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PHILANOS DIRECTORS 2021-2022

Deepika Andavarapu - Impact 100 Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

“Collective Giving amplifies the voice of women and girls. Together we can make our communities more equitable and just for everyone.”

Deepika Andavarapu, is the founder and CEO of DEEP Consultants. Dr. Andavarapu, who uses she/her pronouns, is an urban planning scholar, community researcher, and evaluator working with government, nonprofits, and other philanthropic organizations. Dr. Andavarapu was the first DEI committee chair for Impact 100 Cincinnati. In that role, she led the development of Impact 100s DEI strategic plan. Under her leadership, the organization's diversity more than doubled in two years; today, the organization is working towards incorporating an equity lens into its grant-making process. In 2020, the 400+ members voted DEI as the top priority for the organization.

Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz - Women's Giving Circle of Howard County, Columbia, MD

"Women’s philanthropy shapes the future for women and girls through the power of collective giving​." 

Buffy serves as co-chair of the Philanos marketing and communications committee. She began her career working in international human rights in Washington, DC, was the communications director at the Maryland Philanthropy Network, and is now president of her own firm BBS Consulting, working with foundations, nonprofits and political campaigns. She has come “full circle” by serving as the first executive director of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, having been an original founder 19 years ago, and a past Advisory Board chair. Buffy is a co-author of the award-winning book Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World with Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor and has participated in the national giving circle movement for over two decades. She’s been named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2003, 2008 and 2010 by The Daily Record, an "Innovator of the Year" in 2004, and honored as one of "40 Under 40" in 2004 by the Baltimore Business Journal. She was an Impact Award Winner in 2012, and is a 2019 inductee in the Women’s Commission of Howard County’s Hall of Fame – all for her work in women’s collective giving. Buffy has served on many boards including the Community Foundation of Howard County and she’s involved in gun violence prevention efforts. She has a BA in Russian history from the University of Maryland. Originally from Newtown, CT, she has lived in Howard County - between Washington, DC and Baltimore - for over 30 years. Buffy and her husband Howard have four children and two granddaughters.

Susan Benford - The Philanthropy Connection, Boston, MA

"Collective giving offers the most elegantly simple model to broaden access to and community around philanthropy."

Susan was elected to the Philanos board in 2020 and served as vice chair, becoming chair in July 2021.  She was on the steering committee for PowerUP! 2020 and co-led the organization of conference breakout sessions. She also serves on the board of The Philanthropy Connection, MA, where she was president and chair of development from 2016 to 2019, and held other leadership roles in grants, membership, governance, and the diversity task force.  Additionally, she is on the board of Resilient Coders, a non-profit that trains black and brown youth in Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to become software engineers through a free coding bootcamp.  Previously, she served for 7 years on the Foundation Board for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and for 4 years on the Boston Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which funds research into the causes and cure for Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes.  She received her MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Texas in Austin. Susan lives with her husband outside Boston, has two adults sons and one spoiled golden retriever.

Ellan Bernstein - Impact100 Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Ellan is board secretary and co-chairs the education committee.  She also was co-chair of the 2018 WCGN Conference in Philadelphia. Ellan was the secretary of the founding board of directors of Impact100 Philadelphia and served as co-president of the organization. She was also charged with starting the Founders Fellowship program which offers Impact100 membership to younger members. Currently, Ellan chairs the diversity and equity committee of Impact 100 Philadelphia and serves on the executive committee of Interfaith Philadelphia, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding among people of different faith traditions.  Ellan has been practicing real estate law for over 30 years in Philadelphia, PA. She lives with her husband and has three grown children. 

Rebekah Bonde - Washington Women's Foundation, Seattle, WA

"Collective giving is atomic: individuals each leveraging their time and money come together to create seismic shifts in their community.”

“My goal is to continue to meet and meaningfully interact with dynamic people representing collective giving groups across the county.  I enjoy building organizations from within and broadcasting our message externally.  Collective giving has been an incredible vehicle for me to lean-in to a larger movement that asks each of us to contribute our time, talent, treasure, and testimony.”

Rebekah was first elected to the Philanos board in 2015, and she has been re-elected in 2021 to serve as treasurer.  Her professional background in finance spans successive roles in oil and gas, financial services, and telecommunication industries, as well as consulting for both nonprofit organizations and high net worth individuals.  Rebekah graduated from Abilene Christian University with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and international business, minoring in both economics and French.

Collective giving became a passion for Rebekah ten years ago when she joined Impact Austin in Texas in 2011.  Elected to board leadership, Rebekah spent five years in successive roles that included chairing various board committees and serving as treasurer, vice president, and president of the Board.   In 2019, Rebekah became a member of Washington Women’s Foundation in Seattle and serves as a co-leader for a pooled fund grant committee.  She also became a member of Impact KC in 2021 after she and her husband relocated part-time to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Lauren Chianese - 100 Women Strong, Orlando, FL** 

"as co-chair of PowerUP! 2022, I believe deeply in the power of the women’s giving circle movement and in this event as a catalyst to increasing the impact each affiliate can make in their respective communities."

Lauren serves as co-chair of the PowerUP! 2022 conference committee, and is the co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a women’s giving circle and an initiative of the Central Florida Foundation.  She is co-founder and lead facilitator with Minga Advisors and also the Chief Impact Officer at K-Ready Community, an effort to bring leaders together to ensure all children in Central Florida have access to high-quality early childcare.  Lauren has been a lifelong advocate for quality education for all children, focusing on equity for children living in low-income communities. She became committed to fighting for education equity after meeting her 7th grade math and science students in Los Angeles, who had so much potential but limited opportunity due to systemic barriers to education. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida.

Sandy Cook - Impact100 Metro Denver, Denver, CO and Women's Giving Alliance Northeast Florida, Jacksonville, FL

"Collective giving experiences can be powerful  influences on each member’s personal philanthropy.” 

Sandy chairs the affiliate expansion and engagement committee.  She is founding member, past president and legacy member of the Women’s Giving Alliance (Jacksonville, FL). While living in Jacksonville for 15 years, she chaired its grant committee, led the organization’s three major research efforts and was a member of the advocacy and impact committees. She is currently serving on its 20th anniversary committee.  While living in Northeast Florida, she also served as board chair for the nonprofit Center of NE Florida, WJCT Public Television/Radio, and the World Affairs Council. Following her move to Colorado in 2018, she joined Impact100 Metro Denver.  She has served as membership chair, president for two years and is currently a member of the executive committee as governance chair and chair of the DEI granting task force. Her current community activities include the Women’s Foundation of Colorado (donor and member of the grants committee), and a member of the International Women’s Forum of Colorado.

Stephanie Cook - San Diego Women's Foundation, San Diego, CA

“Collective giving organizations have the power to challenge the philanthropic norms and create authentic and trust-based relationships with nonprofit organizations in service of our community.”

Stephanie Cook has a background in critical race and gender studies, and spent her academic career studying the transformative power of women's movements around the globe. As the executive director of The San Diego Women's Foundation (SDWF), she works with a community of changemakers and oversees SDWF's strategic direction and mission to connect, educate and inspire women to come together in collective philanthropy. Before accepting her role at SDWF, Stephanie worked and volunteered with a variety of nonprofit organizations working on women’s empowerment and social justice issues where she utilized her skills in educational programming, social media management and content creation, member recruitment and engagement strategies, and developing corporate partnerships. Stephanie is a proud member of the San Diego Women’s Foundation, and in addition she serves as board member and treasurer for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of San Diego and is a member of Girl Scouts San Diego’s Leadership Advisory Bureau.

Avani Desai - 100 Women Strong, Orlando, FL

Avani chairs Philanos’ newly formed technology committee and serves on marketing and communications.  Avani’s career includes overseeing IT risk management and managing and developing internal and external privacy programs at a Big Four accounting firm.  She leveraged a deep knowledge of healthcare with emerging technologies such as blockchain, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and virtualization.  Now at Schellman & Company, Avani focuses on growth strategies, strategic client and market development, industry analysis and new services. She has been featured in Forbes, CIO.com, and the Wall Street Journal, and is sought after to speak on a variety of emerging topics, including security, privacy, information security, future technology trends, and the expansion of young women involved in technology.  In 2017, Avani, a crypto enthusiast, launched MyCryptoAlert, an app that provides a mobile solution for portfolio alert problems crypto investors face.  Avani is a board member of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, the Central Florida Foundation, and is a past co-chair of 100 Women Strong in Orlando, a female-only, venture capitalist-based giving circle that focuses on solving community-based problems specific to women and children by using data analytics and big data.  Avani is the proud mother to her three young children; sons, Sahil and Hastin, and daughter, Sareena.

Maggie Glasgow - Greenville Women Giving, Greenville, SC

"I love seeing women come together, share knowledge and resources, open up leadership opportunities, and make informed decisions to give back and grow their communities."

Maggie serves as vice chair of Philanos and a member of the resource development committee. She is a past co-chair for Greenville Women Giving (Greenville, SC). She served as a board member for 13 years, and as a co-chair for four years.  She also served as chair of the education, strategic planning, and leadership development committees. Prior to retiring and moving to Greenville, Maggie was an academic sociologist, teaching at Bluefield College in Bluefield, Virginia for over a decade, retiring as chair of the Social Science Division.

Maggie lives with her husband, Lowrie in Greenville where they enjoy reading, traveling and gardening as well as time with their three children and six grandchildren. Maggie has a BA in journalism from the University of North Dakota, BA in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University, MA and PhD in Sociology from Duke University.  She brings her love of research, data analysis, writing, advocating for women and leadership development to this work.

Karen Holly - Impact 100 Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 

"Collective giving is the ability to help a community address a need in a big way that positively changes the health and wellness of its residents."

Karen is a member of the affiliate expansion and engagement committee. She is a senior level executive with over 20 years of experience providing strategic, financial, and operational leadership in corporate and municipal government settings. She currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the Marion County Public Health Department in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a member of Impact 100 Greater Indianapolis, Karen has a passion for membership and has held multiple positions in that area, including membership chair.  She served as president of Impact 100 of Greater Indianapolis from 2013-15. She served on the Philanos membership committee since 2016-2018. Karen’s other community involvement includes being a member of the Presidents Roundtable of Indianapolis as well as a leader of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana since 2011.  She has also been the treasurer of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition and a member of the NFL fitness and football committee for the 2012 Super Bowl. Karen has an MBA from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN and a BS in electrical engineering from GMI Engineering and Management Institute in Flint, MI.

Deborah Majewski - Women's Impact Fund, Charlotte, NC 

"I am energized by working to advance both women and philanthropy.  Engaging on the Philanos board has allowed me to play a part in helping Philanos affiliates and their members maximize their grant making impact and leadership."

Deborah is a co-chair of the education committee.  She served on the Women’s Impact Fund (WIF) board of directors for seven years including as board chair, nominating chair, treasurer, and grants chair and currently serves on the board of advisors.  Deborah currently serves on the board of directors of Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center and Good Friends Charlotte and on the governance board of A Way Home (a Charlotte housing endowment).  In her professional life, Deborah is a Senior Program Officer at The Leon Levine Foundation, and prior to taking that role in 2018, she served in a variety of leadership positions in the Finance Group at Bank of America Corporation.  Deborah has an MBA, finance and corporate accounting, from William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, and a BS, finance degree from State University of New York, College at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY.  She lives in Charlotte with her husband Dan and enjoys spending her free time at the couple’s cabin in the NC mountains.

Laura Midgley - Washington Women's Foundation, Seattle, WA and Wood River Women's Foundation, Ketchum, ID* 

"Collective giving transforms a single gift into an empowering grant. Giving collectively transforms the giver into an informed and strategic philanthropist. Philanos celebrates both transformations."

Laura served as the founding board chair of Philanos (then called WCGN) from 2013-2015 and led the transition to become a 501(c)3 when it was an entirely volunteer led organization. She proudly co-chaired PowerUP! The Spark That Ignites Change, Philanos’ national conference in February 2020 for 370 leaders who convened in Seattle to advance their understanding and commitment to equitable grantmaking and inclusivity in our organizations. She now serves on the Philanos membership committee and co-chairs resource development, and has previously led board committees for membership, communications, webinars, governance and conference breakout programs.

An active member of Washington Women’s Foundation (WaWF) in Seattle since 2002 and a director for nine years, Laura has served in many leadership roles at WaWF, including chairing the cabinet, pooled fund grants, Discovery Days, innovation partner grants, and governance committees. She also served on WaWF’s staff as an Interim Senior Program Manager before serving on the board (2009-2018). She is an active member of another Philanos affiliate, the Wood River Women’s Foundation in Ketchum, ID, and co-chair of their new focus grant committee.

In Seattle, she has chaired the boards of Child Care Resources and Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), served on the boards of University Prep and the Seattle Chapter of the ARCS Foundation (Achievement Awards for College Scientists) and was a founding board member of Rebuilding Together Seattle. Her affiliations reflect an affinity for local efforts that are replicable and part of a national initiative. In Seattle, she has volunteered as a court appointed special advocate (CASA), a mentor for first generation college-bound high schoolers and as a host for AFS. She is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a BA in economics and had a career as a buyer before devoting her time to community building and raising a family. A transplanted New Yorker, she and her husband David raised their two daughters in Seattle, WA and they spend as much time as they can enjoying the stunning mountains around Sun Valley, ID with their dog.

Virginia Mills - Giving WoMN, Minneapolis, MN* 

"Collective giving is an opportunity to harness women’s intellect, drive, financial resources and most importantly their commitment to a vision for what community can be" 

Virginia is a past board chair and a co-founder of Philanos.  She currently serves as co-chair of the marketing and communications committee.  As a collective giving movement evangelist and a life coach, Virginia has a passion for helping women harness and utilize their talents and resources for the betterment of themselves and their communities.

Her non-profit experience spans both Minneapolis and Boston: past president and a founding member of Philanos affiliate, GIVING WoMN (Minneapolis); board member of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and former president of the Junior League of Minneapolis.  While living in her other favorite city, Boston, she was a board member of Beacon Hill Women’s Forum and a member of the Philanos affiliates, The Philanthropy Connection and Womenade Boston.  A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Virginia holds a BA (Plan II) from the University of Texas at Austin and is the proud mother of two daughters.

Clare O'Brien - Impact 100 Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

"Collective giving enables women to grow as philanthropists by providing them with a community of givers, cross-sector relationships, education and opportunities to take wise risks."

Clare O’Brien is a member of the Philanos education committee and served on the governance & nominating committee for two years.  She is a member of Impact 100 Cincinnati where she held board roles as treasurer and grant committee chair.  During her business career, Clare held senior leadership roles in marketing, strategy and sales in high technology and financial services companies. In her community, Clare serves as the board vice chair/chair-elect of May We Help, a nonprofit which makes customized assistive devices for individuals with disabilities. May We Help is also a past Philanos Spotlight Award recipient.

Clare holds a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University and a master's degree in management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She is currently pursuing the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® designation.  Clare and her husband are the proud parents of two young adult sons.

Paula Perkins - Impact100 Wichita Falls, Wichita Falls, TX

"Collective giving allows us to be better together as we invest resources and exponentially increase impact needed to drive and sustain lasting social change"

Paula is a member of the Philanos governance committee.  She is the founder and president of Impact100 Wichita Falls, TX and is also a member of the XIX Society of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

Paula’s governance expertise assisted in founding the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts & Culture in response to a community-wide arts and culture plan.  Additionally, Paula has facilitated numerous efforts to address food insecurity through board service with the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank and co-founding its signature fundraiser, Empty Bowls.  She has served as president of the Junior League of Wichita Falls and as a board member and the governance committee chair of the Association of Junior Leagues International.  Paula has been named as one of Nexstar Media’s Remarkable Women of 2021 and received a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2013 for forging the way for others through her community leadership. 

Paula has both BS and MA degrees in occupational therapy from Texas Woman’s University and is a recipient of board certification in pediatrics and specialty certification in school systems by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  Currently, Paula is an education specialist for Region 9 Education Service Center, providing training and technical assistance for educators in the areas of special education and other federal programs.

Gwen Wesley - Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund, St Louis, MO 

Gwen is a member of the Philanos governance committee and chair of strategic planning.  She is a founding member and past president of the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. She is a member of the nominating committee and the advisory council. Gwen also serves on the board of the Women’s Society of Washington University, where she chairs the scholarship committee and on the board of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. Gwen’s corporate experience includes management positions in information systems technology, governmental and environmental affairs, and corporate director of diversity and equal employment opportunity. Gwen has worked with elected officials and neighborhood organizations to revitalize neglected neighborhoods in North St. Louis City. She has served as executive director of a not-for-profit organization and as a quality control agent with the Division of Children and Family Services. Her on-going compassion for children in foster care led her to become a court appointed special advocate (CASA) in St. Louis County Family Court and to later join their board of directors. On the national level, Gwen served on the National CASA Association curriculum advisory committee, developing and presenting material to prepare volunteers to advocate for children in courts throughout the United States. She remains “on-call” as a third-party reviewer for foster care cases in St. Louis County. Gwen holds a BS in English and an MBA. She is a charter member of the St. Louis Symphony In Unison Chorus, where she chairs the advisory committee.

Colleen Willoughby - Washington Women's Foundation, Seattle, WA and Founder of Philanos*

"Effective philanthropy is a learned behavior. Major philanthropic grants demonstrate leadership. Collective giving to make major grants actualizes women's  ability to be  Philanthropic Leaders." 

Colleen founded Washington Women's Foundation (WaWF) in 1995 in Seattle, WA and served as president from 1995 to 2008. In 2008 she established the Women's Collective Giving Grantmakers Network (WCGN), now Philanos, in response to the growing interest in collective giving funds modeled after the WaWF model.  Philanos has grown to 17,500+ members in over 75 locations including two funds she established in Melbourne, Australia and Shanghai, China.  She personally visited these two cities and others in her efforts to advance the model globally.

Colleen has served as president of the Junior League of Seattle and has been a member of the board of directors of the Association of Junior Leagues International. She has served on the boards of The Seattle Foundation, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center Foundation, and the Saul and Dayee Haas Foundation. She has chaired the boards of Leadership Tomorrow, The Seattle Children's Home, and the United Way of King County. She is a founder of CityClub, a public affairs forum in Seattle, and she currently serves as a member of the advisory board at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. She is a graduate and Trustee Emerita of Whitman College. Colleen is currently a Director of Global Women - Partners in Philanthropy, a newly established organization to advance the model of collective giving globally. She began her career as a public middle school teacher.

* founding board member
** ex-officio board member

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