“Racial Equity & Philanthropy” panelists discussed responses to the lens shone on racial justice issues in 2020, their thoughts on private foundation philanthropy’s responsibility and role in anti-racism efforts, and new directions for the work still to be done.
Racial Equity & Philanthropy Speakers
Caroline Altman Smith
Deputy Director, The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program
Caroline Altman Smith is deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. She supports the team’s domestic grantmaking, which funds higher education institutions and national nonprofit organizations that work to help more underserved students enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
Before joining Kresge in 2008, Caroline served for five years as a program officer at the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she worked to create opportunities for low-income, minority and first-generation students to enter college and complete their undergraduate degrees.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Caroline holds a master’s degree in philanthropic studies and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She is an instructor for The Grantmaking School at Grand Valley State University, previously chaired the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy National Board of Advisors, and currently serves on the board of the Council of Michigan Foundations and chairs the Grantmakers for Education board. She is also a member of the Reach Higher Advisory Board
Executive Director, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
Kym Eisner is Executive Director of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting both programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life for those affected by and living with spinal cord injury. As Executive Director, Kym is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day management, consistent with the mission, values and long-range strategic plan of the Foundation. Kym works with the Co-Trustees and Board of Directors on the vision of the organization as set forth by Craig H. Neilsen. She provides leadership in strategic planning and all operational areas, ensuring the development of innovative and effective programming. Kym has more than 25 years of hands-on non-profit leadership experience, with specific emphases on strategic planning, budgeting, managing board relationships, team-building, communications, marketing/branding and fundraising. Kym holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside and a Masters in Fine Arts and Non-Profit Management from UCLA.
Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer; TIAA
Corie Pauling is TIAA’s Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. Corie has extensive experience in strategy development, board interface, EEO policy, training/learning, I&D data analytics/metrics, supplier diversity, pay and performance equity, talent acquisition and engagement, employee/business resource groups, federal contractor compliance and workplace investigations. She also leads the TIAA enterprise’s Corporate Social Responsibility function, which last year led over 230 volunteer projects, 10K employee volunteers and $11M in corporate and workforce giving, globally.
An engaged civic leader and also a competitive 13-time marathoner, Corie was incredibly honored to receive the 2021 Elite 100 Black Women Leaders award by Diversity Woman Magazine, named on the 2020 list of North America’s Most Influential D&I Leaders by Hive Learning and also a 2019 Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and, very meaningfully, a TIAA Working Mother of the Year in conjunction with the national publication Working Mother and a recipient of the Young Civic Leader Award by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Corie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and also a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law.
Chair, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Valerie Rockefeller chairs the board of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a private foundation advancing social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. She also co-chairs BankFWD, a network to persuade banks to phase out financing for fossil fuel and to lead on climate. Her professional background is as a middle school special education teacher for adolescents with learning differences and emotional disabilities. She began her teaching career at Central Park East Secondary School in East Harlem, New York, and also taught in Australia.
Valerie has a M.Ed. in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education and a MAT in secondary Social Studies from Columbia University Teachers College. She majored in International Relations at Stanford University, and worked as a confidential assistant to Secretary Richard Riley at the U.S. Department of Education during the first Clinton administration. She also serves as a trustee of Achievement First, the Asian Cultural Council, Columbia University Teachers College, Greenwich Academy, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. She was a trustee of Spelman College, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Valerie lives with her daughters Percy and Lucy and her son Davis in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
Ruth V. Watkins
President, University of Utah
Dr. Ruth V. Watkins, the 16th president of the University of Utah, is guiding the state’s flagship institution to unprecedented heights. President Watkins’ signature initiatives include degree completion, innovative student funding models, strong partnerships with community stakeholders, uniting the campus as One U to drive innovation in research, education, and operational efficiency, and addressing grand societal challenges such as mental health and interpersonal violence.
President Watkins inspires the U to innovate, discover, and deliver exceptional value in higher education and health care. For students, this means an excellent and affordable educational experience culminating in timely degree completion. Under President Watkins’ leadership, the University of Utah has significantly increased student success as measured by graduation rates and new avenues for access to a U education. For faculty and staff, excellence means providing unwavering support that enables creativity, collaboration, and impact, exemplified by rising research funding—a record of $603 million in 2020—and steady growth in the quality and quantity of scholarship focused on urgent societal concerns. For patients, excellence means innovative, compassionate, and affordable care at a nationally recognized health center that is ranked among the top 10 in the country for quality.
President Watkins has guided the U in its role as the University for Utah, cultivating broad and deep connections to communities and being responsive to the state’s workforce needs. The U produces more graduates in high demand fields than any other state institution and those graduates also receive the highest starting salaries compared to other Utah public schools. As an anchor institution, the U is meeting health care needs throughout the state and the region. As a result of President Watkins’ leadership, financial support for the university is at an all-time high and the U is well on its way to meeting a capital campaign goal of $2 billion.
In November 2019, the U was selected as a new member of the Association of American Universities. This is an invitation-only, prestigious group of 65 leading research institutions marked by excellence in academic expertise and research impact, student success, and securing resources in support of core missions.
The U’s excellence is marked by the variety of programs ranked among the best in the country, including its undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs, full-time MBA program, and schools of computing, law, nursing, and medicine. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rated the U as No. 11 in the country for value in 2019. The U is ranked among the top 50 public research universities by U.S. News & World Report (2019).
President Watkins serves on the boards of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the Tanner Lectures on Human Values. She also is co-chair of the Research Intensive Committee of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, is a member of the AAU-APLU Presidents’ Working Group on Research Security and previously served as a member of the APLU’s Council of Academic Affairs Executive Committee. President Watkins also is serving on two boards focused on innovation and the role of post-secondary education in pandemic rescue and recovery—the COVID-19 Impact Coalition supported by Strada Education Network and the Higher Education Task Force sponsored by McKinsey.
Before her appointment in the spring of 2018, President Watkins served as the University of Utah’s senior vice president for academic affairs. She came to Utah in 2013 from the University of Illinois. At Illinois, President Watkins spent 20 years in leadership and faculty roles, including dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—where she guided the research, education engagement, financial, and developmental success of approximately 50 academic and research units—and vice provost and associate provost.
President Watkins graduated with the highest honors from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology. She earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in child language at the University of Kansas, where she was a National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral fellow. Her scholarship focuses on communication development and disabilities in young children. President Watkins’ research and training endeavors have been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as Lumina Foundation. She was named a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2003.
Breakout Session Facilitators
Kendall M. Campbell, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Director of the Research Group for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine
Kendall M. Campbell, MD is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Research Group for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. He is also a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine.
Dr. Campbell earned his MD from the University of Florida College of Medicine and came to East Carolina University from Florida State University College of Medicine, where he served as Co-founder and Co-Director for the Center for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine. He has interests in recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students and faculty and has dedicated his research to this area and to the area of underrepresented patients in the clinical setting. He has over 65 publications and has spoken nationally on this topic. His professional career includes previous academic appointments at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine in the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine and as Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs. During this time, he also served as Medical Director and Chief at Shands UF Eastside Community Practice, an interprofessional practice for the underserved. His clinical interests have traditionally been for underserved patients for which he has developed medication access initiatives, integrated pharmacy and social services with primary care and led community health education initiatives.
Sr. Director, Leadership and Principal Gifts
Dhiraj Chand is the Sr. Director, Leadership and Principal Gifts. In this role, he works to generate philanthropic support for academic initiatives, donor relations, student programs, research activities, and institutional goals. With over 12 years of experience in higher education leadership, major gift fundraising, campaign planning and strategy, corporate and foundation relations, board development, and communications, Dhiraj has helped donors be a force for good in the community. He is passionate about social justice equity and actively contributes to solutions-based collaborations that ensure all students have access to and through higher education.
Prior to his current role, Dhiraj worked with a range of diverse student programs within the offices of Student Affairs and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion. He is currently the Rape Recovery Center’s board chair, a non-profit dedicated to empowering those victimized by sexual violence and providing education in the community designed to improve the understanding of the causes/prevention of sexual assault.
Emma E. Houston
Special Assistant – Engagement & Program Development; Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Emma E. Houston brings significant experience in working with teams to create inclusive spaces and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion to create a positive impact across the community. She is a longtime community advocate and volunteer who serves on several boards and commissions.
Student Success Advocate
Tramaine Jones is a Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership & Policy. Over the last decade, Tramaine’s academic career has been built around working with students — starting as a peer mentor to serving as a Student Success Advocate over the past 5 years.
Faculty & Staff Programs Manager, Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Mauricio “Mo” Laguan works as a Program Manager at the University of Utah in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (OHEDI). He passionately works towards closing social inequities through informed policy implementation, culturally competent management, and leadership development. His current work focuses on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff, and learners in health sciences education. He will graduate with his Master of Public Administration and Gender Studies graduate certificate in 2021.
Director, Dream Center
Xris Macias is the Director of the Dream Center at the University of Utah where he works with undocumented students, mixed status students and their allies. Formerly, he worked in the U’s TRIO office for close to 9 years where he worked his way up to Associate Director. He is a coordinator of anti youth incarceration for “Save the Kids.” A U of U alum, he has a Bachelors Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, and a Master’s degree in Education Culture and Society. He is also a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellow, with the focus area of Latin America. Xris is also Co-Chair of Chicana/o Scholarship Fund. In his personal life, he enjoys watching movies, training Capoeira, and cruising his Lowrider on the weekends.
Director of Development; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Feleti Matagi is the Director of Development for the University of Utah’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion division. Feleti loves meeting new people from different backgrounds and life experiences and uses this passion to oversee strategic efforts for creating a cross-campus, philanthropic environment at the U.
Anthony J. Nocella II
Assistant Professor, Salt Lake Community College
Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Institute of Public Safety at Salt Lake Community College. He is the editor of the Peace Studies Journal, Transformative Justice Journal, and co-editor of five book series including Critical Animal Studies and Theory with Lexington Books and Hip Hop Studies and Activism with Peter Lang Publishing. He is the National Director of Save the Kids and Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies. He has published over fifty book chapters or articles and forty books. He has been interviewed by New York Times, Washington Post, Houston Chronicles, Fresno Bee, Fox, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, and Los Angeles Times.
Treasurer, Save the Kids
Alisha Page is a community advocate for change and passionate about ending mass incarceration. She has volunteered since 2007 working in advocacy for prisoners and their families and the pasty 9 years in reentry. Additionally, she has be an active comrade with Save the Kids originally with Wisdom behind the walls but now active where she is needed. She is currently the Treasurer and a board member. She actively attends juvenile court advocating for families caught up in the system. Ms. Page facilitates equity training for k-12 and often provides guidance for teacher retraining. Ms. Page is a small business owner since 2004 who is passionate about helping in the community. She is an active small business coach for Signature Planning and is passionate about helping small businesses startups and expand. She has been gardening for over fifteen years and actively involved in food justice. Her family and Save the Kids give over 6000 pounds of food to community food banks each year. She believes that food education is especially important when narrowing the educational divide that exists in communities. Good nutrition and education go hand in hand. Ms. Page holds a degree in Psychology concentration in Financial Management and B. A. in Sociology.
Ph.D. Candidate, School of Education at UCLA
Scott Robertson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Education at UCLA. He’s currently researching punk rock as a radical and transformative youth pedagogy. He grew up in Long Beach, California listening to and participating in his punk scene. Although his days in a punk band have been relegated to happy memories, he promotes and values emerging punk scenes coming out of Southern California through his work with Save the Kids. Scott is an adjunct professor in English as a Second language at Cypress Community College, and a Teaching Fellow for Musicology and Comparative Literature at UCLA.
Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
José E. Rodríguez, MD, FAAFP, serves as Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, is a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and Associate Medical Director at the Redwood Health Center.
As AVP, Dr. Rodríguez has worked with teams across health sciences to increase the actions taken in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout University of Utah Health. Scholarship has taken a central role in his office, and multiple manuscripts have been published highlighting the excellent work in equity, diversity, and inclusion that has been happening across the Health Sciences Campus. He has served on the diversity committee as well as recruitment committees supporting focused recruitment of underrepresented faculty and residents in medicine. He has presented at national conferences on our work and his research on diversity initiatives.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Utah, Dr. Rodríguez served as the co-chair of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion and the co-director for the Center for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine. His academic achievements include publishing several articles on the importance of URMs in academic medicine.
Professor of History and Cultural Anthropology, Skyline College
John Ulloa is a Professor of History and Cultural Anthropology at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA. His research examines the global diffusion of lowriding culture from the Mexican-American barrios to various countries outside of the United States including Japan, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Thailand. He speaks regularly on Lowriding and anthropology, and he is the host of the “Lowride Worldwide Happy Hour” podcast.
Manager of Alumni Clubs and Diverse Communities, University of Utah Alumni
Gabi Sanchez-Jones is the Manager of Alumni Clubs and Diverse Communities at the University of Utah Alumni Relations Office. In her role, she works to develop meaningful engagement opportunities for diverse alumni as well as alumni living in a variety of geographic regions.
Gabi earned a B.A. in International Business from Westminster College and is currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Utah. Prior to her current role, she has held positions in institutional advancement and community development at U Health, Westminster College, and Zions Bank. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Comunidades Unidads/ Communities United and is a member of the State of Utah’s MLK Human Right’s Commission.
Gabi is a New Jersey native whose passions include pizza and travel.
Janzell Tutor, MPA
Director of Alumni Relations and Development
Janzell Tutor’s long career at the University of Utah started with 10 years in student affairs before she started managing the College of Nursing’s alumni relations over five years ago. Through these years, Janzell has directed the launch of a renewed Alumni Weekend, including a Half Century Society; Distinguished and Young Alumni Awards; and an annual spring gala, Honors for Nursing which she and her team recently said goodbye to while celebrating its 25th anniversary. Not surprising with her roots in student affairs, Janzell strives to ensure current students have a great experience while in their program in hopes they will continue to be engaged alumni. Janzell was born and raised in Hawaii, received her bachelor’s degree in Business, moved to Utah, received her master’s in public administration and enjoys singing and performing around town. As a part Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean and Norwegian woman, she proudly proclaims her multi-racial identities and is invested in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. Though she does not seem old enough, she has been married for more than 18 years and adores her two “mediums” (as she calls them). She says the best part of her job is reconnecting with College graduates from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, many of whom have been disengaged for decades.
Associate Director, Overlook Family Medicine Residency Program; Health Start OB Clinic
Dr. Washington is an associate director and Women’s Health Coordinator for Overlook Family Medicine Residency Program and supervises our residents in the Health Start OB Clinic. She also co-chairs the Clinical Competency Committee and the Research and Scholarly Activities Committees. Dr. Washington began her academic career as faculty at the East Tennessee State- James Quillen School of Medicine as an assistant professor and residency program faculty at the Chattanooga-Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. She was an assistant professor at the UMDNJ-NJ Medical School (now Rutgers School of Health Science) Family Medicine Department, associate director of medical student education, and the family medicine clerkship director.
Dr. Washington received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, AL, and her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. She completed training in family medicine at Mountainside Family Medicine in Verona, NJ. She was the chair of the STFM URM Initiative for two-years. She is presently serving a two-year term as president of the STFM Foundation and member of the Board of Directors. She is working with the URM Faculty Mentoring Program and the URM Oversight Committee, which convened to guide the progress of the Underrepresented in Medicine Initiative work. She is one of the faculty for the Leadership through Scholarship fellowship for URM Faculty.
Program Manager; Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Jen Wilson, Program Manager in the Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, is passionate about social justice and continuously seeking out knowledge to learn how she can best use her privilege to provide platforms and opportunity for others.