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

Nasra Ayub
Programs and Partnerships Associate
Nasra Ayub works across Global Fund for Children’s programs and development teams supporting the implementation of the Spark Fund, a global, youth-led participatory fund, and working to cultivate and strengthen donor relationships. 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. 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.
Alex Baker
Senior Operations and Administrative Associate
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.
Program Officer, Americas
Marco Antonio Blanco works on the Americas team at Global Fund for Children. 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.
Charlene Bowman
Finance Controller
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.
Senior Director, 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 Associate
Nayara Castiglioni works as a Program Associate 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.
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 Officer
Maria Creamer manages Global Fund for Children’s social media, digital engagement, and communications metrics. She also leads the organization’s photography and videography, with a particular focus on video production. 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.
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.
Global Executive Assistant
Based in GFC’s London office, Afiya Fenton serves as a Global Executive Assistant supporting GFC's CEO and Global Managing Director. 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.
Elena Figueroa
Program Coordinator
Elena Figueroa works as a Program Coordinator 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.
Nina Ford
Director of Communications and Marketing
Nina Ford leads Global Fund for Children’s communications team, strategy, and initiatives. In this role, she oversees messaging and outreach for external audiences, furthering GFC’s mission of partnering with community-based organizations to help children and youth reach their full potential and advance their rights. Nina has more than a decade of experience in content production and storytelling, digital engagement, and global communications focused on 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 research and advocacy publications. At Promundo, she also managed news and communications for MenCare: A Global Fatherhood Campaign with partners in more than 45 countries. Nina previously taught 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 from Tufts University. She is fluent in Spanish.
Katherine Gilmour
Regional Co-Director, Europe and Eurasia
Katherine serves as 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 is also Vice Chair of Zero Tolerance, a Scottish charity working to end violence against women and girls through primary prevention. Katherine 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
Deputy Director, UK
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.
Kyra Gurney
Senior Communications Officer
Kyra Gurney works on Global Fund for Children’s marketing and communications team, leading writing and copyediting activities for the organization and helping with press outreach efforts. Before joining GFC, Kyra was a reporter at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, where she collaborated on global investigations related to corruption and money laundering. She has also worked as a reporter at the Miami Herald, where she covered education and local government, and at InSight Crime, a nonprofit investigative journalism outlet based in Colombia. Prior to becoming a journalist, Kyra taught English and coordinated an education program in Tunja, Colombia, through the Fulbright program. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature with a minor in Latin American studies from Colorado College. Kyra is fluent 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.
Victor Juarez
Program Coordinator and Network Facilitator
Victor Juarez works as a Program Coordinator and Network Facilitator for Global Fund for Children’s RECARGA initiative. Over the past 17 years, he has worked with the US government and in businesses, higher education, entrepreneurship, migration, tourism, and the health sector in Central America, Mexico, and the US. For the last three years, he's been working on bridging the gap of mental health access among underserved populations from a Hispanic or Mayan background with his social business, TuConsejería. TuConsejería is a web-based technological solution that allows anyone to find real-time and confidential support from mental health professionals during a crisis. Victor has been part of different fellowship programs, including serving as a Halcyon Fellow, Central America Healthcare Initiative Fellow, Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Fellow, and International Visitor Leadership Program Fellow. He is an advocate for equity with a passion for Guatemala and youth in the region. Victor is a native Spanish speaker and fluent English speaker, and he speaks a little French.
Program Officer, 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.
Anna Kessler photo
Marketing and Communications Intern
Anna Kessler is an intern who provides support to Global Fund for Children’s marketing and communications team. She is currently a senior at Virginia Tech who is working toward a major in marketing and a minor in peace studies and social justice. Anna is very passionate about volunteer work. Her past volunteer experience has centered around animal socialization and teaching elementary-aged students how to read. Her hope is that this internship will help her learn how to effectively apply her marketing knowledge in the nonprofit sector.
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.
Otis Kollie
Program Specialist Africa and Asia Consultant
Otis Kollie is a Program Specialist Africa and Asia Consultant at Global Fund for Children, where he supports the Africa and Asia teams with partnership development and management; grant management; communications and reporting; and knowledge and learning. Otis is a certified project management professional with more than eight years of experience within the program management setting. He started his career as a Program Manager at Women-Concern Liberia, a local feminist organization. He has also previously worked at the Lifewater Liberia Country Office as an Assistant Program Coordinator, and at the Liberian Geographical Society (LGS), where he was promoted to Program Manager/M&E Coordinator and led and coordinated the development and implementation of LGS’s programmatic strategy. Otis holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics with a minor in public administration.
Alexander Kyerematen
Senior 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, a master’s degree in international business and policy from Georgetown University, 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.    
Bri LaTendresse
Safeguarding Officer and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Bri LaTendresse supports safeguarding for both Global Fund for Children and Funder Safeguarding Collaborative (FSC). She develops and leads safeguarding training for all GFC personnel, manages the annual Global Safeguarding Policy review, provides safeguarding capacity development for GFC partners, and serves as GFC's Designated Safeguarding Lead. For FSC, Bri plays a key role in ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of the collaborative and in providing support to members and their grantee partners. She provides logistical, technical, and administrative support across the full range of FSC activities and facilitates regular communication and engagement with FSC members. Bri holds a master’s degree in international affairs from American University’s School of International Service. She also 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.
Kieran
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.
Daniela Martinez
Program Manager, Americas
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.
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.
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.
Blondie headshot
Atlas Corps Communications and Marketing Fellow
As Global Fund for Children’s Atlas Corps Fellow, 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.
Solomon Ndondo
Influencing and Network Engagement Youth Fellow; Chair, Youth Leadership Council (Zimbabwe)
Solomon Ndondo is a part-time Influencing and Network Engagement Youth Fellow at Global Fund for Children and the Chair of GFC's Youth Leadership Council. He is a 28-year-old children’s rights activist and human rights defender from Zimbabwe and the Founder and Executive Director of the Africa Rise Foundation, where he is responsible for strategic decisions. Solomon is a Canon Collins Trust and Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) scholar, an advisory board member for the African Network for Youth and Adolescent Development, and a member of Amnesty International South Africa. He is also a former Co-Chair of the Capacity Building Committee for Youth Against Slavery Movement's Youth Advisory Board and an alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa. Solomon holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in human resources management from Great Zimbabwe University and is currently studying a Master of Philosophy degree in development studies at University of Cape Town.
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
Senior Accounting Associate
As a Senior Accounting Associate 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.
Ashani Ratnayake
Senior Communications and Marketing Specialist
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 studying Spanish.
Hayley Roffey
Global Managing Director
Based in London, Hayley Roffey is the Global Managing Director of Global Fund for Children. She is a committed, passionate, and experienced senior executive in the international nonprofit sector with a particular focus on children and young people; shifting power in philanthropy; grassroots funding; and safeguarding. Hayley has not only set up new organizations but also delivered transformational organizational change. Between 2020-2021, under Hayley’s leadership, the income of GFC’s UK and European operation grew by 460%. In 2021, she played a key role in establishing a new organization, Funder Safeguarding Collaborative (FSC), which supports and strengthens safeguarding practices globally. With nearly 20 years in the sector, Hayley believes in sharing her experience, her privilege, and her position with the next generation of women leaders, and she regularly coaches and mentors up-and-coming leaders in the nonprofit sector. She 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.
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.
Senior Director of Operations and Governance
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.  
Abigail Stallworth
Senior Manager, Donor Relations
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.
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.
Eugenia Vigil
Young Fellow
Eugenia Vigil is a young fellow at Global Fund for Children, where she works on the Girls Experiencing Migration (GEM) initiative. She is an 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.
GFC's Director of Funder Safeguarding Collaborative Karen Walker-Simpson
Senior Director, Funder Safeguarding Collaborative
Karen Walker-Simpson leads the Funder Safeguarding Collaborative, which promotes greater collaboration and learning among funding agencies to strengthen safeguarding practices. 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 the last 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. Karen has a master’s degree in international human rights and is completing her professional doctorate, which examines the effectiveness of safeguarding standards and donor requirements when applied by NGOs in East Africa. Karen is fluent in Spanish.
Director of Learning and Evaluation
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.
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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