The Foundation team carries out the Foundation’s grantmaking, manages the program of evaluation, and shares models of success and key learnings to improve the field of Jewish education.

Jim Joseph Foundation team, December 2022
  • Karen Baskind

    Grants Management Associate

    Karen Baskind joined the Jim Joseph team in 2023. As a Grants Management Associate, she works with grantee-partners, program officers, and the finance team to support the grantmaking process.

    Prior to the Jim Joseph Foundation, Karen held many positions in both Jewish and secular nonprofits throughout the Bay Area. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Jewish Studies from San Francisco State University.

    Having worked in the Jewish community and been very involved in leadership organizations for many years, she especially enjoys supporting the mission of the Foundation. Karen lives in Santa Clara where she also enjoys reading, home DIY’s, and volunteering.

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  • Valerie Cadrett

    Accounting Manager

    Valerie Cadrett is the Accounting Manager at the Jim Joseph Foundation. Prior to becoming a Foundation employee in 2018, she worked for Interland, Jim Joseph’s real estate company based in Davis, CA for over 21 years. She assisted the CFO in setting up the Foundation in 2006 and has been an integral part of the Foundation’s accounting team since.
    Valerie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Accounting and a minor in Psychology from CSU Sacramento. She and her husband Paul live in Elk Grove with their 2 children.

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  • David Carroll

    Chief Financial Officer

    David Carroll joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2022 as its Chief Financial Officer. He manages the finance, tax, and accounting of the Foundation’s more than $1 billion in assets and also oversees the Foundation’s grants management, human resources, and IT functions.

    David coordinates with RVK, the Foundation’s investment consultant, to manage the Foundation’s investment portfolio. He provides the Board of Directors and operations managers with reports, analysis, tools, and policies to govern the Foundation. He also works closely with the COO and the President & CEO on the Foundation’s strategic direction.

    David previously served for seven years as Chief Financial Officer and Senior VP of Finance and Administration at the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. He earned his Master’s Degree in Public Policy at UC Berkeley and his BS in Molecular Biology at MIT; he is also a CFA charterholder.

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  • Stacie Cherner

    Director of Research and Learning

    Stacie Cherner joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2014 and currently serves as its Director of Research and Learning. In that role, she oversees the Foundation’s program of research, evaluation and applied learning.

    Stacie has an extensive background in the non-profit world, including working on a wide variety of program evaluations with SRI International’s Center for Education and Human Services. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation facilitating the collaborative efforts of three grantees to improve the use of analytic data in school systems.

    Stacie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Duke University, an MA from The American University in Washington, D.C., and an MSW from the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband live in Marin and are proud parents of two children.

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  • Barry Finestone

    President and CEO

    Barry Finestone is President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. With more than $800 million granted in its first 18 years of operation, Barry oversees all aspects of finance and grantmaking at the Foundation.

    Prior to the Jim Joseph Foundation, Barry was Executive Director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to become CEO of the JCC of San Francisco, where he oversaw dramatic growth and built it into the second largest JCC in the country. Earlier in his career he served as Executive Director of the two-campus Isaac M. Wise Temple and earned the Harris K. and Alice F. Weston Award for Outstanding Leadership.

    Barry’s first job out of college was as a residential camp director in Waupaca, Wisconsin for Young Judaea. Barry says, “he never would have hired himself,” but the experience was invaluable in helping him learn how to run and operate an entity. His philosophy in work is to have a vision, start going there, and then hire the very best people you can and get out of the road!

    Barry is a proud Glasgow, Scotland native with 34 years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world. Along with his passion for the work of the Foundation, he loves football—the real kind played with your feet—and above all else, family.

    He and his wife, Ellen, reside in Marin County and have three children—Gabrielle, Ethan and Mia.

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  • Jenna Hanauer

    Program Officer

    Jenna Hanauer joined the Foundation as a Program Officer in August 2022. Her work is primarily focused on the Foundation’s Exceptional Jewish Leaders and Educators strategic priority area, which includes a range of grantee-partners that train and develop dynamic, pioneering leaders and educators who are attuned to the needs of young people today.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Jenna worked at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle where she served as Associate Director of Jewish Engagement and stewarded the Israel & Overseas grantmaking process. Before relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Jenna lived and worked in a variety of international settings across multiple sectors and cities.

    Jenna received her Bachelor of Arts from University of Wisconsin, Madison (On Wisconsin!) and her Master's of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. She grew up in Los Angeles and is excited to be back in California with her husband, young son, and dog.

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  • Rachel Heiligman

    Senior Program Manager, Research and Development

    Rachel Heiligman joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2023 as the Senior Program Manager of Research and Development. She oversees a broad funding portfolio seeding transformative research, experimentation, and developments to catalyze new possibilities for Jewish identity, expression, and community building with an increasingly diverse and divergent North American Jewish population.

    Rachel brings a cross-sector skill set to the Foundation built on management of public-sector resilience initiatives, entrepreneurial non-profit leadership, and community organizing and advocacy. She previously led major infrastructure projects in the city of New Orleans post-Katrina. Rachel also helmed a multi-faceted artisanal cheese company and the creation and production of the country’s largest cheese festival.

    Rachel earned a Master of City Planning (MCP) degree from the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a BA from Whittier College where she studied Sociology and Spanish. She now lives with her husband and two children in New Orleans, Louisiana where she serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Affordable Energy.

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  • Mikelle Humble

    Senior Operations Associate, Research and Development

    Mikelle Humble joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2022. Currently a Senior Operations Associate of Research and Development, Mikelle works closely with the Chief R&D Officer, supporting the Foundation’s R&D strategy to experiment and explore within Jewish education and expression and to evolve for the future of Jewish life.

    Before joining the Foundation, Mikelle supported the activation and success of clinical research trials and advanced public health efforts through the Louisiana State Office of Public Health.

    Mikelle is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where she studied History and Political Science. She has a passion for streamlining administrative systems and creative problem solving, loves podcasts and plants, and spends much of her free time exploring New Orleans with her French Bulldog, Bianca.

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  • Margaux Krane

    Communications and Marketing Manager, Research and Development

    Margaux Krane joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in January of 2024 as the Communications and Marketing Manager of Research and Development. By crafting compelling stories and managing strategic campaigns, Margaux collaborates with her teammates to raise awareness and engage target audiences through digital and media campaigns, program launches, email campaigns, and institutional messaging.

    Margaux brings more than 15 years of experience in various marketing and communications roles, ranging from in-house to agency, for-profit to non-profit. In past roles, Margaux oversaw digital strategy for global CPG brands, and was responsible for all marketing, communications, and digital initiatives for a world-renowned arts institution, working with her team to produce award-winning content and design.

    Born and raised in Baltimore and proudly residing in New Orleans, Margaux is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Art History and Archaeology. She is inspired by Saints and Ravens football, pop culture, yard work, and innovation.

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  • Amanda Leal

    Operations Associate

    Amanda Leal is the Operations Associate at the Jim Joseph Foundation. Prior to working at the Foundation, she worked in operations in the semi-conductor industry, where she also focused on improving workplace culture.

    Amanda graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology as well as a minor in Justice Studies from San Jose State University. She lives with her roommates in the East Bay and during her free time enjoys eating Vietnamese food, going to concerts, reading, and traveling.

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  • Nicole Levy

    Senior Executive Assistant

    Nicole Levy is Senior Executive Assistant at the Jim Joseph Foundation, contributing to both the grants administration and program teams. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with an Art History emphasis from San Diego State University. She has held several internships and volunteer positions in museums and art galleries in San Diego and San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco.

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  • Cynthia Megino

    Grants Manager
  • Josh Miller

    Chief Program Officer

    Josh Miller joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2008 and currently serves as its Chief Program Officer. In this role, Josh is responsible for the planning and development of the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies to ensure achievement of its mission. Josh also oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking team and manages a portfolio of special projects and major grants that have strategic implications for the Foundation.

    Prior to transitioning into the field of philanthropy in 2008, Josh spent fifteen years as an experiential educator, community builder, and social entrepreneur in a range of settings. Josh holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. from Brown University. He was the 2014 recipient of the JJ Greenberg Memorial Award for extraordinary leadership in Jewish philanthropy. As a volunteer, Josh is the immediate past Board Chair of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund and remains actively involved. When he isn’t working, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons cooking, hiking, trail running, and exploring the great outdoors.

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  • Dawne Bear Novicoff

    Chief Operating Officer

    Dawne Bear Novicoff joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2009 and currently serves as its Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Dawne works closely with the leadership team to ensure effective execution of the Foundation’s grantmaking and oversees the Foundation’s internal organizational development, culture, and communications. She works directly with the Board on a variety of committees and projects, and oversees preparation and execution of Board of Directors’ meetings. Dawne oversees some key new Foundation initiatives in their early “stages of life” in the areas of Early Childhood Education, Leadership Development, and Israel Education. 

    Prior to the Foundation, Dawne worked for ten years at the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco as the Director of Israel & Overseas Planning and Programming.

    Dawne is a native of Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated from the double BA program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary with a focus on American Jewish History. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and is the proud mother of two "almost adult" children. In her free time Dawne enjoys walking the beach with her sheepadoodle, Misha. 

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  • Aaron Saxe

    Program Director, Powerful Jewish Learning Experiences

    Aaron Saxe joined the Jim Joseph Foundation in 2015. Currently Program Director, Powerful Jewish Learning Experiences (PJLE), he guides the PJLE team in vision-setting, strategy development, and implementation oversight. His grantmaking portfolio includes a wide range of grants reflecting the numerous age cohorts and educational settings the Foundation addresses.

    Aaron grew up in the Bay Area and has been an active member in the Jewish community both professionally and personally. Most recently, he worked at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund in San Francisco as a Philanthropic Advisor, serving a number of roles in the Endowment, Development, and Marketing departments. He spent three years as Program Director at Camp Alonim, a residential Jewish camp in Simi Valley, CA.

    Aaron received a B.A. in Business from the University of Puget Sound, where he played varsity baseball, and an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He lives in Orinda with his sons, Levi and Oliver.

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  • Yonah Schiller

    Chief Research and Development Officer

    Yonah Schiller is the Chief Research and Development Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation. Yonah oversees the Foundation’s R&D Strategy to stimulate and foster experimentation and exploration in Jewish education and expression. Our ability to sustain and thrive into the future as a Jewish community will depend upon our ability to be in step with, and anticipate, where we are going as part of a larger society and community. Through the R&D strategy at the Foundation, it will be critical to pursue new ideas and creative partnerships to best plan and envision for the future, today.

    Formerly, Yonah was the Executive Director at Tulane Hillel. Under his leadership, he oversaw a process for organizational re-imagining and change at Tulane. He scaled these efforts across the Hillel field by founding and serving as the Senior Project Advisor to the Organizational Design Lab (ODL); a national initiative utilizing Design Thinking methodology focused on organizational change and transformation for Hillels on 22 campuses across the United States and Canada.

    In 2017, Yonah was named one of the 50 most influential American Jews by Forward magazine for having “revolutionized Jewish outreach using a model that is being examined and replicated across the nation.” He received the Edgar M. Bronfman Award, a distinction presented to a current or former professional whose impact on the National Hillel movement is outstanding and lasting.

    Yonah has also served as Special Projects Consultant at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane. He was an adjunct lecturer at Tulane in various areas; Ecumenical spirituality, Jewish Civilization and Mysticism. Schiller also has been a consultant to a number of local and national organizations and projects for leadership development, community building, strategy and organizational visioning, impact and change management.

    A Brown University graduate, he received his rabbinic degree in Israel and an MBA from Tulane University. Yonah is also a visual artist focused on abstract mixed media work.

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  • Rachel Shamash Schneider

    Program Officer

    Rachel Shamash Schneider joined the Foundation as a Program Officer in 2019, where she focuses on teen education and engagement and cohort-based learning experiences within the Foundation’s Powerful Jewish Learning Experiences strategy.

    She has across sectors in and out of the Jewish community as an entrepreneur, community builder, communications and development manager, and programming and operations director. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rachel was the Director of Operations for The Hivery, a community space and inspiration lab in Marin, CA with a mission to elevate the potential of women. Previously, she worked for several nonprofits and social impact consultancies, notably the JCC East Bay in Berkeley and TCC Group in San Francisco.

    Rachel received her MS in Organizational Leadership & Innovation at The Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. She earned her BA in International Studies Political Science, with an emphasis on Communication, at the University of California, San Diego. She is a Bay Area native and lives in Marin with her family.

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  • Kari Simpson

    Human Resources Director

    Kari is the Director of Human Resources at the Jim Joseph Foundation. She brings more than a decade of experience in Human Resources ranging from compensation, workforce analysis, and recruiting—where she began her HR career—to wellness, performance management, and strategic planning in more recent roles. She also had a brief stint as a Visitor Assistant Officer (or “ranger” as she calls it) for the San Diego Zoo and had to stop more than one visitor from entering an animal enclosure (her favorite animals there? Okapis. Look them up—they’re precious). Prior to joining the Foundation, Kari ran a human capital consulting business specializing in non-profit and start up organizations.

    Kari earned her Bachelor of Organizational Behavior and Biology, and Master of Public Health. She is a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and a SHRM and NCHRA member. Kari is passionate about organizational function, culture, and impact that HR has across an organization to support its business goals and strategies. When not reading the latest industry publication, Kari spends time with her husband and two young children.

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  • DB Soiu

    Director of Information Technology

    DB Soiu is the Jim Joseph Foundation’s Director of Information Technology and is responsible for every aspect of the Foundation’s technology needs.

    He first worked with Interland, the real estate company founded by Jim Joseph, as a technology consultant in 1992. He then brought his experience and skills as a full-time Interland employee in 1995.

    DB continued to work with Interland and established the IT infrastructure when the Jim Joseph Foundation was formed in 2005. His focus today is wholly directed toward the Jim Joseph Foundation, as Interland closed its operations. Twenty-eight years working passionately for both Interland and the Foundation has given DB a unique understanding of what is needed to continue the growth and development of the Foundation’s core values and principles.

    His many years working reflects his passion and love for technology that continues to add to the success of the Jim Joseph Foundation.

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  • Sossena Walter

    Director of Finance and Accounting

    Sossena Walter, joined the Foundation in August, 2017 as its Director of Finance and Accounting. Previously, Sossena served as the Controller at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. She has extensive accounting experience in non-profit organizations. Sossena received a BS in accounting from Golden Gate University and is a CPA. Originally from Ethiopia, Sossena has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life. In her free time, Sossena and her husband enjoy hiking and traveling.

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