The 2023 - 2024 Philanos Board of Directors is both a working and governance board that is comprised of a diverse group of women who represent 21 affiliates around the country.
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 for the Philanos 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 20 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 and Impact100 Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
"Collective giving offers an elegantly simple model to broaden access to and community around philanthropy."
Susan was elected to the Philanos board in 2020, severed as the Chair from July 2021 - June 2023 and now serves as the immediate past chair. She was on the steering committee for PowerUP! 2020, co-led the organization of conference breakout sessions and is leading the PowerUP! Baltimore 2023 steering committee. She was on the board of The Philanthropy Connection, MA, for seven years during which 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 and Philadelphia 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 adult, married sons and one spoiled golden retriever.
Ellan Bernstein - Impact100 Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
“Collective giving is a philanthropic model that is thoughtful and strategic, and has a powerful impact on local communities.”
Ellan is the 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 is the secretary of the board of Interfaith Philadelphia, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding among people of different faith traditions.
Ellan received her Juris Doctorate from Temple University Beasley School of Law and serves on the Board of Visitors of the law school. She practices real estate law in the Philadelphia PA region. Ellan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College. She and her husband live outside Philadelphia and love spending time with their children, and extended family, at their home at the Jersey shore.
Demetria George Caston, MS.CFRE, - Impact Austin, Austin, TX
”Growing up, the maternal figures in my life exhibited selfless generosity in all they did together to empower and uplift others in our local community. Their collective giving actions and spirit were embedded in me well before I knew there was a name for it."
Demetria is the Executive Director for Impact Austin, a women’s collective giving organization which provides transformational grants to Central Texas nonprofits. With more than twenty years of expertise, leadership, and passion for nonprofit fundraising, program development, and community engagement, she was previously the Chief Development Officer for Breast Cancer Resource Center.
Before moving to Austin, Demetria worked with nonprofit and higher learning institutions including Make-A-Wish Hawaii, Mercy Ships, Hill College and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She also consulted on fundraising campaigns in Texas and the Washington, D. C. area with Community Counselling Service. As an active member of the Austin (TX) Chapter of The Links, Inc, Demetria was encouraged by previous Leadership Women graduates to apply to this year's class. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana, where she began her nonprofit career and continues to be an active alumna holding key volunteer and leadership positions. Demetria also holds a Master of Science in Health Care Management from the University of New Orleans. She has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive since 2009.
Amy Conard - Spirit of St. Louis Women's Fund, St Louis, MO
“Collective Giving means to engage in informed, collective grantmaking to invest in small nonprofits to positively affect change in my community.”
Amy is the Technology Chair and Board member for Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund. She has led a technology transition over the past three years to implement new software, consolidate systems and increase access for members to manage their information and access resources.
After a successful corporate career in Information Technology, she now consults with nonprofits to help them be more efficient and effective by leveraging software. The consulting work includes assessing the needs, identifying software options, and providing recommendations on solutions and implementation. She also mentors women technical leaders and volunteers in a food pantry and at the International Institute.
Amy has an MBA from Washington University and an aerospace engineering degree from Princeton University. She has two sons, Jacob and Peter, who regularly remind her how much taller they are.
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 serves as Co-Chair of Philanos. She is a founding member, past president and legacy member of the Women's Giving Alliance (Jacksonville, FL) where she continues to serve on its Grants Committee. While living in Jacksonville for 15 years, she chaired its grants committee, led the organization's three major research efforts and was a member of the advocacy and impact committees. While living in Northeast Florida, she also served as board chairs for NonProfit Center of NE Florida, WJCT Public Television/Radio, and the World Affairs Council. Following a move to Colorado in 2018, she joined Impact100 Metro Denver. She has served as membership chair, president and is currently a member of the executive committee as governance chair. Her leadership of a two-year DEI task force resulted in the 2023 implementation of a new trust-based, equity-focused , multi-year Accelerator Grant. Her current community activities include the Women's Foundation of Colorado (Board of Trustees and member of its grants committee), and a member of the International Women's Forum of Colorado.
Sandy lives with her husband, Bob, in Denver where they enjoy golf, traveling and time with their son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
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 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.
Alisa Evans Debnam - Women's Giving Circle of Cumberland County, Fayetteville, NC
”Collective Giving provides hope and opportunity which often multiplies impact and creates change in communities."
Alisa is one of the founding members and the first Co-Chair of the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County which was founded in 2008. She currently serves as the Membership Committee Co-Chair.
She also serves as the Board Chair of the United Way of Cumberland County, Board Chair of The Ellington White Community Development Corporation, Board Member of the CityView News Fund and she is an active member of the Cumberland County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony.
In her professional life, Alisa is a Research Education Analyst in the Education & Workforce Development Division for RTI International. Alisa has a Master’s in Public Policy & Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. in School & Community Health Education from East Carolina University.
She lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina with her husband Hank and has two adult daughters, Deidra Debnam Charity and Diana Debnam. Outside of her community and professional work, she enjoys learning about food & wine, traveling, creating stained glass art, supporting the arts and attending sporting events.
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 Co-Chair of Philanos. 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 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.
Maggie lives with her husband Lowrie in Greenville where they enjoy reading, traveling, and gardening as well as time with their three children and seven adorable grandchildren.
Renee Gordon - Baltimore Women's Giving Circle, Baltimore, MD
”Collective giving allows women to deepen their philanthropic impact in their communities through their investments in nonprofits working to effect positive change
Renee is a member of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, where she served as a Co-Chair of the Post-Grants and Communications Committees. Currently, she serves as the webmaster for the Circle’s website. Originally from California, Renee has lived in Baltimore with her husband for over 30 years. She has one adult son who is disabled. Renee received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco. She began her legal career in California doing securities work and commercial aviation transactions. After moving to Baltimore, Renee served as an attorney for the US Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment program, a niche venture capital program providing funds to businesses in under-served areas.
Renee has served on the boards of several local nonprofit organizations working with homeless youth, women, and children. Renee has also been active in the disability community, serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations working with disabled individuals. In 2015, Gov. Hogan appointed Renee to serve on the Maryland Able Task Force. She and her husband have been featured on Ted Koppel’s Nightline, NPR, and Maryland Public Television for their work in raising a non-verbal child with autism. Renee has also led webinars and spoken to media groups across the country and to a Congressional committee about the challenges of raising a non-verbal child with autism.
Heather Jauregui - Idaho Women's Charitable Foundation, Boise, ID
“Coming together to address needs and fund big ideas amplifies the impact of the individual to accelerate change and build community – that is the heart of women’s collective giving.”
Heather serves as Co-Chair for the Philanos Development Committee and has been a leadership volunteer for multiple nonprofit and charitable organizations. Her career has been in the nonprofit sector leading teams and philanthropy programs. An active member of IWCF since 2005, and a director for seven years, Heather has served in many leadership roles at IWCF, including president, vice president, and symposium chair. Heather has a MS in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a BS in business from Santa Clara University. She’s been honored as one of the Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished “40 Under 40” in 2003. An Idaho native, Heather resides in Boise with her husband and has three adult stepchildren.
Mary Kwak - Many Hands, DC
"Collective giving is deliberative democracy at its best. Together we get to learn, reflect, discuss, and decide how we want to support our communities."
Mary serves as the Philanos Affiliate Engagement Chair and is a member of four collective giving groups, including Many Hands (DC), where she has served as president, membership chair, and communications chair, in addition to leading grantmaking committees. She volunteers as a nonprofit strategy consultant for Compass Pro Bono and as a reviewer for The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. She also serves on the board of Horizons Greater Washington, a tuition-free academic enrichment program serving students in families from underserved communities in Washington, DC and Maryland.
Mary received an AB and AM in Government from Harvard University and worked at Harvard Business School, co-authoring case studies, articles, and a book on competitive strategy, before moving to DC. She subsequently served as acquisitions editor at the Brookings Institution Press, where she acquired and developed books on American politics and governance, public policy, foreign policy, economics, and development. She and her husband have two young adult children.
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 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.
Ann Marie McGee - Impact 100 Redwood Circle, Santa Rosa, CA
“Collective giving expands and diversifies philanthropy to strengthen and serve our communities where it is needed most.”
Ann Marie currently serves as Co-Chair for the Philanos Communications Committee. Moving to Sonoma County in 2017, she joined Impact 100 Redwood Circle to learn more about nonprofits in the North Bay and quickly embraced the collective giving model and its importance for women to support their communities.
She is currently a board member for the Santa Rosa Symphony where she serves on the Donor Relations and Strategic Planning Committees. Prior nonprofit board experience includes Brighter Beginnings and Northern Light School, both in Oakland and the Contra Costa Crisis Center in Walnut Creek. She has also served on numerous advisory/advancement committees for the University of Idaho. As a National Volunteer for Tri Delta sorority, Ann Marie currently serves on the Leadership Cultivation and Selection Committee with the responsibility for slating the Executive, Foundation and Housing Boards.
Prior to retiring and relocating to Sonoma County, Ann Marie had her own marketing consulting firm, specializing in branding, messaging and positioning services for startup/early-stage technology companies. Her consultancy was preceded by stints at several technology startups in Silicon Valley, including GRiD Systems where she was the Marketing Manager for the industry’s first tablet computer. Before her tech career, she taught music at Arkansas State University and Interlochen's National Music Camp and was a member of the Arkansas Symphony. Ann Marie holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in flute performance from the University of Idaho and the University of Illinois.
Ann Marie lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Robert where they enjoy learning about food and wine, gardening, traveling and spending time with their two children and a granddaughter. When not volunteering, she enjoys cooking, playing her flute, watercolor painting, tennis, and golf.
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 and conference committees. She served on the Impact 100 Cincinnati board as treasurer and grant committee chair. During her business career, Clare held senior leadership roles in marketing and strategy in high technology and financial services companies. In her community, Clare served as Board Chair of May We Help, an innovative nonprofit which makes customized assistive devices for individuals with disabilities; this organization was honored with a Philanos Spotlight award. Clare mentors other women through her participation on the Leadership Team of Stanford Women on Boards, which prepares and places women on nonprofit and corporate boards.
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. Combining her passions for charitable giving and financial empowerment for all individuals, she earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® designation as a member of a national BIPOC cohort. Clare and her husband are the proud parents of two young adult sons.
Maureen Romito - Impact Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
"With collective giving, I make a much bigger impact and I am able to see how my donation is being used to improve my community."
Maureen has more than three decades of executive-level human resources experience developing and leading local, regional and corporate HR teams for organizations in a variety of industries. Maureen completed her career as Regional Human Resources Director for a global call center outsourcing company, managing the human resources functions for 7,000 employees located in eight call centers across the US, Canada and Mexico.
Following her retirement in 2013, she chose to give back to the community she has called home for 40 years by founding Impact Las Vegas, a Nevada nonprofit women’s collective giving group, where she is currently the volunteer Co-Executive Director.
Renuka Sastri - 100 Women Strong at Central Florida Foundation, Orlando, FL
"I see collective giving building community resilience in three important ways: 1) Introducing women to the concepts of strategic philanthropy: Understanding community needs, identifying root cause issues, and investing for long-term impact. 2) Connecting and learning from a diversity of professional backgrounds and personal interests. 3) Making a larger financial impact than going it alone."
Renuka has extensive experience in enterprise strategic planning, digital transformation, and capacity building at companies including AAA, accesso, Citrix, and Euromonitor International. She now consults with Orange County Government on economic development initiatives with a focus building public, private and institutional partnerships to tackle Central Florida's unique challenges.
Renuka is an advisor and former Chair of 100 Women Strong, a women's giving circle providing seed funding for programs that improve the lives of women and children in Central Florida, and an Advisory Board member of StarterStudio, a tech incubator that provides founders with the resources they need to build successful companies. She has a master's degree in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an undergraduate degree in Marketing from Stetson University. You can follow her adventures (and misadventures) with pottery on Instagram @Sastri_Ceramics
Tyeshia "Ty" Wilson - HERitage Giving Fund, Dallas, TX
"Collective Giving is important to me because it's people-powered, people-leading, people-centered philanthropy that allows EVERYONE to get involved in doing good and moving resources into our communities where they belong."
Tyeshia is a millennial, activist-philanthropist, community organizer, trainer, consultant and a sought-after speaker on Black philanthropy, trust-based philanthropy, politics, civic engagement and leadership. As Director of Engagement at Philanthropy Together, she leads the organization’s global engagement strategy connecting and training collective giving leaders, partners, funders and everyday donors on equitable funding practices. Prior to joining Philanthropy Together, Tyeshia worked as the Assistant to the City Manager and Chief of Staff at the City of Dallas where she worked closely with city council members and senior leadership on various community engagement and strategic planning priorities, and spearheaded the creation of the city’s first community engagement program for the department of aviation.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Tyeshia has an igniting passion for people, service and empowering the community towards collective action and impact. She is a leader in numerous volunteer organizations focused on advancing equity in philanthropy and strengthening democracy, including Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy, Register HER, Our Vote is Our Voice, and Chair-Elect of HERitage Giving Fund— the first Black giving circle in Texas that invests in Black, women-led nonprofits serving women and girls. She holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington and a M.S. in Public Leadership with a concentration in Nonprofit and Community Leadership from the University of North Texas at Dallas. In 2022, Tyeshia was an honoree on the annual Black Women Give Back List presented by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Black Philanthropy Month and The WISE Fund.
* Ex-Officio Board Member