Please join us for the CFUnited: Power of Place: Pop-up Series: Conversations with Leaders

CFUnited Virtual Pop-Up Series: Aug 20
Power of Place: Learning with Leaders

2:00 – 3:15 PM EASTERN, Aug 20, 2020

Since we missed the opportunity to convene in person this past April in Detroit, Michigan, CFUnited is proud to bring together a panel of executives, all local to Michigan community foundations, to authentically explore how “power of place “grounds their approach amid one of the most dynamic times in our recent history.

While place is about geography, the global pandemic and racial injustices reveals how place is also a balance of memory and possibility as we reckon with deepening challenges of public health, economic security, community wellbeing, and systemic racism.

Opening Remarks by:
Nicole Paquette, Communities Foundation of Texas; CommA
• Explore what the next era of community philanthropy looks like in Michigan.
• Michigan leadership during the pandemic and national calls for racial justice.
• Navigating the hard conversations that surface with staff, supporting those staff, and ensuring internally your foundation adequately shows up externally on matters of such significance.

• Hear authentic voices and perspective from community foundation’s next generation of leaders.
• Explore trends and challenges community foundations face while grappling with the challenges of advancing racial, social, and economic justice in today’s America.
• Identify internally how to develop racial equitable leadership pipelines that are concurrent with what is needed in the community for a more diverse, inclusive society.


Surabhi S. Pandit, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Surabhi S. Pandit is a Senior Program Officer at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. In her work at the Foundation, she manages special initiatives and grantmaking programs that focus on human services, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrant/refugee support, safety & justice, and youth entrepreneurship, leadership & development.

From 2012 to mid-2014, Surabhi served as the William C. Richardson Fellow in Government Affairs & Philanthropy at the Council of Michigan Foundations. Her work at CMF was focused on developing programs that respond to public policy issues in the areas of aging, health, education, arts & culture, women & girls, and the environment for member foundations and state government officials.

Surabhi is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a Master of Social Work degree focused on social policy & evaluation in community & social systems and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and South Asian Studies. She currently serves as co-chair of the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Michigan Chapter’s steering committee and was a 2015 PLACES (Professionals Learning about Community, Equity & Smart Growth) Fellow through The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. She currently serves as Vice Chair on the Advisory Board of the PLACES program. Surabhi was named one of Crain’s Detroit Business “Twenty in their 20s” for 2017.



Mike Goorhouse, Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland

Mike Goorhouse joined the Community Foundation as Vice President of Donor Development in January 2012 and became President/CEO in April 2014. He works closely with the Board of Trustees and leads the staff to steward the organization’s resources to best meet our mission. He oversees the Foundation’s community impact strategies, endowment investment policies and internal operations.

Mike spends a majority of his time working with individuals, families, corporations and their professional advisors who are interested in supporting existing funds or starting a new fund at the foundation.

Mike’s involvement with the Foundation goes back 13 years. He was a member of the Youth Advisory Council, Development Committee and 60th Anniversary Task Force. He has spent his entire career in philanthropy including working with Private Foundations, Community Foundations and Youth Grantmakers while at the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Mike graduated from Holland Christian High School in 2004, Calvin College with a degree in Secondary Education in 2008 and Grand Valley State University’s Graduate School for Public and Nonprofit Administration in 2011. Mike is also a Certified Gift Planning Associate and a Certified Fund Raising Manager.


Neel Hajra, JD, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Neel joined the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) in 2010 and became CEO in 2015.  During his CEO tenure AAACF has received a national HUD award for public-private partnerships, a local NAACP award for its scholarship work, and was identified as one of the 20 fastest-growing community foundations nationally from 2015 – 2017.

Previously he was CEO of Nonprofit Enterprise at Work and a corporate attorney at Ford Motor Company. Since 2008 Neel has taught a graduate course at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School for Public Policy and been named to its Teaching Honor Roll every year. He has also received two national nonprofit leadership awards: the Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders and the American Express NGen Fellowship. Neel holds a BS with honors in Physics and a JD, both from the University of Michigan. When he isn’t practicing philanthropy, Neel and his wife are practicing humility as the parents of three wonderful teenagers.


Isaiah Oliver, Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Isaiah M. Oliver is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a charitable organization focused on engaging people in philanthropy to build a stronger community. He leads the Foundation’s strategic priorities around improving literacy rates, increasing access to healthy food, strengthening resident-led neighborhood improvements, and providing critical resources to the children affected by the Flint Water Crisis. He previously served as the Foundation’s Vice President of Community Impact.

Born and raised in Flint, Isaiah supports a unique philanthropic perspective that focuses on relationships and people, advocating for an inclusive approach to philanthropy that listens to and works with the people of the community in order to develop a true partnership.

Isaiah’s background includes serving five years on the Flint Community Schools Board of Education, including two as board President and four years on the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers as chair of the board’s Finance and Facilities Committee.

He earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Graphic Design from Central Michigan University, where he now serves on the board of Trustees. Isaiah is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship, A Partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. 

Isaiah serves on Council of Michigan Foundation’s Community Foundation and Government Relations Committees, an advisor to the Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy and on the CFLeads national board of directors.

He and his wife, Shay, established the Isaiah and Shay Oliver Fund to support operations of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.


Mackenzie Price Sundblad, CFRE, Huron County Community Foundation

Mackenzie Price Sundblad joined the Huron County Community Foundation as Executive Director of the foundation in May of 2014.  In this role she has led HCCF through the development and implementation of new Strategic Priorities and works closely with the Board of Trustees and Donors to continue to improve the quality of life in Huron County.

Mackenzie has been involved in community foundations since 2004, when she joined the Hillsdale County Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council.  She also had the opportunity to see community foundations in action across the state of Michigan while interning with Council of Michigan Foundations.

Growing up in rural Hillsdale County, Michigan and then moving to Huron County, Mackenzie has spent her career in philanthropy striving to elevate the importance of rural philanthropy. She was raised in the small town of Waldron and later attended Hillsdale College, graduating with a Communications degree. Mackenzie became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in 2019. Mackenzie is proud to represent Huron County and all rural Michiganders on multiple regional and statewide initiatives.


CFUnited Virtual Pop-Up Series: Aug 27
Power of Place: Learning with Leaders

2:00 – 3:15 PM EASTERN, Aug 27, 2020

Community foundations foster the connections among residents to create change that matters. Yet, what remains is unprecedented disruption from a global pandemic and reckoning of a nation with its past and present systemic racism that still contributes to today’s racial disparities.

Andy Stoll of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation provides a compelling case for the future of prosperity in America by exploring important trends and global shifts influencing local economies from small towns to major cities. Hear directly from executives who are adapting the strategies and approach of their foundations to rethink the essentials of community philanthropy at a time of significant change and uncertainty. Explore how community philanthropy can candidly foster inclusive economies, unlock latent local talent to address our communities biggest challenges, and foster vibrant and resilient communities that are reflective of all people.


Opening and Closing Remarks by:
Eric Hozempa, Longmont Community Foundation; AdNet, CFUnited Chair
Brad Ward, Council on Foundations

• Acknowledge seismic technological and demographic shifts happening in our society and the disparities and economic shortcomings in our communities, exposed by COVID-19.
• Explore aspects of systems leadership, entrepreneurship, and participatory philanthropy.
• Explore ways community foundations can create pathways for all people to achieve their own potential and to enable and empower community members to take ownership in the future of their community.
• Remind ourselves of the power of community philanthropy, power of place and “love of
community” to cultivate a range of local philanthropic capital.

• The audience will better understand aspects of the emerging “connected age” and explore ways to undertake activities that stretch beyond asset development and traditional grant making to build more inclusive and resilient economies and communities.
• Embrace the root of philanthropy—love of humanity—in times of great distress for the entire global community and our most marginalized populations.
• Hear examples of pioneering community foundation programs that have enabling transformation change by looking at the bigger picture, taking a stand, building collaborative platforms and engaging and unlocking the energy of local community members to “be the change they wish to see.”


Andy Stoll, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Andy Stoll is a serial entrepreneur and a senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for the implementation and management of the Foundation’s ecosystem development strategy. Before joining the Kauffman Foundation, Stoll co-founded Seed Here Studio, a social good company specializing in building entrepreneurial ecosystems in unexpected places.

He is the co-founder of six entrepreneurial-focused organizations, most recently The Startup Champions Network, the nation’s first professional association for full-time innovation ecosystem builders. His past work includes projects with The Case Foundation, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and The Bohemian Foundation, building innovation ecosystems in technology, global health and music, respectively.

At the Kauffman Foundation, Stoll leads the ecosystem development strategy, most prominently the annual ESHIP Summit, the forthcoming Kauffman Ecosystem Playbook Series and multiple large-scale grant programs to support ecosystem building in communities across the United States.

Stoll is a regular speaker on entrepreneurship and ecosystem building; a global facilitator for Startup Weekend; and has taught entrepreneurship at Cornell College. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management and a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media production from The University of Iowa, as well as a Master of Arts in media cultures from The City University of Hong Kong.



James Head, East bay community foundation

James W. Head is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the East Bay Community Foundation. Before coming to the Foundation in 2014, he served for 10 years as Vice President for Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, where he spearheaded initiatives on race, equity, poverty, housing, economic development, and youth development.

James has more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management and technical assistance; community and economic development; and public interest and civil rights law. Prior to joining The San Francisco Foundation, he was president of the National Economic Development and Law Center for 18 years.

Additionally, he served as legal counsel of the California Community Economic Development Association and has been a member of numerous foundation advisory boards, including the Open Society Foundation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Michigan. James served as a Commissioner on the Port Authority of Oakland from 2008 through 2015; leading the Commission as President from 2010 – 2011.

James holds a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law. He has been an adjunct professor at University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law, University of California at San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law, and University of Santa Clara’s School of Law.

James has lived in Oakland with his wife, Bernida Reagan, for more than 25 years.


Deanna J. James, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development

Deanna James has served as President of the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development since 2014. She has held a number of executive level positions at the Foundation over her 16 years of service, overseeing general operations, grantmaking, and program development.

Working intimately with almost every local public sector agency, a cadre of private sector partners, and a host of civic organizations throughout the Territory. She also serves on a number of Governmental councils and advisory boards. Today, Deanna is leading the Foundation in fulfilling its core philanthropic mission, with an ambitious programmatic agenda focusing on the Territory’s social transformation through strategic initiatives surrounding whole-system education reform, workforce development and civic capacity building.

Deanna is a native of the Virgin Islands, is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Lehigh University as well as a Master of Arts degree in Public Communications from American University in Washington D.C.  She has held a number of positions in Public Relations and Human Resources in the Virgin Islands and on the U.S. mainland.


Sarah Owen, Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Sarah Owen, president & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to cultivating regional change for the common good.  The Foundation is committed to connecting  the community through conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and leveraging the funding to make those changes a reality.

Her journey into the non-profit sector followed a career in investor relations, public relations and corporate communications.  She worked for publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange as well as private companies throughout the Southeastern United States.  Her corporate experience was in the automotive and engineering industries and Sarah was sought out by innovators and entrepreneurs developing emerging technologies to create strategic communication plans. 

Sarah brings this focus on innovation to her work at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.  In concert with a visionary Board of Trustees, Sarah is guiding the Foundation in reimagining its role in the region.  In 2017, Sarah oversaw the execution of a public private partnership with the City of Fort Myers to create Collaboratory, a $10.5 million project funded with New Market Tax Credits that opened in late 2018. Collaboratory comprises the rejuvenated 1920s Atlantic Coast Line Railway depot and a technologically advancted 14,000 square foot addition designed to support the vital work the region’s nonprofit organizations, businesses, residents and visitors.

In addition, Collaboratory received LEED GOLD certification using the LEED v4 Building Design + Construction: New Construction rating system and was the first in the state of Florida to receive certification under the new more rigorous process.

Through her leadership, the Foundation has become laser-focused on regional issues affecting the quality of life in Southwest Florida, gathered hundreds of community leaders and stakeholders around these issues, and has grown the Foundation’s assets to become one of the largest funding organizations in the region.   With a commitment to measure the sustainable impact of the Foundation’s efforts, she led the effort to align the organization’s cause areas  with global Sustainable Development Goals.

Sarah shares her leadership at the national, state and regional level. She serves as immideiate past chair of the Community Foundations of Florida (a member group of Florida Philanthropic Network), she is Florida delegate for the National Vision 20/20 Initiative,  and serves on the Healthy Lee Executive and Steering Committees.  The News-Press named Sarah their 2016 Person of the Year.

A graduate of Florida Southern College and the University of South Florida, Sarah holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education as well as certifications in environmental engineering from University of Florida’s TREEO Center. She is married to David Owen and they have successfully launched their two adult kids out of the house and have become Boilermakers fans while their youngest attends Purdue University.


Jay Williams, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Since July 2017, Jay Williams has served as president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region, and one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country. 

During his time at the Foundation, Williams has been working to build stronger relationships between the Foundation and the local communities it serves. He is currently leading the Foundation’s efforts to address disparities in our communities based on race/ethnicity, place and income in order to make opportunities more available to everyone.

Prior to coming to the Hartford Foundation, Williams served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development where he led the federal economic development agenda for the United States. He brings experience and knowledge in capacity building, workforce readiness, economic security and urban revitalization.

Mr. Williams also served as Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House where he was the principal liaison between the President of the United States and local elected officials. Previously, he served as the executive director of the federal Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. Williams came to Washington, DC after serving as Mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio for over five years where he helped lead regional economic development initiatives to improve the city’s global competitiveness. Prior to being elected Mayor, Williams led a Community Development Agency in Youngstown.


2020 Partners: