Staff

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
  • Stacie Cherner

    Senior Program Officer

    Stacie Cherner is a Senior Program Officer 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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  • Rachel Halevi

    Program Assistant

    Rachel Halevi is a Program Assistant at the Jim Joseph Foundation, contributing to both the grants administration and program teams. Growing up in Hawaii, where the Jewish community was quite small, Rachel’s Jewish identity was solidified at Camp Newman and was strengthened through her participation and leadership in NFTY and CAMERA.

    Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Judaic Studies from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Crisis and Trauma from Tel Aviv University. While living in Israel, Rachel interned/volunteered in a variety of organizations, including Natal: Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Center, and the African Refugee Development Center.

    Rachel currently resides in San Francisco, but lives for warm days at the beach.

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  • Seth Linden

    Program Officer

    Seth Linden joined the Jim Joseph Foundation as a Program Officer in October, 2015. He works primarily with grantee partners on Jewish early childhood education, leadership development in Jewish education, and education technology and digital engagement.

    Seth has been an educator, teacher, and social entrepreneur for 20 years. He was founder & CEO of Tutorpedia, Inc. and Tutorpedia Foundation, providing 1-1 tutoring and mentoring to K-12 students in the Bay Area. Prior to that, Seth taught and tutored high school math, science, and test prep at public and private schools in Atherton, Oakland, CA and Providence, RI. Seth is a licensed bartender, seasoned artist, avid traveler, and lifelong learner. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and Masters of Arts in Teaching from Brown University. Seth and his wife, Sara, have two sons, Ezra (4) and Pax (1) and live in San Francisco.

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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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  • Cynthia Megino

    Grants Manager
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  • 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 and goals. Josh also manages a portfolio of special projects and major grants that have strategic implications for the Foundation. His current areas of focus include: building effective multi-funder collaborations, cross-portfolio evaluation and research, organizational capacity building, and new approaches to investing in educational technology and digital engagement.

    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 hiking and biking.

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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

    Program Officer

    Aaron Saxe joined the Jim Joseph Foundation team as a Program Officer in April, 2015. 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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  • 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 Cambridge Associates, 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 to her work with the Foundation, she continues to manage 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
  • Blake Siou

    Director of Information Technology
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  • Jeff Tiell

    Program Officer

    Jeff Tiell is a Program Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation, where he has worked since January, 2015.

    In 2012, he moved to the Bay Area to accept an AmeriCorps VISTA position with the Oakland Unified School district. Jeff has most recently worked for Encore.org, a social change organization focusing on utilizing the skills and experience of those in mid-life and beyond to improve communities. In his role at Encore, he was responsible for providing strategic and operational advice to grantees and organizations. Additionally, Jeff participated with American Jewish World Service Global Justice Fellowship and also held a Jeremiah Fellowship.

    Jeff received his B.A. degree from Brown University and Master’s degree with an emphasis on Community and Economic Development from the University of Pennsylvania. While working for his degree, Jeff interned with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the educational consultation group, Research for Action. He has also written on issues of educational equity and policy for the Washington, D.C. social policy tank, the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

    Jeff is active in Rabbi Noa Kushner’s The Kitchen, a flourishing Bay Area organization that celebrates Jewish holidays and rituals. Both of Jeff’s parents are lifelong Jewish communal professionals.

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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