Blog interview series: Sharvonne Williams

20431591_10155650232303760_4911152998212615297_n.jpgSharvonne Williams, a Harlem native, is both professionally and personally committed to providing communities a voice for advocacy. She relocated to Indy in 2011 to complete a graduate degree in nonprofit management and a certificate in public management at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

During her studies at IUPUI, a service learning-minded institution, Sharvonne was very active in a number of service organizations such as AmeriCorps (member for The Julian Center); board member for the Neal-Marshall Alumni Association-Indianapolis Chapter (advocate for global and domestic poverty issues with RESULTS Indianapolis Chapter); executive board member for The Exchange at The Indianapolis Urban League; and recipient of three RESULTS scholarships to support advocacy education and efforts on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. As a result of these and other efforts, Sharvonne received the prestigious Medal for Service Learning, the first-year medal awarded to a graduate student at IUPUI.

Prior to joining the Martin Luther King Center as director of operations, Sharvonne was a program director and communications liaison at Serve Indiana, a service organization to advance volunteerism in Indiana. Sharvonne earned a bachelor of arts in journalism/creative studies from Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY.

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Blog interview series: Katherin Chi

Chi_horizontal_1.jpgKatherin Chi is the strategic communications executive at Kiwanis International where she focuses on promoting the organization’s brand and message to its global audience. Her previous role was with the Gregg for Governor campaign, where she managed lieutenant governor candidate Christina Hale’s campaign, working on everything from fundraising to voter outreach.

Before joining the campaign she was the language and project specialist at Kiwanis International, managing marketing projects in eight languages. She went to Pike High School in Indianapolis and has a B.A. in political science and Spanish from Indiana University Bloomington.

Born in Bloomington, IN, Katherin spent close to 10 years in Hong Kong as a child and into her early teens. After graduating from IU, she spent six months at Shenzhen University studying business Chinese. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and is conversational in Spanish. She speaks just enough Japanese to get around in Tokyo without using a different language.

Katherin continues stay active in civic engagement. She is currently the vice president of Marion County Young Democrats. On the weekends, you might find her registering voters at various events in Indianapolis or canvassing for political candidates she supports.

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Blog interview series: David O'Rourke

david2.JPGDavid O’Rourke is from Evansville, Indiana. He attended Franklin College, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism/public relations and played football for four years. David was captain in his junior and senior years, and helped lead the team to two conference championships and two playoff appearances.

Currently, David is the communications manager at the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, where he is responsible for daily media communication, internal design and connecting people with resources. He serves as a member of the Great Places Livability Committee and is a graduate of IndyHub’s 1828 Project. He also heads the Park Foundation Engagement Committee.

In his spare time, you can find David either in a park, on a trail, at Epic Climbing and Fitness, or at one of Indy’s many restaurants or breweries. He's only been climbing recreationally for about a year now, but it has become one of David's real passions and he looks forward to embracing the opportunity to experience outdoors in a new way.

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Blog interview series: Kait Baffoe

IMG_7904.JPGKait Baffoe is the director of real estate development for Partners In Housing. She manages the development portfolio for PIH which includes writing and administering capital grants, securing development financing, underwriting developments, building acquisition, overseeing the rehabilitation and/or construction of the properties, as well as working with property management to create a scope of work that is appropriate for the population served by the building.

Prior to her time with Partners In Housing she worked for the State with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority working with housing policy and administering grant funds as a Real Estate Production Analyst. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University and her Master’s in Urban Planning, with a concentration on affordable housing, from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is doing exactly what she wants to be doing.

Kait lives in the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood with her fiancé Derek and her two pups. She is originally from the City of Chicago and is the oldest of six kids. She grew up spending a lot of time outside camping and continues that tradition today. Her hobbies include traveling, camping, hiking, reading, spending time with friends and being socially engaged in her community. Kait currently sits on the boards of Earth Charter Indiana and the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association, is an active member of the Junior League of Indianapolis and volunteers with several Indianapolis organizations.

Kait has a passion for helping those less fortunate than herself and has found her calling in the affordable housing arena. She also considers herself a social activist and is very outspoken about politics.

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Blog interview series: Brandon Randall

20170716_234706.jpgBrandon Randall is an Eastside resident of Indianapolis, originally from Joplin, Missouri. He attended Pike School and attended a year of Purdue University. That didn't quite work out, so he attended Ivy Tech and then IUPUI.

Brandon holds an Associate's degree and a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice, focusing on the juvenile justice system and youth advocacy. He currently serves as the program manager for VOICES Corp Day Reporting program. He is responsible for oversight of daily programming, researching behavior management approaches and building capacity as an alternatives to detention program. His previous role was as the Parent Involvement Educator for an Indianapolis Public School (IPS) elementary school.

Brandon has been consistent in youth advocacy and working to find opportunities for young people to display and implement their leadership abilities. Brandon also serves in multiple community-based organizations. He serves as the program director for the Bloom Project and the Community Liaison for DON'T SLEEP.

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Blog interview series: Ceceily Brickley

Ceceily-Brickley-_Plater_Medallion.jpgCeceily Brickley is originally from South Bend, Indiana. Ceceily moved to Indianapolis shortly after graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Marion County Commission on Youth. She is currently a Program Officer with United Way of Central Indiana, specifically working on the Great Families 2020 initiative and just recently graduated from the IU School of Public and Environmental affairs with a Master’s in Public Affairs.

In her prior role, Ceceily was a Program Officer with Serve Indiana, the Indiana Commission for Community Service and Volunteerism, where she also managed funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service as well as TANF funding through the Family and Social Services Administration.

Service is an integral part of who Ceceily is. She has stayed heavily involved with AmeriCorps programming and national service since serving as a VISTA, is a member of The Exchange, the Indianapolis Urban League’s Young Professionals auxiliary, vice president of the Neal Marshall Alumni Club and volunteers regularly at Holy Family Shelter teaching life skills.

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Blog interview series: Marissa Nielsen

Marissa_CICF_Development_Team_x.jpgMarissa is passionate about local philanthropy and the power of community foundations to be a positive change agent in their communities. “I enjoy engaging with compassionate people to assist in creating positive community change. Nothing is more rewarding than helping others achieve their philanthropic goals.”

Marissa holds a M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a B.S. in Advertising and Public Relations from Spring Arbor University.

Prior to joining Central Indiana Community Foundation, Marissa was the Interim Director of the Smithville Charitable Foundation and interned at the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation. Before making the move to Indiana from Michigan, Marissa’s previous professional experiences include serving as the Executive Director of the Homer Area Community Foundation and working with the Community Foundation Alliance of Calhoun County.

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Blog interview series: Ro & Earl Townsend


This is the story of a husband and wife who started their own nonprofit to create positive change in their neighborhood. 

Ro and Earl Townsend are all about their community, and when they saw a need there, these social entrepreneurs didn't wait for someone else to fill it - they stepped up and addressed the issue themselves. 

RoE's (Ro + Earl) primary goal is to illuminate the worth and value in individuals, and use resources and community partnerships to meet their identified needs. They help by feeding children who may go home to little or no food after school and by collecting clothes and coats for those who need them.

From hosting events that engage neighborhood families to teaching farm-to-table cooking classes, they are striving to bring their community together.


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Blog interview series: CoraLyn Turentine

WS_Gala.jpgCoraLyn J. Turentine is a native of Canada who has been passionate about social justice since childhood. Her fire for service has mobilized her to leverage her leadership talents with a variety of organizations and faith-based ministries, such as Chosen Ministries, KidsPeace and WaterStep.  

CoraLyn's efforts have had a global reach, positioning her provide leadership to organizations in Costa Rica, Haiti, Tanzania, India, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As a result of her commitment to the nonprofit sector and to leadership excellence, CoraLyn was awarded the 2013 United Way Diversity Volunteer Award, the 2014 NAPW Woman of the Year award, and is a featured professional in the 2014 Women of Distinction Magazine.  

After more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector, CoraLyn began offering strategic planning and leadership coaching services to nonprofit organizations and prospective nonprofit founders. CoraLyn serves as the Director of Neighborhood Engagement for John Boner Neighborhood Centers, stewarding the Near Eastside Quality of Life plan.

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Blog interview series: Teri Baker

NovaSF-117.jpgTeri Baker has worked in special events for the past nine years and is the Program and Event Coordinator for the Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation, at the Indianapolis Zoo. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, Teri is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. Before moving to Indianapolis in 2015, Teri worked as an Event Project Coordinator for a nationally certified public accounting and consulting firm.

As a new resident of Indianapolis Teri strove to find her place in the community. With a love for farm-to-table restaurants and a passion for cooking, she joined the local food movement and currently serves on the board of Slow Food Indy. Dedicated to leading an all-encompassing healthy lifestyle, Teri also enjoys running, dancing, DIY projects and spending time with friends, family and her fiancé, Eric.

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