Home » In Philanthropy » Associated Grant Makers Announces New Board Members at its 47th Annual Meeting

Associated Grant Makers Announces New Board Members at its 47th Annual Meeting

Post date: 
June 22nd, 2016
Article Type: 
AGM Blog Post
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Boston, MA - June 22, 2016 - Associated Grant Makers announced the appointment of new board members and officers at its 47th Annual Meeting held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston. Joining the board for a three year term are Dave Edwards, President & CEO, Essex County Community Foundation; Ruth Ellen Fitch, trustee, The Ludcke Foundation; Karen Kelley Gill, Director of Operations and Administration, the Klarman Family Foundation; Deva Hirsch, Executive Director, Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation; and Giles Li, Executive Director, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center.

Officers elected to a one-year term include:

Chair:                         Nancy Gardiner, Jane's Trust

Vice Chair:                  Lynne Doblin, Richard & Susan Smith Family Foundation

2nd Vice Chair:           Alicia Verity, Bank of America

Treasurer:                  Rob Zaccardi, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel

Clerk:                         Amanda Northrop, State Street Foundation

At Large:                    Tref Borden, Fish Family Foundation

At Large:                    Jim Grace, Arts & Business Council

Past Chair ex-officio:  Mari Brennan Barrera, Barrera Consulting

Executive Director:     Jeff Poulos, Associated Grant Makers

For a complete list of board members, click here.


The Annual Meeting was attended by over 120 leaders from the foundation and philanthropic community. The focus of the meeting was the Changing of the Status Quo in Philanthropy. The program kicked-off with presentations by four speakers, "Senate Whips", who offered perspectives of change in the field - Stephen Pratt, Root Cause; Abe Lateiner, Resource Generation; Andrea Perez, HIP Gives; and Lisa Spalding, The Philanthropic Initiative. Featured speaker Jacob Harold, President & CEO of Guidestar, shared insights on learning collaboratively and sharing data to lead to more effectiveness and efficiency in the nonprofit sector. Following this presentation, new board members and officers were appointed during the Business meeting and the program concluded with a networking lunch reception.

AGM acknowledged and thanked its Annual Meeting sponsors: Presenting sponsor - BNY Mellon; Gold - Hemenway & Barnes, LLP; and Bronze - Arbella Insurance Foundation and BJ's Wholesale.

Newly elected AGM Board members:

David A. Edwards serves as President & CEO of the Essex County Community

Foundation, a $38 million grant making and community leadership organization. Edwards has over 15 years of successful leadership with community foundations and expertise in the nonprofit sector, and over 15 years of higher education administration experience in the Greater Boston area. Prior to joining the Foundation, he has served as a principal with Sutherland ~ Edwards LCC, Consultants to Philanthropy, a consulting firm that has worked with over 40 community foundations across the nation. Before that, Edwards was the founding CEO of the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County in San Luis Obispo, California. During his six-year term there, he worked with the board to grow the Foundation's total assets from $60,000 to over $23 million. He has also served as Vice President for Administration & Finance at Wheelock College in Boston and was Budget Director for the University of Massachusetts. He holds a certificate in strategic management for nonprofits from Harvard Business School and is a fellow at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University. He has a B.A from Hope College, an M.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.Ed. from the University of Vermont.

Ruth Ellen Fitch served as President and Chief Executive Officer for nine years at The Dimock Center, retiring in June 2013. Prior to her position with Dimock, Ms. Fitch practiced law with Palmer & Dodge LLP where she became the first Black woman partner at a Boston law firm. Before attending law school, Ms. Fitch was Director of the METCO program in the Brookline Public Schools. She also taught Black literature at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School, where she served for three years on the Law School Administrative Board. She serves as a Director of Health Law Advocates and as a Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. She is also a trustee of the Ludcke Foundation. Ms. Fitch received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Curry College in 2011 and an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Simmons College in 2014. She received the Pinnacle Award for achievement in the legal profession from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts Award, the Charles Hamilton Houston Public Service Award from the Harvard Black Law Students Association, and the Distinguished Alumna Award from Girls' Latin School/Boston Latin Academy.


Karen Kelley Gill serves as the Director of Operations and Administration at the Klarman Family Foundation, a private family foundation located in Boston. With more than twenty-five years of experience in the non-profit and philanthropic arena, Karen's primary expertise is in the area of non-profit finance, operations and strategy. Prior to joining the Klarman Family Foundation, Karen served as Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer for the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), and its affiliated organization, the Children's Investment Fund. Karen has also held finance positions at the National Arts Stabilization Fund (now National Arts Strategies) and at Arena Stage as well as an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University. Karen currently serves on the board of directors of the Boston Center for the Arts. Karen holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the Catholic University of America and a Master of Business Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Finance from Boston University.

Deva Hirsch joined the Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation as Executive Director in May 2015. She currently serves as a member of the 2016 LeadBoston class, the Selection Advisory Committee of GreenLight Fund Boston, the Emory University Board of Visitors, the Hands On Tokyo Advisory Board and a volunteer for the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program. Prior to returning to Boston in 2014, Deva served as Executive Director for the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation in Atlanta, GA, the founder and president of Hands On Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan and one of two founding Co-Directors and Vice President for Program at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta, GA. Deva obtained her MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Nonprofit Management at Tufts University and her BA in Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Georgia. An almost "native" Atlantan, she was one of eleven co-founders of Hands On Atlanta, a 2000 graduate of Leadership Atlanta and a 2003 YWCA Woman of Achievement.

Giles Li is the Executive Director of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, and has been at BCNC since 2006. With experience in the non-profit sector at the national and local levels, Giles has a proven track record of direct service, advocacy work, and management experience. Having grown up locally in an immigrant family, he has a life-long connection and commitment to the community in and beyond Chinatown. Giles is a recognized thought leader and public speaker in Asian American communities nationwide. He holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs from UMass-Boston and is an alumnus of the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Giles has also served as adjunct faculty in the Asian American Studies program at UMass-Boston, and is a cross-sector leader who has served on several boards and committees, including the Task Force for Financial Literacy at the Office of the State Treasurer and on the Advisory Board for the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement.

Associated Grant Makers is honored to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable group working to advance effective and responsible philanthropy in our region. AGM extends many thanks and appreciation to those leaving its Board this year: Heidi Brooks, The Schott Foundation for Public Education; Ann McQueen, McQueen Philanthropic; and Mark Paley, The Hyams Foundation.

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