PROFESSIONAL TEAM

The Professional 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.

  • 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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  • Stacie Cherner

    Director of Learning and Evaluation

    Stacie Cherner is Director of Learning and Evaluation at the Jim Joseph Foundation, where she oversees the Foundation’s program of evaluation along with grants to help grow the field of Jewish education. 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. Most recently, Stacie 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. She has also worked with Teach For America directing the implementation of national assessments of student achievement.

    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. The Foundation supports Jewish education for youth, teens, and young adults in the U.S., with more than $490 million granted in its first 11 years of operation.

    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, transforming its information technology systems and earning the Harris K. and Alice F. Weston Award for Outstanding Leadership.

    Barry’s first job out of college was at a residential summer camp director in Waupaca, Wisconsin for Young Judaea. Barry says he never would have hired himself for that job, 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 best people you can and get out of the road!

    A Scottish native with 25 years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world, Barry holds a degree in Community Education from Jordanhill College in Glasgow, Scotland. He and his wife, Ellen, have three children—Gabrielle, Ethan and Mia.

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  • Steven Green

    Senior Director, Grants Management and Compliance

    Steven Green is Senior Director, Grants Management and Compliance for the Jim Joseph Foundation and has been working for the Foundation since June 2011. Steven leads the administration of day-to-day grant-related operations including management of the Grants Management and Administration Team, incorporation of best practices in grantmaking, and adherence to the Foundation’s governance policies. He initiates and manages the implementation of a significant portfolio of grants rooted in Jewish education and focused in educator training, Israel education, young adult engagement, emergency relief and support, and leadership. Additionally, Steven provides strategic analysis and review of all budgets for the $200M+ in active grants of the Foundation and projected new and renewed investments.

    Steven previously served as the Southeast Regional Director for the Jewish National Fund based in Atlanta, GA. Prior to that, he worked as Director of Media and Public Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast. Steven currently serves on the leadership council of 3GSF, a Bay Area engagement program for grandchildren of Holocaust survivors based out of the San Francisco Holocaust Center. He has volunteered on several political campaigns and as a lay leader on the Board of Directors for Hillels of Georgia as well as the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israel Professionals Council through the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Steven received his MBA with a focus in Nonprofit Management from Emory University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and holds additional degrees in Political Science and Jewish Studies. Steven and his wife, Alana, reside in San Francisco, CA with their son, Zev.

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  • Nicole Levy

    Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

    Nicole Levy is Executive Assistant to the President and CEO 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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  • Jon Marker

    Senior Program Officer

    Jon Marker returned to the Jim Joseph Foundation as a Senior Program Officer in July 2019. He previously was with the Foundation from 2012 – 2015, working closely on teen education and engagement grants. Combining lived experience in political organizing, education, and philanthropy, Jon is deeply interested in how we can change the systems that influence the ways in which we live our lives in order to provide more significant opportunities for youth to access their personal stories, and to become leaders.

    Prior to returning to the Foundation, Jon served as CEO of Youth Leadership Institute, working to bring 2,000 youth leaders annually into the decision making processes for their communities. Jon previously was a middle school U.S. History teacher and directed school and district partnerships in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

    Jon holds a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from American University in Washington, D.C. a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Boston University, and has received a number of honors and fellowships including the Leadership for Educational Equity Public Leaders Fellowship and the Eddie Tatel Award for Excellence in Teaching from Teach for America.

    Since moving to San Rafael, CA with his family in 2012, Jon has served on the boards of Marin Promise, Marin Kids, Funding the Next Generation, and Congregation Rodef Sholom. Jon is father to Caroline and Cole, seven year old puppy, Kit, and partner to Jess. Together, they work on their garden, hike, camp, kayak, garden, and build community.

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  • Cynthia Megino

    Grants Manager
  • Josh Miller

    Chief Program Officer

    Josh Miller is Chief Program Officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation. 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 serves as a Board Member and Chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund. When he isn’t working, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons cooking, hiking, biking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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  • Mallory Morales

    Program Assistant

    Mallory Morales is a Program Assistant at the Jim Joseph Foundation where she supports various projects and initiatives. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a Senior Account Manager at an electronics waste recycler that created a closed-loop system to keep e-waste recycled and reused locally in the Bay Area.

    Mallory holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She loves exploring Bay Area hiking and taking road trips with friends and family.

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  • Dawne Bear Novicoff

    Chief Operating Officer

    Dawne Bear Novicoff is Chief Operating Officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation. In this role, Dawne is responsible for ensuring effective execution of the Foundation’s grantmaking and oversees the Foundation’s internal operations regarding grants management and administration, planning and staffing. She also manages a portfolio of grants that include initiatives in the area of Early Childhood Education; Israel Education; Jewish Service Learning and educator training within institutions of higher education.

    Prior to her position at the Foundation, Dawne worked for 10 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.

    Dawne resides in San Francisco with her husband and two children. She spends most of her free time as an active volunteer at Congregation Beth Sholom and attending youth soccer games.

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  • Aaron Saxe

    Senior Program Officer

    Aaron Saxe joined the Jim Joseph Foundation team in April, 2015. Currently a Senior Program Officer, his 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. His other professional experience includes financial services at Russell Investments and brand management at The Clorox Company.

    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, where he met his wife Meredith. They now reside in Oakland with their sons, Levi and Oliver.

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  • Rachel Shamash Schneider

    Program Officer

    Rachel joined the Foundation as a Program Officer in September 2019.

    She has worked across sectors in and out of the Jewish community as an entrepreneur, community builder, communications and development manager, and programming and operations director. A proud alumnus of Hillel, Birthright, and AJWS service-learning immersion, she’s experienced the lasting results of compelling Jewish learning programs. Rachel co-founded OnePercentSF, the first local giving circle of The One Percent Foundation, staffed local Jewish Teen Foundation conferences, and participated in and then co-led the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Impact Grants Initiative (IGI), a two-year grantmaking program designed to engage Jewish young adults in transformative and innovative philanthropy. Rachel is passionate about Jewish education and elevating experiences that inspire all people to live connected, meaningful, and purpose-filled lives.

    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, notably the JCC East Bay in Berkeley and Dalai Lama Fellows. Rachel started her career as an Analyst at TCC Group, a mission-driven consulting firm, and in 2010, co-founded Bluebelle Concierge, a home project management and relocation services firm for individuals, families and companies from Silicon Valley to San Francisco.

    Rachel is currently pursuing a 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. Rachel is a Founding Board Member of Alliance for Girls, the largest regional alliance of girl-serving organizations and leaders in the country, mobilizing girls’ champions to advance equitable communities in which every girl thrives. She is a Bay Area native and lives in Marin with her husband, Jeremy and dog, Finn!

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  • Mary Seabury

    Chief Financial Officer

    Mary Seabury is the Chief Financial Officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation, a private foundation with assets of over $1 billion. She manages Finance, Tax, and Accounting. She was the founding CFO and established the financial basis and internal controls for the foundation’s granting function and diversified investment portfolio when the foundation was created in 2006.

    Mary coordinates with RVK, the Foundation’s investment consultant, to manage the diversified investment portfolio of marketable securities, hedge funds, and private equity funds. She provides the Board of Directors and operations managers with reports, analysis, tools and policies to govern the Foundation. In addition, she also manages the financial operations of the real estate companies owned by the Foundation.

    Prior to the creation of the Foundation, Ms. Seabury was the Vice President of Finance and Controller of Interland Corporation, Jim Joseph’s real estate company based in Davis, CA. She managed the tax, budgeting, finance, and cash management for the corporation.

    Her working experience also includes auditing of public and private companies for Deloitte & Touche, LLP and 12 years of commercial and real estate lending for financial institutions in Northern California.

    Mary graduated with a BS from UC Davis and a Masters of Business Administrations from CSU Sacramento and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and California Real Estate Broker.

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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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  • Blake Soiu

    Director of Information Technology

    Blake started his career in Technology 26 years ago, starting his own business in the S.F. Bay area. After consulting with Interland, a real estate company founded by Jim Joseph, he brought his experience and skills to a full-time permanent position 23 years ago.

    After 10 years with Interland, the formation of the Shimon Ben Joseph Foundation began due to the passing of the single entity owner, Jim Joseph.

    Blake continued to work side by side with both Interland and established the infrastructure that has now become the Jim Joseph Foundation. He continues to keep up with current technologies, both in research and implementation responsible for every aspect of technology needs as the Director of IT.

    His focus is now wholly directed toward the Jim Joseph Foundation as Interland closed its operations.

    The vast amount of time spent with one company has provided him with a large scope of understanding the current needs and development of structure conducive to a non-profit Organization, and the challenge of maintaining current industry standards.

    He has brought industry standard Virtualization, O365, SharePoint and many other technologies that have enhanced operations for the continued benefit of the Foundation.

    His many years working reflect 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, CPA, 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, including the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and the San Francisco Ballet. Sossena has a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and is a Certified Public Accountant. Originally from Ethiopia, Sossena has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life. In her free time, Sossena and her husband, Guido, enjoy hiking and traveling.

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  • Danny Zhu

    Senior Accountant

    Danny Zhu is a senior accountant who prepares monthly, quarterly and annual financial package for management.

    Prior to joining the Jim Joseph Foundation, he spent four years at CPA firms preparing tax returns and performing Hud-Audits. He left public accounting and worked as treasury accountant at a hospital.

    He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from San Francisco State University In 2011. He and his wife live in San Francisco with their daughter, Audrey.

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