We are a diverse, motivated team of professionals with a passion for empowering children and youth around the world and advocating for their rights.

Team

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Senior Program Officer
Philee Ang-Chen helps Global Fund for Children ensure that all children and youth are safe, strong, and valued by championing youth-led programs. A member of the programs team, Philee coordinates GFC’s masculinities work in England, implements Spark Fund initiatives in Southeast Asia, and supports wider strategic development in Europe and Eurasia. Prior to joining GFC, Philee worked in grantmaking at National Emergencies Trust and John Ellerman Foundation. At National Emergencies Trust, she created a charity partnership program and maintained existing partnerships to ensure the availability of sufficient funding for survivors of an emergency. At John Ellerman Foundation, she worked with charities in the arts, the environment, and social action in their journey through the grant application process and grantmaking cycle. Before entering the nonprofit sector, Philee obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology and worked as a Research Assistant and Statistician in clinical and health psychology. She won the British Psychological Society’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship Award in 2017, and her paper from the assistantship was published in the Journal of Public Health the following year. Philee is a Charityworks fellow and mentor.
Headshot of Esther Aoko.
Marketing and Communications Fellow
Esther Aoko provides a wide range of research, editorial, social media, and general support to the Marketing and Communications team. Esther envisions a world where young people in all their diversity are able to reclaim and retain their power and ultimately realize their full potential. She has four years of experience in the digital advocacy and sexual and reproductive health advocacy fields. In her efforts to give a spotlight to the diverse challenges that young people face, she has written and published several articles in local newspapers and on digital platforms. Esther is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the United States University Africa. She holds a diploma in software programming and certificates in both project management and digital marketing. She is fluent in Swahili and English.
Headshot of Nasra - 2023
Programs Associate
Nasra Ayub works on Global Fund for Children’s programs team supporting the implementation of the Spark Fund, a global, youth-led participatory fund, and the Investing in Youth Social Action in England initiative in Bradford, which is a partnership with the #iwill Fund. Prior to joining GFC, Nasra worked in the higher education sector in the UK’s Office for Students supporting its artificial intelligence and data science program. In her spare time, Nasra works as an outreach worker and freelance journalist raising awareness on topics such as ending violence against women and girls and racial and social inequalities. She also has a TEDx talk on shifting power to young people in the philanthropy sector called "What If Young People Ran The World?" Nasra is a recipient of the Diana Award 2020 for her work tackling human rights issues. She has a degree in politics and philosophy from the University of Bristol. Nasra is fluent in Somali.
Ramanou-Babaedjou
Capacity Development Specialist, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea
Ramanou Moboladji Babaedjou supports and develops the capacity of Global Fund for Children’s partners in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea to remove barriers that prevent girls from accessing and succeeding in school and reaching their full potential. Ramanou is a children’s rights activist with more than 20 years of experience in the management of child protection projects and programs. During his career, he has worked for Maison de l'Enfance, Save the Children UK, International Rescue Committee, and Aide et Action on children's rights, gender equity, women’s empowerment, and the care and support of people with HIV and AIDS. Ramanou speaks French, Yoruba, and Dan.
Alex Baker
Senior Database and Technology Officer
Alex helps build the collective capacity of the Global Fund for Children team, with a focus on GFC’s organizational systems and functions including human resources, technology, and administration. He is also responsible for providing administrative support to the CEO and Leadership Team, as well as helping ensure the smooth day-to-day operations of the organization. His experience prior to joining GFC includes over four years in Washington, DC local government within finance, transportation operations, and community outreach. He also has over two years of experience working in e-commerce operations and inventory management. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Virginia State University.
Rodrigo Barraza
Regional Co-Director, Americas
Rodrigo Barraza co-leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking, capacity development, and integrated programming in the Americas. He 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.
Senior Director of Global Grantmaking
Joseph Bednarek co-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.
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Executive Director, Funder Safeguarding Collaborative
Steina Bjorgvinsdottir is the Executive Director of the Funder Safeguarding Collaborative and provides strategic leadership to this young, global network, driving the strategic direction, evolution, and growth of FSC. She also oversees the management of stakeholder relationships and governance of the Collaborative. With two decades of experience spanning child protection, organizational development, and humanitarian action, Steina is deeply committed to safeguarding vulnerable populations worldwide. She holds a postgraduate diploma in international human rights law, a master’s degree in international development, and a bachelor’s degree in international social work. Steina brings a versatile skill set honed through previous roles with organisations like Oak Foundation, UNHCR, and UNICEF.
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
Christine Burkhart leads Global Fund for Children’s development team, raising funds to support GFC and its partners around the world. She builds collaborative partnerships with a wide range of donors based on GFC’s values of serving our partners first and taking risks for change. Christine is an experienced fundraiser, writer, and humanitarian response professional. Prior to working at GFC, she served as the partnership manager for the Haiti Recovery Program at the American Red Cross. Christine also worked for the National Democratic Institute, where she was part of an initiative to encourage more women to enter political life, and spent time in Honduras as manager of Central American Medical Outreach’s international volunteer corps and public health programs. In her spare time, Christine has served as an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in DC and as a board member for the Out for Work Initiative, a youth-centered employment project for LGBTQ+ individuals, and for H.O.P.E Haiti. Christine has a master’s degree in public policy from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Baldwin Wallace University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Nayara Castiglioni
Program Officer
Nayara Castiglioni works as a Program Officer on Global Fund for Children’s Americas team, supporting the Partnership to Educate All Kids (PEAK) initiative in Brazil and Colombia, among other programs. Nayara has over eight years of experience in socio-environmental grassroots organizations and environmental education, working to strengthen young people's understanding of socio-environmental issues and to mobilize young people to act on social and environmental agendas. Prior to joining GFC, she was the Executive Director of Engajamundo, a youth-led NGO based in Brazil that works to strengthen young people's understanding of socio-environmental issues and mobilize youth. In this role, she was responsible for fundraising and institutional partnerships. She has a post-graduate degree in environmental management and a bachelor’s degree in environmental chemistry. Nayara is fluent in Portuguese, English, and Spanish.
Regional Co-Director, Asia
As Regional Co-Director, Indrani Chakraborty provides support to Global Fund for Children’s partners in South Asia, working to guide and strengthen their programmatic expertise and networks. Indrani has over 21 years of experience working in grassroots, statewide, national, and international organizations on child rights, child protection, trafficking, unsafe migration, gender-based violence, education, HIV- and AIDS-related issues, women’s and girls’ rights, and rights-based microfinance. Prior to joining GFC, Indrani worked as a Program Consultant for the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights in Kolkata, where she was involved in the monitoring of childcare institutions, schools, and correctional homes to measure their standards according to the law. She also actively participated in the organizing of public awareness campaigns on child protection and policy advocacy, and in creating child-friendly spaces at local events. Indrani started her career as a Researcher at Sanlaap India, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on preventing and responding to the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and forced prostitution. She has published research on unsafe migration and cross-border trafficking, sex tourism, caste-based prostitution, the conviction of traffickers, and the livelihoods of trafficking survivors. Indrani holds a master’s degree in social work from Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, India. She speaks English and Bengali.
Tapiwa Chatora
Finance Manager
Tapiwa Chatora is responsible for managing the day-to-day finance operations of Global Fund for Children’s Washington, DC, office and UK Trust, which includes collaborating with stakeholders on budgeting, forecasting, funds reporting, compliance, and financial management of income and expenditures. As a qualified accountant, Tapiwa is interested in using emerging technologies to enhance strategic and operational organizational goals. He has experience working in the finance and grants teams of international and local nongovernmental organizations based in Africa and the UK, including working with grassroots organizations to strengthen their strategic and operational plans. Tapiwa has worked on a variety of global interventions including health, education, and child protection programs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration. He is also a registered and qualified member with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.  Tapiwa is fluent in English and Shona.
Leila Conroy
Operations and Learning Associate, Funder Safeguarding Collaborative
Leila Conroy provides administrative support to Funder Safeguarding Collaborative and onboards new members. Her experience prior to joining FSC includes almost ten years of working in administration roles, most recently as an Administration Manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international hospitality and tourism management from the University of Surrey.
Marketing Manager
Maria Victoria Creamer manages Global Fund for Children’s social media, digital engagement, and visual digital media. She also supports GFC's marketing strategy and its integration. 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.
Regional Co-Director, Africa
Amé Atsu David co-leads Global Fund for Children’s Africa team. Her work includes strengthening the capacity of GFC’s local partners committed to addressing the causes of gender-based violence, while seeking to empower girls and young women to act as agents of change in their communities in West Africa. Amé is a recognized human rights activist with extensive experience in capacity development and rights-based program design and management. Before joining GFC, Amé spent ten years as a consultant working to improve the implementation of children’s rights in West and Central Africa. She has collaborated extensively with civil society and government on child rights, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, social inclusion, and gender justice. She has provided services to Save the Children’s West, Central, and Southern Africa offices; Action Aid; Plan International; UNESCO; UNFPA; and Development Alternatives Incorporated, among others. Prior to her consultant work, she served for a number of years as a Regional Program Manager with Save the Children Sweden (now International), in their Dakar-based West Africa Regional Office. She holds a Diploma in Translation from the University of Ghana. Amé is bilingual in French and English with intermediate Spanish skills.
Oksana Dmytriak
Ukraine Program Specialist
Oksana Dmytriak serves as Global Fund for Children’s Ukraine Program Specialist on the Europe and Eurasia team and leads the organization’s work supporting Ukrainian partners. Since 2014, Oksana has worked in humanitarian settings in Ukraine and Poland improving mental health and psychosocial support responses through international organizations such as International Medical Corps, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. She has a master’s degree in project management for sustainability from Malmo University in Sweden with a focus on leading nongovernmental organizations and grassroots initiatives and a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Donetsk National University in Ukraine.
Capacity Development Adviser
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.
Vicky Ferguson
Global Designated Safeguarding Lead
Vicky Ferguson is the Global Designated Safeguarding Lead at Global Fund for Children. She oversees all elements of safeguarding at GFC, including internal processes and partner support. Vicky is passionate about building strong safeguarding cultures that are meaningful and relevant for everyone in an organization. Before joining GFC, she worked as Head of Safeguarding, Training, and Learning at an international nongovernmental organization, and she was the CEO of a grassroots nongovernmental organization working in Kenya with children and young people living and/or working on the streets and children and young people in conflict with the law. Before moving into international development, Vicky worked with children and young people in the UK in both the civil society sector and the public sector. She worked predominantly within Homeless and Substance Misuse Services but has also spent time supporting young people in Youth Services. Vicky can speak conversational Swahili and is currently learning Spanish.
Elena Figueroa
Program Officer
Elena Figueroa works as a Program Officer on Global Fund for Children’s Americas team, where she coordinates the Supporting Early Education and Development initiative in Honduras. Prior to joining GFC, Elena worked as a Research Management Analyst in the Directorate of Scientific Research at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH), supporting the creation of 40 research groups, three research centers, two research observatories, and two research institutes. She has also been a Professor of Psychology in UNAH’s Faculty of Psychological Sciences, and she previously worked for 12 years as a tutor for children and adolescents at a center for integral development. Elena has a master's degree in economic and social research methodologies, as well as diplomas in migration and development, dramatic arts, and gender equality. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Nicole Flynn
Operations Associate
As an Operations Associate for Global Fund for Children, Nicole Flynn helps build the organization’s capacity with a focus on organizational systems and functions including operations, technology, and administration. She is responsible for providing support for the operational and technology needs of GFC's team, as well as helping ensure the smooth day-to-day operations of the organization. Nicole has a background in operations and customer service. Prior to joining GFC, she worked predominantly for start-ups in the logistics and supply chain sector with a focus on customer satisfaction, project management, and process improvement. She has completed her Yellow Belt in Lean Six Sigma, a project management and process improvement training program, and has ambitions to continue learning this methodology. Nicole has a diploma in chemistry from the University of Nottingham.
Conor Forker
Young Gamechangers Fund Project Officer
Conor Forker serves as a Program Officer on Global Fund for Children’s Europe and Eurasia team, supporting the Young Gamechangers Fund initiative in the UK. Prior to joining GFC, he founded Clonmore Youth Club in Northern Ireland in 2017 to help reduce the mental health impact of rural and social isolation for young people aged 3 to 25. Until 2023, he held the Youth Worker in Charge position, overseeing the club's activities including a diverse range of education, skill development, and community engagement programs. Conor has participated in the US Department of State's Emerging Young Leaders exchange program and the Washington Ireland Program, among other prestigious programs. He is pursuing a master's degree in community youth work from Ulster University Magee, where he is focused on anti-oppressive youth work practice and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He holds a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from the University of Aberdeen.
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Director of Major Gifts
Mea Geizhals is part of Global Fund for Children’s development team, leading efforts to raise funds for GFC and its partners from individual donors. She works closely with senior leadership and GFC’s Board of Directors to build relationships with current and prospective funders and uses creative approaches to engage and expand GFC’s supporter base. Mea has been fundraising since 2009 in a variety of roles at political campaigns, direct service nonprofits, and advocacy organizations. Most recently, she led individual giving at the ONE Campaign. Mea holds a master’s degree in history from the University of British Columbia and graduated from the College of William and Mary.
Katherine Gilmour
Senior Regional Co-Director, Europe and Eurasia
Katherine serves as Senior Regional Co-Director of the Europe and Eurasia team and leads Global Fund for Children’s Spark Fund, an innovative, participatory fund that provides youth-led and youth-focused groups with financial support and capacity development. Prior to joining GFC, Katherine was the Gender Justice Officer at the Church of Scotland, where she led the organization’s national gender mainstreaming work, set up and funded transformational gender justice projects, trained faith and community leaders, and worked with local communities to develop responses to gender injustice in their own settings. Katherine has a background in policy, organizational development, and training work in violence against women, homelessness, and children's organizations. She has a master’s degree in international human rights law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, with a particular focus on legal theory and women's and children’s rights, and a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Glasgow.
Shivonne Graham
Senior Director of Marketing
Shivonne Graham has over a decade of experience leading charities as a Managing Director, Trustee, and Chair of the Board, including through a global pandemic. She has 25 years of experience in marketing, fundraising, and communications in a range of charities and nonprofit organizations, leading teams to success at Shelter, Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, Comic Relief, Global Radio Charities, Amref Health Africa, and most recently as Managing Director of Women for Women International – UK. Shivonne serves on the Board of Trustees at Khulisa, a UK charity that delivers social and emotional programs in schools, prisons, and communities. She is currently Chair of the organization’s People Committee and a member of the Finance and Fundraising Committee. Shivonne is also a founding member and Director of KindFest, the world’s first entirely digital festival celebrating kindness. She was previously a member of the Fundraising and Communications Committee at Womankind Worldwide and she is an alumnus of Civil Society magazine Fundraising's 50 Most Influential list. Shivonne holds a degree in development and international relations from the University of Sussex.
Jo Griffin
Human Resources Consultant
Jo Griffin works with Global Fund for Children’s UK team to support employees and enhance the employee experience. As a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, she is an expert and emotionally intelligent human resources leader, passionate about people, culture, and strategy. Previously a board-level Human Resources Director at a nonprofit organization, she was instrumental in taking the team from 40 to 120 people. Jo’s leadership expertise spans the employee lifecycle, underpinning best practices with solutions-focused advice and guidance. Jo also volunteers as a Parent and Safeguarding Governor at The Cotswold School, an outstanding secondary school in England. In addition, she is a Board Trustee at PATA (UK), a children’s charity for early years learning.
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Co-CEO
John Hecklinger is Global Fund for Children's Co-CEO. 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 Assistant
Remijus N. Iweobi is part of GFC’s programs team in Africa, playing a key role in the implementation of impactful programs such as the Adolescent Girls Summit (AGS) in West Africa. Remijus holds over eight years of expertise in project management – especially in women and youth development – and has developed and executed innovative programs across local, national, and international platforms. His profound commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has led to transformative initiatives benefiting vulnerable populations in rural communities. Remijus thrives on collaboration and innovation, recognizing their paramount importance in driving human development and well-being. Prior to his tenure at GFC, he championed SRHR education and economic empowerment for marginalized groups, including adolescent girls, LGBTQI individuals, and teenage mothers. Notably, as Chief Program Officer at YOCEL, he played a pivotal role in orchestrating the planning of the GFC-supported Adolescent Girls Summit in 2022. Remijus holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is fluent in English, conversant in French, and is currently expanding his linguistic repertoire with German and Spanish.
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Regional Co-Director, Africa
Bundie Kabanze co-leads GFC's team 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.
Senior Regional Director, 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.
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Senior Partnerships Manager
Kieran Lewis manages Global Fund for Children’s partnerships in the UK and across Europe. He also supports the development of the Spark Fund, a global, youth-led participatory fund. Prior to joining GFC, Kieran was the Partnerships Funding Manager for The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF), the largest grantmaking body in the UK. While at TNLCF, Kieran worked to develop its Young People in the Lead advisory panels, ensuring that the voices of children and young people were represented in key decision-making processes. He worked alongside a diverse range of community-led organizations to co-design funding programs that sought to increase equity of outcome. Kieran has a research and policy background, with a focus on alternative approaches that divert young people away from the criminal justice system. He previously lived in the Netherlands, where he worked as a research consultant for a European Commission development program at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs in The Hague. Kieran has conducted research around internet ethnography and has a master’s degree in new media from the University of Amsterdam and a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology from the London School of Economics.
Kim McClain
Regional Co-Director, Americas
Kimberly McClain co-leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking, capacity development, and integrated programming in the Americas. Kimberly has extensive expertise in grassroots development and social change processes spanning four continents and over 15 years of work with local and international development organizations. Prior to joining GFC, she was the regional director for East and West Africa, Latin America, and global projects at Pact, managing a portfolio of programs in capacity development, health, education, natural resource management, livelihoods, and governance. While there, she launched Pact’s joint initiative with the US Department of Labor to eradicate child labor in mining communities in Colombia. Most recently, she has done research and designed programming in Guatemala and El Salvador responding to persistent food insecurity and chronic childhood malnutrition, community and social violence, and the broken juvenile justice system. Kimberly began her career in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, working for a local nonprofit organization focused on gender and rural development and then for the social development agency of the Episcopal Church. She has a master’s degree in social change and development and international economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University. She is fluent in Spanish.
Kate McNealey
Accounting Associate
As an Accounting Associate at Global Fund for Children, Kate McNealey is responsible for the day-to-day accounting functions of GFC’s Washington, DC, office and UK Trust and assists with their financial operations. Her duties include ensuring that all disbursements and receivables are processed and reconciled. Before coming to GFC, she was a teacher at a private school, as well as a campaign coordinator for several state and federal campaigns. For the last few years, she worked as an accounting clerk for a Maryland-based nonprofit. She is in the process of completing her finance degree at the University of Maryland Global Campus.
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Advocacy and Events Associate
Victor Mugambi is part of Global Fund for Children’s influencing team. Victor has over four years of experience with international nongovernmental organizations and holds expertise in global adolescent and youth development, as well as advocacy and influencing through meaningful youth engagement, strategic partnerships, diplomacy, movement building, and social inclusion and intersectionality. Prior to joining GFC, Victor served as a youth engagement advisor for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and worked with community-based organizations to influence change, policy reforms, and social accountability in sexual and reproductive health and rights. As a youth expert, he has been engaged as a technical advisor for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health in Kenya. He has also contributed to shaping the landscape of youth-led initiatives in the Global South through innovative methodologies that place youth at the core of design and implementation. As a passionate advocate for global social justice, Victor dedicates his spare time to raising awareness on critical issues such as youth leadership, ending violence against men, women, and girls, governance, and addressing social inequalities. Victor studied veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Nairobi. He is fluent in English and Swahili.
Participatory Program Advisor, South Asia
As Participatory Program Advisor to South Asia, Rituu B Nanda coaches and supports GFC’s partners in the region in facilitating organization-led and community and youth-owned change as part of the Addressing Root Causes (ARC) initiative in South Asia. Additionally, she supports in Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) with a systems-thinking and intersectional lens. While qualified to teach and trained in evaluation and public health, Rituu finds her greatest joy in listening to and learning from the wisdom of communities. She is based in Delhi and is fluent in English, Hindi, and Punjabi.
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Communications and PR Specialist
Blondie Ndebele provides a wide range of content creation, editorial, digital media, and design support to the organization’s global communications team. She has a decade of experience both in the field of journalism and in the nonprofit sector. Blondie has been actively involved in initiatives that promote human rights awareness, active citizen participation, social inclusion, accountable governance, and sound service delivery. She has also contributed immensely to addressing issues that include children’s rights, justice for women, inclusion of people with disabilities, and environmental justice in rural communities. Previously, she worked as a news reporter at one of the leading daily newspapers in Zimbabwe. With a budding career in writing, Blondie recently contributed to an international journal titled The Idea of Matabeleland in Digital Spaces: Genealogies, Discourses and Epistemic Struggles. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies.
Irina Novac
Young Gamechangers Fund Fellow
Irina Novac works with Global Fund for Children on the Young Gamechangers Fund, a new UK funding initiative that aims to change the way that youth-led activism, social change, and movement building is funded in the UK. Irina is a young feminist activist based in Bucharest, Romania. She has been involved in the Romanian feminist movement since she was 17, where she co-organized protests, camps, conferences, and film festivals, particularly for young feminists. Irina is a Young Leader in Women Deliver’s Young Leader Program. She also participated in the 2023 Women Deliver Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, and was a Europe and Eurasia Spark Fund panelist in 2021. Irina holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Bucharest and will be pursuing a master’s degree in sociological research at Sciences Po Paris. She speaks Romanian, English, and a bit of French.
Global Grants Officer
Jemimah Olaniyi supports Global Fund for Children by ensuring efficient and accurate operation of GFC’s day-to-day global grantmaking efforts. Born and raised in East London, England, she earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising at Edge Hill University, where she developed a strong foundation in her field. Jemimah has worked with several charities, including The National Lottery Community Fund, Phoenix Fund, Future Youth Zone, and The Wildlife Trust Lancashire. These experiences broadened her understanding of grantmaking processes and fueled her commitment to driving positive change within communities. Jemimah has worked extensively with young people, volunteering as a youth worker and sitting on two youth advisory panels. While in those positions, she lobbied for youth voices to be a key part of programs aimed toward young people. Jemimah’s deep-seated passion for the environment and youth empowerment pushes her to continue creating a better world for young people.
Ximena Ortiz
Program Officer
Ximena Ortiz works with Global Fund for Children’s Americas team supporting the GEM and Spark Fund initiatives, among other programs. She is an activist and ally of the migrant community, and she has been collaborating with migrant communities in Mexico and the United States since 2015. Prior to joining GFC, Ximena collaborated with a grassroots organization by and for the deported and returned community called Otros Dreams en Acción as a Deputy Director of Operations, where she oversaw fundraising and collective care practices and supported different projects within the organization. In 2022, Ximena was selected for a Global South fellowship in Bogotá, Colombia, where she focused on the co-construction of spaces for the exchange of knowledge between migrant women from the Global South. Ximena studied international relations. She speaks French and she is fluent in English and Spanish.
Corey Oser
Vice President, 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.
Arantxa Paniagua
Grants Accountant
As a Grants Accountant at Global Fund for Children, Arantxa Paniagua assists with accounting for the UK Trust, administers grants to grassroots partners, and helps with annual audit preparation, among other responsibilities. She first joined GFC as a Finance Intern in 2019 and returned to the organization in 2021 as an Accounting Specialist after studying budgeting and grantmaking in Spain and the United Kingdom. Her prior work experience includes financial analysis and budgeting in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Arantxa holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from La Laguna University in Spain. A native Spanish speaker, she is also fluent in English and speaks basic German.
A photo of Sam Phillips-Corwin.
Learning and Evaluation Officer
As a Learning and Evaluation Officer at Global Fund for Children, Sam Phillips-Corwin works to support the strategic learning and evaluation team in developing GFC’s capacity to learn as an organization, to enhance the understanding of GFC’s impact, and to share those findings. Prior to joining GFC, Sam worked as a case manager and housing specialist at a men’s shelter in Seattle. He also has experience working with foundations and nonprofits in the Seattle area to establish systems of measurement, learning, and evaluation. Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Oberlin College. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in learning and evaluation practices and conflict resolution at the Fletcher School of International Affairs. Sam is fluent in Spanish.
Alisha Pomells
Young Gamechangers Fund Program Officer
Alisha Pomells serves as a Program Officer on Global Fund for Children’s Europe and Eurasia team, supporting the Young Gamechangers Fund initiative in the UK. Prior to joining GFC, she worked as a youth engagement manager for the Co-op Foundation, and before that, as program lead on Islington Giving’s Young Grant Makers fund, which gives young people in the London Borough of Islington the power to choose how money is spent on youth services. Alisha was also part of the 2027 program, which sought to bring more people who identified as working-class and who had lived experience of working in their community into the grantmaking sector. Alisha has also worked with London Funders, which is a membership organization that encourages collaboration among funders. She has a particular interest in racial justice and was part of the Ubele Initiative’s Young Emerging Leaders Collective and took part in Ten Years’ Time’s Grant Givers program. Alisha holds a bachelor’s degree in international development and international politics from the University of East London.
Tyas Pusposari
Research and Learning Senior Officer
Tyas Pusposari supports Global Fund for Children’s global and regional learning and research initiatives on social justice, employing participatory approaches with grassroots partners and youth. Her dedication to learning and evaluation is rooted in feminist and intersectional values, emphasizing the perspectives and needs of historically marginalized groups. Before joining GFC, Tyas worked with Global Fund for Women (GFW) as a Learning and Evaluation Officer and with several grassroots organizations as a social researcher in her native Indonesia. At GFW, she spearheaded the integration of monitoring, evaluation, and learning systems into Salesforce, produced analyses for various stakeholders, and fostered organizational learning across thematic areas. In Indonesia, she conducted extensive research on women’s rights, philanthropy, child trafficking, and local politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of Indonesia and a master’s degree in public administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey as a Fulbright Scholar. Tyas is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia and English, and she is actively honing her Portuguese skills.
Headshot - Ashani Ratnayake
Communications Officer
Ashani Ratnayake is part of GFC’s communications team, focusing on storytelling, digital fundraising campaigns, and growing audiences in the digital sphere. Prior to joining GFC, she worked at the United Nations World Food Programme in Sri Lanka, developing communication campaigns and creative content to enhance awareness and donor relations; managing social media; and executing crisis communications during Sri Lanka’s recent economic crisis. Before making a career change to the development sector, Ashani worked as a Marketing and Brand Manager at Nestlé, a multinational fast-moving consumer goods organization. She has a master’s degree in management from the University of Melbourne and a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in marketing from the University of Kelaniya. Ashani is fluent in English and Sinhala and is currently learning Spanish.
Hayley Roffey
Co-CEO
Hayley Roffey is Global Fund for Children’s Co-CEO. She is a committed, passionate, and experienced senior executive who champions trust-based practices in philanthropy by promoting participatory grantmaking and involving young people in decision-making processes. Before joining Global Fund for Children (GFC), Hayley was the leader of Asphaleia Action, a former grantee partner of GFC. This powerful insight means Hayley’s commitment and passion to champion GFC’s partners comes from a deeply personal place of understanding what a partner needs, and how and when to make the biggest impact for the children and young people they exist to serve.
Becca Rubenstein
Senior Development Associate
Becca Rubenstein works on Global Fund for Children’s development team supporting the cultivation and stewardship of individual donors. Prior to working for GFC, Becca supported Locally Haiti, a nonprofit that advocates for and invests in locally led initiatives in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti. She assisted in the planning and execution of outreach campaigns, CRM data management, and various research projects. Becca studied international business and marketing at the University of Richmond and is proficient in French.
A photo of Md. Shanawaz
Program Specialist, Bangladesh
Md. Shanawaz works in collaboration with Global Fund for Children’s Asia team, providing grantmaking, capacity development, and program-related support to Bangladesh-based partners advancing the rights of children and youth. Shanawaz brings eight years of experience working for national and international nonprofits, and he has expertise in inclusive quality education, youth empowerment, training, capacity development, grantmaking, and program management. Prior to joining GFC, Shanawaz led Habitat for Humanity International’s youth empowerment program in Bangladesh; managed the educational equity program for Teach For Bangladesh, a partner of the global education network Teach For All; and worked with Dhaka Ahsania Mission, a national nongovernmental organization. Shanawaz is an alumnus of the Global Educational Equity Fellowship, through which he taught a group of underprivileged children for two years in a primary school located in a marginalized community. Shanawaz has a bachelor’s degree in English language and linguistics from American International University-Bangladesh and a master’s degree in education from BRAC University. He holds professional certifications in project management, youth development, and mental health. Shanawaz is fluent in Bangla and English and has working proficiency in Hindi and Urdu.
Palmer Shepherd
Vice President, Operations and Governance
Palmer Shepherd provides leadership for Global Fund for Children’s operations, technology, governance, human resources, and internal systems and works to enact system improvements throughout the organization. He is the Board liaison and oversees database operations and donation processing, ensures teams have what they need for productive workspaces, maintains safe and secure systems and infrastructure, and works to improve organizational culture and to articulate GFC’s mission, vision, and values. Palmer has over 20 years of nonprofit experience, with a strong focus on addressing the operational needs of nonprofits and creating strong and efficient infrastructures. His expertise includes operations, technology, donor databases, online fundraising, communications, and human resources. 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.  
Vanessa Stevens
Director of Innovation and Influencing
Vanessa Stevens is passionate about sparking collaborations that strengthen trust, learning, and equity in philanthropy, civil society, and communities. As the Director of Innovation and Influencing at Global Fund for Children, Vanessa enjoys creating influencing strategies and collaborative learning spaces with youth leaders, local partners, and sector peers. Prior to GFC, she designed capacity development initiatives with social entrepreneurs and NGOs with Impact Hub in Malaysia and CIVICUS in Argentina. Vanessa began her career with AmeriCorps VISTA at the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, growing into roles focused on resource development, program management, and advocacy for immigrant rights. While in Birmingham, she co-founded a chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Vanessa received her bachelor's degree in International Studies and her master's degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University. She is fluent in Spanish and is a beginner Brazilian Portuguese speaker.
Operations and Human Resources Associate
As the Operations and Human Resources Associate at Global Fund for Children, Mohammed Taher aids in developing and strengthening the organization’s collective capacity in multiple functional areas, including administration, human resources, technology, and facilities. He is responsible for providing support for the operational and administrative needs of GFC's leadership team and ensuring that GFC’s daily operations run smoothly. Prior to joining GFC, Mohammed worked for the Arlington County Public Health Division, where he responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in several roles, from Contact Tracer and Case Investigator to Contact Tracing Team Supervisor. He also has experience in community outreach and health education and in improving workflow processes to become more efficient and effective. Mohammed holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Virginia. He is fluent in Bengali and proficient in Spanish.
Headshot of Suwandee (Beaw)Thatsanaprai
Spark Fund Specialist, Thailand
Suwandee Thatsanaprai, known as Beaw, works in collaboration with Global Fund for Children’s Asia program and Spark Fund teams to facilitate youth-led grantmaking, capacity development, and program-related support for Spark Fund partners in Southeast Asia. Beaw is a Thai-Karen education development practitioner working in Thailand and Myanmar to improve access to education for marginalized and ethnic minority students. She has several years of experience working in education and youth development settings, with a particular focus on her native northern Thailand and its border areas. Beaw is passionate about bringing the voices of underrepresented youth into the mainstream conversation. She recently earned a master’s degree in education (policy and international development) from the University of Bristol. She is fluent in Thai and Karen.
Anne-Marie Twumasi
Phoenix Way Grants Manager
Anne-Marie Twumasi is the Phoenix Way Grants Manager, focusing on dismantling structural barriers faced by Black and racially minoritized communities and community-led organizations in accessing grant funding within the UK. Anne-Marie has worked in various roles across the grantmaking sector, including grant management to grant system architecture at the National Lottery Community Fund, the Avast Foundation, and Big Change Charity. These roles have championed participatory grantmaking processes, incorporating young people and diverse communities into funding decisions. Anne-Marie holds an undergraduate degree in religious studies and a master’s degree in international social policy from the University of Kent. She previously worked as a researcher, exploring academic attainment among Black and minoritized students, race and ethnicity, and evidenced-based policy making.
Eugenia Vigil
Program Associate
Eugenia Vigil is part of the Americas team at Global Fund for Children, where she works on the Girls Experiencing Migration (GEM) initiative and the Promoting Youth Leadership for Gender Justice initiative, also known as HEEL. She is a popular educator and has accompanied community processes related to food sovereignty and solidarity economy with Indigenous and rural communities in Chiapas, Mexico. Eugenia has experience in caring for land and seeds, environmental education, agroecology, community forest restoration, and ecotechnologies. She has also worked with children in Indigenous, rural, and peri-urban communities in Mexico in Puebla and Chiapas. She holds a degree in environmental sciences and sustainable development, and she is fluent in Spanish and English.
Lizeth Villegas
Program Coordinator
Lizeth Villegas is part of the Americas team at Global Fund for Children, where she serves as the Program Coordinator for the U múukil xchu´upalo´ob-Niñas Valientes (Brave Girls) initiative in Yucatán, México. Lizeth has more than five years of experience in civil society spaces and local collectives that promote the rights of adolescents and youth in areas such as cultural identity, anti-racism, comprehensive sexuality education, leadership, violence prevention, and peace education. She has also participated in national and international youth leadership programs. Prior to joining GFC, Lizeth was a Project Coordinator at México y Caribe Jóvenes, A.C. where she promoted programs to strengthen the leadership of youth and adolescents, as well as rural and Indigenous communities, in Quintana Roo, Mexico, so they could become community change agents. Lizeth is an Indigenous young woman and has a bachelor’s degree in humanities. She is fluent in Spanish.
Headshot of Loan Vuong
Spark Fund Specialist, Vietnam
Loan Vuong works in collaboration with Global Fund for Children’s Asia program and Spark Fund teams to facilitate youth-led grantmaking, capacity development, and program-related support for Spark Fund partners in Vietnam. Loan is an experienced social worker who is passionate about contributing to Vietnam’s social development. She worked for almost 10 years as a youth development officer and social worker for children, youth, and families living in poverty, and she found particular satisfaction in promoting climate change awareness and coaching hundreds of youth-led projects to achieve sustainable development goals. Loan holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and completed her master’s program in social work through the sponsorship of an Erasmus Mundus scholarship. She is fluent in Vietnamese and English.
GFC's Director of Funder Safeguarding Collaborative Karen Walker-Simpson
Founder-Director, Funder Safeguarding Collaborative
Karen Walker-Simpson is the Founder-Director of the Funder Safeguarding Collaborative (FSC) and now leads the specialist technical support that FSC provides to grant-making organisations around the world. Karen’s work is informed by her doctoral research into the effectiveness of international safeguarding standards and donor requirements, as well as research on funder approaches to safeguarding conducted on behalf of FSC. Karen started her career working with children in care in the UK before moving to Ecuador to run Fundación Juconi, which provides therapeutic support for street-working children and their families. Karen spent eight years as a Safeguarding Specialist for international NGOs working across Africa, Asia, and Latin America before moving to Comic Relief as the organization’s Head of Safeguarding in 2018. In addition to her professional doctorate, Karen has a master’s degree in international human rights. She is fluent in Spanish.
Program Coordinator
Marta Xicay works as a Program Coordinator on GFC’s Americas team, supporting a group of civil society organizations in Guatemala – under the Educational Recovery in Central America (RECARGA) initiative – to address academic gaps, create learning spaces, and advocate for the rights of all children and youth to receive a quality education in their communities. Marta holds a degree in education and is a passionate human rights advocate and development professional with over a decade of experience working in Central America. As a Maya-Kaqchikel woman, Marta possesses a deep understanding of the region's context and culture. Growing up in Guatemala, Marta faced and overcame many systemic barriers because of her Maya heritage and gender.These experiences motivate her to create positive change which can inspire and encourage other young Indigenous girls from similar communities. Holding extensive working experience with grassroots organizations and prior collaboration with the US Department of State (ECA), Marta has contributed to creating significant impact in several areas, including gender-based violence, community health, and access to education. She speaks Kaqchikel, Spanish, and English.
Wanwarin (Nina) Yensuk
Thailand Partnerships Catalyst
As Thailand Partnerships Catalyst at Global Fund for Children, Wanwarin (Nina) Yensuk builds relationships and fosters strong communication with GFC’s Thailand partners through participatory learning, capacity building, and grantmaking. Before joining GFC, she was the Project Coordinator at the Center for Girls Foundation, one of GFC’s partner organizations. Her work includes preventing, combating, and eradicating human trafficking and violence against women and children, as well as promoting gender equity. Nina has worked with Thai, ethnic, and stateless women and children in border districts. Before becoming a Project Coordinator, Nina volunteered at Urban Light Foundation, A21 Thailand, and Stop the Traffik to fight human trafficking and modern slavery in her hometown and worldwide. Nina acquired a bachelor’s degree in English communication from Payap University International College and has a master’s degree in gender and international relations from the University of Bristol. She is fluent in Thai and English.
Kelsi Young headshot
Senior Development Associate
Kelsi Young is part of Global Fund for Children’s development team and works to cultivate GFC’s institutional and individual donor bases. Prior to working with GFC, Kelsi worked as a Development Officer at Center for Girls, one of GFC’s partner organizations. In this position, she worked for over three years to promote women’s and children’s rights and the prevention of abuse, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and gender-based violence in Northern Thailand. Kelsi also has three years of experience teaching English to elementary school students and North Korean defectors in South Korea. She holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with concentrations in cultural and medical anthropology from the University of Central Florida, as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in global health from the University of Utah Asia Campus. Kelsi is proficient in Korean. She is proud to serve on the steering committee of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy’s DC chapter.

Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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