Fundraising & Field Building Advisory Team Workgroup

Amir François • Senior Research Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Amir François serves as a Senior Research Associate on the Research and Evaluation Team at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Amir initiates, plans, and manages research and evaluation efforts focused on strengthening families; building stronger communities; and ensuring access to opportunity for youth, young adults, and their families. In addition to serving as the research liaison for the Foundation’s juvenile justice and community change strategy units, Amir’s interests and portfolio focus on centering equity and diverse perspectives in research and evaluation, empowering youth and communities to use their own data for decision-making, and leveraging the positive role of racial identity in youths’ experiences. Amir has a PhD in Applied Developmental Science and Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia, and a BA in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.

Gina Martinez • Learning and Evaluation Officer; California Health Care Foundation

Gina Martinez is a learning and evaluation officer on the California Health Care Foundation’s (CHCF) Learning & Impact team. She partners with the foundation’s program teams to optimize impact by supporting organizational and field learning. She also leads the foundation’s portfolio in community resilience and disaster response. Before joining CHCF, Gina worked as a social impact researcher and evaluator, most recently focusing on behavioral health program evaluation. She is passionate about evaluation meeting the needs of those being served and supporting communities through data-driven and evidence-based social change. Gina holds a BA in political science and history from the University of California, San Diego, and an MA and a PhD in political science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University in the Department of Political Science.

Kantahyanee Murray • Senior Associate Director, Center for Culturally Responsive Engagement at MPHI

Dr. Kantahyanee Murray is the senior associate director in the Center for Culturally Responsive Engagement at MPHI. In this role, she leads strategy development and evaluation utilizing culturally responsive and equity-focused approaches. Kantahyanee is passionate about engaging residents and other community stakeholders in community ownership-oriented participatory approaches and making data more relevant, accessible, and useful to advance equity. Previously, Kantahyanee served as a senior research associate in the Research, Evaluation, Evidence, and Data unit at The Annie E. Casey Foundation. She planned and managed evaluations of collective impact initiatives and led field-building investments to advance equitable evaluation. Kantahyanee also directed ETB while it was held at The Annie E. Casey Foundation and facilitated ETB’s transition to a field-sustained initiative managed by Change Matrix.

Karuna Chibber • Acting Director of Evaluation, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Karuna Sridharan Chibber, an Evaluation & Learning Officer at The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, brings over 15 years of experience in research and evaluation working both domestically and globally and across various settings – nonprofits, consulting, philanthropy, international development, and academia. Her career has been dedicated to ensuring a balance between rigor and feasibility of implementation, using innovative and culturally and context-appropriate methods, building partnerships across sector lines, and helping partners own and employ data to improve programs, maximize and share stories of impact. Karuna holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health and a Fogarty International post-doc from the University of California, San Francisco’ Center of Excellence in Women’s Health & Empowerment.

Kevin Hong • Acting Director of Evaluation, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Kevin Hong is currently the Acting Director of Evaluation at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. A randomista who has seen the “light” beyond experimental methodologies, Kevin has sat on a few different sides of the evaluation table, both commissioning and managing evaluations at funding and implementing organizations and working as an evaluator. He also teaches monitoring and evaluation at Columbia University. He holds a Master in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Bachelor in Computational and Systems Biology from Cornell University.

Maryam Khojasteh • Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Maryam Khojasteh, PhD, MUP is a program officer in the Research, Evaluation, and Learning unit at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Maryam is an urban planning scholar whose research unpacks the ways that marginalized communities contribute to community development and health. At RWJF, Maryam oversees a body of research and evaluation that critically examines practices, systems, and narratives around health and structural racism in the sectors that design for, build, and develop communities.

Matthew Carr • Walton Family Foundation

Matthew Carr is the strategy, learning, and evaluation director at the Walton Family Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for ensuring the Foundation board and staff are provided with accurate and timely research and analysis to support strategic decision-making. Previously, Matthew was director of evaluation for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In this position, he was responsible for assisting program staff and trustees in measuring and understanding the impact of grant investments and program activity. He is the author of several journal articles, including articles in The Foundation Review, Non-Profit Quarterly, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Matthew earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration from Kent State University, and a PhD in public policy from the University of Arkansas.

Natalia Ibañez • Senior Evaluation and Data Strategy Officer; Blue Shield of California Foundation; LEEAD Alumni

Natalia Ibañez is a Senior Evaluation and Data Strategy Officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation. In this role she provides measurement and evaluation leadership to help the Foundation’s executive team, trustees, and program teams learn about progress and impact of their investments. She also leads the development of a Foundation-wide learning agenda and equitable evaluation infrastructure. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as an evaluation consultant to government agencies and philanthropic organizations where she applied her mixed methods research skills and equitable evaluation principles and practices to measure progress and impact of programs and strategies focused on improving the wellbeing of underserved populations and racial minorities. Natalia is a cohort 4 LEEAD alumni and is deeply committed to diversifying the field of evaluation and research.

Rachel Dinkes • President and CEO, Knowledge Alliance

Dr. Rachel Dinkes serves as President and CEO of Knowledge Alliance, an association of the leading education organizations that share the belief that high-quality, relevant research is key to solving the biggest education problems facing our country today. As the President & CEO, she promotes the importance of evidence on Capitol Hill to secure funding for federal programs, such as the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant, that create, develop, replicate, or take to scale field-initiated innovations that improve student achievement and attainment for high-need students and that such programs are rigorously evaluated. Prior to joining KA, Rachel worked at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) from 2004 to 2021. Among many projects, Dr. Dinkes co-authored the congressionally mandated report on the Equity of Title I, Part A Grant Programs Mathematical Formulas and represented the U.S. Department of Education at the OECD.

Previous Workgroup Members

Gina Hijjawi, PhD

Senior Program Officer,
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Olivia Deich

Assistant Director, Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE),
Southern Methodist University

Theresa Chen

Program Design, Research and Evaluation Consultant,
Nicole Clark Consulting, LLC

Martina Todaro, MPH

Program Officer,
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Jackie Williams Kaye

Chief Learning & Evaluation Officer,
Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Kelsey Simmons

Evaluation and Learning Officer,
Ford Foundation

Meredith Blair Pearlman

Evaluation & Learning Director,
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Subarna Mathes

Senior Strategy and Evaluation Officer,
Ford Foundation

Meet More Advisory Team Members

Expanding the Bench® (ETB) is part of a collaborative field-building movement and is informed by a diverse, multi-stakeholder team of thought partners from the evaluation ecosystem. This team offers strategic direction, feedback, and recommendations to guide the development and growth of ETB.

With decades of combined experience in their fields, ETB Advisory Team members help us better understand and address the needs of the broader community.

View the Other Workgroups