Marketing and Communications Intern
As GFC’s Marketing and Communications intern, Asra Ahmad supports GFC’s social media presence and outreach, online campaigns, digital analytics, and more. Before joining GFC, Asra worked in a variety of local/state, nonprofit, and federal agencies. She has worked on federal grants coordination efforts and developed working plans for trauma and opioid policy at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Additionally, she has provided communications and business administrative support to nonprofits such as Every Child Fed and the National Sleep Foundation. Asra also served as a National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Ambassador with Advocates for Youth. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health and Global Health and is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health, concentrating in Public Health Communication, at George Mason University. Her graduate research interests include the social determinants of health, mental health, HIV, and tobacco interventions. Asra is fluent in Urdu and Hindi, and is proficient in reading Arabic and Latin.
Development Intern and William Ascher Fellow
Martha Baker is GFC’s Development Intern and William Ascher Fellow with a passion for child development, early education, and global health. At GFC, she assists the Development team in prospect donor research and stewardship, while learning about the importance of global advocacy and communication between program teams and high-impact donors. She is a recent graduate of Claremont McKenna College with a degree in International Relations and Cognitive Science. Her research experience abroad in Myanmar and Argentina, along with her internships exploring the impacts of international and domestic education policy at BRAC USA and the American Enterprise Institute, helped refine her academic and professional ambitions. These opportunities culminated in an honors senior thesis exploring how international organizations translate early-age cognitive science into emergency programming for children in crisis.
Program Officer 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.
Director of 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.
Development Officer, Institutional Giving
Marco Antonio Blanco is responsible for growing GFC’s institutional giving portfolio. He brings five years of professional experience as an educator, researcher, and grant writer in Central America. In his previous role, Marco worked as a grants associate for Fabretto Children’s Foundation, where he raised funding from institutional and corporate donors to support educational programs in Nicaragua. From early child education interventions to income-generating ventures for adolescents, Marco sought to increase access to quality education and vocational training opportunities for underserved children and youth. Prior to this, Marco designed impact evaluations and performed data collection for American Nicaraguan Foundation’s programs related to WASH, agriculture, and food insecurity. Marco holds a master’s degree in politics from the New School for Social Research, along with a bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University in English literature and philosophy. He is fluent in Spanish and previously taught social studies at the high school level for three years.
As Finance Controller for Global Fund for Children, Charlene is responsible for managing the day-to-day financial operations for GFC’s headquarters in Washington, DC. As a member of the senior management team, she supervises financial transactions, grants budgeting, expenditures, and financial reporting. Charlene started as a GFC consultant in 2019 and was hired permanently in January 2020. Her prior experience includes more than 30 years of working in the nonprofit and university sectors with a focus on accounting, budgeting, compliance, and grants management. Charlene holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting from Susquehanna University and several certifications in grants management.
Christine Burkhart supports Global Fund for Children’s development team, raising funds to support GFC and its partners around the world. Christine is an experienced grant manager, writer, and humanitarian response professional. Prior to working at GFC, she served as the partnership manager for the Haiti Recovery Program of the American Red Cross. In this position, she was responsible for identifying partners worldwide, negotiating grant relationships, and ensuring compliance and monitoring results. Christine also worked for the National Democratic Institute, where she was part of an initiative to encourage more women in the Middle East 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 on an Advisory Neighborhood Commission in DC and as a board member for the Out for Work initiative hosted by the Human Rights Campaign. 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.
Child Protection and Anti-Trafficking Specialist
As Child Protection and Anti- Trafficking Specialist in India, Indrani Chakraborty provides support to GFC’s India-based partners working on anti-trafficking, helping to strengthen their programmatic expertise and networks. Indrani has 21 years of experience working in grassroots, state-wide, national, and international organizations on child rights, child protection, trafficking, unsafe migration, gender-based violence, education, HIV/AIDS, 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 as per 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 Researcher at Sanlaap India, an NGO that focuses on anti-trafficking
of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and forced prostitution. She has published research work on unsafe migration and cross-border trafficking, sex tourism, caste-based prostitution, conviction of traffickers, and livelihoods of trafficking survivors.
Indrani holds a master’s degree in social work from Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. She speaks English and Bengali.
Vice President, Finance
As Vice President of Finance for Global Fund for Children, Richa is responsible for managing the financial strategy and operations for the DC headquarters and its related entities in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and India. As a member of the senior management team, she oversees financial planning, budgeting, and cash flow projections. She started with Global Fund for Children as Finance Controller in 2016, and her prior experience includes working in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors focusing on finding efficiencies in financial reporting. 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.
Senior Communications Associate
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.
Regional Capacity Development Specialist, West Africa
Amé Atsu David’s supports Global Fund for Children’s Africa team. Her role is dedicated to 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.
Content Strategy Adviser
Elise Hofer Derstine serves as a content strategist and copywriter for Global Fund for Children while also providing general support to the Communications and Marketing team. Elise has more than ten years of experience writing for nonprofit organizations and foundations, helping them to tell their stories and raise funds for their causes. In addition to GFC, she worked for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, a competitive college scholarship for future public servants, and the Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington, a DC-based guide to giving and volunteering. She has also taught feature writing at the college level. Elise is a published poet and co-author of two Global Fund for Children books, Music Everywhere! and What We Wear. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German and English from Goshen College, and is proficient in German.
Country Representative, India
Dhvani Doshi leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking, capacity strengthening, integrated programming, and stakeholder engagement in India. Prior to her time at 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 54 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.
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.
Events and Partnerships Coordinator
Based in GFC’s London office, Afiya Fenton helps to develop strategic partnerships, coordinate and execute events, and engage with potential and current GFC supporters. She is an experienced development and operations professional, with a focus on recruitment and tech industries. Most recently, Afiya worked as an Operations and Marketing Executive, leading corporate events and managing social media and office operations for the company. Afiya also has experience in volunteering with children who have ADHD, dyslexia, and autism to teach them how to read. Since moving to London, Afiya has been involved in volunteering programs addressing homelessness and providing support workshops in under-resourced schools of Greater London. Committed to supporting the greater good, Afiya is delighted to join the nonprofit sector and support children and youth around the world. Afiya holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Greenwich in London.
Communications and Digital Media Manager
Nina Ford manages Global Fund for Children’s organizational communications initiatives and digital marketing campaigns, overseeing GFC’s daily digital communications across all channels and facilitating print and marketing outreach efforts. She has extensive experience in print and online content production, digital engagement, and global communications focused on equality and social justice. Prior to joining GFC, Nina was a Communications Officer at Promundo, where she oversaw the development and growth of institutional and campaign websites, led online visibility and social media strategies, and supervised the production of landmark research and advocacy publications for over four years. At Promundo, she also managed news and communications for MenCare: A Global Fatherhood Campaign with grassroots partners in more than 45 countries. Nina previously taught elementary-school English in Madrid, and she also worked as part of the Latin America Program at the Bank Information Center and as an editorial fellow with Green America in Washington, DC. Nina holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish and in international relations, with a concentration in global health, nutrition, and the environment, from Tufts University. She is fluent in Spanish.
As a GFC Programs intern, Emily George supports efforts to define regional strategies, map social networks, and research security strategies, among other projects. Prior to GFC, Emily interned at an organization that partnered with community organizations in India to implement sustainable development models. Currently, Emily is a rising senior at Bryn Mawr College studying sociology and education. In the fall, she will begin courses at the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research as part of her five-year Master of Social Work combined degree program. Emily is fluent in English and highly proficient in Spanish.
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.
As staff accountant for Global Fund for Children, Gloria Johnson performs day to day accounting functions and assists with GFC’s operations. She ensures all disbursements and receivables are processed and reconciled in a timely manner. Gloria has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including as a Cash Accountant; her experience includes recognizing and coding cash receipts, providing weekly and monthly financial reports, and assisting management with financial analysis. She has also assisted with managing the financial needs of international field offices, recording and analyzing field expenses, and preparing and submitting invoices to donors.
Program Officer 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.
Regional Program 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.
Regional Program Director, Africa
Alexander Kyerematen leads Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking, capacity strengthening, integrated programming, and stakeholder engagement across Africa. Alex is a skilled international development strategist and community development advocate with over a decade experience in grantmaking; program strategy, design, implementation, and management; community development; and stakeholder engagement strategies. Prior to joining GFC, Alex negotiated the placement of approximately $20 million in bi-lateral and multi-lateral project funds annually over 5 years while at Fidelity Bank Ghana. He also structured and managed the disbursement of over $120 million to support public-private partnership projects through the Bank. Most recently at Geneva Global, in collaboration with community-based organizations, he designed and implemented strategic multi-year, multi-sector philanthropic investments, seeking to improve and empower communities in need in Africa. Alex brings a unique mix of private, public, and civic society experience with deep contextual understanding to his work seeking to strengthen and uplift children and youth and their communities across the continent. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of Wooster and an MBA in international business from Hult International Business School. He is a certified in micro, small, and medium scale lending, as well as environment and social risk analysis, and is proficient in French.
Operations and Special Projects Associate and Safeguarding Coordinator
Bri LaTendresse assists with coordinating and supporting Global Fund for Children’s organizational systems and functions including finance, human resources, technology, and administration. As a Special Projects Associate, she also works to support our Designated Safeguarding Lead and our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning department. Prior to joining GFC, Bri provided administrative support at Global Research and Advocacy Group, an NGO in Senegal. She has over ten years of experience working with internationally based NGOs, specifically in fundraising and lobbying. Bri holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and a minor in cultural migration studies from California State University, Long Beach. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs at American University.
As GFC’s Advocacy intern, Viktoryia Liashchynskaya is developing a system for content analysis related to GFC partners’ advocacy strategies in the Americas. Before joining GFC, she interned as a translator in Spain at a nonprofit organization for the defense of women’s rights. She is currently an undergraduate student at Bryn Mawr College majoring in French & Francophone Studies and Spanish. She is also a native speaker of Russian.
Programs Intern, Africa
As GFC’s Africa Programs intern, Fatoumata Magassa provides support to GFC's Africa regional team. Outside of GFC, Fatoumata works as a middle school special education teacher and English as a second language coordinator at the DC International School. Previously, Fatoumata worked as a student advocate for Harlem Children’s Zone. Additionally, she worked as a co-director of operations at the Youth Institute of Science and Technology and a student support coordinator at Iringa International School. Dedicated to girls' and women’s empowerment and youth education, Fatoumata is excited to join the GFC team. She is working towards a master’s degree in Development Management from American University’s School of International Service. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Global Black Studies and a master’s degree in Education and Human Development with a specialization in Special Education. Fatoumata is fluent in Bambara and conversational in French.
Capacity Development Specialist
Daniela Martinez works closely with GFC’s Central America partners to strengthen their capacity and network-building. Daniela worked for seven years with Vital Voices Guatemala, securing funds from major international donors, creating participatory learning methodologies, and implementing training programs for over 500 emerging women leaders. Before joining GFC, Daniela worked as Strategic Partnerships Consultant for Project Concern International, and as Business Development Consultant for Catholic Relief Services. Daniela holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, and a dual bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French Studies from Bryn Mawr College. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.
Regional Program Director, Americas
Kimberly McClain 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.
Lida strengthens GFC’s partnership and donor opportunities in Europe, developing innovative strategies and solutions. She also serves as GFC’s key point of contact for the Youth Leadership Council. Lida has more than eight years of experience in an NGO sector leading advocacy, coalition building and human rights projects. Lida has previously worked as the Executive Director of Society Without Violence NGO in Armenia, protecting the rights of women and advocating for domestic violence legislation and gender education in public schools. In her years of leadership at the organization, she built a strong international network and partnerships with youth organizations and networks. She has started and supported local grassroots initiatives focusing on young women and peacebuilding. Lida has also worked with other grassroots and international organizations, providing expertise in their capacity development, human rights advocacy, and fundraising efforts. She is one of the founding members and previous Board Chair of the Non-discrimination and Equality Coalition in Armenia. Lida holds a master’s degree in human rights from Central European University and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Yerevan State University. She is fluent in Armenian and has a working proficiency in Russian.
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Specialist, India
As Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Specialist in India, Rituu B Nanda provides support to GFC’s India-based partners working on anti-trafficking, helping them to strengthen their MEL systems using participatory practices. Appreciation and deep listening are key principles in Rituu’s life and work. She has experience in monitoring and evaluation, participatory action research, knowledge management, community engagement, behavior change, systems thinking, and equity issues. Rituu is passionate about using community-led and youth-centered approaches in MEL and brings this to her role at GFC. Rituu is pursuing her second master’s degree in Evaluation and holds a certification in Public Health. Rituu is based in Delhi and is fluent in English, Hindi, and Punjabi.
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.
Senior Partnerships Director and Designated Safeguard Lead
Hayley Roffey leads Global Fund for Children's partnership development out of our London office. She is an experienced senior leader in the nonprofit and private sectors, with more than a decade of experience in development, fundraising, safeguarding, and capacity development. Since 2007, Hayley has raised over £11 million for a range of organizations working with children in the UK and Europe. She has also started brand new organizations and created sustainable structures as an external consultant, led business development projects with UK based charities (including some of GFC’s own grassroots partners), supported organizations in their fundraising goals, and provided monthly mentoring to a number of CEOs, offering safe spaces to explore leadership challenges and personal growth. With proven leadership skills and extensive project oversight and management experience, Hayley previously led a UK charity that delivers specific interventions to vulnerable children and young people across the south of England. In her final two years of leadership at the organization, the charity doubled in size, income, and impact. Hayley holds a postgraduate diploma in marketing and marketing management from the Chartered Institute of Marketing; a postgraduate degree in magazine journalism from Cardiff University; and a bachelor’s degree in drama and dramatics/theater arts from the University of Winchester. She is trained as a Designated Safeguard lead.
Programs Associate, Africa & Americas
Penda Sarr works on the Africa and Americas teams at Global Fund for Children, supporting regional initiatives to empower adolescent girls. She also focuses on building relationships with GFC’s local partners, preparing grant reports, and assisting with project management and monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Her prior work experience includes working for UNICEF’s gender team, where she designed advocacy strategies to promote gender equality in the workplace; the Social Science Research Council, where she worked on issues around violent conflict; and the Global Business Coalition for Health, where she supported grants operations, communications, and the coalition’s partnership with UNFPA’s West & Central Africa Regional Office on the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend initiative.
Penda has an honors bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African Studies from the University of Toronto, and a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She is fluent in French and Wolof and is passionate about girls and women’s empowerment.
Director of Operations and Communications
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.
Major Gifts Manager
Abigail Stallworth is a member of Global Fund for Children’s development team, engaging our generous donors to raise funds to support GFC and our partners around the world.
Abigail has dedicated her career to helping nonprofits become more sustainable and access the flexible resources they need to do the most good. Abigail began her career working on the development team at Polaris, an anti-human-trafficking organization, where she helped implement a major donor circle and managed the donor database. From there, she focused on writing grant proposals and reports for organizations that focused on climate change, education advocacy, and board development. Most recently, she worked as the Development Manager at the Nuclear Threat Initiative to develop internal policies and processes for the fundraising team and implement an events-based major donor program.
Abigail has also spent the last three years volunteering as the Gala Chair for the DC Chapter of Engineers Without Borders and previously volunteered with the anti-street-harassment nonprofit Collective Action for Safe Spaces.
Abigail has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from American University and speaks German.
Program Officer, Advocacy and Movement Building
Vanessa Stevens strengthens advocacy for social change through strategy development and capacity building at the Global Fund for Children. She manages a transnational initiative empowering grassroots organizations working to protect the rights of migrant girls in the Americas. She has extensive experience in program management and organizational development with national and international organizations. Prior to GFC, she designed capacity development initiatives for social entrepreneurs and NGOs with Impact Hub in Malaysia and CIVICUS in Argentina. She is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and spent six years advocating for immigrant rights in Alabama, where she also co-founded a chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network in Birmingham. Vanessa received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from American University and completed internships with PartnersGlobal, Habitat for Humanity International, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She is proficient in Spanish.
Strategic Learning and Evaluation Manager
Liza Yanovich supports Global Fund for Children in designing and implementing its learning, evaluation, and research practices. Her approach to research and learning is founded in the belief that generating evidence should translate into action. Prior to joining GFC, she worked as a consultant designing and carrying out evaluations of education projects funded by USAID, DFID, and Norad, conducted private sector development research at the World Bank, and worked at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, where she taught Russian to senior American diplomats, designed curriculum materials, and led seminars related to foreign policy. She has extensive field work experience in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and West and Central Africa, working with hard-to-reach communities and building and maintaining relationships with local individuals, government representatives, and NGOs. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and a dual bachelor’s degree in economics and French. Liza is passionate about the arts and has been acting at a local theater group since 2011. She is based in Washington, DC and is fluent in English, Russian, and French.