Chief Operating Officer
Bilal Amin manages Global Fund for Children’s finance and operations team. Prior to joining GFC, he worked for 18 years for a multinational London-based consumer goods company, where he held a number of executive finance leadership roles. During his career, Bilal has worked in seven countries, including the UK, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Belgium, and has managed a billion-dollar business in some of the world’s most challenging business environments in the Middle East. He has extensive experience in increasing profit, growing market share, optimizing cash flows, leading acquisition projects, and establishing businesses in new markets. Bilal has a passion for youth development and community service and for supporting an organizational culture in which employees feel motivated to achieve their potential. Bilal holds a master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and an MBA from Georgia State University.
Program Consultant for Mexico and Central America
Rodrigo Barraza provides support for Global Fund for Children’s work with adolescent migrant girls in the Americas. Rodrigo has extensive professional experience with migrant children and women in Mexico’s southern border region. He has worked for organizations such as the Human Rights Center Fray Matías de Córdova and Mesoamerican Voices, where he was responsible for the Migrant Children and Youth program. Rodrigo holds a PhD in gender studies and a master’s degree in applied anthropology from the University of Salamanca (Spain), along with a master’s degree in international cooperation from the National University of San Martin (Argentina). A native Spanish speaker, he is also fluent in English.
Regional Program Director for Europe and Eurasia and Global Grantmaking
Joseph Bednarek leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in Europe and Eurasia, while also serving as director of GFC’s global grantmaking. Prior to joining GFC, Joe worked as the director/education programs manager for the Ukraine field office of IREX, implementing education programs funded by the US Department of State and the Carnegie Foundation. During his time with IREX, he also worked closely with exchange program alumni on professional development trainings, conferences, and seminars. Joe’s interest in Europe and Eurasia stems from his Polish roots and his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. He has also worked as the administrative coordinator for the Chicago-based nonprofit Health for Humanity. Joe received a master’s degree in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University. He is proficient in Ukrainian and Russian.
Senior Development Officer for Foundations and Corporations
Susan Berkun leads Global Fund for Children’s development team in sourcing and building relationships with corporate and foundation donors. Susan has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Before joining GFC, she served as grants director for Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign, overseeing a transformation in the scope and strategy of its grantmaking programs. Susan also spent eight years working on corporate and foundation fundraising for the National Park Foundation, where she was responsible for two of the organization’s largest-ever grants from private foundations. Susan’s early career focused on international development, particularly international family planning and education and refugee assistance. She has spent time in Namibia, Malawi, and Mozambique. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Boston University.
Director of Development
Doreen Chi directs Global Fund for Children’s institutional development efforts. Doreen has more than a decade of experience in the NGO sector and has a track record of developing and executing effective fundraising strategies to secure funding to address complex social, economic, and political challenges. Doreen previously served as senior program officer with the National Democratic Institute, where she oversaw the implementation and management of democracy support programs with political parties, civic organizations, and legislatures in Burkina Faso. Over the course of her career, Doreen has worked as a program officer with the International Rescue Committee; contributed to research on the state of education in Brazil with the Instituto Paulo Montenegro; and worked with Save the Children UK. She has also worked with Search for Common Ground, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, World Learning, and the US Department of State. Doreen holds a master’s degree in the social anthropology of development from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, as well as a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in African Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.
Richa Chopra leads the day-to-day accounting operations for Global Fund for Children, including management of accounts, payroll, and grants administration, and manages the yearly audits and all government compliance requirements. She also assists the UK Trust on issues relating to accounting and reporting. Richa has over seven years of professional experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including banking and the logistics industry. Prior to joining GFC, Richa served as the accounting manager for National Archives Foundation, where she administered many aspects of financial and management reporting processes. Richa holds a master’s degree in accounting with emphasis on audit from Kaplan University and a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Western International University. She is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi.
Maria Creamer provides support to Global Fund for Children’s development, database operations, and marketing and communications teams. Before joining GFC, Maria worked as a foundation relations and philanthropic partnerships assistant at World Learning Inc., where she assisted with fundraising campaigns through prospect research, technical grant writing, and the visual design of documents. She has over a decade of international experience, including serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia; providing public affairs support at the US Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at USAID in La Paz, Bolivia; and participating in an academic exchange at Florence University of the Arts in Italy. Prior to her focus on international development issues, Maria was involved in both print and TV news, working for the Rio Times in Brazil and WTKR News 3 in Hampton Roads, Virginia. At WTKR, she was an associate producer in charge of beat calls, writing newscasts, and web content, in addition to developing video segments for aired shows. Maria holds a bachelor’s degree in English with concentrations in journalism and digital imaging and visual arts from Old Dominion University. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Khmer.
Program Consultant for India
Dhvani Doshi provides support for Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in India. Prior to consulting for GFC, she led several initiatives during her four-year tenure at Teach for India, where she specialized in program operations, external partnerships, and human resources. While at Teach for India, she spent two years as a teacher and guide for 50 inner-city children from Malwani, one of the most violent and troubled neighborhoods in the city of Mumbai. Dhvani also worked as the consulting program director for the Green Batti Project, a one-on-one mentoring program that pairs youth from underresourced communities with young professionals. Dhvani holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Mumbai. She is fluent in Hindi and Gujarati and has a working knowledge of Bengali.
Regional Program Consultant for East and Southeast Asia
Titos Escueta provides support for Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in East and Southeast Asia. Titos has over two decades of development experience, including more than ten years working with Oxfam Hong Kong, where he focused on program development and management at the community, country, and macro levels. He is also the co-founder of a consulting organization that advances participation and adaptive management approaches in the development sector. Over the course of his career, Titos has developed expertise in the areas of sustainable livelihoods, natural resource management, disaster management and climate change adaptation, community-based development, capacity building, and organizational development. He has led pioneering program development work in Burma, Cambodia, and Laos, and he has also worked on the ground in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh.
Program Officer for Movement Building and Advocacy
Amy Fischer supports the advocacy and movement building efforts of Global Fund for Children’s grassroots partners working with adolescent migrant girls in the Americas. She has nearly a decade of experience working and doing activism with youth at the intersections of immigrant and juvenile justice. Prior to joining GFC, Amy directed the policy and advocacy arm of RAICES, an organization that provides direct legal services for families and children fleeing Central America and Mexico. Amy holds a master’s degree in public policy with a specialization in social policy from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and international and global studies from Brandeis University. She is fluent in Spanish.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Suzie Galler directs Global Fund for Children’s marketing and communications efforts. Suzie is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with over 25 years of experience in production, marketing, and communications. She began her career working for the major television networks and Disney/Touchstone. She subsequently ran two production companies, where she produced television specials and on-air ad campaigns for CBS, Lifetime Television, NBC International, the Food Network, and other broadcast outlets. In 2000, she founded the Esteemed Woman Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to women’s issues. She eventually expanded her production work to include public relations and brand strategy, developing successful marketing campaigns and events for a wide variety of clients, from start-ups to tourism boards to large corporate partners. Prior to joining GFC, Suzie worked for the US Agency for International Development, producing innovative events and communications tools for Global Development Lab’s Center for Transformational Partnerships. Suzie has a master’s degree in communications from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications and women’s leadership from DePaul University.
Program Assistant for the Americas
Flor Gomez Byers provides support for Global Fund for Children's grantmaking portfolio in the Americas. Flor is originally from El Salvador, where she worked for local NGOs managing projects in areas such as microfinance, migration, women’s empowerment, youth empowerment, organic agriculture, and income generation. Flor is very passionate about organic agriculture and community development. She holds a master’s degree in sustainable development from the School for International Training and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central American University. She is a native Spanish speaker.
President and Chief Executive Officer
John Hecklinger leads Global Fund for Children. Prior to joining GFC, John served as chief network officer for GlobalGiving, where he established partnerships to drive GlobalGiving’s growth as a globally networked organization. Before taking on that role, John was GlobalGiving’s chief program officer, heading the team that identifies effective nonprofits around the world and helps them make the most of GlobalGiving’s support and services, and he previously led corporate partnership efforts as GlobalGiving’s business development director. An information industry veteran, John led GlobalGiving’s efforts to improve the global philanthropic information ecosystem through projects such as BRIDGE (Basic Registry of Identified Global Entities). Prior to joining GlobalGiving, John headed partnership efforts at CARFAX Vehicle History Reports, creating a network of thousands of content providers in North America, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bangui, Central African Republic. He holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia.
Program Associate for Africa
Bundie Kabanze provides support for Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in Africa. Bundie has extensive experience in program coordination and administrative and programmatic support, as well as field exposure working with organizations in Zambia and South Africa. Prior to joining GFC, he worked for Walmart Corporation, where he specialized in resolving disputes and maintaining relationships between Walmart and its Canadian suppliers. He has also worked for World Vision International in Zambia, where he managed a broad range of design, monitoring, evaluation, and learning functions for various projects and helped communities set up participatory monitoring systems for projects being implemented in their areas. He has taught high school in South Africa and has volunteered as an environmental sustainability awareness speaker with Greenpeace International in Norway. Bundie holds a master’s degree in multicultural and international education from the Oslo and Akershus University College in Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Zambia, Lusaka. He is fluent in Tonga, Nyanja, and Bemba and has a working knowledge of French, Zulu, and Lozi.
Associate Program Officer for West Africa
Jessica Kanya-Ngambi supports Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in West Africa. Prior to joining GFC, Jessica worked as an analyst at New York Life Insurance Company, where she received the Contributor Award for operational improvement. She was previously a consultant for the United Nations’ women’s empowerment campaign, where she researched grantmaking, monitoring, and evaluation strategies to boost UN Women’s platform visibility. In addition, she has worked as an independent contractor for a USAID development project that collected data about primary education in Nigeria, and has volunteered at a transitional home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Jessica holds a master’s degree in international affairs with a focus on socioeconomic development from the New School and a bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Swahili, and Lingala.
Regional Program Director for Asia
Kulsoom Khan leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in Asia. Kulsoom has extensive experience in social innovation and a deep commitment to developing holistic approaches for child protection and empowerment. Prior to joining GFC, Kulsoom led several initiatives at Ashoka, including managing global relations with Asia offices, developing the Global Fellow Security program, and expanding Ashoka in Pakistan. During this time, she was responsible for sourcing cutting-edge social innovations on the ground, creating and implementing security trainings for human rights defenders, and building a supportive environment for social entrepreneurship through fundraising and network creation. Kulsoom also helped launch the Child Rights Initiative with Vision, a citizen sector organization that increases awareness on child abuse and develops child protection interventions in Pakistan, and she currently serves on its Board. Kulsoom received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in law and society from American University. She is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi.
Donor Relations Director
Steven Marcus directs strategies and activities for sourcing and building relationships with Global Fund for Children’s thoughtful individual supporters and family foundation donors. Prior to joining GFC, Steve was director of development at CARE. Before joining CARE, he worked for New York Law School, where he took law courses in the evening. Steve started working at World Wildlife Fund after finishing his legal studies, and it was through his work with World Wildlife Fund and CARE that he grew increasingly interested in global efforts that address poverty through community-based approaches, and this led him to join GFC. His foreign travel has taken him to visit with vulnerable communities in South Africa, Rwanda, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Steve earned his juris doctor degree, with honors, from New York Law School and holds bachelor’s degrees in history and philosophy from Rutgers University.
Isabella Merritt provides support for Global Fund for Children’s president and CEO. She previously interned for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, Malaria No More, and the office of Senator Patty Murray. She also spent five months living and studying in Costa Rica, which furthered her interest in international development. A recent graduate, Isabella brings a passion and excitement for international relations to Global Fund for Children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations, with a minor in Spanish language, from American University.
Vice President of Programs
Corey Oser leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity-building program. Corey believes that social transformation is possible with collective action even in the most challenging environments. From militia-controlled suburbs of Baghdad to Kosovo towns to conflict-affected villages in eastern Congo, she has witnessed the power of community-led solutions to create hope and opportunity for the most vulnerable populations. Before coming to GFC, Corey established and led a global capacity-building effort at Polaris that equipped organizations to identify victims of trafficking, respond effectively, and create data-informed solutions in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Prior to joining Polaris, Corey spent a decade improving economic and social outcomes for women and girls in conflict-affected countries through leadership roles with Women for Women International. She serves as an International Advisory Board member of Global Youth Innovation Network, a youth-led network for young entrepreneurs committed to acting as change agents from the grassroots to the global level. Corey holds a master’s degree in international affairs and development from the George Washington University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with highest honors from Bates College.
Regional Program Director for Africa and the Middle East
Emmanuel Otoo leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking and capacity building in Africa and the Middle East. Emmanuel has extensive experience in human rights interventions and has worked with major national and international development agencies for over 13 years. Prior to joining GFC, he was the West Africa regional director for Free the Slaves, where he focused on combating and eradicating human trafficking and modern-day slavery through strategic partnerships. He previously worked for Geneva Global, Mercy Project, and Touch a Life Foundation on similar issues. Emmanuel has managed a number of integrated corporate social development programs for international development organizations such as Plan International, African Development Fund/Government of Ghana, UNDP, and ILO/IPEC. He has also provided technical assistance to grassroots NGOs in West Africa to build their capacity. His work with Free the Slaves was featured on CNN’s Freedom Project. Emmanuel holds a master’s degree in social work, an executive MBA in project management, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Ghana, Legon. He is proficient in Ga, Twi, and Fanti and has a working knowledge of French and Portuguese.
Associate Director of Operations Systems Improvement
Palmer Shepherd provides leadership for Global Fund for Children’s internal systems, operations, and workflow and is responsible for improving tracking and processes throughout the organization. He is the Board liaison and manages donations processing, financial projections, donor database operations, and other administrative functions. Palmer has over 15 years of nonprofit experience, with a strong focus on addressing the operational needs of fundraising and creating strong and efficient infrastructures. His expertise includes donor databases, online fundraising and communications, prospect research, and event management. Prior to joining GFC, Palmer worked for the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the Dallas Zoological Society, and Meridian International Center. Palmer earned a master’s degree in music from Carnegie Mellon University and a global master’s degree in international relations from Webster University, where his studies took place in Austria, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Thailand. Palmer is conversant in Arabic and French.
Comfort Siodlarz manages due diligence and grantmaking systems for Global Fund for Children’s network of grassroots partners. Comfort’s expertise includes managing grants, corporate agreements, and budgets for a variety of government and nongovernmental agencies. Prior to joining GFC, she worked for the International Medical Corps, where she concentrated on procurements, travel processes, expense reports, and budgets. She previously worked for International Relief and Development, where she focused on donor reports, budgets, indirect/administrative cost recovery, and grants management, while providing support for proposal development and technical report analysis. Comfort has also worked for the United Nations Foundation, where she supported the organization’s grants payment process, and the American Bar Association, where she helped with grants management. Comfort holds an MBA in finance from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central University in Accra, Ghana.