowling, shopping, exercising, visiting museums and parks, and enjoying gospel, jazz, and R&B concerts.

 My mother passed in 2000. Wanting to do something with her clothes, I found the world of quilting. It did not take long before I was hooked on quilting because quilting offers so many options for artistic exploration. I knew how to sew and learned to create something from bits and pieces of my life when I met the Heritage Quilters and took classes at Miss Lou’s, a local quilting studio.

Working in the mental health field for over 25 years has been a blessing. I started working with children 10 years and under for about 10 years, then developmentally and severe and profound developmentally challenged adults in community workshop settings. I’ve work with SPMI (severe & persistent mentally ill) for the past 14 years in an Adult Day Program.

My association with the Heritage Quilter’s Giving Circle, like quilting, gives me many options for exploring community issues and for using my talent and time as a quilter to contribute significantly to community services and youth development.


Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry

Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Xavier University, a graduate degree in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans a M. B. A from the A. B. Freeman School of Business – Tulane University, and a Ph. D from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy – Urban Affairs Southern University A & M College.  She was a Lecturer in the Division of Business and faculty member at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, LA. for ten years.  She has taught courses at Concordia University, Wisconsin – New Orleans Center and Delgado Community College.  She has also taught Entrepreneurial Training and Small Business Development at the UNO Small Business Development Center, Goodwork Network and the Women’s Business Resource Center of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans. She is a certified NxLevel Entrepreneurial Trainer.         

She served as interim executive director of St. Mark’s Community Center. During that time, she maintained overall accountability for programs which included an art studio (Uphill Gallery) which was a collaborative effort with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, programs designed for youths which included a recording studio, carpentry and musical instrument repair programs, and several highly successful initiatives. She was Deputy Director of the Historic Landmarks Commission and was an Urban Planner for the Regional Planning Commission for the Parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and St. Tammany in the City of New Orleans. She also served as Senior Counselor for the Job Training Partnership Act in New Orleans assessing applicants for job training programs, assuring compliance standards for final eligibility with federal guidelines.

She has gained a broad familiarity with the needs of the community and has worked in many capacities to address these needs. She served as President of the Mid City Community Development Corporation, a community development corporation, which provided fiduciary oversight and coordination of staff overseeing construction of 19 units in an economically disadvantaged Mid City area.  She participated in structuring of the program to provide decent, affordable rental units for the residents, and ensure compliance with all requirements of the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency and the Local Initiative Support Corporation. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and Festival where she has been chair of the SEED (Supporting, Economic  program of the NOJHF), a micro loan program designed to assist small business owners and potential homeowners.  She is currently faculty advisor for Ashé College Unbound, an innovative partnership for higher education that brings Efforts of Grace, Inc. /Ashé Cultural Arts Center together with Roger Williams University and Big Picture Learning to provide an Ashé CAC-based college program. The convening and facilitating of the program is provided by a core team that includes representatives from Ashé CAC, Roger Williams (, Big Picture Learning (, and the Lindy Boggs National Literacy Center. Ashe’ College Unbound provides a Bachelor’s degree in community and cultural development and provides credits toward graduation for previous work, training, and education experiences of the students through a documentation process

Kenny Ashe

Kenny Ashe, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, has used his business leadership skills that he initially developed at his alma mater, Florida A&M University, and ultimately sharpened in the corporate arena, to make an impact in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. He has also invested resources to improve the lives of families in economically disadvantaged communities. Kenny is the Vice Chair of Progress Investment Associates, commercial developer for the nation’s first African American owned shopping center located in Philadelphia, has a long history of corporate social responsibility and civic engagement. In addition, he was responsible for the marketing, community relations, and rebranding of the property redevelopment during its $22M renovation.

Kenny’s personal mandate to improve the lives of people in urban communities was influenced by the late Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, who bequeathed a legacy of self-help, global corporate social responsibility, and community investment.

Nathan Brown

As time continues to progress, I continue to progress. Every day I expose myself to something new so that I can ensure that I am challenging myself. Challenges present areas within me that can be strengthened in return aiding in my overall growth. In 2013 I can confidently say that I, Nathan Brown Jr, am a young man that has an appreciation for life. I find joy in the mere realization of life itself. Because of my awareness of life’s abundant opportunities, I thrive to stay highly active. I seek a balance between school, family, the pursuit of financial stability, love, faith, self development, and many more aspects of life everyday as a way to maintain good health, which is the greatest gift to us all. At this current time in my life I found myself finishing my last year of my undergraduate degree in Political Science, while starting my first year in an International Masters in Business Administration graduate degree. My interest around what lies within this massive world has caused me to start taking the necessary steps to ensure my future consist of global travel and operations. This has led me to study aboard in Beijing, China during the first semester of my senior year of undergrad, while preparing for a second international trip next spring during graduates school. When it is not all about me, I am often engaging in services, programs, and events that help promote the growth and development of young people, especially young African American males. I am a strong member of my family and look forwarded to continuing and strengthening my role and the relationships within my family. With that being said, I simply say: Life is what you make it, keep it simple and smile.  


Jan Bright

Janice Bright, born in 1950 and a native of Chicago, has been living in Decatur, Georgia for 36 years.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Education w/an emphasis in English at Chicago State University and taught in the Chicago school system for one year before transferring w/her husband Jethro to Syracuse NY.  She taught in Liverpool, NY, a suburb of Syracuse, where she was the only Black teacher at the 5,000 student high school.  She was one of two Black teachers in the entire county, and many of her students had never seen a Black person before except in the newspaper or on TV.  After working in Liverpool for one year, she and her husband transferred to Decatur, Georgia where she received her Masters Degree at Georgia State University and taught at Redan High School in Stone Mountain, GA for 22 years.  She retired in 1998.

Since then, she and her husband of 42 years (in June, 2013) have traveled the world: six continents and countless countries.  Other than travel she enjoys dance, music, concerts, movies, and plays.  She also enjoys dining out and stimulating conversations.  She also enjoys spending time w/her children, grandchildren, and her first great-grandchild.

Her philanthropic activities include: the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and the Circle of Joy.  For fun she recently joined the Red Hat Society, and she does Zumba three times a week.


Cristina Rivera-Chapman

Cristina Rivera Chapman has been working in rural and urban communities around land and food for the past 10 years.  Most recently she co-founded Tierra Negra Farm, a collective of farmers, educators and cultural workers, striving to model a community controlled food system that is just and sustainable. Tierra Negra Farm grows food and provides accessible classes and trainings for our communities in NC and the Southeast. We are also proud members of a new collaboration called, Earthseed Collective, a group of black and brown visionaries who came together to re-imagine/re-member our relationships to land, to livelihood and to each other. We are currently working with Earthseed to acquire land in the NC Piedmont and manifest our community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources.

Sino Chum

Who is the man behind the lens?  Sino Chum is his name, and filmmaking is his game.  Currently living in New York City, Sino was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to a Cambodian mother. His family moved to Aurora, Colorado when Sino was seven years old and it was at the age of twelve that Sino’s mother gave him the tool he would use to share his vision with the world. It was his first video camera, used to film friends and family members that were always visiting his Colorado home.             

Even though he continued to film throughout his teenage years, it wasn’t until his sophomore year in college that he fell in love with filmmaking while taking a few film courses at school.  It was also during this time in Sino’s life that MTV’s TRL (Total Request Live) not only became the cause of his tardiness to school several times, but also a major source of inspiration.  The videos, the music, the interviews and directing styles from that popular series, have influenced Sino’s approach to how he creates his own music videos and documentary films.                

Since moving to New York City a little over a year ago, Sino has started to make his mark in the filmmaking world.  Working with powerhouse brands such as Steve Madden, Instyle and GQ, to name a few,  it’s only a matter of time before we see more film projects from Mr.Chum.

Dorothy Clark

I currently live in Durham, NC and I’m not leaving anytime soon!  I’m originally from the lovely town of Thomasville, Georgia – City of Roses and home of the Big Oak.

In July of 2012, I retired from the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.  I emphasize that I retired form Duke, not from work. I recently completed my first season in my newly created business doing income taxes, with particular emphasis on visual, performing, and literary artists. With 15 years as an arts administrator, even more years as a performing artist, and as a seasoned tax preparer, I thought I had a unique skill set to offer the community of artists. For the coming fall, I’m offering a series of workshops designed to help the microbusiness owners sharper their business focus.

My philanthropic interests are in line with those of my giving circle, 20/20 Sisters of Vision – helping to improve the lives of women. I sponsor a young girl in a Haitian school, and am helping a local teen with her college expenses. I am especially interested in seeing higher education made more available because it without question the key to economic prosperity.

My interests are diverse; I’m a Bronze level Toastmaster, humorist, stage actor, director, and writer.  And if all that’s not enough to keep me busy, I start divinity school in Augus

Sumayya Coleman

Sumayya Coleman lives out her calling to activism and advocacy for women, children and families to heal from domestic violence like a peaceful warrior and entrepreneur. She has learned many lessons through building comprehensive community and faith-based organizations and programs, motivating leaders, and mobilizing communities to become change agents. Whether from a local, statewide or national platform Sumayya captures her audiences’ attention as a trainer or plenary speaker at events or as a planner. She is inspired by the human spirit’s resiliency to heal the impact of woundedness and thrive beyond imagination. Mentoring is about providing leadership for her focus on social justice and ensuring that the underserved and underrepresented from diverse populations are included and recognized as social change agents. Sumayya’s faith continues to impel her and produce concrete evidence for whatever she puts her heart and mind toward for the empowerment of African-American/Black women and girls. Serving over twenty years, and making room for future opportunities to lift her voice, she continuously gives her time, talent, and treasure to create a place for those who come behind and along with her.   

Tina Crisp

Tina Crisp is the Program Coordinator for Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE), a forty-five (45) year old African American nonprofit in Pittsburgh PA. Previously, Tina worked for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, as Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. In 2004, Tina joined PACE and became the lead contact person in the selection and negotiation of office and equipment vendors, the human resources and employee benefits co-manager, and assists the executive director with IT management and implementation, programming, board and committee relations, website, social media and events management. Prior to her nonprofit career, Tina spent thirteen years as the Transportation Coordinator for a local taxicab company in Pittsburgh. Tina has more than 20 years experience in office management, contract compliance and employee relations.

Tina attended the University of Pittsburgh, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is a Wheeler Business School graduate and holds certifications in Conflict Management/Conflict Resolution and Substance Abuse Awareness Training for Supervisors and is a founding member of the Sankofa Fund of Southwestern PA. Tina recently adopted a one-year old beagle from the Hancock County Animal Shelter Foundation and is the proud mother of one daughter, Leah who left the corporate world to become a foster mother to special needs African American children. Leah has already adopted two special needs children she fostered and is in the process of adopting two year old twins, Mark and Matthew, who were recently diagnosed with Autism. 

Barron J. Damon

Barron J. Damon is a graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Psychology and a Masters degree in Business Management.  He also completed post graduate work at

Mr. Damon started his professional career at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia Inc., where he served as Vice-President of Operations.  Prior to his relocation to North Carolina Mr. Damon owned and operated Lotus Consulting, LLC for three years.  Some of his clients included the U.S. Department of Education, the University of South Carolina, Department of Labor, Department of Social Services, Communities and Schools, Department of Health and Environmental Control, as well as several non-profits, churches, and colleges

Benjamin Dixon

Benjamin Dixon is a veteran educator with experience as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in public K-12 systems, private schools and higher education. He has served as Deputy Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, and was The Travelers (Insurance) Companies first Workforce Diversity Director.  His most recent position was with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he served as the institution’s first Vice President for Multicultural Affairs.  His primary role was to  advise the President and university administration on policy and practice related to intercultural relations, diversity and equity issues.  He retired in 2006, at which time he was appointed to Emeritus Status.      In his capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Education, Dr. Dixon was responsible for managing the development and implementation of the state’s Comprehensive Plan for Elementary and Secondary Education.  He also served as an executive-on-loan from the State Department to the Hartford Public School System.  In this role he served as Interim Superintendent of Schools, managing a $184 million budget in this 25,000 pupil district.  At the Travelers Companies, Dr. Dixon managed and coordinated diversity and equal employment opportunity/affirmative action activities for the home office and fifteen field site complexes nationwide.      Dr. Dixon earned degrees at Howard and Harvard Universities. He received his Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, where he was a Ford (Foundation) Fellow.  He has been a member of the New Mountain Climbers Giving Circle in VA. Currently, he is chairing a small committee organized to explore the possibility of establishing a Giving Circle in Columbia, SC

Dr. Dixon utilizes his knowledge and experience to advise, guide and assist leader managers of public, non-profit and corporate entities committed to making their organizations more diverse, inclusive, and productive. He accomplishes this through an executive coaching, training and consultation company he founded, called Sankofa Futures Consulting, LLC.

Kimberly Dixon

Kimberly Dixon is the Founder| CEO of the Youth Education for Savings (YES) Consortium.  YES is a purpose-driven mission that came to fruition after Knox spent 16 years maturing in the nonprofit industry. She established YES Consortium in 2011 to create a 360 degree youth enrichment program to orchestrate opportunities to educate, encourage and inspire youth -through collaborative partnerships- in the community to learn from the past, maximize present opportunities and aspire to achieve a healthy future. Her experience as a nonprofit professional includes work as a director of marketing, program development, strategic planning, fundraising and as a government relations. Kimberly has worked with the NC Association of CPAs, National Financial Educators Council, NC Institute for Minority Economic Development, Wake Technical Community College, and NC Minority Support Center.

Spare time…huh?!? When I have it, I find myself at a loss. I feel I should be working, emailing, updating, transcribing, coordinating, calling, and/or designing something regarding YES. When I do take a moment for myself, I love to read books that intertwine fact & fiction such as Dan Brown’s recent novel but I’m also a comic book enthusiast. Going to the movies is my all-time escapism.  I dream of weekend excursions to NY to indulge in my delight for the theatre. Working out or vacuuming is my therapeutic method. Since I am a grandma’s girls, anytime I spend with her is a joy. I love Timmy and Muffit (my kitties) and I’d love to adopt a dog and a horse…if only I had 2-acres of land so I can enjoy and care for them all.

It’s an honor being “Auntie Kim”. Spending time with my 8 nieces and nephews and 3 goddaughters is a gift. I pray that they embrace the ‘fruit the Spirit”, and commit random acts of kindness.

Valaida Fullwood

Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida Fullwood brings a mix of unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer, creative consultant and project strategist. Her client base ranges widely and her interests center on social innovation in education, philanthropy and arts & culture. Valaida is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in International Studies with a focus in Economics. For nearly a decade, she managed international economic development projects for major corporations, living and working overseas prior to establishing a Charlotte-based consulting practice

Valaida is author of Giving Back, a 400-page hardcover book named one of the “10 Best Black Books” of 2011 and winner the prestigious 2012 McAdam Book Award as the best new book for the nonprofit sector.  She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists, a giving circle that both inspired and served as publisher of Giving Back

Celena Green

CELENA GREEN is the Senior Program Manager-Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership, a Washington, DC-based NGO that identifies and invests in women leaders worldwide through grant-making, training, mentoring, advocacy, visibility, and technical assistance. Celena leads Vital Voices’ Africa Region in developing and implementing programs for women’s political participation, economic empowerment, and human rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining Vital Voices, she worked with other global nonprofits such as the International YMCA and Global Kids, Inc., and spent several years living in Zimbabwe leading capacity-building and training programs serving women and youth throughout Southern Africa.

Her love for travel, Africa and its Diaspora, cultural exchange, philanthropy and service was cultivated through her family’s faith traditions of tithing and outreach through the AME Church, as well as in annual family reunions and summer road trips to the far corners of the country. Her family has a long history of commitment to justice, faith, and philanthropy, and have participated in the struggle for freedom locally and globally. Knowing that history instilled a sense of purpose in her early in life.  Now giving, and maintaining the financial freedom to be able to give and serve freely, are her guiding principles to achieving that purpose.

While Celena has traveled to 30 countries (and counting), she continues to give back at home as a member of Black Benefactors Giving Circle, the African American Women’s Giving Circle, the Global Kids DC Advisory Council, and the Diaspora African Women’s Network. A New York native, she has a BA in Africana Studies from Brooklyn College-City University of New York.

To make the circle complete and find a way to give back where it all began, Celena took the African Ancestry DNA test last year. Her maternal and paternal heritage is pan-African, and her ancestry includes the Ateke (Gabon), Manding, Fula (Senegal), Mende (Sierra Leone) and Balanta (Guinea Bissau) people. Her journey continues…

Amy Locklear Hertel

Amy Locklear Hertel (Lumbee/Coharie) is a doctoral candidate at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communications, which she earned from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Social Work as well as a Juris Doctorate, which she earned from Washington University. She currently serves as a Trustee for the GA & Kathryn M. Buder Charitable Foundation, which seeks to improve the social and economic conditions of American Indian families and communities. Prior to returning to academics, Mrs. Hertel served as Corporate Council for a publicly traded company in St. Louis. She is interested in research investigating culturally appropriate asset-building strategies for American Indian families and communities. In May, she will assume the role of Director of the American Indian Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ava Belinda Johnson    

I was  born the 5th of 7 children to parents who valued hard work, education and giving.  My father was president of the Orange Mound Civic Club and my mother was  ” Mama Lou” to half the kids in the neighborhood.  I earned a  BS degree in psychology and Masters degree  in counseling from University of Memphis.  I have held three positions working with special populations.  As a   psychometrist,  I evaluated  students for placement in special education programs with Memphis City Schools.  I worked as a behavior specialist with Department of Juvenile Justice.  I currently work as a disability adjudicator with Social Security.   Working with   these special  populations of  mentally challenged students, troubled youth and adults with severe health conditions, has heightened  my awareness of our society’s need and challenge to help others less fortunate.  I am honored and proud to be a part of the Circle of Joy.  We have been able to provide both  support services  and dollars to several  metro Atlanta organization that target helping youth.

Some of my other  people pleasures have included serving as a  Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher,   working  with  Habitat for Humanity and being a grandma.  I   also enjoy “playing in the dirt”,  5:00 AM walks  and reading.   Marian Wright   Edelman,  Kahlil  Gibran and  St Francis of Assisi are my heroes.

I am glad I am learning the math of “collective giving” and giving by design”.

Chad U Jones

Chad U Jones Executive Director of the Community Investment Network. Chad has worked as a program officer, consultant and donor adviser with multiple national foundations advancing economic justice and democracy by focusing on people of color, immigrants, students and the working and middle classes. Throughout his career, Chad has been in leadership development programs such as an ABFE Fellow in 2007-2008, Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in 2000-2001, and as a White House Intern working in the Political Affairs Office in 1998. Chad has presented for the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, Creating Change Through Family Philanthropy, Young People For the American Way, Grantmakers Without Borders, EPIP, United Students Against Sweatshops, and at the assemblies of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Chad is on the board of stone circles and the Stone House, 70 acres in Mebane, North Carolina. He is a member of the Freelancers Union, the Denver Public Library and the Brain Trust. Chad supports coop development, worker organizing, drinking from public water fountains, and getting produce from small farmers. Chad launched the wiki site for the Hollenback Community Garden

He studied Economics and History at Macalester College and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Chad was born in Denver and has lived in Kenya, Guatemala, Swaziland, Virginia, New Mexico and New York. He lives in New Mexico with his partner

Melandee Jones

Melandee Jones lives in Charlotte, NC.  She holds a MBA and works in the Information Technology field.  Melandee sits on the boards of Arts For Life and Citizen Schools, is a member of the Junior League, and a proud member of the New Generation of African American Philanthropists.  She is a member of Chappell Memorial Baptist Church, and in her free time enjoys traveling, reading, and community engagement.  The primary causes Melandee supports are Equal Access initiatives, the Special Olympics and Arts Advocacy.  Her guilty pleasures include chocolate, mysteries, and daydreaming. 

Naryan Leazer

I am the youngest of 5 born to Marie and the late George Leazer.  My life is a reflection of the legacy of their Arkansas and North Carolina roots and values passed on.   I am the husband of Vera where our 26 years of marriage have produced two beautiful grown daughters Raphael 23 and Amber 21. My newest joy is my granddaughter Kylie Grace who has graced this earth for 5 short months.  Fatherhood is my most cherished experience.

My greatest work has been helping people; both young and old, realize and walk in their potential and ultimately their purpose. I believe that each of us was uniquely made with a preordained destiny.   It is tragic when the struggles of life hinder what one could have been.

I rather listen than speak and prefer to consume, reflect and then speak.   I often find myself saying the things that other s think or are uncomfortable in saying.  I believe that the thoughts that we are given and the perspectives in which we see are not given to us just to keep to ourselves.

I desire that each day I obtain some type of new knowledge.  I am most at peace when I am building and creating.  I find my peace through gardening, jigsaw puzzles and reading.  I rather ride in a car with no radio and utilize the time to think and consider the possibilities and to allow the still of the moment for my creator to speak.  I am who I am and comfortable with myself having grown from intense silence because of shyness to a conscious silence to first listen and learn and then words after reflection.  I am Naryan David Leazer a work under construction helping to construct others through Growing Black Men and Boys of Milwaukee

Charles E. Lewis Jr.

Charles obtained a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering at Auburn University. Charles obtained a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.  Charles is also registered professional engineer in the state of Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

In addition to numerous professional activities, Charles is active in various community organizations.  Mr. Lewis has been actively involved in organizations such as the Future Engineers of America, NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hands-on-Birmingham, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and United Way of Central Alabama, CATALYST of Birmingham. Charles is also a founding member and former chairman of the Birmingham Change Fund, an organization of young African Americans that collectively pools their time, talent and treasure to create positive change in Birmingham

Mark Lewis

Mark is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in accounting. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1991 while working at Price Waterhouse. He left Price Waterhouse LLP after 8 years and joined Ernst &Young LLP where he worked for over five years reaching the level of Senior Manager. Mr. Lewis joined the board of the POISE Foundation in 1996 as its Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Investment committee. He resigned from the Board in 2002 to become the second President and CEO of POISE Foundation. Mr. Lewis also serves on the board of directors of the August Wilson Center, Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management Advisory Board, and is Chair of The Heinz Endowments African American Male Initiative Advisory Board.  Mark is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXII.  He also serves as an Elder and Trustee of Deliverance Baptist Church of Wilkinsburg. Mr. Lewis is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity

Darcel Madkins

As the CEO of Umoja African Arts Company, a non-profit organization created to promote the indigenous culture of Africa in the United States.  Known for our drumming and dance performances, Umoja’s African Arts in the Park is a yearly festival embodying African tradition with family fun activities.  African Arts in the Park is embraced by the City of Pittsburgh, and has a profound impact on the community when you tally the thousands who attend the event each year.  Under her leadership she works with the Board of Directors of Umoja to move the festival to Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh this has enabled an expansion of activities for kids and performances by local and nationally recognized artists.

As the Derivate Product Liaison for Bank of New York Mellon she was responsible for the production of outgoing confirmations; modeling for collateral for the derivate products; liaison with internal and external counterparties.  The derivates market is a fast growing area as more clients/managers use exchange- traded or over counter derivative products (futures, options, currency, forwards and swaps) to offset risk, and requires a keen understanding of the product features and related operational impacts.  She served as a committee members of BNY Mellon‘s Impact, Women In Network (WIN) and DSG Diversity Council.  Her previous corporate career included PNC Advisors where she held the position of PNC Advisors Retirement and Investments Account Manager in Pittsburgh.  In this capacity, she managed investments that were between $50M and $500MM in sales.  She was chosen to be an inaugural member of PNC’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), ensuring everyone has access to opportunities.

Darcel is a founding member of Sankofka Fund of Southwestern PA – Philanthropy and Co-Founder of African American Leadership Association (AALA).  The AALA serves as a vehicle to promote, develop, and recognize the network of African American leaders.  She also serves as a board of director for Greater Pittsburgh Art Council.  Darcel has created, DRMadkins Consulting, consulting firms that assist nonprofits in event planning and board development

Timothy McIntosh, Jr.

Timothy McIntosh, Jr. is a native of Forestville, Maryland and is a product of the Prince George’s County public school system. Timothy pursued higher education at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina were he received a Bachelorsdegree in Business Administration. As a professional Barber Timothy has owned and operated hair salons,barbershops, and is presently Managing Partner of Park West Barber School that has five locations. Timothyalso enjoys the pleasure of serving on various boards such as the North Carolina State Board of Barber Examiners, the Clinton School Center on Community Philanthropy and the Board of Visitors for North Carolina Central University’s School of Business. Inline with his passion to strengthen the communityTimothy became a founding member of a giving circlein 2003, The Next Generation of African American Philanthropists where he works for the positive socio-economic development of the African American community. Timothy has also been recognized for his work in the business and philanthropic sectors as the2011 Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award and the 2011 Ambassador James A. Joseph Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award. Timothy is married to his wife Charrisse, they havetwo children, and live in Durham NC.

Charles Atlas McNair

Charles was born and raised in agricultural Halifax County, N.C. where he learned agriculture, trade skills, and the meaning of community.  Weldon High School class of 1988 class President and Valedictorian, he graduated UNC-Chapel Hill, B.A. in Religious Studies/Anthropology Minor.  At UNC, social activism became a focal point of his life as the Sonja H. Stone BCC movement grew, along with leadership responsibilities. A major portion of his personality is expressed through grassroots organizing. Trained through the Ella Baker Childhood Policy Training Institute\Midwest Academy, he helped to charter and found Dillard Academy (D.A.) Charter School in 1998 and is currently the Technology Coordinator and Community Outreach/Garden Facilitator

 Working with the D.A. Garden Coordinator and Wayne Food Initiative founder, Ms. Cheryl Alston, sustainable food systems, local economies, STEM education, community and intergenerational involvement and youth are some of the things that describe the work currently underway. Spearheading Dillard’s newly planned Outdoor Environmental Learning Center; a male mentorship program building on the agricultural, folk medicine, cultural and athletic legacies of Goldsboro and eastern NC; and introducing ancient internal healing practices are all tied to passions and past/current studies. A son of NC and dancer and artist at heart, he sees living life as Dancing Light and currently prepares for the “Conservative Shake Down” dance  in NC which threatens the environment, education, civil rights, etc.

Kenneth D Perry

Ken is the son of the late, Percy and Mary Perry of Newport News, Virginia.  He is one of 14 children and he and his siblings love traveling back home to Virginia each November to celebrate Thanksgivings.  It is nothing like the feeling of home when you eat homemade pumpkin and sweet potatoes pies.  Ken is married and has two adult children and a granddaughter.  He now calls North Carolina home after coming to the state in 1978 to attend North Carolina State University on a football scholarship.  In 1982, he graduated from NC State with an undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. Ken works for Methodist Home for Children, a not for profit human service agency as the Vice President of operations.  He has worked with Methodist Home for over 28 years.  

Also, Ken is a founding member of A Legacy of Tradition (A LOT), a local giving circle that pools its resources of time, talent and treasures to positively impact black men and boy’s causes in the Triangle community of North Carolina.  Ken likes to find balance to life by reflecting back to growing up on the peninsula in Virginia.  Ken loves the water.  Ken likes walking the many locate recreation greenways in Raleigh that is surrounded by lakes.  He also travels to the beautiful North Carolina beaches to receive the free meditative blessings of God’s grace as the waves provide the refreshing renewal of the spirit and the exploration of the many potential opportunities that lie ahead.

 A Year in the Life of Cathy Peterson, RN.

 Church (2012) – I delivered the morning message (The ACT of Giving) at Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church where I encouraged the congregation to have a positive Attitude, be Confident and Tenacious when they give.  Tangible results – 42 coats for Crisis Ministries and 300+ toiletry items for the Uptown Men Shelter and Giving Back books.

Work (Carolinas Rehabilitation) – My department has been short staffed for the 8 months.  I have been doing the work of 2 people but still getting paid for doing the work of 3/4 person.   I am fundraising for ASAP (riders with physical disabilities ride handcycles from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach in 3 days).

 2/9/13 – NGAPP Charlotte Retreat

 2/15/13 – TEDx – Charlotte

 2/16/13 – Donald, my man for the last 4 years, proposed to me at a sweetheart ball (no, I’m not pregnant).

 3/2013 – My daughter, Cayla (16) and I performed our interpretation of Ain’t I A Woman/Phenomenal Woman at the Bethune’s Women Club Annual Banquet in Morganton (my home town).

 4/2 and 4/3 – I took Cayla and her 2 friends to visit NC State (yuk!), UNC – Chapel Hill (my Alma Mata) and Wake Forest.

 4/4 – 4/7 – Donald and I rented a cabin in Bryson City (overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains) where I built a fire, made so mores, won $100 in Cherokee on the penny slots and lost my contacts.

 4/13 – Cayla got her driver’s license. My insurance tripled.  Please pray for me.

 As I write this bio, I am keeping a 3 y/o and a 5 y/o for 1 week.  During the past 4 days, I have flown a kite, retrieved that kite from a tree, eaten at McDonalds 3 times, fed the ducks twice and cleaned  poop from underwear (not a diaper) once.  4 days down, 2 to go.  Please pray for me.

 Wilhelmina Ratliff

I was raised by two wonderful parents, French and Roberta Scott.  I don’t call just one place home, having been raised on three fronts.  One was the city of Washington, D.C., the place of my birth  The other was my summer home of Warren County, North Carolina, where I enjoyed the agrarian lifestyle.  The third home front of my formative years was that of Germany (West Germany).  I received my secondary education there, living in Sembach, Kiaserslautern, Bitburg and Frankfurt, where I graduated from high school in 1977.  I am proud mother (and mother-in-law) of three wonderful grown-ups, French, Alicia,  and Brian (son-in-law).

 I work in the Warren County School System as a media technology assistant in the library of Warren County Middle School.  I have worked in the educational filed for approximately 23 years.  In addition, care providing is an intricate service I perform to date. 

Currently, I co-care for two elderly great aunts, ages 92 and 95.  They are both my Grandmother Wilhelmina’s sisters.  Providing this care is a rewarding experience of surreal moments.

 Through the loving support of family, I returned to school to complete my bachelor’s degree.  The higher educational journey proved to be a multi-faceted, rewarding experience.  December 2012, I was blessed to favorably complete my baccalaureate venture, fulfilling a 2007 promise made to my dad prior to his death, that I would finish my four-year degree.  “Thanks be to God” for keeping of my word and continuation of our family’s ancestral legacy of learning. While taking a little break before graduate school, I am occupying the former study time, with work in my church, All Saints Episcopal, and quilting with the members of Heritage Quilters, both in Warren County.  I may even rest a little bit.

 Allyson Reaves

Allyson Reaves is an Associate Director at CCS Fundraising and is based in Washington, DC. Her volunteer experience and professional positions reflect her passion for institutional giving and philanthropy. Previously, she managed the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network of the Community Foundations of Canada, engaging community foundations around the world in dialogue on leadership, knowledge-building and sector trends. She also conducted research on the venture philanthropy model in Italy and its collaborative potential with community foundations

 Originally from South Carolina, Allyson has enjoyed living in Italy, Mexico, Uganda, and most recently, Canada. Her interest in music and dance is reflected in her work as a volunteer teacher of Afro-Caribbean dance forms and as a licensed Zumba instructor. A graduate of the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Program, Allyson also served on the Chamber’s Board of Regents

 Allyson earned a B.A. in Spanish Language and International Trade from Clemson University and a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Boston University

 Maurice Small

Maurice Small is an independent consultant with 23 years of experience in urban food systems development, youth entrepreneurship training, and soil creation.  Maurice Small inherited his profound respect & love for the earth from his parents.  This love for natural process and growth nurtures his strong desire to build community as he teaches & cultivates a regional vision for sustainable agriculture, healthy lifestyles in underserved communities & urban/rural collaboration between growers & vendors. His work to address the development of a more sustainable regional food system in Northeast Ohio began in 1988 with vacant lot reclamation, community garden creation, work with local after-school programs and volunteering with organizations to cultivate urban local food production.

Small co-founded the City Fresh initiative and served as its first on-the-ground coordinator. City Fresh was a strategic project that focused on improving urban market access for rural farmers while improving food access in urban neighborhoods in Cleveland. City Fresh has evolved into a regional initiative that includes farmers and urban neighborhoods from six counties. Small was part of the team that launched the City Fresh market garden training program in 2005 in collaboration with Ohio State University Extension to train urban farmers to utilize vacant land to grow food for market.

Small’s current work allows him to support neighborhoods, cities, counties and regions that are committed to improving urban food systems. In Youngstown Ohio, Small’s work with Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation yielded 15 acres of active urban food systems.  In partnership with the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, Small developed a for-profit educational initiative with four urban community gardeners in addition to developing farmers markets in the city, creating soil in urban settings, cultivating corner store fresh produce supply, and training youth in entrepreneurship.

Small is currently working on projects that incorporate multiple levels of knowledge and implementation across the United States. Which includes collaborations with experts and elders in the field and consistent research and exploration into both ancient and cutting edge methods, techniques and rituals.




LaDawn Sullivan

LaDawn is the Program Officer for The Denver Foundation’s Strengthening Neighborhoods Program.  LaDawn joined The Denver Foundation in 1997.  She previously served in key staff positions within the Hunt Alternatives Fund, a private foundation, and former Colorado Governor Roy Romer’s Administration in the Office of Policy and Initiatives.  She currently staffs the Pipeline Sub-committee (supporting emerging leaders of color) of The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Program, Chair of Colorado Blacks in Philanthropy, a local chapter of the Association of Black Foundation Executives and is immediate past Board Chair of Shadow Theatre Company Advisory Board.

As a member Denver Chapter of Links, Inc. – a national women’s organization promoting friendship and service to community, LaDawn servers as a Chair of the National Trends and Strategic Planning and Implementation Committees.  She serves in varies capacities in her community and has worked on campaigns that promote literacy and efforts that encourage the preservation of African American history and culture in Denver.  She has also served as Youth Director of her church over 13 years.  She is the mother of two sons- Dallas, 17 and Darius, 13.  In her off hours.  LaDawn is an accomplished singer and has appeared in theatre productions, and other music venues.  She enjoys reading bargain hunting. 

 Christina Theodorou

Christina Theodorou currently serves as Program Manager for the NC Indian Economic Development Initiative, and her position has led to greater economic development for 98,000+ Americans Indians that live in North Carolina. 

 Having grown up in Charlotte, North Carolina in a family of small business owners, Christina has a deep rooted sense of utilizing available state and local resources. In mobilizing the social, economic and political engines of North Carolina, Christina believes it necessary that American Indian Enterprises be a viable part of the State’s Economic Development. Theodorou works to show that native populations of North Carolina are a vital voice in the economic and social standing of the state.

 As a member of the Lumbee Tribe, graduate of UNC-Pembroke, the first American Indian public school in the nation, and founder of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, the first national American Indian sorority, Christina has 20 years’ experience advocating for and networking with American Indian populations in North Carolina.  She serves as a member to the External Committee for the American Indian Center at UNC, the Native American Indian         Advisory Council at NCSU, Wake County Indian Education Committee and board member of the North Carolina Folk Life Institute.

 Christina resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband Ioannis, daughter, Chrisoula Rose and son, Athanasios James. Christina is devoted to her tribal history and stories, a powwow enthusiast and supporter of the American Indian and North Carolina cultural art.

 Shon Thurman

Terralance De Shon Thurman also known as “Shon” was born and raised in the rural Blackbelt region of West Alabama in the river city of Demopolis, AL.  He was raised by his grandmother and is the first grandchild and the oldest of the 6 siblings from his mother and father.  He grew up playing many sports all while embracing music by playing the trombone along with a few other percussion instruments in the Jazz and Concert band.  He graduated from Demopolis High with Advanced Honors and received a football scholarship to play football at Huron University in Huron, SD.  Shon received a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Huron University and a Computer Technician Diploma from Virginia College. 

 Shon started his career working for Tuscaloosa Steel, a British Steel subsidiary as a Computer Specialist then went on to work for Electronic Data System(EDS) as a Systems Engineer.  He is currently an Assistant Vice President and Operating Systems Engineer with Wells Fargo.

Shon volunteers his time to several charitable and social services organizations including Habitat for Humanity and Community Kitchens.

Shon is affiliated with several civic and professional organizations, including the

Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals, Leadership UAB Class, UAB Minority Health and Research Center YP Board, Child Care Resources Board and Sickle Foundation Junior Advisory Board.

Shon is Vice Chairman of the Birmingham Change Fund a giving circle of emerging African American leaders that pool their individual philanthropic gifts, professional talents and time together for the purpose of making a bigger impact in the Birmingham community.

In his leisure time, he enjoys live band music, traveling and participating in many recreational activities such as golf, weightlifting, bowling and he is avid Dallas Cowboy sports fan.  Shon likes to eat different culinary food dishes and would like to call himself a “foodie”.

 Tahz Rufus Walker

Tahz Rufus Walker has spent the past 12 years working on small organic farms in North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and in community gardens, and community food settings across the South. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Tahz has witnessed a dramatic shift in cultural food traditions as well as access to healthy food choices in many urban and rural communities that he has lived in. This has fueled his work and awareness around sustainable agriculture, ecology based education, and food justice.  He envisions a food-system where farmers are diverse and are made up of many races, class backgrounds, genders, where youth have a voice in the food they consume, and where there is honor and justice in putting your hands in the dirt. Tahz is co-founder of Tierra Negra Farm, and also co founder of Earthseed Collective a people of color led group working to gain more access to land for educational, agricultural, and healing space. He has most recently been manager of the 70 acre property at the Stone House Retreat Center in Mebane, NC. He believes through work individually and in partnership we have a deep understanding of the community aspects of this work. We are committed to our communities and understand that listening and responding to community needs around food will be the key to our success.

 Lyord Watson Jr.

Lyord Watson Jr. is a preacher and a philanthropist who lives out his faith in the pulpit as well as in the public square.

 His background is a marriage of management and ministry. He received a business management degree from Samford University and a master of divinity from Beeson Divinity School. He is the owner of Watson Philanthropic Solutions, an associate minister at Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and founder of Ekklesia, a ministry devoted to helping people live out their faith in every aspect of their lives.

 Recently, Watson was named as an Association of Black Foundation Executives 2011-2012 Connecting Leaders Fellow. He is a founding member, immediate past president and currently VP of Education and Grants for the Birmingham Change Fund. He is a member of Emerging Professionals in Philanthropy and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

 A native of Brewton, AL, Lyord and his wife Katrina reside in Birmingham, AL

 Tracey Webb

Tracey Webb is the founder of The Black Benefactors, a giving circle that supports nonprofit organizations serving the African American community in the Washington, DC region, and is Founder and Editor of, the first online source for African American philanthropy. Huffington Post’s Black Voices referred to Tracey as “a young black woman making history as the first online chronicler of black philanthropy.”  She is a proud HBCU graduate of two institutions, Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia. 

 Tracey comes from a family of givers that sparked her philanthropy.  Causes important to her are preserving black arts and cultural institutions, improving life outcomes of black men and boys, HBCU alumni giving and systems reform addressing issues impacting the black community, among others.

 She has written for and has been featured in major media outlets and print publications with the goal of promoting and sharing black philanthropy. When not blogging or giving back to her community, Tracey loves to shop, a hobby passed down by her parents.  Her shopping partner in crime is her twin sister Stacey, and frequently Tracey’s three year old nephew Xavier tags along. 



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