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Our Board of Directors

Kath Connolly
Ami Dar
Bob Giannino-Racine
Cynthia M. Gibson
Stephen D. Kahn
Rusty Stahl
Sandy Stonesifer

Kath Connolly

Kath Connolly is an educator interested in public engagement and creative practice in community-based settings, college campuses, and public schools. As the director of partnerships at The Learning Community a K-8 public school in Central Falls, RI, she manages data systems, external communications, and special projects to enhance the school and its companion consulting practice.

Before she joined The Learning Community in 2005, Kath worked for 10 years at the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, where she created Careers in the Common Good, a nationally recognized program that encourages young people to become community activists and pursue public interest careers. She was also involved in fellowship programs and projects related to public education, the arts, and advocacy.

She has been a designer at a children's museum, a public-policy researcher, the director of a grassroots school-reform network, and a consultant to community groups, schools, and colleges. She has appeared at conferences and workshops across the country.

She was a founding board member of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, BSR 88.1 FM, and New Urban Arts. She is the founder of a progressive greeting card company, Card Carrying Liberal, and has served on boards and as a volunteer for numerous non-profits and political campaigns.

Kath, a resident of Providence, RI, is a graduate of Brown University and a student of paper engineering, data visualization and craft with a political edge.


Ami Dar

Ami is the founder and executive director of Idealist.org. Built in 1996 with $3,500, Idealist has become one of the most popular nonprofit resources on the web, with information provided by 80,000 organizations around the world and 100,000 visitors every day. Ami was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and in Mexico, and lives in New York.


Bob Giannino-Racine

Bob Giannino-Racine is the Executive Director of UAspire (formerly known as ACCESS, the Action Center for Educational Services and Scholarships), the leading provider of financial aid advising and scholarships for Boston Public School Students. UAspire works to ensure that every graduate of the Boston Public Schools has the financial information and resources necessary to achieve their dream of a college education. Since its founding in 1985, UAspire has provided financial aid information and scholarships to thousands of Boston's students, helping them realize their higher education goals and giving them a better foundation for a successful and productive future.

Bob has 16 years of experience within the Boston nonprofit community. Prior to joining UAspire, he served as the Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations at Jumpstart for Young Children, a Boston-based national nonprofit organization that engages college-aged young people in service. While at Jumpstart, Bob held several senior level management positions, including three years as Executive Director of Jumpstart Boston—where he oversaw a threefold increase in the organization's impact on the city's children. Bob's previous experience includes being involved in the start-up of a number of other successful nonprofit ventures and a stint in the for-profit sector with Procter and Gamble. As a product of the Somerville Public Schools and a graduate of Harvard College, Bob knows first-hand the need for high quality advising services and the value of scholarship support in making a difference in one's life.

In addition to his work with UAspire, Bob serves on the Board of Directors of Idealist, is a member of the Selection Committee for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration, and has served as an advisor to the Institute for School/Community Collaboration. Bob also serves an an Alumni Interviewer for Harvard.

Bob resides with his family in Concord, MA.


Cynthia M. Gibson

Cynthia M. Gibson, is founder and principal of Cynthesis Consulting, a firm celebrated for providing custom support to improve capacity and program effectiveness for leading national foundations and nonprofit organizations through public policy research and analysis, program development, strategic planning, survey design, evaluation, and marketing and communications.

Gibson is also a widely published author and active blogger on issues affecting the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. In 2007 for the Case Foundation, Gibson authored Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement which served as the frame for a new "open source" approach to grantmaking that she helped to develop. Previously, she served as a program officer at Carnegie Corporation of New York in the area of Strengthening U.S. Democracy, developing and overseeing two subprograms in Strengthening the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector and Youth Civic Engagement. She authored two publications—From Inspiration to Participation: Strategies for Youth Civic Engagement and The Civic Mission of Schools—that became standards for the field, the basis of a national advocacy campaign, and catalysts for federal legislation for school-based (K-12) civic education. Recently, Gibson co-edited From Command to Community: A New Approach to Leadership Education in Colleges and Universities (Tufts U./New England Press).

Gibson has taught at the New School University's Milano Graduate School of Management/Urban Policy; serves as a senior fellow at the Philanthropic Initiative and Tufts University; and been a member of numerous advisory committees, selection panels and boards, including VolunteerMatch.org, Mobilize.org, Nonprofit Quarterly, Public Allies, Public Conversations Project, Idealist.org, and Whatgoesaround.org. Gibson has a B.A. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S.W. from Catholic University of America; and a Ph.D. in social welfare policy and administration from Rutgers University.


Stephen D. Kahn

Steve is a retired partner in the New York office of the Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP law firm.

Steve has practiced all areas of intellectual property law for more than 40 years, including litigating patent, trade secret, copyright, and trademark disputes and dealing extensively with counseling and transactions involving intellectual property of all types. Steve has been involved in intellectual property issues arising in the context of the internet and e-commerce and has also negotiated many computer software development and licensing agreements, including a major computer system acquisition for the New York City Department of Education for use in Special Ed record-keeping in 2008.

Steve is an adjunct professor of law at New York Law School, teaching courses in all areas of intellectual property law, and has taught patent law as a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale Law School. He has also lectured on computer software protection at Yale and served as Chairman of the Committee on Information Technology Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Finally, he has lectured on the impact of intellectual property law on climate change negotiations now underway around the world.

For many years he has been active in pro bono legal work, including for Idealist, Save the Children, The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Ashoka, Oxfam, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Lincoln Center, and other organizations.

Steve's academic background is as follows:
Yale University, B.E. (summa cum laude) (1964).
Yale Law School, LL.B. (1968).


Rusty Stahl

Rusty Stahl is currently a Fellow at the Tides Foundation and a Visiting Fellow in Residence at the Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA) at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service. Through this joint appointment, Rusty is exploring how increased investment in nonprofit human capital can advance effectiveness, social impact and program results.

Rusty is the founder and Executive Director Emeritus of EPIP. During his 10-year tenure, which ended in June 2012, Rusty organized a diverse network of next-generation foundation professionals working and learning together for their own development, to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy, and to advance the greater good.

Prior to EPIP, Rusty worked at the Ford Foundation as a Program Associate, where he supported multiple program officers focused on strengthening the infrastructure of philanthropy and civil society, as well as community organizing and social justice movements. Rusty also founded the Central Indiana affiliate of Jobs with Justice, a labor-community alliance.

Stahl holds a Masters in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University. At Indiana, Rusty was privileged to study under the late Robert L. Payton, first Professor Emeritus of Philanthropic Studies. He began his studies in Mr. Payton's Jane Addams Fellowship.

Sandy Stonesifer

Sandy Stonesifer is the Executive Director of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, DC. Comprised of up to 30 private citizens with extensive knowledge of international development, ACVFA helps provide the underpinning for cooperation between the public and private sectors in U.S. foreign assistance programs.

Before joining USAID, Sandy worked in international development advocacy - first at the Center for Global Development and then at the ONE Campaign. Before that she served as Program Manager of the UCSF Turnaway Study where she managed a multi-million dollar national study designed to describe the socioeconomic and health effects of denials of care for women experiencing unintended pregnancies. She also co-authored an advice column for Slate.com titled 'My Goodness: Advice on How to Make the World Better'.

Sandy graduated from Brown University with honors in Biomedical Ethics.