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Applying Our Purpose Through Our Board

By Molly Thorpe on September 21, 2017

At AFF, we’re constantly looking for innovative ways to better serve our grantee partners. Our grantmaking process and new capacity-building program are examples of how our unconventional approach is reactive to our grantees’ needs. We know that those closest to the problem are the ones who have the solutions. Additionally, we’ve learned that a truly collaborative process involves giving a diverse group of voices a seat at the decision-making table. That’s why I’m excited to announce that—for the first time in the history of AFF—we have invited members outside of the Andrus family to join our board. I would like to welcome five new board members with a variety of lived experiences who will bring a fresh perspective to our organization; two Andrus family members and three community board members.
2017 cohort
From left to right: Raymond Holgado, C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser, Meg Belais, Edgar Villanueva, Julia Voorhees

Andrus family members Meg Belais and Julia Voorhees bring years of experience working in public policy and corporate America, respectively. Meg is an environmental policy expert who has worked with the National Park Service in California and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Currently, she’s restoring stream flow in Oregon for The Freshwater Trust in Portland and looking forward to contributing to her family’s legacy.

“I’m excited to connect deeper with the family’s broader work and our legacy. Although the issues AFF tackles are outside of what I do on a daily basis, they are still issues I care very deeply about.” – Meg

Julia’s business background and expertise in data statistics will help us evaluate new opportunities through an analytical lens. She currently leads the Analytics & Optimization team for Under Armour in Baltimore and proud to serve on the Andrus Family Fund board.

“I am excited to learn more about the work that AFF does and join a board with a lot of history.” – Julia

Our new community cohorts include C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser, Raymond Holgado and Edgar Villanueva. C’Ardiss is deeply involved in her community and believes that the philanthropic sector can play a large role in helping communities connect with each other as conveners of the work. She is currently a Program Officer with the Satterberg Foundation and serves on several other boards. CC holds a Bachelor’s degree in African American Studies from Yale University and an M.Ed. in Education Administration from Seattle University.

“It is an amazing honor and privilege to be part of AFF and its thought leadership in social justice and philanthropy. To be aligned with an organization that is walking the walk is really powerful.” – C’Ardiss

Raymond also brings his philanthropic experience to the table. He currently works at NEO Philanthropy as a Grants Coordinator. Prior to joining NEO, Raymond worked extensively in the area of education, expanding access to college and vocational pathways for marginalized and underrepresented populations—which is the focus of many of our grantee partners. After dropping out of high school, Raymond earned a GED and went on to become the first in his family to graduate college. He subsequently earned a Masters in Social Work from Stony Brook University and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Social Welfare at Yeshiva University. Raymond’s passion for education reform, youth development and dismantling the socioeconomic disparities affecting people of color make him a valuable asset to AFF.

“As someone who is new to philanthropy, I am excited for this learning opportunity. It is a privilege to build on the excellence that AFF has already built.” – Raymond

Edgar is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our board. He is currently the Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation where he leads a team to support education justice movements. Edgar is also an instructor with The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and is the author of a forthcoming book on philanthropic leadership. He has held leadership roles on various boards and advisory committees in the philanthropic sector including: The Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color (an AFF grantee partner), Native Americans in Philanthropy and Fund the People.

“Being the only Native American in the nation on a private board is a big deal for my community. I think this change will have a ripple effect on other foundations to really be democratic and inclusive, so I am proud to be part of a board that is an example of what a board should be.” – Edgar

I am excited about this new chapter of the Andrus Family fund and look forward to working with new and existing board members, as well as the amazing AFF team, to advance our mission. As we continue to evolve as a funder, AFF will inevitably find new ways to serve our grantee partners. For now, I will enjoy working with this talented group of people to implement a sustainable impact for future generations.
AFF board
The Andrus Family Fund board with Executive Director, Leticia Peguero at far right