24 New England Nonprofit Leaders Receive New Fellowship To Advance Policies That Help Children, Families And Communities
Contact:  Amy Seif
Carsey Institute

Beth Potier
UNH Media Relations
September 21, 2006

DURHAM, N.H. -- Twenty-four leading practitioners working to improve opportunities for families and communities in Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire have been awarded Policy Leadership Fellowships by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The fellows will participate in strategic workshops and work together to strengthen the collective capacity of northern New England to advance policies that help families, children and communities. The fellowship also includes an award of $1000 to support the continuation of the work of these nonprofit leaders in their home states.

“This fellowship program offers unique opportunities for the region’s nonprofit leaders to collaborate with others in the field to define and move a policy agenda to benefit families, children, and communities in the New England region,” says Kit St. John, Executive Director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy and policy liaison for the Maine fellows.

Fellowship recipients include:

  • New Hampshire
    • Mary Ellen Jackson, Executive Director, NH Center for Nonprofits, Concord
    • Ellen Shemitz, President Children’s Alliance of NH, Concord
    • Tom Bunnell, Director, Franklin Pierce Health, Law and Ethics Institute, Concord
    • Juliana Eades, President, NH Community Loan Fund, Concord
    • Cathy MacDowell, Director, Family Resource Center, Gorham
    • Steve Norton, Director, NH Center for Public Policy Studies, Concord
    • Jack Lightfoot, Director of Advocacy, Child and Family Services, Manchester
    • Laurel Redden, Public Policy Associate (on leave), NH Council of Churches, Pembroke
  • Maine
    • Jesse Graham, Associate Director, Maine People’s Alliance, Portland
    • Sarah Standiford, Executive Director, Maine Women’s Policy Center, Hallowell
    • Ana Hicks, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Project, Augusta
    • Brenda Peluso, Director of Public Policy, Maine Association of Nonprofits, Portland
    • Carla Dickstein, Senior Program Officer, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., Wiscasset
    • Diane Stetson, Board Member, Maine Children’s Alliance, Augusta
    • Andrew Roth-Wells, Communication Coordinator, Developmental Disabilities Council, Augusta
    • Mike Beliveau, Executive Director, Environmental Health Strategy Center, Bangor
  • Vermont
    • Paul Cillo, President and Executive Director, Public Assets Institute, Hardwick
    • Barbara Postman, Policy Coordinator, Vermont Children’s Forum, Montpelier
    • Hal Cohen, Executive Director, Central Vermont Community Action, Barre
    • Hunt Blair, Director of VT Public Policy, Bi-State Primary Care Association, Montpelier
    • Ellen Kahler, Executive Director, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Montpelier
    • Dorigen Keeney, Child Nutrition Specialist, VT Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, Burlington
    • Philene Taormina, Director of Advocacy, AARP Vermont, Montpelier
    • Gus Seelig, Executive Director, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Montpelier

The program will be launched at a two-and-a-half day residential seminar in Durham, N.H., intended to provide two vital services: an opportunity for these leaders to join their peers in reflecting on the strategic focus of their work, as well as access to recognized state, regional and national policy experts and funders in the field. Through the seminar, fellows will also be invited to consider the potential for strategic collaboration at the state and/or regional levels to support their efforts.

This Policy Fellows Seminar will open on November 29, 2006 with a presentation by Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a nationally reknown analyst of how federal tax and spending policy impact low and moderate income Americans. His presentation, titled Addressing Federal Fiscal Pressures on Human Services Programs, is also open to the public on an advance registration basis. To register, contact the Carsey Institute at amy.seif@unh.edu.

“We are pleased to welcome this wonderful group of leaders to the opening year of a three year policy initiative,” says Carsey Institute director Cynthia “Mil” Duncan. “Each year, we will select a new cohort of outstanding nonprofit leaders to collaborate on issues affecting family and community well-being. The Carsey Institute will also provide ongoing resources to program alumni.”

This work will be led by Andrea Colnes, newly hired director of Carsey’s Policy Leadership Initiative and former executive director of the Northern Forest Alliance. This initiative is supported by the Jane’s Trust, with additional support for participants from the Maine Community Foundation, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and the Vermont Community Foundation.

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire conducts research and analysis on the challenges facing families and communities in New Hampshire, New England, and the nation. The Carsey Institute sponsors independent, interdisciplinary research that documents trends and conditions affecting families and communities, providing valuable information and analysis to policymakers, practitioners, the media, and the general public. Through this work, the Carsey Institute contributes to public dialogue on policies that encourage social mobility and sustain healthy, equitable communities.

The Carsey Institute was established in May 2002 with a generous gift from UNH alumna and noted television producer Marcy Carsey.