“Refugees and immigrants have been decried as “invaders.”
Parents trying to save the lives of their children are called “aliens.”
Those driven from their homes by violence and fear are “animals” and “thugs.”
Weaponized language like this inspires violent hatred, drives Americans apart
and puts us that much farther from any sort of acceptable solution.”
Ann L. Gund
David Abbott became executive director of The George Gund Foundation in 2003. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as president of University Circle Incorporated, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and executive director of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission. Abbott was also the Cuyahoga County administrator and, early in his career, a reporter for The Plain Dealer.
He holds a B.A. in political science from Denison University, a M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Senior Program Officer Arts
Jennifer Coleman is the Foundation’s senior program officer for arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, Coleman, an architect, was president of her own design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative. Earlier in her career, she practiced architecture at several local architecture firms. She also founded CityProwl.com, a company that produced audio walking tours of Cleveland that highlight the distinctive history and architecture of Cleveland.
Among her many civic endeavors, Jennifer has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee and the Group Plan Commission. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many local arts and cultural organizations. Coleman received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.
Maya Curtis is the 2019–2021 George Gund Foundation Fellow. She works across program areas. Curtis most recently was an admissions counselor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She received her M.A. in arts administration from The University of Akron in May and also has a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago.
Maya has worked extensively with arts organizations, including some Gund Foundation grantees such as the Center for Art Inspired Learning, Groundworks Dance Theater and the Institute of Art. Her master’s thesis focused on racial diversity in arts administration.
Daisy Edwards joined the Foundation team in December 2016. In this role she is often the first point of contact for guests. She also provides general support throughout the organization.
Senior Program Officer Human Services
Marcia Egbert is the Foundation’s senior program officer for human services. Prior to joining the Foundation in 1998, she was vice president of the National Urban Policy Institute, a public interest policy analysis and lobbying organization in Columbus, Ohio. She also served as government relations director for the Cuyahoga County Commissioners and worked for the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Marcia is active in a number of local, state and national philanthropic organizations including the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, Economic Opportunity Funders, and the Health Taskforce of Philanthropy Ohio. She currently serves in leadership roles with the Ohio Transformation Fund, PRE4CLE (Cleveland’s plan for high-quality pre-K), First Year Cleveland (infant mortality reduction coalition), Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, and the Governor’s Lead Advisory Committee; she is a trustee of the McGregor Foundation. Egbert is a two-time alumna of The Ohio State University, having received both B.A. and J.D. degrees from that institution.
Grants and Office Administrator
Cindy Gasparro joined the Foundation in 1984 and in 2011 she became the grants and office administrator. In this role, she manages the grantmaking database, oversees the grantmaking process through the intake, review, award and follow-up stages of grants.
Cindy also provides support to the Executive Director, manages the oversight of office operations and security systems, and researches and implements technology strategies for the Foundation. In addition, she provides development and implementation of human resources programs.
Travis Howard is the 2018–2020 George Gund Foundation Fellow. He works across program areas. Prior to joining the Foundation, Travis worked for the Presidents’ Council Foundation where he played a key role in developing the Emerging Entrepreneurship Program for minority start-up companies. He also has been a data analyst for Robert Half, a professional staffing company.
Travis as a B.A. in economics from Bowling Green State University.
Robert Jaquay has been associate director of the Foundation since 1996. He currently serves as in-house counsel and directs the Foundation’s financial functions, including program-related investing and shareholder advocacy. Before joining the Foundation, Bob worked in Northeast Ohio as an urban planner, municipal attorney and Executive Assistant to Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich. Early in his career, he served on the staff of the U.S. House Ways and Mean Oversight Subcommittee.
Bob is past chair of Philanthropy Ohio, Mission Investors Exchange, Neighborhood Funders Group and the Foundation Center Cleveland. He has a B.S. in business administration from John Carroll University, an M.P.A. from Harvard University, a J.D. from Cleveland State University, and was a Fulbright Specialist at St. Xavier University in Canada.
Paula Kampf assists the program officers for education, the environment and human services. She serves on the board of directors of Greater Cleveland Community Shares and as Cleveland program coordinator for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Before joining the Foundation in 2016, she was Meaningful Matters Incorporated’s director of organizational development and social-emotional leadership, and has also served as manager of volunteer, spiritual care and bereavement services for a Cleveland hospice.
Paula has a B.A. in communications and Theatre from Notre Dame College, a M.A. in ministry from Ursuline College, and holds a certificate in applied positive psychology.
Senior Program Officer Environment
John Mitterholzer is the Foundation’s senior program officer for the environment. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2008, he was a program officer at The Cleveland Foundation. John is the former chair of the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, the current co-chair of the Climate and Energy Funders Group and an active member of the Environmental Grantmakers Association.
He holds a B.A. in history from Baldwin Wallace University and an M.A. in history from the University of Memphis.
Senior Program Officer Education
Ann Mullin is the Foundation’s senior program officer for education. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2005, she served as program officer for education and program associate for arts and culture at The Cleveland Foundation. Previously, she was operations director at Montessori Development Partnerships, a nonprofit organization serving the Cleveland and national Montessori community. She has also worked for National City Bank, IMG, and as a summer music and arts teacher at Ruffing Montessori School.
Ann holds a bachelor of musical arts from the University of Michigan, a master of business administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, and a master of legal studies from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.
Alecia Pretel joined the Foundation in October 2012 as the executive assistant to the associate director and now provides support to the program officers in the fields of arts, democracy-building and economic development and community revitalization. Along with administrative responsibilities she provides support managing the Foundation’s grantmaking database, human resources related functions and other tasks related to supporting office operations. Alecia also is responsible for accounts receivable and working with accountants in many capacities.
Previously Alecia was a senior administrative assistant at Eaton Corporation in its HR Administrative Center of Excellence (ACOE). Prior to this, she also worked for Hilton Hotels as an assistant general manager in Richmond, Virginia and Solon, Ohio.
Senior Program Officer for Community Revitalization and Economic Development
Alesha Washington is the Senior Program Officer for Community Revitalization and Economic Development for the Foundation. She also leads the collaborative efforts of the senior program team to strengthen democracy building and civic engagement strategies statewide.
Prior to her role with the Foundation, Alesha was the Vice President of Government Advocacy for the Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. In her role, she served as the lead advocate on local, state and federal policy issues impacting the Northeast Ohio business community and economic development efforts. Alesha has also held senior government relations roles with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Centers for Families and Children. Among her civic endeavors, Alesha served on the boards of the Cleveland Public Library and the Center for Community Solutions. She is currently a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for the W.E. Upjohn Institute. Alesha is a 2017 Crain’s Cleveland 40 Under 40 honoree and 2015 American Marshall Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Alesha received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her Masters of Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University.