Sara Woods, President and CEO
215.790.1666, Ext. 470
Sara L. Woods, Esq. is privileged to serve as the President and CEO of Philadelphia Futures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State University, and a Juris Doctor and a Masters of Public Administration from Villanova University. She is also an adjunct professor at Villanova University School of Law where she teaches a Public Interest Lawyering course. Sara previously served as Executive Director of Philadelphia VIP, a nonprofit that recruits, trains, and supports lawyers who volunteer to help low-income Philadelphians tackle critical legal problems. Sara also worked as the Director of Public Interest Careers and Pro Bono Programs at Villanova University School of Law. Sara serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Access Matters, which works to equalize access to sexual and reproductive health care for teens and adults in need, and on the advisory board of the Crime Victims Law Project. Her favorite college course was Women’s Studies 001 as it changed her college and career trajectory, and she is grateful to Professor Donna Hughes for that experience.
Naima Campbell, Executive and Development Assistant
215.790.1666, Ext. 424
Naima Campbell came to Philadelphia Futures through its merger with White-Williams Scholars in July 2011. For ten years, she brokered opportunities for high school girls through the Charles Ellis Trust for Girls and recently took on the role as Executive and Development Assistant. Naima holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Merchandising from Philadelphia University. Her favorite college course was Ideas and Images, which provided many visits to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Susan Benton Clover, Accountant Consultant
215.790.1666, Ext. 445
Susan Benton Clover is Philadelphia Futures’ Accountant Consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Penn State University. Sue has had her own accounting practice for over 30 years. She specializes in nonprofit organizations and enjoys working with a large variety of clients including museums, arts organizations, and social service agencies. Sue especially likes the people she meets in her work: all intelligent, interesting employees dedicated to the mission of their organizations!
Mary Anne Lucey, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
215.790.1666, Ext. 446
Mary Anne Lucey is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Philadelphia Futures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from West Chester University. Immediately before joining Philadelphia Futures, she worked as the Executive Director for a nonprofit that provides legal solutions to handling debt and budget issues for low-income Philadelphians. Her prior work experiences include teaching 7th grade for five years and serving as the Assistant Director of the Center for Justice in Omaha, Nebraska, where she organized a variety of fundraising efforts for the organization.
Dessie Thomas, Vice President, Finance and Administration
215.790.1666, Ext. 417
Dessie Thomas came to Philadelphia Futures in 2020 to serve as the Vice President of Finance and Administration. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from American University and a Masters in Public Administration degree from Pace University. Dessie relocated to the New York City area in 2005 and has worked in operations at various charter school networks and nonprofits. Dessie’s most memorable college experience was being in a commercial law class in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001 and seeing the drastic positive change in everyday life that was a result of that tragedy.
Outreach and Engagement
Shari Cumberbatch, Director of Volunteer and Alumni Engagement
215.790.1666, Ext. 412
Shari Cumberbatch is the Director of Volunteer and Alumni Engagement at Philadelphia Futures. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Temple University. Shari has worked at Philadelphia Futures for over ten years and has served in various capacities, including as a College Advisor, Special Projects Manager, Sponsor-A-Scholar Program Assistant, and College Access Coordinator. Shari’s favorite college courses were Human Resource Management and Marketing Research. In Human Resource Management, she researched other countries’ customs and participated in a mock negotiation using her own research. In Marketing Research, she and her team surveyed their peers and created a new pizza topping combination that a local pizza shop agreed to make for their presentation.
Bonnie Dugan, Director of Communications
215.790.1666, Ext. 422
Bonnie Dugan is the Director of Communications at Philadelphia Futures. She earned a Master of Science degree in Nonprofit Leadership from University of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University. Prior to this role, Bonnie worked as the Manager of Marketing and Communications for Northern Children Services. Before making the transition to nonprofit communications, she spent four years working in the digital media industry as a web content writer, social media account manager, and website manager. Bonnie began her career working for homeless street newspapers in Dublin and Philadelphia. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Give and Go Athletics. As a Philadelphia native, Bonnie discovered her love for community journalism at Temple University, which allowed her to highlight organizations and people in the city creating significant social change.
Madison Milano, Events & Project Manager
215.790.1666, Ext. 463
Madison Milano is the Events & Project Manager at Philadelphia Futures. Madison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Communications from Cabrini University, where her love of event planning started by being heavily involved in campus programming. Madison’s most recent experience prior to joining Philadelphia Futures was at a local nonprofit called B Lab where she served as the Senior Operations Associate working on company financials, employee engagement, and office management. Through her work and experience with nonprofits, Madison has developed a passion for mission-driven businesses. Her favorite college experience was studying abroad on Semester at Sea, a program that took her to 15 different countries in four months while traveling on a cruise ship.
Michelle Mora, Outreach and Engagement Assistant
215.790.1666, Ext. 425
Michelle Mora is the Outreach and Engagement Assistant for Philadelphia Futures. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Society along with a minor in French from Franklin & Marshall College (F&M). Michelle has interned with a number of different college access organizations, both local and national. Additionally, she had the opportunity to work with an amazing team of professionals at F&M’s career services office. Her passion for college access stems from her background as a first-generation college student from a low-income household and her involvement in a program very similar to Philadelphia Futures in high school. Her most memorable college experience was witnessing first-hand the impact of this type of work as a summer Teaching Assistant when she returned to her program for an internship.
College Access Programs
Christen Johnson, Vice President, College Access
215.790.1666, Ext. 438
Christen Johnson serves as the Vice President of College Access at Philadelphia Futures. She earned her Master of Science in Education Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She began her career in education teaching middle and high school in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Her most impactful college learning experience came from her service through Americorps, where she was fortunate enough to learn from the late Grace Lee Boggs while developing the Lives of Urban Children and Youth initiative to connect university resources to underserved communities in Detroit.
Jonathan Edwards, Director of Academics
215.790.1666, Ext. 449
Jonathan Edwards is the Director of Academics and the Director of our Young Men’s Initiative. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship from Brown University. Committed to the mission of providing equitable access to educational opportunities for K-12 students, Jonathan has 11 years of experience in education and nonprofit management. Jonathan started his professional career as a regional coordinator in Washington, DC for the American Bar Association’s program Championing Our Students. He then joined Teach for America in Providence, RI, where he taught secondary math and helped to align the secondary math curriculum. Prior to joining Futures, Jonathan was a management consultant with UPD Consulting in Baltimore, MD. In this role, Jonathan worked with principals at three turnaround schools in the Richmond, VA school district to create and implement action plans to improve student achievement. His favorite college experience was beating Harvard and winning the Ivy League Championship in football in 2005 and 2009.
Brittany Lewis, Director, College Connection Campus Initiatives
215.790.1666, Ext. 459
Brittany Lewis serves as the Director of College Connection Campus Initiatives. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Elementary and Special Education from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Columbia University. Brittany’s passion for supporting students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds stems from her experience as a College Adviser with the College Advising Corps and serving as a Senior Assistant Dean of Admission & Coordinator for College Access and Inclusion at Franklin & Marshall College. One of her favorite college memories was being a student ambassador at Millersville University’s Admission Office.
Ellen Ridyard, Director of Sponsor-A-Scholar
215.790.1666, Ext. 460
Ellen Ridyard is the Director of Sponsor-A-Scholar. She is a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Vassar College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in English & History from the University of Pennsylvania. Ellen brings 12 years of experience to Philadelphia Futures as an educator in the service of Philadelphia youth pursuing higher education pathways. Prior to joining Futures, she served as a college advisor at a charter high school in West Philadelphia and an academic advisor at Temple University’s College of Science and Technology. Ellen is committed to creating opportunities to maximize college exposure to the best-fit colleges for Futures’ students. She enjoys collaborating with Futures students, families, staff, and college admissions counselors to support Philadelphia Futures’ stellar college guidance expertise. Her favorite college courses were creative writing workshops, and her favorite college experiences were playing sports and studying abroad.
Tim Atwood, Associate Director of Campus Initiatives and Senior College Access Coordinator
215.790.1666, Ext. 419
Tim Atwood is the Associate Director of Campus Initiatives and a Senior College Access Coordinator with the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s University and his Master of Education in School Counseling from West Chester University. Prior to coming to Philadelphia Futures, Tim worked directly with Philadelphia public high school students in several capacities. Most recently, Tim worked at Furness High School as a Site Monitor with GEAR UP, directly supporting the college-going goals of the students. Tim got his professional start in Philadelphia as a Philly Fellows Americorps VISTA, serving at the After School Activities Partnership to support after school enrichment efforts across the city. His favorite college experience was spending his spring breaks volunteering with Habitat for Humanity with hundreds of his peers from SJU.
Daniel Ceva, College Access Coordinator
215.790.1666, Ext. 429
Daniel Ceva is the College Access Coordinator for the Sponsor-a-Scholar Program. He supports 9th grade scholars. Daniel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Rowan University. His experience has revolved around working in education both in and outside of the classroom. Prior to this role, Daniel served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year in New Orleans working with middle school students in English Language Arts. Most recently he worked with the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance helping to build out an internship program for college students. His favorite college class was Historical Methods because that was the first time he had access to a vast amount of resources for research.
Lina Duran, College Access Coordinator
215.790.1666, Ext. 452
Lina Duran is a College Access Coordinator for the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Practice and Policy from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts degree in School Counseling with a bilingual extension from Manhattan College. Prior to her role at Futures, Lina worked as a College and Career Counselor at the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund. During her two years of service with AmeriCorps VISTA, she became passionate about eliminating the educational achievement gap and sought employment in that field. Her favorite college experience was studying abroad at the Università Degli Studi di Verona in Italy, where she learned that the world is her classroom.
Jonathan Holbert, Senior College Access Coordinator
215.790.1666, Ext. 466
Jonathan Holbert is a Senior College Access Coordinator with the College Connection Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Eastern University and a Master of Science degree in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College. Prior to this role, Jonathan worked as a Student Financial Services Representative at Chestnut Hill College, where he helped students and their families determine how they could afford a college education. He now leverages his previous experience by supporting Futures’ students in navigating the financial aid application process. His favorite college experiences are the moments in which he discovered previously unknown interests by taking courses recommended by trusted mentors.
Masoud House, College Access Coordinator
215.790.1666, Ext. 416
Masoud House joined Philadelphia Futures in 2021 as a College Access Coordinator with the Sponsor-A-Scholar Program. A native New Yorker, he graduated from several longtime New York institutions; he obtained a Media Communications diploma from the specialized high school Brooklyn Technical, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing minor from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Lehman College. He has taught ELA and ESL in both NYC and in China, always working in communities of need. After traveling through several continents, several countries, and a few dozen cities, he has settled down in Philadelphia to ensure that all students have the same equity, access, and resources to follow their passions and goals. He loves creative courses; he believes communicating through mediums like literature and film is a perfect way to build empathy and understanding.
Shanise Redmon, Academic Services Manager
215.790.1666, Ext. 453
Shanise Redmon is the Academic Services Manager at Philadelphia Futures. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Africology and African American Studies from Temple University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a focus on Magazine Journalism from Temple University as well. Prior to this role, Shanise worked as the Program Manager of Mighty Writers South for nearly four years leading the Teen Scholars Program, After-School Academy Program for sixth through eighth graders, as well as Mentorship Programming. Her favorite college courses were Readings in African American Social Thought, Black Contemporary Art, and Creative Writing: Plays.
Renee Ross, Senior College Access Coordinator and Data Analyst
215.790.1666, Ext. 455
Renee Ross is a Senior College Access Coordinator and Data Analyst. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Northeastern University and a Master of Arts in Education and International Development from University College London. Prior to her work at Philadelphia Futures, Renee worked at an impact investment firm in Cape Town, South Africa, where she had the opportunity to help micro-entrepreneurs learn how to manage their businesses in township communities. Renee is excited to be back in her hometown city, supporting students as they embark on their educational journey. Some of her favorite college memories involve her time studying abroad, immersing herself in different cultures to better understand and appreciate the diverse world in which we live.
Kaeden Thompson, Director of College Admissions
215.790.1666, Ext. 413
Kaeden Thompson is the Director of College Admissions on the College Access Team. He grew up internationally and moved to the United States to attend college. At Wesleyan University, he attained a Bachelor of Arts in History and Environmental Studies. Kaeden then went on to complete a graduate program at Boston University, earning a Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies. Prior to joining Philadelphia Futures, Kaeden worked in higher education as the Assistant Director of Multicultural Admissions at Simmon University in Boston, and then as an admissions counselor for Penn State University. Kaeden’s passion for educational access stems from his involvement in administration as a student at Wesleyan, particularly his role as a senior interviewer engaging with prospective students.
College Success Programs
Amy Perez, Vice President, College Success
215.790.1666, Ext. 448
Amy Perez is the Vice President of College Success. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing from Eastern University and a Masters of Social Work from Temple University. Prior to working at Philadelphia Futures, Amy worked for eight years in student success, advising, and retention at Eastern University, where she continues to serve as a part-time faculty member in the social work department. She has also worked in city government and nonprofit organizations doing program development and assessment, teaching and staff development, direct client service, and research. One of Amy’s favorite college experiences is building homes with Habitat for Humanity in West Philadelphia and putting a roof on a new home in Homestead, Florida as part of Habitat’s hurricane recovery work.
Romer Acosta, College Success Advisor
215.790.1666, Ext. 423
Romer Acosta is a College Success Advisor. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Human Resource Management and a Masters of Education in Adult & Organizational Development from Temple University. Before joining the Philadelphia Futures family, Romer served for 2 ½ years as a Financial Aid & Admissions Counselor at Arcadia University, where he worked closely with students from the Philadelphia area and students entering the university through the Gateway to Success Summer Program. Romer’s favorite college experience was working as a Graduate Extern in the Office of Leadership Development, where he was responsible for creating leadership training and assisting students in fostering the skills, knowledge, competencies, and values necessary to become informed and responsible citizens.
Aissetou Diawara, College Success Advisor
Aissetou Diawara is one of the new College Success Advisors. She is a Philadelphia Futures College Connection alum, Class of 2015, and graduated from Girls High. She attended Temple University, majoring in public health as an undergrad and earning a Masters in Public Health in 2020. She has held multiple internships in the non-profit sector of Philadelphia and served as an instructor in a class for first-year college students at Temple. Aissetou is quadrilingual able to communicate in Soninke, Wolof, French, and English. Her most memorable college course was called “Youth and Social Media” and focused on the negative effects of social media on mental health.
Abby Godfrey, Senior College Success Advisor
215.790.1666, Ext. 462
Abby Godfrey is a Senior College Success Advisor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Ursinus College and a Juris Doctor from Widener University Delaware Law School (formerly Widener University School of Law.) Prior to this role, Abby spent over a decade in the for-profit education sector in a variety of instructional and student support roles, including serving as the Program Director for a General Education program and a Student Services Manager across multiple campuses. She currently teaches as an online visiting professor. Her favorite experiences in college involved participating in thoughtful and passionate discussions in Women’s Studies courses.
Chantel Jones, College Success Advisor
215.790.1666, Ext. 421
Chantel Jones is a College Success Adviser at Philadelphia Futures. She is native to Philadelphia, and graduated from William Bodine High School for International Affairs. Chantel attended Millersville University as a first generation college student to obtain a Bachelor Degree in Cultural Anthropology with a triple minor in Spanish, International Studies and Latino/as Studies. She a love of learning cultures and languages and studied abroad in Vina Del Mar, Chile for one semester. Chantel received her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Temple University, while also working as a College Adviser via Franklin & Marshall College through the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps. As an adviser she worked in Camden, New Jersey with high school students at the Dr. Charles Brimm Medical Arts and Woodrow Wilson High Schools.
Kelsie LeVan, Director of Career Initiatives
215.790.1666, Ext. 430
Kelsie LeVan is the Director of Career Initiatives. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Elizabethtown College and a Master of Science degree in Higher Education from Drexel University. After college, Kelsie completed three years of service: one year with City Year Philadelphia and two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA at LIFT Philadelphia. Most recently, Kelsie spent three years at Drexel University working as a Senior Cooperative Education Advisor. Her favorite college experience was working part-time in the Office of Admissions during the academic year and full-time every summer, which is where she developed her passion for higher education and for connecting students to meaningful educational and professional development opportunities.
Kaisha Vilcinor, OCS Program and Operations Administrator
215.790.1666, Ext. 420
Kaisha Vilcinor is the OCS Program and Operations Administrator at Philadelphia Futures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Temple University. Kaisha spent the majority of her time at Temple interning at the Tuttleman Counseling Resiliency Resource center, where she got to help students find the right tools to manage college and life stress. Her favorite college course was The Sociology of Popular Culture, a course that allowed her to write about her favorite books and television shows from a sociological perspective. Kaisha is originally from Haiti but grew up in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. As a first generation immigrant and college student herself, Kaisha is excited to work with students that remind her so much of her own high school to college journey.
Rebecca Welch, Senior College Success Advisor
215.790.1666, Ext. 465
Rebecca Welch is a Senior College Success Advisor and previously served as a College Access Coordinator for the College Connection program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Brandeis University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to this role, and after completing a social work internship at a Philadelphia high school, Rebecca worked as a college counselor with Penn’s Upward Bound Math Science program, serving students with similar backgrounds to those at Futures. Before graduate school, Rebecca worked at a small law firm in Boston, where she helped facilitate the handling of their guardianship cases in partnership with a local hospital. Rebecca cites her time as Captain of her college crew team as one of her most formative college experiences, as it taught her the importance of working with and leading a team, setting goals, and pushing herself past her own perceived limits.
Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls
Marcia Johnston, Director
215.790.1666, Ext. 427
Marcia Johnston is the Director of the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and an M.B.A from Saint Joseph’s University. Marcia’s path to Philadelphia Futures is unconventional, due to her extensive experience in financial management, process improvement, and employee development at Verizon. Prior to her Ellis Trust role at Philadelphia Futures, she worked on a variety of initiatives including the Step Up to College Guide and companion mobile app. Leveraging her prior corporate experience, she has also developed and delivered networking and career readiness workshops for our high school students and collegians.
Hana Mura, Program Manager
215.790.1666, Ext. 442
Hana Mura is the Program Manager for the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Latin American Studies from Temple University. She comes to Philadelphia Futures after working in international crisis management and 3 years serving as a Sustainable Agriculture Extensionist in Panama with the Peace Corps. It was in Panama that Hana found a passion for working with the young women and entrepreneurs of her community. Her most memorable college experience was her time spent as an apprentice at 9-acre community share farm, which got her out of her natural city habitat and into the dirt growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Board of Directors
Raj Tewari, Chair, Board of Directors
Chief Operating Officer, Glenmede
Drexel University, Bachelor of Science
Olenga Anabui, Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Director, Penn Medicine
Northwestern University, Bachelor of Science in Economics and Organizational Studies
Penn State University, Master of Business Administration
University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health
Margaret Sherry Lurio, Secretary, Board of Directors
Vice President, Lurio & Associates, P.C.
Boston College, Bachelor of Arts
Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor
Stuart George, Treasurer, Board of Directors
Senior Vice President, Head of Equity Trading, Macquarie Investment Management
Franklin University, Bachelor in Banking and Finance
Kevin R. Boyle, Chair Emeritus, Board of Directors
Co-Chairman, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
Saint Joseph’s University, Bachelor of Science
Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor
Chief Strategy Officer, Benefits Data Trust
Yale University, Bachelor of Arts
Harvard University, Master of Public Policy
Campus Recruiter, Credit Suisse
Rutgers University, Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
Rutgers University, Master of Social Work
Principal, Northeast High School
Central Washington University, Bachelor of Arts
West Governors University, Master of Science
Vice President and Assistant Treasurer, Comcast Corporation
Widener University, Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Temple University, Master of Business Administration
Executive Director, Portfolio Management
Northwestern University, Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
University of Pennsylvania, PhD in Bioengineering
Darrien Davenport, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Multicultural Engagement and Assistant Vice President of College Life, Gettysburg College
West Chester University, Bachelor of Science
Duquesne University, Master of Science
Northeastern University, Doctorate of Education
Otis D. Hackney, III
Chief Education Officer, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education
Temple University, Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Education
Lehigh University, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Partner, Artemis Factor
Wesleyan University, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry/Biochemistry
Lehigh University, Master of Science in Chemistry
Villanova University, Master of Business Administration
IT Vice President, Exelon Corp
Drexel University, Bachelor of Science in Information Science & Technology
Villanova University, Six Sigma Green Belt Program
David P. O’Connor
General Counsel, Head of Legal & Compliance, First Eagle Investment Management
Gordon College, Bachelor of Arts
Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor
Rónké Òké, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongings and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Academic of the Fine Arts
Spelman College, Bachelor of Arts
University of Memphis, Master of Arts
Penn State University, Ph.D.
Vice President, Global Learning and Leadership Development, Medtronic
Susquehanna University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and French
Columbia University, Master of Arts in Social-Organizational Psychology
Melvin Pitts, MST
Supervising Senior Associate, Chubb
Penn State University, Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Minor in Business Law
Philadelphia University, Master of Science in Taxation
Practice Leader, Leadership Solutions, Inc.
Villanova University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics
American University, Master of Science in Organization Development
Technology R&D Senior Principal, Accenture
Drexel University, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Drexel University, Master of Science in Computer Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Science Writing
Richard L. Williams
News Anchor, 6abc
Howard University, Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism
Head of Client Solutions’, Macquarie Group
Penn State University, Bachelors Degree