Join the TC community for "Meet the Funders," a panel discussion featuring representatives from national, state/city and community foundations supporting a myriad of initiatives (i.e. education, arts, health). Panelists will provide insights on their organization’s funding priorities, eligibility criteria, do’s and don’ts of applying and other insights that demystify the grant funding process. This event is open to all and will be particularly useful to grant writers at any skill level.
Date: Tuesday, February 9
Time: 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET
Panelists include Leigh Ross (M.A. ’12) from the New York Community Trust; Gisele Shorter (Ed.D ’12) from the Raikes Foundation; Carolyn O’Brien from Private Foundation Services, J.P. Morgan; and Brooke Stafford-Brizzard (Ph.D. ’06) from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Priya Sircar (M.A. ’11) from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will moderate. Find more information about our speakers below.
Priya Sircar joined John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 2018. She is a nonprofit administrator and practicing artist with experience in both fundraising and grantmaking.
As director/arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, she develops strategies for arts investments in cities across the United States where the Foundation has offices.
She joined Knight from Lord Cultural Resources, where she specialized in strategic and cultural planning for arts, cultural, and heritage organizations and communities in the United States and abroad. A principal consultant for Lord, she led community engagement and spearheaded Lord’s work with parks, gardens and other urban public spaces, as well as its film and media projects.
Sircar began her career at the Lance Armstrong Foundation—now LIVESTRONG—helping build a global cancer survivorship movement. Starting in development there, she later established the foundation’s national community grant program and founded its annual community and capacity-building conference of grantees.
A dancer-choreographer, actor and former musician, Sircar has performed around the country, directed movement for theatre in New York, and produced and appeared in films that have screened in festivals including SXSW.
Sircar holds a master’s in Arts Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s in the Interdisciplinary Plan II Honors Program from The University of Texas. She hails from Texas.
Leigh currently oversees The New York Community Trust’s grantmaking for girls and young women and arts education. From 2016 to 2019, she coordinated The Trust’s Fund for New Citizens, a funder collaborative focused on advocacy and legal services for immigrants; and from 2014 to 2017, she managed the foundation’s Hive Digital Media Learning Fund, which used pooled funds to expand technology-driven education for local youth. Prior to joining The Trust, she developed cultural and educational programming for institutions including Wave Hill, Dance NYC, and Spaceworks. She holds a B.F.A. from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. In her free time, she is involved in advocacy to end mass incarceration, including by reforming the parole system. She lives with her husband and son in Washington Heights, Manhattan.
Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard is Vice President for Research to Practice at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), where she leads work to support bringing inclusive and evidence-based whole child practice to learning environments. This grant portfolio supports researchers, educators and policymakers in their efforts to bring a more holistic approach grounded in the science of learning and development to classrooms. Dr. Stafford-Brizard has also led the development of a community of hundreds of these partners, fostering unique partnerships and collaborations leading to breakthroughs and innovations in whole child practice. She regularly authors opinion pieces for outlets, most recently at The 74, NBC's Parent Toolkit, and EdSurge. She also speaks regularly at a number of education conferences, and she has been a keynote speaker at events such as SXSW EDU, Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL), and Fusion.
Gisele C. Shorter joined the Raikes Foundation as a program officer in 2018.
Over the past 15 years, Gisele has lead youth development, education and community-based organizations through programmatic resets, large-scale culture change initiatives and strategic re-engineering. Most recently, she was the Vice President, Policy and Partner Engagement, at Turnaround for Children, where she led efforts to build awareness, credibility and ensure Turnaround achieved broader impact.
Gisele’s career has been underscored by a deep commitment to affecting positive change in the lives of young people and families. She was a founding member of ROADS Charter High Schools’ executive leadership team – second- chance charter high schools designed to serve the most at-risk young people. She has served on the NYC Mayor’s Office Community School Advisory Board; NYC Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner’s Advisory Panel on Education; and the Juvenile Justice Education and Prevention Workgroup. Gisele is co-author of the PEAK Negotiated Acquisition, a contracted program with the NYC Department of Probation that provides meaningful alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders.
Dr. Shorter earned her Ed.D. in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds an M.P.A. from Long Island University and a B.A. from Amherst College. She is a 2014 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow at the Aspen Institute and an active member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Carolyn O’Brien has nearly a decade of experience in family philanthropy, grantmaking, and grants administration. Carolyn began her career at J.P. Morgan, where she has held various roles, including program officer and grants manager, as well as analyst on J.P. Morgan’s Michigan Private Bank team.
As Team Lead of Private Foundation Services in New York, Carolyn helps clients leverage her team’s vast experience in grantmaking and grants management to implement and maintain effective and efficient giving programs. She works closely with clients and advisors to assist with the day-to-day management of grantmaking for foundations and charitable trusts. Carolyn collaborates with clients and nonprofit organizations on all aspects of the grantmaking process and has experience working across a diverse range of funding areas including education, youth development, environmental conservation, the aging population, and capacity building for the nonprofit sector, among others
Carolyn graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA from the Mendoza College of Business with a focus on Consulting. Carolyn serves on the advisory committees of the New York City Early Childhood Partnership, the Complete College Innovation Fund at GraduateNYC, and the Youth and Education Funders Group at Philanthropy New York. Carolyn lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband.
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