We have offices in New York City and Portland, OR, as well as one person working from San Francisco.
Jill Adams, Product Manager
Kahlief Adams, Technical Support Representative
Carl Bauer, Software Engineer
Rob Bednark, Software Engineer
Amelia Byers, Director of Operations
Allegra Cafarchio, Marketing Manager
Adriana Cárdenas, Program Associate
Ben Carr, Software Engineer
Matt Cifaldi, Community Manager
Caroline Contillo, Community Manager
Victoria Crispo, Idealist Careers Program Coordinator
Ami Dar, Executive Director
John de la Garza, Software Engineer
Andres de Lucca, Product Manager
Mira Dewji, General Counsel & Director of Special Projects
Matthew Drouhard, Software Engineer
Ben Duncan, Software Engineer
Josh Elsasser, Site Reliability Engineer
Ero Gray, Technical Support Manager
Emily Hashimoto, Account Manager
Derek Hurley, Software Engineer
Scott Idler, Site Reliability Engineer
Andrea Ilagan, Community Manager
Sara Jensen, QA Associate
Ryan Johnson, Software Engineer
Kevin Kennedy, Program Manager, Idealist Grad Schools
Jason Kirtland, Chief Technology Officer
Sara Lewis, Accounting Manager
Lacey Locke, Office Manager
Elizabeth Lucy, Special Projects Officer
Chris Machuca, Program Manager, Idealist Grad Schools
Elena Martin, Program Manager, Idealistas.org
Bradley Michelson, Director of Business Development
Alex Miley, Software Engineer
Kara Montermoso, HR Manager
Alex Morken, Software Engineer
Eric O'Connell, Software Engineer
Max Orhai, Software Engineer
Mike Pelletier, Software Engineer
Joshua Richey, Web Designer
Matthew Schwartz, Special Projects
Lorene Straka, Director of External Relations
Mike Sugarbaker, Software Engineer
Lynne Thieme, VP of Engineering
Sarah Vhay, Technical Support Representative
Alex Witkowski, Community Support
I am a deep lover of people and the internet. I've had the privilege of combining the two via making web projects for the last six years, as a digital project manager. I now work at Idealist to help develop our products to do more of that connecting -- using technology to bring good people together to do good things.
I have a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College, and a BS in Journalism from the University of Kansas. I am also the doting mother of one grumpy cat.
Kahlief was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and has spent over a decade providing great customer support both professionally and personally. Helping people use technology to solve their problems brings him great joy. As an avid technophile and lover of all things video games he set his career path toward a life of game-making until he found out his arch nemesis, "Math," had other plans in store. So instead of making the next Tetris he found himself writing and talking about games on his website TheSpawnPointBlog.com and his podcast Spawn On Me. When he's not playing or writing he's ingesting mass quantities of cured meats and stinky cheeses.
I love working for Idealist, where we help others make the world a better place. I'm a software engineer on the API team, and have been working at software companies since getting my computer science degree in 1992 (after initially dropping out of college as a music major). After growing up in dairy farming country in rural central Minnesota near Lake Wobegon, our wanderlust prompted my wife and I to move to Portland and we have happily called Portland home since 1996.
I enjoy 1-on-1 conversations, meeting new people, walking, hiking, reading, meditation, mindfulness, Portland, drumming, self-education, traveling, and spending time with my wife and son.
Prior to working at Idealist, Amelia worked in various positions in the private and nonprofit sectors. Her experience includes communications, community outreach programs, volunteer management, human resources, and event planning. A political junkie, she loves a good debate, reading, music, and traveling as often as possible.
Raised in rural Pennsylvania, I always dreamed about seeing more of the world. I scratched this itch by traveling around Europe and Asia and eventually moving to New York. During my travels I realized how imperfect the world is today and cultivated the drive to fix it. Enter Idealist.
I'm working on marketing - making sure that our amazing worldview reaches the people we're trying to connect to. I pump out quality content while staying engaged on a personal level with you, our fellow idealists.
Adriana was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia and recently joined the Idealistas team. She studied communications and journalism in Colombia and has since been working for nonprofits in her country and the United States. Aside from her job, she is studying marketing and is passionate about traveling and helping people. In her spare time, she likes trying different and delicious foods from all over the world and spending time with her family.
Ben Carr is aging like a fine bourbon: fiery as fermented sunlight and smooth as the barrel of a glassy wave. He's sired two outstanding children and slain countless computer programs during his computer science degree program at Portland State. You can find Ben with his amazing wife hiking or running on forest trails, playing music in the basement, or camping on mountains with family and friends.
Matt is from a small town in Connecticut, which is where he stayed until he was 18. He moved to New York City in 2004 to attend Fordham University, and, after a few volunteer trips and studying abroad, he discovered he really enjoyed traveling. After graduating in 2008, Matt worked in Alaska with AmeriCorps, where he learned to defend himself against bear attacks. He then moved to Argentina for a year to teach English, and traveled through much of South America. After that, he decided his family missed him and moved back to New York to be closer to home. He now works for Idealist and cooks empanadas.
Caroline studied Cultural Anthropology at Hunter College and has had almost every type of job that exists during her 12 years here in New York City. Originally from New Jersey, she's lived all over North Brooklyn, but recently left the borough for Ridgewood, Queens. She has done content management in a variety of environments, including Businessweek Online and The Daily. Most recently, she acted as a community manager at The Interdependence Project, a Buddhist meditation center on the Bowery. When she's not managing content and helping communities connect, she teaches mindfulness meditation and sometimes performs stand-up comedy. Caroline is passionate about social, environmental, and economic justice, with a particular focus on the connections between climate change and various social movements. Additionally, Caroline is a huge Cher fan and doesn't take much convincing to imitate some of the singer's more famous film personas.
Victoria became acquainted with Idealist in 2000 and has been using it ever since to help liberal arts majors and job seekers find meaningful career opportunities with purpose. With a background in career counseling at an NYC college and career coaching for professionals in various industries, she joyously joins the team as Careers Program Coordinator (a position she found on Idealist.org, of course). Her great loves are cooking (preferably without a recipe, otherwise she doctors it up), dancing, live cultural performances, identifying the tasting notes in a good cup of coffee, and anything else that sparks the senses and allows her to experience all the beauty, dynamism, and intrigue that vivaciously living in a remarkable world offers.
Ami is the founder and executive director of Idealist. Built in 1996 with $3,500, Idealist.org has become one of the most popular nonprofit resources on the web, with information provided by 100,000 organizations around the world and millions of visitors every month. Ami was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and in Mexico, and lives in New York.
For many years I have wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. One of my main interests is computer programming. Working at idealist is cool because I am around other people who enjoy programming and I'm in the Pacific Northwest.
Andres was born in Buenos Aires and moved to the United States in 2007 to get his MBA at Kellogg School of Management and start a career in technology. He didn't know this decision would take him across the country and has lived in Chicago, New York, Palo Alto and finally moved to Portland to settle down, with his wife, 2 cats and variable number of chickens.
Passionate about startups of all kinds, data, technology innovation, and how these change the way we live, he has worked in Product and Strategy roles for multiple startups in the gaming and social arenas. A man of multiple interests you might find him skiing, running, hiking, gardening, doing light construction, taking care of the chickens, brewing beer, gaming, DJing, or organizing the next outdoor screening for his Portland Horror Film Club, while thinking of new features to grow Idealist.
Mira is a legal and strategic adviser with leadership experience in several corporate and non-profit settings. She has advised multilateral organizations, global financial institutions, private equity firms, multinational corporations, poverty advocacy groups, and several dozen NGOs/non-profits. At Idealist, she occupies two roles: she's the organization's only attorney and the director of a new global initiative to foster civic engagement through mainstream and social media.
Mira is deeply committed to understanding and navigating the global philanthropic and social impact infrastructure. Which means that rather than advocating on behalf of a particular issue, she spends her time thinking about how to empower the sector as a whole - essentially making the pie bigger for everyone.
I'm new to Idealist.org in my role as Software Engineer, but I've been an idealist since small times. After college (Philosophy, if you want to know), I served a year in Americorps at a homeless shelter, worked at an international boarding/day school, taught English in Japan, and empowered volunteers at AFS to help students live abroad.
I've always been a bit of a computer guy, and my career branched off from working at non-profits to learning the ways of software. Now I have merged branches and am currently living my dream as a Software Engineer at Idealist.org, using my computer know-how to further the dreams of idealists everywhere.
I enjoy the idea of creating things with code - especially things people use - so programming was a natural career choice that I fell into. I was able to travel and work for years as a bit of a vagabond, pursuing my passion for languages and travel while I paid my way with code, but something was missing. I wanted to find something more fulfilling where I could appreciate not only the day-to-day, but also the overall mission of the team. Originally hailing from Oregon, I returned and joined Idealist as a software engineer, where I can work for "good" in my own way.
Josh grew up in Oregon and claims that he really doesn't mind the rain at all. He spends most of his time tinkering with open source software and obsolete hardware. At Idealist he is responsible for keeping the hamsters in the data center fed and happy. When he's away from his computers, he's probably out riding his bike or enjoying local Portland brews.
Ero joined Idealist in May 2012 after managing IT and communications for several New York nonprofits. He's a fanatic about providing friendly customer support, but his previous background includes jobs building websites, removing malware, and composing music for commercials (he once imitated Elvis for a radio jingle). In his spare time he creates very strange music, bakes pies, and tries to be near trees as much as possible.
Emily has used Idealist to find almost every job she has ever held. Before coming to the organization, she worked for political campaigns and nonprofits. Recently she completed her master's in library and information science, which allowed the nerdier parts of her brain to flourish. In her free time, Emily enjoys baking (or at least thinking about it), reading, writing, and voraciously consuming pop culture.
When he's not out bouldering, or sipping some tea, Derek enjoys diving into code and figuring out where all the bits and pieces connect. Learning and asking questions are very important to him, so if he seems a tad excitable, don't panic. Derek has a degree in Computer Science from Portland State University, takes the occasional photo or two, and can be recognized practically anywhere by his headphones. After working in Residence Life at Portland State University for four years, he's thoroughly excited to work in a technical capacity with the superb people at Idealist, and he's even more excited that people finally get his jokes.
A New York native with an affinity for good food and good humor, Andrea is proud to join the Idealist family. After graduating from Stony Brook University, she held a multitude of different positions from working at a small Belgian bakery on the Upper East Side to remotely managing a team of volunteers for a small NGO in Uganda. Finally she found herself at Idealist and couldn't be happier. When she's not in the office you can find her Pinterest-ing, dabbling in the culinary arts, or re-watching episodes of her favorite sitcoms (which include Modern Family and Parks and Recreation.) She one day hopes to have the opportunity to travel the world and meet an elephant.
Sara is delighted to support the people who use Idealist; so if you have any troubles, she can help! On the Portland side of life, she enjoys a good hike, show, fog, cafe painting, joke, brew or book. In various combinations!
After the good fortune of working as a Pythonista at Lucasfilm for many years in the beautiful (but costly) city of San Francisco, I'm surprised at the further good fortune of landing at the door of Idealist. The long and winding road included a B.S. in Computer Engineering, some jobs as a digital hardware engineer, disillusionment with my career, milking cows by hand during a year-long stint at a Benedictine monastery, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, a move back into engineering (this time software), and the discovery of Python. When I'm not enjoying the creative process of writing software with my colleagues, I can usually be found in some culinary adventure with my wife Lourdes (a Latina from Lima, Peru) and daughter Sofía (a 6th grader who loves to cook).
Kevin started his Idealist journey in his hometown of Portland, OR where he cut his teeth managing the Portland office. Since then, he's transitioned roles and now manages the Idealist Grad Fairs and relationships with organizations in nonprofit sector. Now a resident of New York, Kevin looks forward to learning the ins and outs of the city.
Jason is a software developer, and in the past primarily built proprietary systems using free software tools and technologies. These days, he is an active author of and contributor to open source software and a minor community rabble rouser. He lives in Portland, OR, a town with a fabulous convergence of creative technical energy and good beer. He can be spotted at local tech events, out on the trails, or at a sidewalk cafe with his dog, Lupe.
Sara grew up in Orlando, FL or "The City Beautiful" as people like to call it. Before coming to Idealist she spent her days playing trombone in punk, ska, and hip-hop bands, symphony orchestras, and with the Tubafours at Walt Disney World. Outside the office you can find Sara still playing the occasional trombone gig, spending time with her awesome family, or perfecting the art of smoking meat in her backyard. Sara now lives in Westchester County with her husband and son - but at work, she's the Harry to Amelia's Sally.
After twenty-two years as a Delaware River small-town gal, Elizabeth decided it was time to pack up and give the East River a try. After months of using Idealist.org for her post-grad job hunt, she learned of an opening at Idealist and joined the team. In her role as Special Projects Officer, she supports the Director of Special Projects and the Director of Business Development. In her free time, Elizabeth loves to make photographs, knit hats, people watch, Spongebob watch, feed the Madison Square Park squirrels, and freestyle recipes in the kitchen with her trusty crockpot. Elizabeth would like to learn Hindi, get better at bouldering, and join a community garden in her Brooklyn neighborhood.
Chris manages Idealist's Grad Fairs, traveling several months each year to host events where aspiring grad students can meet with admissions professionals from hundreds of different degree programs. Chris moved to Portland in 2006 and was delighted to discover the city's thriving nonprofit community; some of his most rewarding local experiences have included receiving the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and serving on the board of directors at the St. Ignatius School Foundation. A native of the Philippines, Chris attended the Ateneo de Manila University all 16 years of his academic life, where he was very active in theater groups and music ministries – a background that has served him well at Idealist karaoke nights.
Elena is from Madrid, Spain and landed at Idealistas in 2010. As the face behind our Spanish site and blog, she spends her days encouraging organizations and individuals to turn good intentions to action both online and offline. Passionate about engaging, inspiring, and sharing, Elena is also on the core team of the Idealist Network and works toward a day when, no matter where you are, there will be someone close by who will help make it possible to do whatever you want to do for the common good. When not in the office, she loves to explore Brooklyn – and taste as many new flavors as she can find along the way.
Bradley left rustic Wisconsin for bustling Manhattan 15 years ago to attend the State University of New York, Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduating with a B.S. in International Trade and Marketing, he spent the next decade building and managing global businesses in high-tech apparel and consumer products. Yearning to engage in hands-on volunteer work, he came across Idealist in 2015 and began helping Ami develop new (and awesome) products for the organization. He now focuses on bringing strategic partnerships to expand awareness and reach of the brand. Bradley has a big-nosed-fuzzy-brindle daughter of the pitbull variety. He is a landlord in New York City and owns a high-tech cycling studio in his building. He feels passionate about hunger and homelessness issues and enjoys volunteering with St. Bart's Church and the WIN organization.
Alex grew up in California and after some post-university web development and academic library work, scooted over to Germany for a couple years. Though galavanting the globe is amazing, his calling was on the west coast. Also, he missed his mom. He settled down in Portland to hike the hikiest of places with his clumsy yet adorable dog, Oliver. Now, his passion for usability and user interface design keeps him on the edge of his seat in the web development world.
Kara holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Brown University and moved to New York City upon receiving a fellowship with Common Ground—an opportunity she found on the Idealist website! With a few other nonprofit experiences under her belt, plus a stint waiting tables, running through the streets of New York for the marathon, and her certification in massage therapy completed, she joined Idealist in 2003. Kara has worked in various capacities throughout the organization and is very excited to have a role in supporting an amazing staff everyday. In 2007, Kara headed back to her home state of California where she enjoys beautiful weather and long runs year round—not to mention a little more living space for her two energetic kids.
Alex grew up in rural northern Minnesota and moved to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. After working with technology in the College of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics and playing stand-up bass in various groups, he (obviously) graduated with a degree in political science. After school, he spent time exploring the western half of the United States and fell in love with Portland, Oregon during his travels. Since moving to Portland in 2003, he has married his career in technology with his political ideals, working with open source software for green manufacturing and other applications, and volunteering his skills for local nonprofits. He continues to play music, ride his bikes in the woods, and explore what the food, music, and outdoors of the Pacific Northwest have to offer.
Eric O'Connell is a graduate of Portland State University, finally having been awarded a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2012 after beginning his education in 1998. He enjoys combining elegant design with beautiful code and enjoys bringing those together as an Engineer at Idealist. He is married to his best friend Marjorie, a Speech Language Pathologist, whom he loves dearly. In his free time he cycles, swims, runs, and plays with his dogs, Cholula and Lebowski. Eric and Marjorie recently had their first child, Zora, and are over the moon.
Max gets that special sunshiney feeling from making the world a little better by helping people and their technologies play nicely together. When he's not communing with the code, he's probably biking, cooking, gardening, writing, contemplating, organizing, exploring, rearranging, prettifying, simplifying, playing with his friends, or just enjoying the companionship of his life partner and their cat. A Portlander since 2002, he comes to Idealist from Portland State University, where he's spent the past several years learning and teaching mathematics and doing computer science research. He brings his passion for social betterment along with his keen analytic mind, courageous creativity, pragmatic design sensibility, occasionally dark humor, big heart, and astonishing dance moves. And he's humble! You can interact with some of his ideas by visiting his personal public website.
A graphic designer, artist, and photographer, Joshua has spent the last 15 years honing his talents as a visual craftsman (and the last 36 minutes writing this sentence). He spends most of his time reading, playing his bass, and going on long walks around Portland with his retired racing greyhound named Conquer.
Timing is everything! I arrived at Idealist as a volunteer and got hooked on the meaningful work that everyone is doing here. At the same time, I was ripe for a change at my long standing corporate job. The stars lined up and I joined Idealist in a "Special Projects" role. I could not be happier ! When not at work, you can catch me shooting pool, spinning or cheering for the NY Rangers at Madison Square Garden. I love traveling, learning about wildlife, trying new cuisine and watching scary movies.
Two weeks after moving to New York in October 1999, Lorene met Ami on the subway. Three weeks after moving to New York, Lorene became an intern at Idealist. Two months later, she was hired on as a program coordinator, doing administrative work and anything else needed to help an organization with a staff of three. More than a decade after moving to New York from her hometown of Woodstock, VT, Lorene is delighted to still be working at Idealist. In the early days, she developed the Kids & Teens website, oversaw the development of the Spanish, French, and Russian versions of Idealist, and, in 2004, moved to Buenos Aires to open the first Idealist office outside the United States. She returned to New York in May of 2005. Lorene graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1998.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Lynne settled in California's Silicon Valley, where she developed a passion for leading diverse teams of software engineers. From her years of experience on high-performing technical teams she developed a marked interest in mentoring and inspiring women in technology. In her free time, Lynne can be found volunteering for Delta Gamma Foundation where she advises and oversees college women as they raise money and awareness for the blind and visually impaired. Lynne has two grown children and one fur baby. She enjoys traveling, swimming and reading, as well as hiking with her husband on the weekends.
Idealist helped me find my dream job at Actions Without Borders, and I'm jazzed to start helping users make the most of their Idealist.org experience as a Technical Support Representative in the Portland office. I love helping people navigate and use technology, especially when they don't necessarily love it. My mission is to help people become happy Idealist users who are achieving their goals. Especially when I see the amazing things Idealist-ers are doing all over the world to help others.
After studying technical writing at IU Indianapolis, in 1999 I traded corn fields for mountains and rain and fell in love with Portland, OR. I also fell in love with a native Portlander, gave birth to a native Portlander, and made them both go hiking with me. We also love biking the Springwater Corridor, swimming in waterfalls and watering holes, watching horror movies, and eating ice cream. Continuing the family tradition of service, we help plant trees, install garden beds for low-income families, and clean up trash in the park. Sometimes I dress like a pirate.
Assuming this isn't all a dream (is anything REALLY reality?), I have found myself in the Idealist office. Prior to this I spent six years in the bustling metropolis of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey as a high school English and Creative Writing teacher trying to convince teenagers to actually read books, until I was offered the opportunity to give up half of my summer vacation to begin working here. As Community Support, I work to design an infrastructure that helps people bridge the gap between good intentions and action. We're keeping our ears to the ground to hear how we can assist the good people in the world, and we're working to recruit countless awesome people who want to help others. When I'm not working I'm attending too many concerts, drinking too much iced tea, watching too many movies, buying too many books, and trying too hard to write songs. I like really long sentences, music on vinyl, and tweeting into the void my mindless observations about the world.
Claire Taylor Hansen is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer. She studied art at the Cooper Union, and since then has been honing her design skills working on an array of projects for folks ranging from the Public Theater to Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Claire now thoroughly enjoys designing for Idealist. Mornings, evenings, and weekends, she and her husband are gut-renovating a 100-year-old house—they hope to have it complete by 2050.
Dr. Nir Tsuk is a seasoned practitioner and academic with over 20 years of international experience in the fields of social capital and social entrepreneurship, who consults with Idealist on strategy and development. Serving now as an Adjunct Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Hebrew University, Nir has brought Ashoka – the world's largest social entrepreneurship organization – to Israel 6 years ago, after serving as a Ashoka's Global Fellowship Director in Washington DC, connecting more than 3000 social entrepreneurs in 72 countries. Nir holds a PhD from Cambridge University in social and political sciences – where he wrote his dissertation on social networks, social capital and intentional communities (such as the Israeli Kibbutz and the English Garden City).
Previously, Nir led policy research initiatives at the Community Development Foundation in London and at the Committee for Social Affairs in the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem. He has been, among other things, a curriculum developer at the Rabin Centre and the Israeli national authority for Holocaust remembrance, the editor of Israel's bestselling computer magazine, a restaurant manager, and a street cleaner. Nir advises and lectures citizen organizations, entrepreneurs, government bodies, and companies. He is also a compulsive tea drinker and a fan of animated movies.