We have offices in New York City and Portland, OR, as well as staff in remote locations all over the world.
Amelia Byers, Director of Operations
Ben Carr, Developer
Elea Chang, Web Designer
Matt Cifaldi, Community Manager
Ami Dar, Executive Director
Kim Davidson, Community Manager
Celeste Hamilton Dennis, Editor
Craig Dennis, Programmer
Sean Devaney, Video Producer
Josh Elsasser, Systems Engineer
Ero Gray, Technical Support Representative
April Greene, Editor
Emily Hashimoto, Outreach Manager
Gregory Haynes, Systems Engineer
Elise Hoffberg, Product Owner
Mandi Hoffman, Web Designer
Derek Hurley, Software Developer
Steven Irby, Developer
Allison Jones, Editor
Hannah Kane, Scrum Master
Kevin Kennedy, Office/Project Coordinator
Jason Kirtland, Director of Technology
Sara Lewis, Accounting/Office Manager
Chris Machuca, Program Manager, Idealist Grad Fairs
Elena Martin, Program Manager
Kara Montermoso, HR Manager
Alex Morken, Developer
Liz Morrison, Video Producer
Eric O'Connell, Front End Coder
Zachary Pitts, Software Engineer
Joshua Richey, Lead Web Designer
Mike Sayre, Program Manager
Lorene Straka, Director of Programs
Mike Sugarbaker, Developer
Priya Ananthanathan, Research & Outreach Intern
Adriana Cárdenas, Idealistas Intern
Jacques Epangue, Idealiste Intern
Sara Jensen, Community Support Intern
Joe Lee, Development Team Intern
Kimberly Maul, Social Media and Editorial Intern
Alex Zielinski, Writing Intern
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.
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.
Like most Portland residents, Elea is a transplant, having moved over from the Bay Area. Work-wise, she obsesses over user experiences and loves functional designs and clean markup. In the category of everything else, Elea's trying to master the office espresso machine, talk more people into embracing the art of karaoke, and spend more time with her semi-fancy camera.
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.
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 70,000 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.
Kim left sunny Honolulu for the big city in 2005 to attend Columbia University, where she majored in History and Anthropology, led hiking trips, and planned lu'aus. She also spent a semester in Nepal riding horses in the desert, eating lentils, and trekking around in the name of research. Previously, she worked for an English language camp in China, a music venue in the Village, and the tourist office in the Empire State Building. One day, while poking around Idealist.org, she found they'd posted a job for themselves, and she's super excited to be involved. Kim also enjoys doing Polynesian shows all over the East Coast with her dance group and ordering delivery food online. Her mom back in Hawaii probably has this page printed out and pinned to her cubicle wall.
Celeste spends her days trying to understand where good ideas come from, how to implement them, and how they spread. She spends her nights writing short fiction, reminiscing with Craig about their Peace Corps days in Guyana, and trying to prevent her teething baby from chewing off her big toe. Read Celeste's blog posts here, listen to her podcasts here, and if you ever have a question about how to bowl a turkey or where to find sassy fabrics, email her at celeste [at] idealist [dot] org.
Craig is a nerdy hippie. Most of his professional life has been spent cultivating the professional nerdy side of his brain. In 2003 he realized his hippie side was being neglected and joined the Peace Corps and taught computers at a technical university in Guyana. He finds it somewhat difficult to discuss himself in the third person. He and his fellow employee / RPCV / soulmate / wife lady recently added a new person to the world. Her name is Hattie. You have to meet her. He is very excited to have obtained a job where he can both be a nerd and a hippie at the same time!
Almost born in the back of a New York City cab, save for a police escort, Sean has had a fascination with the dramatic since day one. Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, brothers and neighbors were conned into becoming actors for his latest projects. Having not put the camera down since, Sean returned to NYC to attend Tisch School of The Arts at NYU, graduating with a BFA in film production. He has directed a wide range of content, including several short films which have screened at festivals around the world, and starred actors such as Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis. Seeking out the adventurous, Sean loves to travel to far-flung lands, has sky-dived thrice, and bungee jumped twice. He loves to eat great food, but hates to cook, making NYC the ideal place to call home. To see more of his work, visit seandevaney.com.
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.
April Greene hailed from Colorado Springs, CO; Boston, MA; Galway, Ireland; Kure, Japan; and five New York City zip codes before settling in Brooklyn in 2006 and never looking back. After majoring in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College and whipping up verbiage for vinyl culture project Dust & Grooves, the dance section of The Brooklyn Rail, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden's blog, she is tickled pink to be contributing technical writing and editing to the Idealist website and posts to Idealist's blogs. Drop her a line when you want to talk about biking, urban murals, three-day weekend itineraries, or any of the above.
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.
Gregory Haynes grew up in Houston, Texas and moved to Portland, Oregon to escape the heat in 2006. He is an avid open source software developer and hardware hacker. His projects range from open source game servers to flying autonomous robots. When he isn't working on one of his many projects, he can be found shooting archery or cycling.
Elise has a longstanding commitment to using technology for good. She joined Idealist in 2007 and has worked in Buenos Aires, New York, and now Portland, OR, always focused on making sure the website delivers value to our users. As Product Owner, she represents the interests of Idealist stakeholders to the Development Team (read: she translates human speak into geekspeak). She transitioned into this role after managing our Community Support Team. Before joining Idealist, she helped research and build software solutions to improve language access for immigrants in the health care system. Outside of work, Elise regularly incapacitates herself by laughing at jokes, crying over a superb sandwich, or (the best!) doing both at the same time. Actually, let's be honest: she does that at work, too.
Mandi has had a deep and profound relationship with the Internet since the mid-nineties. She began with a love for GeoCities and animated gifs, and is currently enamored with usability and mobile apps. Mandi loves the ever-changing landscape of technology and hopes to one day design and build something so beautiful and innovative that the whole world stops for a second to admire its glory. When not basking in the glow of her monitor, you can find Mandi in her kitchen whipping up a delicious plant-based meal, suspended from the ceiling doing circus tricks, or being the craziest cat lady you will ever meet.
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.
Allison is a Brooklyn girl who is passionate about connecting people to the resources they need to change the world. In her current role as Editor she helps the team produce content that informs and inspires. Allison is also a proud nonprofit geek and techie: she blogs at allisonj.org on the future of nonprofit leadership and is on the board of the New York City Chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network where she manages the organization's online outreach efforts. Prior to joining Idealist, she worked in fundraising and marketing for organizations committed to education equality. When she's not researching, editing, and gossiping with her co-workers, you can find her making a mess in her kitchen or talking smack with her five younger siblings. It's the Brooklyn way.
Hannah joined the staff in the summer of 2003 as a Campus Organizer with the Idealist On Campus program, and has since worn several hats including Campus Conference Director, Director of Community Outreach, fedora, bowler, and panama. In her current role as Scrum Master, she gets to hang out with the web development team, and her friends have commented that she's getting nerdier as a result. Hannah blogs about theme parties and scavenger hunts at EverybodysInvited.in, is the winner of the 2010 Pietopia: Life In a Pie recipe contest, and can solve a Rubik's Cube in under three minutes. She is a Space Camp alum.
Kevin is the lone staff member of Idealist who happens to be a Portland native. During his teen years he lived a double life as a typical high school student and member of a Disney pop band. You could say he had the best of both worlds. When he's not managing the Portland office, you'll find Kevin on the hunt for the perfect brunch and happy hour spots in 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 Lewis is a native of Orlando, FL. A graduate of Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music, she holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Music. When not managing the office and finances at Idealist, Sara is a classical trombonist and can be found performing around the city with the Westchester Chamber Orchestra, Gothic Brass at St. John the Divine, and various other orchestras and shows. She is also the Finance Diva for Opera On Tap, a nonprofit with the mission of bringing opera to a broader audience while providing fiscal support and performance opportunities for developing singers. Sara lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son – but at work, she's the Harry to Amelia's Sally.
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.
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 to accommodate her many DIY projects.
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.
Liz loves asking questions, swapping stories, and laughing loudly. In 2011, after a few years working in nonfiction and reality TV, she was offered the life-changing opportunity to produce videos for President Obama's reelection campaign. During that crazy whirlwind year, Liz learned that she loves web video and telling stories about amazing people working to effect change. Post-campaign, she helped form HardPin, a production company specializing in nonprofit video and live event streaming. She is now absolutely thrilled to be joining the Idealist family and using video to help spread the Idealist mission and vision. When she's not brainstorming video ideas, Liz likes to compulsively twirl her hair, play with Slinkies, slow cook things, and travel all over.
Eric O'Connell is a student at Portland State University, steadily working toward achieving a bachelor's degree in computer science. He enjoys combining elegant design with beautiful code and looks forward to bringing those together as a front-end coder at Idealist. He is married to his best friend Marjorie, a Masters student at PSU in speech language pathology, whom he loves dearly. In his free time he cycles, swims, runs, and plays with his dog, Cholula.
Born in San Francisco in the 70s to a couple of beatniks, Zachary grew up asking 'why?' Graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a philosophy degree, but finding no one hiring philosophers, he turned to his nerdy side and spent a dozen years doing tech support, systems administration, and general computer wrangling. After gaining a second degree in computer science at Portland State University, he now writes computer programs for both fun and gainful employment. When not hiking, Zachary spends his free time with his awesome wife and wonderful, brilliant, and cute-as-a-button daughter.
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.
Mike was raised in Elkhart, IN – the RV capital of the world! Drawing on this rich tradition, he grew up as a tent-pitching, backpack-toting, canoe-hoisting outdoorsman. He also specialized in the eminently practical fields of Nerf weaponry, Star Wars-themed computer games, and Rube Goldberg devices. Somewhere in between all of this fun, he also started playing the French Horn at the age of 10, dreaming that he might one day go on to irritate everyone in his building in Queens. Some dreams do come true. Following studies in Journalism, Media, and Music at Ball State University, he decided to move to New York and pursue a career as a freelance musician. He swung through New Jersey, picked up a Master's Degree in French Horn performance from Rutgers, and set about breaking into 'the biz'. That's when he learned about the Idealist Network. He joined the Idealist squad at the beginning of 2011 to help make it a reality.
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 help Juan Cruz, Matías, and Rochi open the first AWB 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.
Sandy, originally from San Diego and now a total New Yorker, is a lifelong educator and political junkie who has worked for nonprofits, corporations, and the New York City school system. She has also been an advance person in a number of presidential campaigns and led the national effort for a new GI Bill. She loves being on the road and out and about, and is happy to use her experience and love of travel to connect Idealist with new opportunities.
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.
Research & Outreach Intern (New York)
Priya was born and raised in Canada. This means she speaks with a funny accent and is proud to hail from the land that gave you Ryan Gosling, peanut butter, and everything on HGTV. But she bid farewell to all of it and took an arduous one-hour journey down to New York City to pursue a masters degree in Urban Policy at The New School. Thanks to her awesome and adorable little Sri Lankan parents, Priya can talk endlessly about 90s sports teams, great food, world politics, and Shaquille O'Neal. She is passionate about combining public policy with mobile technology and is excited to be blending her love of nonprofit advocacy and the Internet in her internship with Idealist.
Adriana was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia and recently joined the Idealist team as a communications intern for Idealistas. She studied communications and journalism in Colombia and since then has been working for nonprofits in her country and the Unites States. Besides her Idealistas internship, she combines her passion to help others with her talent for social media to support a nonprofit in Brooklyn. She is very passionate about traveling and helping people. In her spare time, she likes watching movies and trying different and delicious foods from all over the world.
Jacques comes from Cameroon, where he was a journalist for a radio station and contributed to various artistic and community development projects. In particular, he worked on the creation and development of rural radio stations and arts festivals, and wrote articles to raise awareness of water and sanitation problems. He came to New York to pursue communications studies and acquire more skills, experience, and connections to allow him to initiate and participate more efficiently in the development of the African continent. He is passionate about African culture, music, and everything related to communication. His favorite sports are tennis, volleyball, and football, and he also likes to cook and explore the dishes of the entire world.
Sara is happy to join the Idealist team as Community Support Intern. What a perfect position to combine her experience with university, library, and nonprofit administrative support and tech-y leanings. She hails from Chicago, but is loving her first summer in Portland after the longest winter ever. If you want a friend for life, talk to her about a real Italian beef sandwich.
Barring anything catastrophic, Joe should be in his final year at Portland State University. He's had an affinity for data and numbers ever since he realized that the backs of his baseball cards were far more interesting than the pictures on the front, or the stale gum. His hobbies include failing at outsmarting his girlfriend, basketball, and writing in the third person.
Kimberly was born and raised in Ohio and recently was very happy to hear that, when compared to her two sisters, she no longer has a Midwestern accent. After journalism school at Northwestern University, Kimberly settled in New York, where she bounced from Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn over eight years. After a series of positions writing about communications and social media, she is excited to combine her passions for volunteering and nonprofit organizations with her social media geek side as an intern at Idealist. She will always love any cat pictures you send to her.
Alex is a journalist by trade, curious and creative human by nature. Raised in the Northern California redwoods, Alex found her way to Portland after graduating from the University of Oregon journalism school in Eugene. When she's not writing about inspiring and interesting people with great ideas for Idealist, Alex writes stories on social, environmental, and local political issues for Street Roots and the Portland Mercury. In her spare time, you can find her biking around town, taking photos of strangers, slinging reused craft supplies at SCRAP, or exploring the wild Northwest outdoors.