Our Board

Maine Philanthropy Center Board of Directors | 2024


Gabriela Alcalde | Executive Director, Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
Gabriela is a public health leader with 20+ years of experience and commitment to equity and social justice. Gabriela joined the team of the Sewall Foundation as Executive Director in the summer of 2019 and in this capacity leads the integration of environmental, human and animal health and welfare as the foundation works to center equity and community voices in all of their work and strategies. Prior to joining the Sewall Foundation, Gabriela served as the first Managing Director for Equity and Health at Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF) and as Vice-President for Policy and Program at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Gabriela has worked in the philanthropic, academic, government, nonprofit and grassroots sectors throughout her career and served in various volunteer capacities to promote equity. She earned a DrPH in health administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MPH in maternal and child health at Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Louisville. A native of Lima, Peru, she currently lives in Maine with her husband, children and pets.

Vice Chair

Nico Chin | Founder, Up with Community
Nico's passion is helping teams discover new ways to work together at the intersection of power, strategy and team development. As the Founder of Up With Community she helps teams reshape behaviors, learning techniques and mindsets to maximize the impact of their work in the world. From Chicago, she discovered community organizing as the writer, director and producer of a one-woman skit about Saul Alinksy in high school. As she explored the foundations of social justice, especially in the histories of the Polish and Indian communities from which she hails, she developed a commitment to community organizing. Between 2007 and 2010 she served as regional field director for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a project of Community Change, and in 2009 she co-founded the country’s second largest cell phone action network, authoring a definitive guide to online and offline organizing. She continued to deepen her understanding of community transformation as the State Director of the Maine League of Young Voters and as the Director of Strategy for the Institute for Local Self Reliance. In 2013, her love of learning and coaching around social growth led her to found Up With Community. She lives in Lewiston, Maine–her heart’s home–with her husband, Ben, and children. She is the Founder of CoLab Create, a collaborative community space in Lewiston. And, she is the Builder, Gatherer of the Sea Free Science Team.


Jennifer Hutchins | Executive Director, Maine Association of Nonprofits
Jennifer Hutchins has been the Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits since July 2016 where she leads a member network of 975 charitable nonprofits and 165 private partners. Prior to joining MANP, Jennifer was Executive Director of Creative Portland, where she led the City of Portland’s efforts to strengthen the creative economy. She is a co-author on the seminal 2004 report published by the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service on Maine’s Creative Economy conducted for Governor Jon Baldacci. She was the Director of Communications and External Affairs at the USM Muskie School for nine years and Marketing Director at Portland Stage Company from 1995-2000. Her career got its start at organizations in Washington D.C. and abroad. She holds a master’s in public policy and management from the USM Muskie School and lives in Portland with her husband and two daughters.


Finance Committee Chair
Kati Denham | Senior Tax Manager, BerryDunn
Kati is a Manager in BerryDunn’s Tax Consulting and Compliance Services Group, focusing primarily on closely-held and family owned businesses in the real estate, hospitality and construction industries. She is a member of the firm’s State and Local Tax group, providing services and advice on a myriad of multi-state issues. Kati graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Anselm College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an accounting focus and her Master’s Degree in taxation from Bentley University. Kati lives in North Yarmouth with her husband Matthew and their two boys, Aidan and Jacob. Outside of work, she enjoys baking, reading and spending time with family.

Marpheen Chann | President and Founder, Khmer Maine
Marpheen Chann is an award-winning author, writer, thinker, advocate, and speaker on identity, intersectionality, equity, and inclusion. As a gay, first-generation Asian American born in California to a Cambodian refugee family and later adopted by an evangelical, white working-class family in Maine, Marpheen uses a mix of humor and storytelling to help people view topics such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia through an intersectional lens. Marpheen Chann lives in Portland, Maine. He works in the nonprofit and advocacy sector and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.

Deborah Ellwood | CEO and President, Maine Community Foundation
Deborah Ellwood is the CEO and president of the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF). She joined MaineCF in July of 2022. Previously, Ellwood led CFLeads, the country’s network of community foundations, working together to increase their effectiveness and impact. In her work there she transformed a small “coalition of the willing” into the go-to organization for community foundations seeking to strengthen their community leadership muscle, share field innovations and tackle the key issues of our time. With unmatched knowledge of the field, Ellwood also has a track record of improving outcomes at the local level as a board and staff leader at the Rochester Area Community Foundation in Rochester, New York. In addition, she has a background as a policy researcher and advocate at Children Now in California, the Center for the Study of the States in Albany, New York, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she helped advance public policies that improve the lives of children. A Bowdoin College graduate with family in Maine, Ellwood has a strong connection to the state and a deep appreciation for the many different communities and voices that make up Maine. She is based in MaineCF’s Ellsworth office. Headquartered in Ellsworth, with additional personnel in Portland, Dover-Foxcroft, Mars Hill, Rockland and Rockport, MaineCF is Maine’s second-largest foundation with assets of $775 million. Last year the community foundation awarded $58 million in grants and scholarships.

Jake Grindle | Senior Program Officer, Maine Health Access Foundation
Jake Grindle (he/him) joined the MeHAF staff in September of 2015. He currently oversees MeHAF’s Health Equity Capacity-Building and Advocacy grant programs. Jake also has responsibility for several research and communications functions. Prior to this position, Jake worked at Western Maine Community Action, where he served as the Project Coordinator for the Maine Community Action Health Navigator Project. In this role, Jake spearheaded community outreach and enrollment efforts for the statewide consortium of CAP agencies that have been engaged in health insurance Marketplace enrollment. Prior to assuming the Coordinator position, Jake served as the Field Director for the Northeast Archaeology Research Center and the University of Maine at Farmington. He has also worked as a Community Organizer for the Maine’s People Alliance and Maine People’s Resource Center, and was a founding member and organizer for Visible Community in Lewiston. Jake is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington. He currently lives in Pownal with his wife and two dogs, where he spends his free time tending his garden and small fruit tree orchard.

Morgan Hynd | Director, The Bingham Program
Morgan recently started serving as the director of The Bingham Program, after being at the Maine Health Access Foundation since 2008. At MeHAF, Morgan oversaw a diverse portfolio of programs, including work to advance health reform and to improve oral health in Maine. She also worked to pilot a new multi-phase capacity-building program for Maine’s health advocacy organizations. Morgan continues to work closely with other philanthropic partners in the state to help weave health care access with related issues, such as equity and inclusion, and leadership development. She is a member of the newly formed Maine Philanthropic Network Advocacy Committee and has served on MPC’s Philanthropy Partners Planning Committee. Morgan is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the University of Denver Publishing Institute, and is a member of the HLD VI class of the Daniel Hanley Center's Health Leadership Development program.

Erik Jorgensen | Senior Director of Government Relations and Communications, Maine State Housing Authority
Erik Jorgensen is Senior Director of Government Relations and Communications at the Maine State Housing Authority. Before that, he represented Portland for four terms in the Maine House of Representatives. He has a deep interest in Maine’s cultural sector, having worked at the Maine Humanities Council for twelve years, including six as its executive director. At both the Humanities Council and in his role as a director of the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust in Portland, he has participated in Maine grantmaking for more than 25 years. Erik is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.  He lives in Portland, where he and his family enjoy sailing, working on their old house, and fiddling around with their three beehives.

Jess Maurer | Executive Director, Maine Council on Aging
As the Executive Director of the Maine Council on Aging (MCOA), Jess Maurer leads a multidisciplinary network of more than 140 organizations, businesses, municipalities, and community members working to ensure we can all live healthy, engaged, and secure lives as we age in our homes and communities. She leads a dynamic team and an engaged board to initiate and support data-informed policy change efforts through direct advocacy with federal, state, and municipal leaders. Recent successes include increased pay for direct care workers and increased eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program in Maine. She creates shared-learning opportunities for community, social service, policy, and healthcare leaders across Maine and Northern New England. She collaborates with members and partners to convene processes and events geared toward action on issues related to ageism, equity related to all forms of bias, poverty, housing, transportation, food security, social inclusion, workforce, community development, and care across all settings. The MCOA has committed to ending ageism in Maine by 2032 through conversation, education, and action. Jess co-designed the Leadership Exchange on Ageism, the first-of-its-kind program that is helping Maine’s leaders take action on ageism. A licensed Maine attorney, Jess worked for 17 years in the Maine Office of the Attorney General. As Executive Director for the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging, she co-founded the MCOA in 2012, and became its first Executive Director in 2018. She graduated from the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Governance Committee Chair
Gioia Perugini | Associate Director of Philanthropic and Family Office Services, Hemenway & Barnes, LLP
Hemenway & Barnes, LLP, is a Boston-based legal and fiduciary firm. Gioia works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic advisory and client services. She oversees grantmaking for Jane’s Trust, a charitable trust that makes significant grants in Maine and other northern New England States in the arts, education, environment and health and welfare. Gioia is a frequent speaker, writer, panelist and blogger on issues relevant to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. She serves on the Boards of the Brookline Community Foundation, Positive Tracks (a public charity that helps youth get active and give back to their communities), and the steering committee of the Maine Environmental Funders Network. When not working in philanthropy and volunteering, Gioia can be found on the sidelines of her children’s soccer and baseball games.

Julian Rowand | Senior Director, Maine Initiatives
Julian Rowand (he/him) inhabits a body of color (Black, mixed-raced, abled-body) and resides on unceded land of the Wabanaki Confederacy in a town now called Freedom with his sweetheart, Erika. Julian brings a life-long commitment to collaboration, a passion for creative and embodied practice, and a resolute belief in the need for deep solidarity with those most vulnerable among us. Julian comes to Maine Initiatives from The Cooperative Development Institute where he focused on organizing affordable housing cooperatives across New England and also served on the Board of Directors. Prior to moving to Maine, and after briefly working with housing cooperatives in Washington, D.C., Julian was an artist / organizer in the Bay Area for many years. Most prominently, Julian was Co-Director for ‘These Walls Speak’, a multi-year, participatory research, documentary project that examines the politics of place, community resistance, and the power of artist expression in the Mission District of San Francisco. Julian feels incredibly nourished by this place called Maine, and is thrilled to begin working with Maine Initiatives.

Brendan Schauffler | Network Facilitator, Oxford County Wellness Collaborative
Brendan Schauffler is the Network Facilitator for the Oxford County Wellness Collaborative, a multi-sector group focused on community health improvement. In this role he helps to support collaboration among numerous partners, connecting them to data, resources, and each other, and aiding in strategic alignment. Brendan has a professional background in project management, collective impact initiatives, and public health. He has a Master's in Policy, Planning and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service and is a member of the Maine Network Partners (a group of facilitative leaders from across the state). He lives in Norway with his wife and two children, and spends his spare time hiking, playing and reading with his kids, DJing, and watching nature documentaries.

Julia Sleeper Whiting | Co-Founder and Executive Director, Tree Street Youth
Julia Sleeper-Whiting is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tree Street Youth Center. Born and raised in Bangor area, she initially moved to Lewiston as an undergraduate at Bates College. During her time as a student, she began connecting to the Downtown Lewiston community youth through service learning opportunities afforded to her as a Psychology and Education major. Over the past 15 years, Julia has continued to build on the relationships formed as an undergrad, seeking to provide valuable programming to at-risk youth in Lewiston-Auburn. After completing her Masters in Leadership and Organizational Studies at USM-LAC, she began the present-day Tree Street Youth Center.

Lisa Sockabasin | Director of Programs and External Affairs, Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness
Lisa has health policy and planning expertise and experience in tribal, state, and federal governments, non-profits, and the philanthropic sector. Lisa is a public health and health systems consultant for Public Health Research Institute (PHRI), the Penobscot Indian Nation, and the Maine Tribal Public Health District. Lisa previously worked in the philanthropic sector and served as the Director of the Office of Health Equity, Maine Department of Health and Human Services for 10 years from 2005-2016. In this capacity Lisa developed the then, newly legislatively created Office of Health Equity. Prior to being named the Director, Lisa worked as an Epidemiologist in the Infectious Disease Program for the State of Maine. Earlier in her career, Lisa worked as a nurse epidemiologist with the North American Indian Center of Boston, Inc., focusing on health disparities and inequities, facing the Native American community in Massachusetts. Lisa continues her work as the Program Coordinator for the Four Directions Summer Research Program at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the University of Maine with a B.S. in Nursing and a B.S. in Biology and the University of Southern Maine with a M.S. in Health Policy and Management and a graduate certificate in non-profit management and strategic planning. Lisa is a Passamaquoddy tribal member, one of four federally recognized Indian Tribes in Maine. She enjoys all four seasons living on a lake in Maine with her family.

Courtney Yeager | President & CEO, United Way of Kennebec Valley
Courtney Yeager is the President & CEO of United Way of Kennebec Valley, a nonprofit organization that unites all people and resources to improve lives in Kennebec County. She spearheads fundraising strategies and volunteer coordination for a $2m annual campaign, which has grown more than 30% in five years and supports more than 50 nonprofit programs. Under Courtney's leadership, the organization has nearly doubled its geographic service area and has launched Impact2032, a 10-year, cross-sector vision for Kennebec County. In the past, Courtney worked as the director of resource development and marketing at United Way and has filled similar roles at both Crisis & Counseling Centers and the Maine Department of Education. Courtney holds a bachelor's degree in English from Colby College and a master’s degree in policy, planning and nonprofit management from the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School. In addition to her new role on MPC's board, she serves as the board treasurer of Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, the board vice president of 211 Maine, and a board member of United Ways of Maine. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys cooking gluten-free recipes, listening to true-crime podcasts, hiking medium-sized mountains, traveling abroad, and—above all else—playing with her 10-month-old son.