President and Executive Director
Meg founded Proteus Fund in 1995. She provides key leadership and vision around development of Proteus initiatives, and facilitates dialogue both internally and externally to articulate Proteus’ unique approach to social change strategy development and grant making. She is a thought leader in change theory and challenges Proteus staff to a deeper exploration of theory and practice around our mission of justice through democracy, human rights and peace. Meg works with staff to review and revise individual program strategy annually and to develop and sustain ongoing relationships with funding partners and other allies in Proteus’ work and the work of all Proteus initiatives.
Meg co-founded the Peace Development Fund in 1981 and served as its Executive Director until 1992. She was the Executive Director of the Ottinger Foundation from 1992 through 1999. Meg was awarded the inaugural Robert W. Scrivner Award in 1986 for Creativity by an Individual Grantmaker and in 1997 she wrote the Funders Handbook on Money in Politics. She earned a Bachelors Degree from Brandeis University in 1967. An active member of the local arts community, Meg is a founding board member of the Amherst Arts Cinema and has made appearances in a number of community theater productions.
Senior Program Officer
Marc began working for Proteus as a consultant in September 2000 and has been on staff since 2004. He brings decades of knowledge and experience to bear on his work to implement a comprehensive strategy for building a broad base of support for reform around the problem of corporate and special interest power and influence in our political system. He was the founding director of LEAP, a statewide voter engagement coalition in Connecticut; created and directed a project sponsored by Northeast Action and the United Auto Workers to build similar voter engagement coalitions in four other New England states; and consulted with progressive leaders in more than a half dozen other states around the country to assist the founding or strengthening of statewide coalitions. He directed Northeast Action from 1992 to 1999 and he served as the Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group from 1974 to 1980. Marc earned a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University in 1972.
Ferdene's work with the Proteus Fund began in July 2011 assisting in financial reporting and operations, and streamlining and systematizing financial systems and operations. Ferdene has been working with non-profits in accounting, financial operations and bookkeeping for the last 14 years. She has worked with small community based groups including an ESL and literacy organization, a community health centre, an educational non-profit focusing on studying abroad in sustainable communities and more recently with small foundations committed to advancing and building human rights and social justice movements. Prior to her work with non-profits, Ferdene worked in Banking & Business Systems, and is a graduate of McGill University. Her other interests and focus in the local food movement began when she and her husband started a small organic CSA (community supported agriculture) farm which they ran for 9 years. Ferdene has served on committees promoting local food awareness and sustainable local agriculture and is an avid recycling and compost advocate while pursuing part-time studies in information technology and programming.
Paul A. Di Donato
Civil Marriage Collaborative Director
Joining Proteus Fund in November 2007, Paul facilitates the work of a highly engaged and diverse funder collaborative, coordinating the group’s work in strategy development and innovative, responsive grant making geared to help achieve LGBT marriage equality at the state level. Paul has been an activist, advocate and philanthropic leader in the areas of HIV/AIDS, LGBT issues, civil and human rights and social justice for over 25 years. Paul serves as a Trustee for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Prior to joining Proteus and for over 8 years, Paul was Executive Director of Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) - the philanthropic affinity group for HIV/AIDS grantmakers based in the United States. Before leading FCAA, he was Public Policy Director and Federal Affairs Director at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and started the Public Policy program at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco. Paul was also Executive Director and Legal Director of National Gay Rights Advocates.
Earlier in his career, Paul was a litigator in private civil rights practice focusing on prison reform, employment discrimination, voting rights and other civil rights issues and also taught civil rights law. In 1985, Paul became the first man to be appointed as a Revson Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow. Paul has also served in volunteer leadership positions with the Council on Foundations, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Joint Affinity Group Network for U.S. Philanthropy. Paul earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1985.
Diversity Fellowship Director
Tammy Dowley-Blackman, a graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard Graduate School of Education has served as the Director of the Diversity Fellowship since its inception in 2006. She joined the Proteus Fund staff in 2010 when the Fellowship successfully transitioned from Associated Grant Makers in Boston.
Tammy is the former Executive Director of two nationally-affiliated nonprofits and the manager of a specialized higher education recruitment program. In addition, she is the Principal of the consulting firm--tdb group. The firm specializes in Communications and Development; Project Design and Management; Research and Evaluation and Talent Management. The client list includes: Associated Grant Makers, the Barr Foundation, Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, Bay Area United Fund, Breakthrough Collaborative, Beat of Boston Arts and Tourism Collaborative with the City of Boston, Boston Partners in Education, City Mission Society of Boston, Gates Foundation/Stupski Foundation, Healthy Wilmington Coalition, Oakland United School District, the Partnership Inc., Schott Foundation for Public Education and the United States Tennis Association/Ford Foundation.
Grants & Program Assistant
Katie Fox began working part-time as the Grants Assistant for the Proteus Fund in April 2013 while pursuing dual masters' degrees in Regional Planning and Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. As the Grants Assistant, Katie assists with the grantmaking process for all of Proteus Fund's projects, initiatives, and donor advised funds. Prior to beginning graduate school in 2011, Katie was the Field Program Administrator at Corporate Accountability International where she helped develop a new field organizing program that expanded the organization's campaigns into five major cities across the country. She also worked as the Program Associate at Environment New Hampshire and as the New Hampshire Citizen Outreach Director for the Fund for the Public Interest. In these positions, Katie coordinated grassroots organizing and fundraising efforts to expand support for state environmental legislation in New Hampshire. Katie graduated from Dickinson College in 2007 with a BA in Environmental Studies and Sociology.
Director of Programs
Andrew provides support, oversight and coordination among Proteus' eight programs areas and is a member of the Management Team. His substantive interests include structural opportunity and systems thinking, racial equity, poverty alleviation, implicit bias and racial communications, multiracial alliance-building, death penalty abolition, national security and civil liberties, and money in politics.
Before joining Proteus in September 2012, Andrew was Deputy Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, overseeing much of its US-based and global justice programming while serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Institute's journal, Race/Ethnicity, and Director of its biennal Transforming Race conference. Andrew came to Kirwan Institute from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. He earned his Bachelors Degree in Literature from Yale University, his Masters in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
Beery Adams Jimenez
Beery started at Proteus Fund in August 2008. She develops and implements innovative and efficient systems to manage grantmaking for Proteus' initiatives, projects and donor advised funds, responding creatively to the individual needs and parameters of each of these entities. Before joining the Proteus staff, she worked as an International Trade & Investment Specialist at the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, and prior to that was the Immigrant Program Coordinator for Baltimore City, where she developed the City's immigrant outreach program and instituted its language access policy. Beery earned a Master's degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, and a BA in International Relations and Cultural Anthropology from James Madison University.
Zelmon M. Johnson (Zee)
Human Resources Manager
Zee Johnson joined the Proteus Team as the Human Resources Manager in August 2012. She brings decades of knowledge and experience in the field of human resources in both profit and non-profit sectors. Her past employment includes TDBank, MassMutual Financial Group, and most recently Dunbar Community Center in Springfield, Masachusetts, where she served as the Interim Executive Director through the merger of the Dunbar Community Center and the Greater Springfield YMCA.
An active member in the community of Springfield, Massachusetts, Zee is the owner of the Olive Tree Books-n-Voices, a local bookstore that serves the African American community, educational institutions and surrounding areas.
She is the recipient of several awards: Common Ground Educational Award 2012; Fruits of Labor/Big Will Express Award 2011; UBORA Award 2010; African Hall Museum, Springfield Museums, and Elms College "Woman of Vision" Award Recipient 2004.
Zee, a graduate of Morgan State University with both Bachelor and Master degrees in Business Education also serves on the boards of the Institute of Black Inventors and Technology, Multicultural Community Services, and Village Keepers, Inc.
Director of Finance & Administration
Muthoni joined the Proteus team in February 2003. She ensures the organization’s financial health and stability and establishes the mechanisms and protocol for the organization's operations. She works closely with others on the managment team, board members and staff to develop systems and oversee the finances. Prior to Proteus, she worked in the software and telecommunications industry as an Analyst and Information Technology and Financial Manager. Muthoni has an MBA from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently volunteers and leads a program for Landmark Education, a global education company.
Jill Price Marshall
Chief of Staff to the Executive Director
Jill began working for Proteus in May 2009 and brings years of high level administrative experience to her work here. In addition to facilitating the work of the Executive Director, she leads the development and maintenance of systems for prospect research and data entry, and engineers their best use for the work of the Executive Director and partnership team. Prior to working with Proteus she worked as Public Relations Manager for Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, where her focus was on successfully securing feature brand placements in outlets including The NY Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine and The Today Show. She also oversaw the development and execution of national philanthropic partnerships with organizations such as Farm Aid and Heifer International. Her volunteer work includes serving as a Community Advocate on behalf of children in the social service system and sitting on the board of the Hatfield Education Foundation.
Peace & Security Program Director
Dini guides the work of the Colombe Foundation, a family foundation that focuses on creating a more peaceful world through changes in US policy. Dini recommends and evaluates Foundation strategies based on its vision and goals, identifies grants and activities to advance these strategies, designs governance structures to facilitate the work of the foundation, facilitates grant review meetings, and represents the foundations in the progressive community. The foundation benefits from her expertise in crafting grant making strategy to maximize impact in a field that is complex and difficult to evaluate. Prior to joining the Proteus team in March of 2003, Dini was the Program Director for the Tremaine Foundation for which she designed grant-making strategies and evaluation frameworks for the foundation and its three focus areas: Learning Disabilities, Arts and the Environment. In this capacity she further helped the foundation design governance structures and Board-engagement programs that reflected the family's philanthropic interests and developed its first program-related policies. Before the Tremaine Foundation she was an environmental policy consultant for Public Sector Consultants where she worked extensively on sprawl and contamination remediation. Dini has served as a Board member and Secretary of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the Peace and Security Funders Group. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from The National Law Center, George Washington University in 1993, and graduated cum laude in international relations from Cornell University.
Themis Fund Director
Rebecca joined Proteus in April 2013 to launch its new Abolition Fund, created to increase support for efforts in the US to end capital punishment. Rebecca has been a leader in human rights and social justice philanthropy for the past twenty years. She has advanced the field of social change funding through her innovation in philanthropic support for advocacy, organizing and policy change across a wide range of movements. Prior to joining Proteus, Rebecca served as a Senior Program Executive with the Social Justice Program at the Arcus Foundation, supporting that Foundation through a year-long strategic planning initiative that explored how philanthropic resources and support for cross-sector alliances might advance the access of rights and justice for the LGBT community. From 2001 to 2010, Rebecca was a Program Executive with the US Reconciliation and Human Rights program at The Atlantic Philanthropies. Rebecca defined, developed and implemented Atlantic's US Human Rights and Reconciliation portfolio. She successfully built coalitions and advocacy and field capacity in a number of US human rights movements, including immigrant rights, ex-felon disenfranchisement, and abolition of the death penalty. From 1990 to 2000, Rebeca worked for The Rockefeller Foundation, where she advised and administered the Foundation's funding to avance the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Northeast Asia. Rebecca holds a B.A. in Economics from Goshen College and a Master of Arts in Economic Policy from Boston University.
Security & Rights Collaborative Program Associate
Lindsay joined the Proteus Fund staff in 2012, having previously served as a consultant to Proteus. Lindsay serves as program associate to the Security & Rights Collaborative, a funding collaborative working to build the capacity of Muslim, Arab and South Asian community organizations that are challenging post-9/11 profiling and discrimination. In this role, Lindsay provides programmatic and partnership development support, including developing grant recommendations, monitoring and researching field developments, and assisting in managing relationships with donor partners. Prior to joining the Proteus Fund, Lindsay worked as a legal associate at Alliance for Justice, where she worked with a team of six attorneys and performed legal research on complex state and federal issues, monitored legislation, and developed resources to support progressive nonprofit organizations engaged in lobbying, advocacy and election activity.
Lindsay holds a BA in Psychology from New York University, and a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a founding officer of the school's Amnesty International chapter and a recipient of an International Human Rights Fellowship and Class of 2010 Public Service Award.
Director of Partnerships
David Sharken has been a leader in a variety of settings: as a community non-profit practitioner, an organizational and development consultant, an executive coach, a program director for a private foundation as well as a committed volunteer board member for a variety of charities.
From 2006-2013, David was a mentor and director of the Camp Legacy Initiative for the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy. Before his foundation work, he had a successful 13 year run as the Executive Director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. He has consulted on organizational development issues with nonprofits and small businesses for 25 years and has provided strategic advice to successful major donor campaigns ranging from $500,000 to $18 million. He has been a keynote speaker, trainer and presenter on topics of nonprofit management, fundraising, board governance, strategic planning and program development.
David earned a BA in Organizational Development from the University of Michigan and holds a master's degree from Claremont Graduate School in Public Policy Analysis. He lives in Amherst, has two kids finishing college and is the proud "Babu" of a lovely grand-daughter.
Piper Fund/Judicial Independence Project Senior Program Officer
Melissa is primarily responsible for Piper Fund’s new Judicial Independence Project, which aims to reduce the impact of special interest money on state judiciaries. She brings nearly 25 years experience in the social justice field as a legal services attorney, community organizer, nonprofit director, writer and consultant. She has directed two awarded-winning community organizing groups in Chicago, and has founded organizations including the Women & Girls Collective Action Network, and the Center for Emerging Leadership, which provides organizational development training to new and emerging nonprofits. She is also a co-founder of a number of organizations including the Women’s Rights Project at Human Rights Watch, the Columbia Journal of Gender & Law, and the Chicago Freedom School. She has led a wide variety of local, state and national organizing and policy campaigns on issues including media reform, education, affordable housing, police accountability, and youth rights, including campaign work with National People’s Action. As a consultant, she has conducted extensive trainings on community organizing and nonprofit organizational development, conducted grant reviews for the Woods Fund of Chicago, and authored reports on developments in the organizing field and issues impacting women and girls, for foundations including the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. Melissa earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School in 1991.
Piper Fund Program Associate
Trellis is the Program Associate for the Piper Fund. He was the 2011-2012 Proteus Fund Diversity Fellow hosted by Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation and the Proteus ~ Piper Fund. Before the fellowship, Trellis worked in public service in both the executive and legislative branches. He served as the Director of Government Affairs for the Secretary of Transportation in the administration of Governor Deval Patrick. He also served as chief of staff and legislative policy analyst in the Massachusetts House of Representatives with a focus on education, affordable housing, and social and economic justice policy. Originally from New Orleans, Trellis is a graduate of the Juilliard School and is a classically trained actor and director.
Brenda has been with Proteus Fund since September 2006 and provides the organization with the structure that allows for smooth day to day functioning, and included in this is her work as project manager for the Proteus website and management of various Proteus data systems. Her skill at devising and maintaining organizational structures and systems is a critical piece of Proteus’ ability to work in a continually changing, fast-paced environment. She earned her BA at Smith College in 2006 with a major in Afro-American Studies, and a Masters in Religion and Human Services from Liberty University. Before joining the staff at Proteus, she held the position of Development Assistant at the National Priorities Project. Her experience also includes administrative/support staff responsibilities at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.
Officer for Partnerships
Charlie joined Proteus Fund in November 2011. He manages relationships with Piper Fund, Media Democracy Fund, Race & Equity Collaborative and Progressive Mass Funders Collaborative and individual funders, and works with program staff to communicate Proteus Fund programs to prospective and current funding partners. Charlie has been in fundraising for 18 years, working with a wide range of organizations, including Columbia University, Human Rights Watch, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Women In Need and Norman Rockwell Museum on foundation grants, individual major gift fundraising, capital campaigns and strategic planning. He earned his Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia and his Bachelors Degree in Near Eastern Archaeology from Hobart College.
Security & Rights Collaborative Director
Shireen comes to the Security & Rights Collaborative having led organizational transformation, resource development, and program management at several nationally recognized nonprofits. Most recently, she was Executive Director at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, DC. Her focus was on improving the understanding of issues and policies impacting the Muslim Community in the media and among policy makers and on developing strategic partnerships. She is also a board member of Slim Peace Groups, an organization that brings together Jewish and Muslim women for common goals of developing healthier eating habits, empowerment and relationship building. In 2013, Shireen was recognized as a White House "Champion of Change" for her work as an Asian American woman leader. She holds a B.A. in Human Development from Boston College and an M.A. from the School of International Service at American University where she focused on public diplomacy and U.S. relations with the Muslim world.
Officer for Partnerships
Debbie Zeidenberg joined Proteus in November 2011 as Officer for Partnerships for the Themis Fund and the Security & Rights Collaborative. Before coming to Proteus, she was Communications Director at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and prior to that, she was a welfare policy analyst in Olympia, Washington and a member of Governor Gregoire's Government Management Accountability and Performance Team. She has also evaluated social service programs in Iowa and served on numerous electoral campaigns in Washington State. Her work at Proteus carries on her fundamental goal of doing professional work that ultimately expands the degree of equity and opportunity for all. Debbie has a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.