Twenty-Four Promising Leaders in Philanthropy Selected for Career Pathways Program

Council on Foundations Announces Class of 2017

The Council on Foundations announced 24 promising philanthropic leaders that have been selected to participate in the fourth Career Pathways Program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector's senior executives. Participants will graduate from the program with the knowledge, experience, and professional networks needed to be more effective in their current roles and more deliberate in their contributions to the field of philanthropy more broadly, positioning them to compete successfully for senior/executive level foundation positions.

“This was an extraordinarily competitive year for the program, and the 2017 Career Pathways cohort is truly outstanding” said President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “These 24 individuals are remarkably talented and have shown themselves to have a deep commitment to the principals of diversity, equity, and inclusion and a calling to be of service to the field of philanthropy. Career Pathways will prepare them to be the next generation of leaders who will drive the sector’s efforts to improve lives and build vibrant communities.”

David McGhee Jan17

Skillman Foundation Program Director David McGhee selected for 2017 Career Pathways Cohort

The 2017 Career Pathways class includes:

Kay Fernandez Smith, Assistant Vice President, Programs, The San Francisco Foundation
Makeba Hill, Deputy to the President and Chief Planner, The Andrew W Mellon Foundation
Desiree Flores, Director, U.S. Social Justice Program, Arcus Foundation
Ling Liu, Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
Karissa Lowe, Knowledge & Data Manager, Meyer Memorial Trust
Meron Makonnen, Director of Legal Services, The ELMA Philanthropies Services US Inc.
Johngerlyn "Jonse" Young, Director of Philanthropic Services, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Felicia DeHaney, Director of Education & Learning, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Leah Hamilton, Director of Education, The Barr Foundation
Joe Braun, Director of Finance & Development, Fond Du Lac Area Foundation
Marcus McGrew, Director of Program Operations and Information Management, The Kresge Foundation
Maggi Alexander, Partner, Center for Global Philanthropy, The Philanthropic Initiative
Duchesne Drew, Community Network Vice President, The Bush Foundation
David McGhee, Program Director, The Skillman Foundation
Prasangi Ranaweera, Senior Portfolio Manager, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Karin Krslovic, Grants Manager, Ford Foundation
LaTese Briggs, Director of Programs & Strategy, Milken Institute
Melina Sanchez, Program Officer, The James Irvine Foundation
Brennan Gould, Director of Programs, Charlottesville Area Community Foundation
Leslie Gross Davis, Program Director, Equality, U.S. Programs, Open Society Foundations
Pooja O'Hanlon, Executive Director, Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation
Jennifer Price-Letscher, Director, Programs & Special Projects, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
David Daniels, Senior Director of Operations, Bainum Family Foundation
Rochelle Witharana, Controller/Director of Finance, The California Wellness Foundation

The Council is committed to a diverse and inclusive agenda for the field of philanthropy. Career Pathways is just one program in a suite of activities offered by the Council that is focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Through the Career Pathways program, the Council seeks to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the leadership pipeline and strengthen the capacity of the philanthropic sector to grow and retain diverse talent. Over the course of a year, the 2017 Career Pathways cohort will participate in virtual and in-person learning, networking events, and career training. Sessions will be facilitated by expert faculty representing senior executives and trustees in the field of philanthropy as well as experts from other sectors, and all participants will be matched with executive coaches. Program graduates will be invited to participate in alumni activities and leverage their knowledge and talents to support other emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds.

The Career Pathways program kicks off in Miami, Florida, January 24, 2017. To learn more about the program, please visit

Career Pathways is made possible thanks to generous funding support from The Duke Endowment, The Kresge Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


About the Council on Foundations
An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.