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.

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.

Kelsey Simmons • Evaluation and Learning Officer, Ford Foundation

Kelsey Simmons serves as the evaluation and learning officer at the Ford Foundation’s office of strategy and learning. She works closely with program teams in creating monitoring and learning plans, designing external strategic evaluations, and embedding evidence-based learning throughout strategy creation and adaptation. Prior to her time at Ford, she worked at the International Rescue Committee as a learning advisor for the violence prevention and response unit where she supported 30 program teams working in humanitarian protection. Prior to her role at IRC, Kelsey worked as an evaluation specialist at EnCompass LLC, where she conducted evaluations for foundations, governments, multi-lateral institutions, and NGOs in social justice, gender, democracy and governance, and global health. Kelsey holds a Master’s in International Development Studies from George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia from 2010-2012.

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.

Meredith Blair Pearlman • Evaluation & Learning Director, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Meredith Blair Pearlman serves as the director of evaluation and Learning at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Packard Foundation supports efforts aimed at improving the lives of children, families and communities—and restoring and protecting our planet. Meredith partners with foundation staff, grantees, and external consultants to strengthen the Foundation’s monitoring, evaluation and learning capacity. Prior to joining the Foundation in December 2012, Meredith lead the evaluation and learning at Humanity United. Meredith brings experience implementing programs and developing internal and external reporting, monitoring, and evaluation processes to improve organizational learning. Meredith holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

Subarna Mathes • Senior Strategy and Evaluation Officer, Ford Foundation

Subarna Mathes serves as a senior strategy and evaluation officer at the Ford Foundation’s Office of Strategy and Learning. She works closely with programs on strategy development and leads on the integration of evaluation and evaluative thinking into the foundation’s work. Prior to joining Ford, Subarna was a learning and impact program officer embedded within the Open Society Foundations’ Fiscal Governance Program. Before that, she had served as a consultant with Innovations for Scaling Impact (iScale), where she facilitated strategic planning and theory of change processes, and designed and conducted advocacy and network evaluations for a variety of nonprofit organizations and philanthropies. Subarna has an MPA in evaluation from the University of Washington, an MA in South Asian studies from the University of Michigan, and a BA in international affairs from The George Washington University.

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

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