Our Board of Directors
Asheesh Advani, Chair
Asheesh is the CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, a global NGO dedicated to educating young people about entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and workforce readiness. With offices in over 100 countries, JA serves over 10 million young people annually.
Asheesh is an accomplished entrepreneur, having served as CEO of Covestor (a financial marketplace acquired by Interactive Brokers) and Founder/CEO of CircleLending (a social lending company acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group). He helped pioneer the social finance industry by working with regulators and credit bureaus to develop guidelines for peer-to-peer lending. In addition to his role as Chair of the Board at Prosperity Now, he has served as the Board Chair of Credit Builders Alliance upon its founding and has been on the board of one of the nation’s first B corporations and several technology companies. Asheesh’s experiences have been chronicled in case studies at Harvard Business School and Babson College.
He is a graduate of the Wharton School and Oxford University, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. Asheesh is actively involved with the World Economic Forum as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Employment, Skills, and Human Capital.
Judith Bell is the Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation. Judith brings extensive experience in strategic planning and policy development, with a focus on economic and social equity to the Foundation. Previous to joining the Foundation, Judith was the President of PolicyLink where she had been since its inception, becoming President in 2004. As President, Judith worked to develop the organization into a national leader on a range of equity issues, with her particular focus being policy development and campaign strategy at the local, state, and national levels. Her leadership helped ignite a new national narrative around access and opportunity for all people with a focus on improving health and infrastructure, including increasing access to healthy foods.
Judith contributed to the successful establishment of the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the Convergence Partnership, which brings together some of the nation’s largest foundations to collectively advance healthy people and healthy places through the many touchstones of health and equity, including the food system, community economic development, and prevention. She also played a leadership role in launching and advancing the federal Promise Neighborhoods program and by helping to create the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink.
Before PolicyLink, Judith directed the West Coast Regional Office of Consumers Union where she engaged in efforts to improve the quality of life for all consumers, particularly in access to health care. She spearheaded a campaign to preserve more than $14 billion in charitable assets, resulting in the creation of several foundations in California and across the country. She is a regular writer for news outlets and academic publications and has authored several studies including, Why Place and Race Matter: Impacting Health through a Focus on Race and Place. She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant on advocacy strategy.
Previously, Bell directed the West Coast Regional Office of Consumers Union, where she engaged in efforts to improve the quality of life for all consumers, particularly in access to health care. This work included successful campaigns in 32 different states to preserve more than $14 billion in charitable assets resulting in the creation of many new foundations including The California Endowment and the Wellness Foundation.
She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s of public administration from Harvard University where she was a Lucius Littauer fellow.
Sherry Salway Black
Sherry Salway Black, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, has worked for more than 35 years in American Indian issues at the American Indian Policy Review Commission; Indian Health Service, First Nations Development Institute, and with the National Congress of American Indians.
She serves on the boards of directors of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, the Hitachi Foundation and as chairperson for First Peoples Fund. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the advisory committee for the National Congress of American Indians’ Policy Research Center, and on the Board of Governors for the Honoring Excellence in the Governance of Tribal Nations program at Harvard University. She was appointed by President Obama and served on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. She served two terms on the board of directors for the Council on Foundations where she was the treasurer and a member of the Executive, Finance and Investment, Membership, and Governance Committees. Other past board positions includes First Nations Development Institute and Oweesta Corporation, American Indian Business Leaders, Native Americans in Philanthropy, the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, Trillium Asset Management Corporation, and Women and Philanthropy.
Ms. Black received the 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award from her undergraduate alma mater, East Stroudsburg University. She also has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Annie Burns, a partner at GMMB, has been providing strategic counsel and communications expertise on behalf of foundations, government agencies, leading nonprofits and electoral campaigns for more than 30 years.
Annie’s leadership and keen business sense have steered GMMB through three decades of growth, from a townhouse of ten political practitioners to an internationally recognized strategic communications firm of more than 200 professionals. By fostering a culture of excellence, collegiality and respect, Annie has helped GMMB earn a reputation of exceptional client services and a great work environment.
Along the way, Annie has shaped GMMB’s groundbreaking approach: applying the integrated strategies and concrete outcomes of political campaigns to the marketing of a wide variety of socially responsible causes. GMMB has won recognition for helping to increase domestic seat belt usage from 61% to 82% through the Click It or Ticket Campaign; raising more than $20 million dollars for the Nothing But Nets anti-malarial bed nets Campaign; assisting 28 countries introduce pneumococcal vaccines to national immunization plans; and helping to elect five heads of state, including the first African-American president in U.S. history.
Annie has created and directed communications campaigns for The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Covering Kids & Families (CKF) Communications Campaign. Covering Kids & Families is credited with enrolling more than 11 million children in CHIP and Medicaid in a seven-year period and has served as a model in communications textbooks.
Domestically, Annie serves on the board of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a think-tank driving policy solutions that work for low-income people. Annie’s international political experience includes developing NDI’s 1987-88 field strategy and training to help defeat Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, a campaign depicted in the Academy Award-nominated film “No.”
Prior to joining GMMB, Annie worked for the Mondale presidential campaign and for State Senator Gary K. Hart (D-CA). She received her Bachelor of Arts from Creighton University.
Bill Bynum is Chief Executive Officer of HOPE, a credit union (Hope Credit Union), loan fund (Hope Enterprise Corporation) and policy center (Hope Policy Institute) dedicated to improving lives in one of the nation’s most impoverished regions. Since 1994 HOPE has provided financial services, leveraged resources, and shaped policies that have benefited more than 650,000 residents in the Delta and other distressed parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
For more than three decades, Bynum has worked to advance economic opportunity for disenfranchised populations. He began his professional career by helping to establish Self-Help, a pioneer in the development finance industry, and later built nationally recognized programs at the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. A recipient of the Aspen Global Leadership Network John P. McNulty Prize and University of North Carolina Distinguished Alumnus Award, Bill served ten years as Chairman of Treasury’s Community Development Advisory Board, advising Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on financial service matters. He chairs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board and is a member of the US Partnership for Mobility from Poverty, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other board service includes: NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Aspen Institute, Prosperity Now, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and Millsaps College.
Other honors include the Ernst & Young/Kauffman Foundation National Entrepreneur of the Year, Credit Union National Association Wegner Award, Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance, National Rural Assembly Rural Hero, and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Annie Vamper Award.
In May 2019, Prosperity Now Board of Directors announced Gary Cunningham as Prosperity Now’s next president. He will formally assume his role in August 2019.
Gary currently serves as President and CEO of Meda in Minneapolis, MN. Meda’s proven market-based solutions address racial economic inequities by fostering minority business development. For the past three years, Meda has been recognized as the top performing Minority Business Development Center in the country by the US Department of Commerce.
Prior to joining Meda in 2014, Gary served as Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the Northwest Area Foundation. As VP and CPO, he was responsible for carrying out the foundation's mission to help communities reduce poverty in an eight-state region of the United States.
Gary formerly served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in Minneapolis. In this position, he designed and successfully led a reinvention and renewal effort that created the largest and most successful community health and human service organization in Minnesota.
Additionally, Gary serves as a trustee, director, and councilmember for several local and national organizations, including The Minneapolis Foundation, Greater MSP, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and Prosperity Now.
Gary has been recognized for his commitment to civil rights, education and public policy. His awards and recognitions include:
- Entrepreneur of the Year Heartland Finalist, 2018
- The Minnesota Business (Real) Power 50 award, 2017
- Twin Cities’ Business 100 People to Know, 2017
- Heartland Group Imagineer Award, 2016
- Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance, Executive Leader Fellow, 2015
- Alumni of the Year, Metropolitan State University, 2014
- Chieftain honor bestowed by the Republic of Liberia, 2013
- National Academy of Public Administration, Fellow, 2011
- Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award, 2006
He received his B.S. in Public Policy from Metropolitan State University and an MPA from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Robert Friedman, Chair Emeritus
Robert Friedman is General Counsel, Founder and Chair Emeritus of Prosperity Now's board.
A recognized pioneer in the asset-building and economic development movement, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development from President Bill Clinton in 1999. He helped create the U.S. microenterprise, savings and asset-building fields and the international economic development and child savings fields. Currently, he is focused on economic development strategies that ensure an inclusive economy where all children and adults have a reasonable opportunity to save, go to college, start a business, buy a home and otherwise build an economic future for themselves, their families and the country as a whole. Bob is based in San Francisco (too far from his granddaughter) and serves on a number of Boards including Ecotrust, Child and Youth Finance International, the Rosenberg Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation and the Family Independence Initiative. He is a past board member of Levi Strauss & Co. and a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
Among Mr. Friedman's major publications are:
- The Return of the Dream: An Analysis of the Probable Economic Return of a National Investment in Individual Development Accounts (1995)
- The Development Report Card for the States (co-author, 1986-1995)
- The Safety Net As Ladder: Transfer Payments and Economic Development (1988)
- Expanding the Opportunity to Produce: Revitalizing the American Economy Through New Enterprise Development (Co-editor, 1981).
Ron Grzywinski was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of ShoreBank Corporation, the first and largest certified Community Development Finance Institution in the US. From 1973, ShoreBank invested in disadvantaged communities, created the nation’s first environmental bank and provided management advisory services to Grameen, BRAC and other local development banks in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. He has been the recipient of numerous honors including the Theodore Hesburgh Award for Ethical Business Practices from the University of Notre Dame, the Independent Sector's John W. Gardner Leadership Award and an Honorary Doctor of Business Degree from Northern Michigan University.
John J. (Jamie) Kalamarides
Jamie Kalamarides is president of Prudential Group Insurance, which produces and distributes a full range of group life, disability, voluntary, and corporate and trust-owned life insurance. Prudential Group Insurance is a business unit of Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU).
Previously, Kalamarides served as head of Full Service Solutions and CEO of Prudential Bank & Trust, FSB, businesses within Prudential Retirement, a leading provider of defined contribution, defined benefit, nonqualified deferred compensation plan administration, and institutional investment and risk management services.
Recognized as one of the “Most Influential People in Defined Contribution,” Kalamarides writes and speaks frequently on expanding retirement coverage for underserved workers, increasing savings among low-to-moderate income families and providing effective lifetime income solutions for all.
Kalamarides has also co-authored several white papers, including:
- Multiple Employer Plans: Expanding Retirement Savings Opportunities
- Guaranteed Lifetime Income and The Importance of Plan Design
- Stable Value Products: An Increasingly Important Component of the U.S. Retirement Market
- Meeting the U.S. Retirement Challenge: How Insurers & Governments Can Work Together
Kalamarides is frequently quoted by Institutional Investor, Pensions & Investments and The Wall Street Journal. Kalamarides speaks often at AARP, The Aspen Institute, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce forums. He has also appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN and NBC News.
Kalamarides serves as a director for Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit that creates economic opportunity to alleviate poverty. Kalamarides is a graduate of Colgate University and earned an MBA with high distinction from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
Martha J. Kanter is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education and Senior Fellow at New York University. Her academic interests include: The Confluence of Access, Equity and Excellence; The Intersection of Policy and Politics in American Higher Education; and The Contributions of America's Community Colleges to the Nation's Social Fabric, Civic Future and Economy.
In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Kanter to serve as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, with oversight responsibility for all federal postsecondary statutory, regulatory and administrative policies and programs for the U.S. Department of Education, including the $175B annual federal student aid programs, higher education, adult education, career-technical education, international education and 6 White House Initiatives. Through the first term of the Obama Administration, Kanter and her team focused on increasing college access, affordability, quality and completion to implement President Obama's goal to have the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by 2020. She oversaw the successful implementation of the Direct Student Loan program that resulted in a 50-percent increase in college enrollment, growing from 6 to more than 9 million students today who are Pell Grant recipients. Previously, Kanter served as President of De Anza College and then Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District for sixteen years. She began her career as an alternative high school teacher. She holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from Brandeis University, an M.Ed. from Harvard University and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco.
Ellen Lazar, Vice Chair
Ellen Lazar has had a distinguished career as an attorney and as a nonprofit and government executive, focused on consumer protection, community development and affordable housing nationally and in the Washington, D.C., area. She continues to serve as a consultant and volunteer board member on these issues today.
Ellen Lazar retired from her position as senior advisor to the FDIC Chairman in 2013, where she advised on a variety of consumer issues, policies and programs, including the legal and policy aspects of FDIC activities related to community development, affordable housing and consumer protection. She was the lead advisor to the Chairman on issues before the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion – whose goal is to expand access to banking services by underserved populations – and oversaw the development of policy proposals to implement Committee recommendations.
Prior to her FDIC appointment in 2009, Ms. Lazar was a partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic organization that invests in nonprofit institutions serving children and youth in the Washington, D.C., region. At the Fannie Mae Foundation, she served as Senior Vice President for Housing and Community Initiatives, responsible for strategy and management of the Foundation’s national, regional and Washington grant-making programs.
She served as Executive Director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a Congressionally-chartered nonprofit corporation that works to revitalize rural and urban communities by mobilizing public, private and community resources at the neighborhood level. During the Clinton administration, at the Treasury Department, Ms. Lazar was Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. At Enterprise Community Partners, she served as Chief Administrative Officer, Vice President and General Counsel. Ms. Lazar also served as a Director on the governing Boards of a number or organizations including City First Bank, Community Wealth Ventures, Prosperity Now, and the Nonprofit Finance Fund. She currently serves on the Boards of Fair Chance, a Washington based nonprofit serving children and youth, and City First Enterprises, the holding company of City First Bank, a CDFI.
Ms. Lazar is a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York, and the Indiana School of Law at Bloomington.
Brandee McHale is the President of the Citi Foundation. Brandee is responsible for all of the Foundation’s investment activity and Citi’s Office of Financial Capability whose mission is to leverage Citi’s people and products to increase low-income consumer financial capabilities. Brandee also oversees Citi Volunteers, which leverages the commitment of our employees to make a difference in their communities, reflecting the Foundation’s “more than philanthropy” approach to its investments. Brandee joined Citi in 1991 and has a long history in both business management and philanthropy. Before joining the Foundation, she served as the Director of Operations for Citi Community Capital the largest community development financing entity in the United States.
In 2005, Brandee left Citi to spend two years with the Ford Foundation developing a portfolio of investments that support low-income households’ efforts to participate in the mainstream economy, attain economic self-sufficiency and fulfill asset development goals.
Brandee holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Policy from the New School for Social Research and is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors at Prosperity Now, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Asset Funders Network. Brandee also serves as the co-chair for the Living Cities Local Integration Initiative, a ground breaking effort to promote neighborhood transformation innovations that focus on both people and place.
Robin McKinney is Director and Co-Founder of the Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign, a nonprofit that promotes financial security for working families. www.mdcash.org The Maryland CASH Campaign’s statewide network of partners annually prepares over 18,000 free tax returns for low-income Marylanders, bringing in $30 million in tax refunds, and provides free financial education classes to over 4,500 residents through the Maryland CASH Academy, an on-line resource for classes statewide www.mdcashacademy.org . For the past 13 years, Robin has worked in the field of asset building, engaging in fundraising, advocacy, and program and coalition management, including for the Annie E. Casey Foundation and East Harbor CDC. She has a BA in Social Work from Elizabethtown College and a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Work. Robin is the Board President for the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and a board member of the Rural Maryland Foundation. The Maryland Daily Record named Robin one of the “Leading Women for 2013,” honoring 50 women age 40 or younger for the tremendous accomplishments they have made so far in their careers based on professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to inspiring change.
Victor Reinoso is COO of Independent Sector, the nation’s leading voice for the charitable sector, and founder of Hopscotch Ventures, a mission-driven investment, advisory, and management firm focused on technology & real estate.
A private and public sector entrepreneur, Victor has played many roles in K–12 and higher education. He served as Senior Advisor on Innovation to the President of Georgetown. Victor was an elected school board member and was later appointed DC’s first deputy mayor for education. As Deputy Mayor, he led the mayor’s takeover of the District of Columbia Public Schools and oversaw the city’s $1-plus-billion education budget and the largest capital investment in public buildings in DC history.
Before public service, Victor was COO of the Federal City Council, CEO of RadioFutura (an early streaming media company), and a consultant to leading brands including AOL, PBS & Verizon. Victor is a member & moderator of the Aspen Global Leaders Network and the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. He has served on multiple nonprofit boards, and is a Trustee of the District of Columbia Public Library. Victor is a graduate of Georgetown University and MIT.
Bea is an accomplished business woman, social entrepreneur and visionary leader who has been a pioneer in economic development/asset building field. As the CEO of NEWCapital, she manages multi-million dollar portfolios of affordable housing, business and economic development. She is a passionate leader who combines her business acumen with her commitment to creating communities that allow underserved Latino families to thrive.
New Economics for Women, a Latina economic development non-profit, was established through Bea’s adeptness at navigating financial products, leveraging an initial $97,000 grant into more than $280 million in investments, developed 1800 units of single and multi-family affordable housing in low-income communities throughout Southern California regions and Denver, Colorado, and created business incubators and small business loan funds. Her vision extends beyond a built environment to the development of asset building programs like the first matched-savings programs – Individual Development Accounts – in the country to help grow and protect family’s assets. She is now spearheading the development of the Latina Wealth Index to measure wealth among immigrant Latina entrepreneurs.
An astute strategist, Bea is a sought-after national thought leader on domestic economic Policy. She serves as a strategic advisor and executive board member for national non-profits, foundations, and corporations. Her leadership skills and executive experience have been invaluable to setting the vision for several women owned companies and national non-profits. She serves as an advisory board member for Banc of California and JP Morgan Chase, and has served on a number of national boards including the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB), Women’s Policy Inc., and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
As Treasurer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Board of Directors, she has partnered with the CEO and CFO to deliver the strongest balance sheet for NCLR in 15 years. In addition, she was chosen by her peers to lead a Special Committee to review program risks, and maximize assets performance. She also chairs the Finance Committee, directing the implementation of NCLR’s investment portfolio, which has exceeded all benchmarks.
Fannie Mae named Bea one of its national James A. Johnson Community Fellows for her significant contribution to providing decent and affordable housing, education and consumer services in urban neighborhoods. She has received numerous awards including recognition from two California Governors and three Mayors from the City of Los Angeles. With over 25 years of experience, she has been recognized and served as a trusted advisor to the Clinton Administration, Mayor of Los Angeles, the Aspen Institute, the Ford Foundation, and a host of local government, private and independent sector organizations.
A lifelong advocate for economic opportunities for vulnerable women and families, Bea is resolute about increasing the role of women as leaders within the finance sector. When Bea is not helping organizations grow so they can provide a voice for the communities they serve, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.