Greg Jobin-Leeds, Co-Chair of the Board, Co-founder, The Schott Foundation for Public Education, MA
Rinku Sen, Co-Chair of the Board, President and Director, Applied Research Center, NY
Lilo Leeds, Co-founder, Director, L&GL, LLC, NY
Maisie Chin, Co-founder and Director, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, CA
Michelle Coffey, Executive Director, Lambent Foundation, NY
Antonia Darder, Leavey Presidential Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, CA
Andrew Gillum, City Commissioner, City of Tallahassee, FL
Jackie Jenkins-Scott, President, Wheelock College, MA
Maria Jobin-Leeds, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Partnership for Democracy and Education, MA
Deborah LaBelle, Attorney, Law Offices of Deborah A. LaBelle, MI
Alvin Louis Starks, Philanthropic Strategist, NY
Greg Jobin-Leeds is Co-founder and Co-Chair of the Board of The Schott Foundation for Public Education. In 1993—under Mr. Jobin-Leeds’ leadership—Schott began funding the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) and later helped found the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). Schott recruited the leadership and provided the start-up funding for the Early Education for All (EEA) campaign in Massachusetts, and regularly publishes state report cards on “Public Education and Black Male Students.” In partnership with Teacher’s College and Columbia University, Mr. Jobin-Leeds helped launch The National Academy for Excellent Teaching to improve teaching in urban schools. Mr. Jobin-Leeds is the Founding Chair of Progressive Majority’s Leadership Circle, which is highly successful at electing bold state candidates committed to racial and economic justice, public education and health care. He is a founding Executive Board Member of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s One Voice PAC, which is successful in electing progressive federal candidates who have strong platforms on public education, racial and economic justice. Early in his career, he worked as a high school English teacher, then he trained adult literacy teachers and more recently he has worked to increase political access for disenfranchised populations. Mr. Jobin-Leeds has a master’s degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and more than twenty-five years of education, public policy, media, community organizing and leadership experience.
Rinku Sen is Co-Chair of the Board of The Schott Foundation for Public Education. A leading figure in the racial justice movement, Rinku has positioned the Applied Research Center (ARC) as the home for media and activism on racial justice. She has extensive expertise in race, feminism, immigration and economic justice. Over the course of her career, Rinku has woven together journalism and organizing to further social change. She also has significant experience in philanthropy, as Vice Chair of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, and as an Advisory Committee member of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. Previously, she was the Co-Director of the Center for Third World Organizing.
Rinku has written extensively about immigration, community organizing and women's lives for a wide variety of publications including The Huffington Post, Jack and Jill Politics, The San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes.com, AlterNet, Tompaine.com, and Racewire. Her book, Stir It Up: Lessons in Community Organizing (Jossey-Bass) was commissioned by the Ms. Foundation for Women and released in the fall of 2003. Her latest book, The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization (Berrett-Koehler) won the Nautilus Book Award Silver Medal.
Previously, Rinku served as the communications director and the director of the Transnational Racial Justice Initiative at ARC. Rinku started her organizing career as a student activist at Brown University, fighting race, gender and class discrimination on campuses. She received a B.A. in Women's Studies from Brown University in 1988 and an M.S. in Journalism at Columbia University in 2005. Her awards and honors include the 2009 Northstar Fund News Prize, the 2008 Progressive Leadership Award from Citizen Action of New York, and being named by Utne Reader one of the fifty activists, artists, scientists, and non-conformists who made their list of visionaries working in social justice and community organization, transforming technology and the world in 2008.
Lilo J. Leeds created the first on-site Day Care and Infant Care Center on Long Island at CMP Media Inc. She also started an After School on-site Center and a summer day camp for CMP Media Inc. employee’s school aged children.
Lilo Leeds is co-founder and co-chairperson of the Institute for Student Achievement, a non-profit organization committed to economic and social change in disadvantaged communities through education and youth programs. She and her husband Gerard, created the Manhasset-based Institute in 1990.
Corporate entrepreneurs, Gerard and Lilo Leeds, co-founded CMP Media Inc., a leading publisher of business newspapers, magazines and information services specializing in high technology. Lilo Leeds is one of the founders and directors of The Schott Foundation for Public Education, an organization devoted to developing and strengthening the movement for equity in education and childcare.
Lilo Leeds is a member of the Child Care Council of Nassau County, the Great Neck/Manhasset Community Child Care Partnership, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Arnold and Joan Saltzman/Hofstra Child Care Center.
Lilo Leeds was an Associate Trustee of North Shore University Hospital and is on the Board of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance. Lilo Leeds serves as an honoree of Women on the Job, was named “Woman of the Year” by the Long Island Association, was an honoree of the National Organization of Women and received the Barbara Kramer Memorial Award from the Port Washington Children’s Center. Mr. and Mrs. Leeds were recognized as Honorary Citizens of Roosevelt for their work with the STAR program for the Roosevelt High School, and for the “Writing to Read” Program for kindergarten and first grade, in Westbury.
Mrs. Leeds is a refugee from Hitler Germany and came to the US in 1939. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Queens College and an M.A. from SUNY at Stony Brook. She received an honorary doctorate from both institutions. Mrs. Leeds is a long-time resident of Long Island and has five grown children.
Maisie Chin is Co-Founder and current Director of CADRE – Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, an independent, grassroots parent membership organization in South Los Angeles comprised of low-income African American and Latino parents/caregivers. After working in a K-16 institutional and foundation collaboration around education reform for over six years, Ms. Chin and a South LA parent launched CADRE in 2001. CADRE’s mission is to solidify and advance parent leadership to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. Through human rights-based community organizing and policy advocacy, CADRE parent leaders are fighting to end the pushout of low-income families of color from public schools and the school-to-prison pipeline. Under Ms. Chin’s leadership CADRE has successfully influenced policy at the local school district level and is moving towards addressing state and national policies using the human rights framework.
Recently in February 2007, CADRE’s parent-led Right to Education Campaign achieved a major victory when its human rights documentation, people’s hearing, advocacy, and media work significantly helped ensure the Los Angeles Unified School District’s passage of a new district-wide school discipline policy based on Positive Behavior Support. This success has positioned CADRE’s grassroots parent leaders to exert leadership in broader human rights/social justice movement building in multiple policy arenas.
Ms. Chin is a native Californian and child of Chinese immigrants. She has been part of the educational and social justice movement for 16 years, dedicated to fighting institutional racism by protecting and transforming public education in low-income neighborhoods of color. She also has 18 years of experience in facilitation, training, and organizational development. Ms. Chin holds both a Bachelors of Arts in History and a Masters of Arts in Urban Planning – Community Development from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to directing CADRE, Ms. Chin is also an independent consultant and serves on the Board of Directors of Justice Matters, a national racial justice policy and research organization based in San Francisco, California.
As Executive Director, Michelle Coffey designs, implements and furthers the strategic agenda, leadership and vision of Lambent Foundation. Through innovative grant making, Lambent Foundation supports the intersections of arts and culture as critical strategies for social change.
Prior to the creation of Lambent Foundation in January 2009, Ms. Coffey was Director of Starry Night Fund and Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Tides Foundation. With a global lens, her areas of focus included Human Rights, Women/Girls, Criminal Justice Reform, Arts and Culture and HIV/AIDS. Michelle Coffey joined Tides as a Program Officer in the New York Office in 2001. Prior to joining Tides, she worked on national cultural policy issues and served as a Program Officer for the New York Foundation for the Arts.
In addition, she serves on the boards of The Culture Project, The Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Care Center in East New York.
Dr. Antonia Darder is an internationally recognized critical scholar. She holds the Leavey Presidential Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Her scholarship focuses on issues of racism, political economy, education, social justice, and society.
Antonia is the author of Culture and Power in the Classroom and Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, named outstanding book in curriculum for 2001-2002 by the American Educational Research Association. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism. She is the editor of Culture and Difference and co-editor of Latinos and Education; The Latino Studies Reader: Culture, Economy and Society, and The Critical Pedagogy Reader, considered a premier text for its use in foundations courses. This year, the 20th anniversary edition of Culture and Power in the Classroom was released, as well as A Dissident Voice: Essay on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, a twenty-year retrospective of her writings, which includes her poetry.
Beyond her scholarly efforts, Antonia is an activist and visual artist, who has participated in a variety of grassroots efforts tied to educational rights, worker’s rights, bilingual education, women’s issues, environmental justice, and immigrant rights. In the 1990s, she convened educators from across the state to establish the California Consortium of Critical Educators (CCCE), a member supported radical teachers’ organization committed to an educational vision of schooling intimately linked to social justice, human rights, and economic democracy. In 2005, she established a radio collective with students and community members who produced Liberacion!, a public affairs radio program on WEFT. As a member of the Champaign Urbana Independent Media Center, she was active as a community journalist with the Public I. In 2007, she worked with graduate students on an award winning documentary, Breaking Silence: The Pervasiveness of Oppression that examined the persistence of inequality at the university.
Antonia was born in Puerto Rico and raised in East Los Angeles. As a young single mother of three children and living on welfare, she completed her studies in nursing at Pasadena City College. She attended California State University Los Angeles and then Pacific Oaks College where she studied human development with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy. She earned her doctoral degree in Philosophy of Education from Claremont Graduate University. Antonia’s scholarship has been deeply influenced by her acquaintance with renowned Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose ideas on schooling and society profoundly shaped the direction of her early work. Today, Antonia is motivated to persist in the struggle for universal human rights by her four granddaughters and the other children of our time, who will be forced to contend with world we will leave behind.
City Commissioner Andrew D. Gillum, an alumnus of Florida A&M University (FAMU), former president of the Student Government Association, and FAMU’s first student member of the Board of Trustees became the youngest person ever elected to the four-member Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003. When elected at the age of 23, he was a student majoring in political science. Passion for public service, and the ability to motivate and mobilize people to action garnered his re-election in August 2004 to a four year term on the Commission.
Commissioner Gillum has held prominent leadership roles such as Mayor Pro Tem, Chairman–Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency and lead commissioner for the Long Range Community Based Target Issue Committee. In keeping with his mantra to uplift and build the collective community, Andrew has championed several community initiatives including the Nims Middle School Digital Harmony Pilot Program, the Landlord Tenant Mediation Program; the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program; and the creation of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Park.
Commissioner Gillum served as Field Organizer and statewide Director of the “Arrive With 5” program with People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). He organized the largest “Arrive With 5” get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida’s history. He also worked as Deputy Political Director with the Florida Democratic Party. He was the inaugural National Director of the Young Elected Officials Network with PFAWF, in which he initiated and spearheaded a program that unites elected officials age 35 and under in a network that supports them with leadership and personal development training and public policy support. His success garnered him the position of Director of Youth Leadership Programs for PFAWF. In this role he oversees the strategic planning, implementation, and development of three program areas: Young People For, Young Elected Officials Network, and the Young Professionals Activist network.
Commissioner Gillum serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Schott Foundation for Public Education. He also has been recognized as an emerging leader by the Congressional Black Caucus, Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine, the Association of Trial Lawyers for America (ATLA), The Drum Major Institute, IMPACT and FAMU’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award.
On July 1, 2004, Jackie Jenkins-Scott became the 13th President of Wheelock College, a private college with a mission to improve the lives of children and families. Ms. Jenkins-Scott received her B.S. Degree from Eastern Michigan University, a Masters of Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work, and completed a Post Graduate Research Fellowship at Radcliffe College.
In 2003, Ms. Jenkins-Scott received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education from Wheelock College when she served as the Commencement speaker. In addition to Wheelock, she holds Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Suffolk University, Northeastern University, Bentley College and Mount Ida College.
From 1983 until 2004, Ms. Jenkins-Scott served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Prior to joining Dimock, she held several positions with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Departments of Public and Mental Health. As a community leader, public health advocate and innovative administrator, she has been a nationally known figure for nearly thirty years.
Ms. Jenkins-Scott has served on many professional, civic and community boards and committees. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Boston Foundation, the Kennedy Library Foundation and Museum, the Boston Plan for Excellence and WGBH. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Century Bank and Trust Company and the Tufts Health Plan. In April 2007, Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino selected Ms. Jenkins-Scott to Co-Chair his School Readiness Action Planning Team, charged with developing specific strategies to prevent the achievement gap among the next generation of students. Ms. Jenkins-Scott was asked by Governor Deval L. Patrick to Co-Chair the ‘Readiness Project,’ the group responsible for developing a 10-year strategic plan to implement the vision for education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as outlined by Governor Patrick in a June 2007 speech.
Ms. Jenkins-Scott has received numerous awards and citations including the 2005 Associated Industries of Massachusetts Legacy of Leadership award, 2004 Pinnacle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University.
As co-founder and managing partner of the Jobin-Leeds Partnership for Democracy and Education, LLC, Maria with her spouse Greg plans and directs the firm’s research, investments, programs, client services, grants management, strategic alliances, communications and operations. She is leading the Partnership’s formation of a pipeline for progressive women candidates in Massachusetts.
For more than a decade, Maria has marshaled resources for candidates and ballot questions that motivate the electorate and speak to issues that are important to low income communities, African Americans, Latinos, immigrants and women. Maria’s career in philanthropy and civic engagement began at an early age from watching and helping her parents in their efforts on civil rights and feminism and global citizenship. She was born and lived in Puerto Rico as a child, and she spent time in the Sudan as a college student, where her education about the privileges of class, race and gender began. Maria started her education career as a health and biology teacher in a parochial, inner-city high school. She spent the first ten years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic providing counseling to people testing positive for HIV and training AIDS educators. She came to understand that only by addressing a root cause of the epidemic – the lack of political power on the part of people affected – would there be any chance for success in curbing the problem.
In 1999, Maria founded the Access Strategies Fund. As Chair, with the board and staff, they address the political root causes of social and economic disparities. Access Strategies funds and assists community based organizations in underrepresented, low-income, communities of color and women’s communities to make their voices heard in the creation of sound public policies in Massachusetts. This collaborative, movement building work has produced large increases in voter turnout in urban African American, Latino and immigrant communities in the Commonwealth. Maria relishes and encourages the now frequent winning candidates resulting from community organizing and increased voter turnout supported by Access and she looks forward to the resulting shifts in policy and budget priorities. Maria’s strategy is to build organizational capacity for progressives and to help create opportunity for these personnel to become leaders and their organizations and issues to become mainstream and provide for the common good.
Maria helped found the Schott Foundation for Public Education in 1991, shaping mission, strategy, board, senior staff and outcomes, most recently as chair of the Strategy Committee. Schott supports the movement for high quality education by elevating the leadership of women and supporting the grassroots, bringing national attention to systemic discrimination against black boys, and leading funding efforts to better nurture all children.
Maria was a grants advisor to Tides Foundation Voter Action fund and is on the board of Campaign for America’s Future/IAF. The former Commonwealth Coalition of Massachusetts board also solicited her membership. She has advised donors and foundations focused on electoral engagement, and led workshops at foundation conferences showcasing the work of grantee partners in civic engagement. Her financial investment acumen marries socially-responsible investing with above-average returns. She is recognized by the Critical Impact Award from the Council on Foundations to Schott, the Monsignor Romero Award from the Foundation for Self Sufficiency in Central America (FSSCA), and the Morgenthau Award for Human Rights from the Cambridge City Democratic Committee. She was a 2008 recipient of the Center for Community Change Champion award honoring her efforts in immigrant and poor people’s civic advancement. Maria helped to established Young Sisters for Justice at the Boston Women’s Fund, getting girls to direct philanthropy to girls. Maria earned a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
Deborah LaBelle is an attorney, professor, writer and advocate who focuses on the human rights of people in detention. Her home base is Ann Arbor, Michigan, but her advocacy evidences a commitment that is defined by the highest principles of human rights that transcend national borders. She has been lead counsel in over a dozen class actions that have successfully challenged policies affecting the treatment of incarcerated men, women and juveniles and their families. She has represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and in international forums.
Ms. LaBelle was the first American recognized by Human Rights Watch as a Human Rights Monitor, for her work on behalf of incarcerated women and girls. Her publications involving human rights of women in detention, include Women at the Margins, Neglect, Punishment and Resistance (Haworth, 2002); Ensuring Rights for All: Realizing Human Rights for Prisoners in Bringing Human Rights Home (Praeger Press, 2008); and Bringing Human Rights Home to the World of Detention (Columbia Human Rights Law Review Article, Vol. 40.1, Fall 2008).
Attorney LaBelle is a Senior Soros Justice Fellow and, in addition to her private practice, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative.
Ms. LaBelle is a recipient of Michigan’s State Bar Champion of Justice Award, recognized as one of Michigan’s top lawyers and received the National Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from Public Interest (2008) and National Lawyer Guild, Law for the People (2008). She has been interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR Radio, on Human Rights, Women’s Rights, appeared on Justice Talking with NPR’s Margot Adler, and has made numerous other broadcast media appearances on justice and human rights issues. She has also received the Wade Hampton McCree Jr. Award for the advancement of social justice presented by the Federal Bar (2009) and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Michigan (2010).
In her most recent case, Ms. LaBelle reformed the law for women in prison to prevent the rape and abuse of women in a prison in Michigan, a case that prompted the jury to offer an apology to the women on behalf of the people of the State of Michigan.
Alvin Louis Starks is a progressive racial justice researcher and advocate who works in philanthropy and civil rights advocacy to address issues of systemic inequality. Alvin’s visionary leadership and innovative philanthropic research supports a new generation of ideas and organizations to explore the intersections of human rights, racial justice, cross movement building and gender equity. Alvin has written numerous reports and strategy papers for donors and foundations exploring progressive activities to strengthen social change.
Alvin has an extensive philanthropic background that has granted him the unique privilege to work at several leading foundations. For over eight years, Alvin worked at the Open Society Institute and in 2004 created and directed the Open Society Institute’s Racial Justice Initiative. Before joining OSI, Alvin held the position of Senior Program Officer for Racial Justice and Gender Identity at the Arcus Foundation. There his work focused on building the foundation’s mission to advance the intersections of race, sexuality and gender identity.
Alvin worked with the national NAACP to encourage new progressive advocacy and build philanthropic engagement, and served with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as their Program Officer for Racial Equity. Alvin received his formal education from the State University of New York and Columbia University in New York City. He sits on several non-profit boards.