Who We Are
The backbone of Parkes Philanthropy are our talented Consultants, a collective of dynamic individuals who have each demonstrated the commitment and ability to create change through a lifelong career dedicated to positive social impact. For every partner engagement, Parkes Philanthropy builds customized, interdisciplinary teams, and provides oversight and management needed for flawless execution.
Hover over a Consultant for an overview of their experience, or click through to their Full Bio to learn more.
Brandon Parkes recently served as a Senior Consultant for Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, LLC, the nations largest African-american fundraising firm in which he supports a wide variety of nonprofit clients including the Apollo Theater, National Collation of Black Civic Participation, and Global Community Charter School to name a few. Prior, he was the Nonprofit Engagement Manager at CariClub, an AI tech company that connects young professionals to leadership roles on nonprofit boards. Through this role, he supported over 350 organizations such as Teach for America, UNICEF, Make a Wish, and Museum of Modern Arts in capacity building initiatives. Previously, he has worked in development for an international humanitarian nonprofit, Right To Play, helping to secure over a million dollars in funding annually. He has formerly worked in a corporate philanthropic capacity for companies such as Morgan Stanley and Toyota. Through these professional titles, he has gained experience supporting effective philanthropic strategy that increases social impact, external/internal engagement and nonprofit capacity building. He has been humbled to be named one of CauseArtists’s “20 Inspiring African Americans Impacting the World Through Social Impact & Social Innovation”, named one of Startup Boost’s NYC 33 under 33, and has been featured in several publications such as Nonprofit Technology News, Blacks in Technology, Blavity and WhyWeGive. In his personal life, he is a Mentor for young social entrepreneurs through The Resolution Project, a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-NYC Emerging Leaders Committee and an NAACP Next Gen Leader. It’s his passion to empower any constituent looking to make a positive social impact, to do just that.
Anna has worked in the education and nonprofit sectors continuously for the last six years. She serves as the Board Chair for the Bulgarian English Speech Tournaments Foundation, a Bulgarian-American education non-profit that facilitates cross cultural dialogue and language development in high school students. Most recently, Anna was a Math Teacher in Title I schools, achieving student academic growth scores in the 99th national percentile for two consecutive years. Prior, she worked as a Strategic Lead Consultant at the Education Advisory Board and generated millions of dollars in returns through student success partnerships with more than a dozen public and private universities. Her passion for education was sparked when she received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant to Bulgaria, where she spent two years teaching English, managing a small nonprofit, and developing and implementing arts programs in local refugee camps. Anna has a Bachelors in International Affairs with a specialization in International Development from the George Washington University. She is presently pursuing her Masters in Education at the University of Virginia.
Sarah Haimes has over 5 years of experience in nonprofit development and special events for arts and cultural organizations. Her focus is on identifying creative and meaningful ways to build community and partnerships while generating financial support for organizations and causes that she resonates most with. She recently served as Manager of Individual Giving at Performa where she was responsible for raising upwards of $1 million annually and oversaw all aspects of development including individual giving and membership, special events ranging from intimate cultivation opportunities to the annual gala, corporate partnerships, database management, and development-related communications. She has since focused on her consultancy where she provides a range of services including event conceptualization and production, grant-writing, individual and corporate fundraising, and overall organization strategy for a variety of for- and non-profit clients. Her commitment to social impact and philanthropy is also evident in her personal interests; she currently serves as President of Aperture Foundation’s Young Professionals Advisory Board, Aperture Connect, as well as being a Collector’s Collaborative Member at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and a Board Member of the Delta Sigma Delta Upsilon Fund at Bowdoin College from where she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Visual Arts.
Brian Healey is the External Relations Manager for Right To Play, overseeing all event fundraising and third party fundraising events, brand partnerships and communications. Previously, he was the Sales and Digital Marketing Manager for the New York Empire, a tennis team competing in the World Team Tennis league. He began his career as a copywriter for a digital marketing firm, before moving into the nonprofit space as a founding employee of Athlete Ally, working with athletes to advocate for LGBT equality in sports. He also worked in corporate public affairs for GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group) and has worked at the US Open for six years, managing VIP experiences and player appearances.
Athena Lao works at the Institute of International Education (IIE) as a Regional Program Officer for Fulbright South and Central Asia. She has worked with a variety of education initiatives, companies, and organizations worldwide, and traveled to more than 60 countries and all 7 continents. In 2013, Athena co-founded the BEST Foundation, a civic education nonprofit which engages more than a 1,000 high school students across Bulgaria each year. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.S.Ed. in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a proud alumna of the Fulbright Program (English Teaching Assistantship to Bulgaria), Coca Cola Scholar, and Gates Millennium Scholar.
Ria Mehta is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education. She concurrently serves as the director for a $34 million federal Teacher and School Leader Grant that she co-authored in order to retain and sustain the pipeline of educators in the Bronx. In these capacities, Ria leads superintendent teams in aligning and implementing teacher quality and retention programs such as, clinically rich preparation of teachers, teacher leadership, and principal talent development. In her evaluation of these programs across the most concentrated high-needs schools in the city, she’s been able to improve program engagement and implementation to grow long-term outcomes such as, teacher quality and retention. Ria has led the sustainability of formal teacher leadership roles, leading teams to successfully scale teacher leadership across hundreds of schools, and continuously improve through impact evaluation studies. Ria has a Masters of Arts in Education Policy from Columbia University, and was nationally selected as a Education Pioneers Emerging Human Capital fellow to harness the skills in solving the toughest human capital challenges for school systems.
Sareen has over 5 years of experience in both the public and private sectors spanning such industries as healthcare, hospitality, public policy, and education. Her nonprofit experience includes working with organizations such as Save the Children aiding in their policy initiatives on Capitol Hill and helping secure humanitarian relief funding of over $34 million. She has been a part of multiple NIH-backed research studies and conducted her own impact evaluation in Guatemala, aiding in the effectiveness of a local health NGO. In her last role at the hospitality company, Selina, she conducted data analytics of over 60 hotels’ sustainability audits, setting KPI’s for standards from energy efficiency to employee health, estimating cost-savings of over $1 million. She has additional experience in corporate volunteerism, event planning, and culture-building. Sareen studied Public Health and Business Administration at the University of South Carolina, and has traveled and worked in 10 countries from Central America to the Middle East. She speaks Spanish and Arabic and currently resides in New York City.
Erin Holstein has 11 years of experience leading partnerships, community engagement, fundraising, and events for global organizations across the corporate social responsibility (CSR), healthcare, international development, human rights, and immigration sectors.
A purpose-driven leader, Erin is an advisor to Grapevine, a philanthropy social enterprise, on thought leader partnerships and opportunities to expand into CSR. Erin previously served as Social Impact Consultant at L+M Development Partners, where she created an impact report outlining the firm’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. As Area Director of Community Engagement at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Erin raised over $1.5 million through walk/run events and led strong corporate, volunteer, and donor relationships. At Ubuntu Pathways, Erin was the Outreach and Events Manager and raised $5 million through annual galas, as well as built a successful monthly giving program and young professional network. As Project Coordinator of the Unaccompanied Minors Program at Catholic Charities, Erin helped determine legal relief and safe outcomes for over 100 detained immigrant children. Additionally, Erin conducted research in Seville, Spain on the integration of Moroccan immigrant women.
A lifelong volunteer, Erin has supported numerous organizations, including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the International Rescue Committee, Amnesty International UK, Save the Children, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Erin is a former Board Member of URBAN REFUGEES and she currently leads a social impact group, Women on Purpose. Erin is a proud advocate and personal fundraiser for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, individually raising over $55,000 for the organization.
Erin holds a Master’s in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and she graduated summa cum laude from Connecticut College with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and Hispanic Studies. She speaks Spanish and lives in New York City.
Caitlin Kawaguchi is a cross-sector impact strategist and digital communications consultant.
As the Director of Marketing & Partnerships at Bird + Stone, she’s overseen the brand’s impact-centered marketing strategy to drive growth over the last three years. She also consults with nonprofits and campaigns on digital advocacy, and led digital communications on the successful campaign to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the country’s only national legislation setting a minimum standard of protection for youth in the juvenile justice system. In her previous role with Peacework, she managed cross-sector, shared-value initiatives for academic and corporate clients, including co-leading Project Belize, PwC’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility program in partnership with Belize’s Ministry of Education.
Caitlin received her B.A. in Global Studies from LIU Global, a 4-year intensive international program where 7/8 semesters are spent abroad. She has lived and worked in Costa Rica, Belize, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Turkey, the UK, South Africa, and Myanmar.
Sarah Brown currently serves as an Environmental Underwriter where she assesses pollution risks and provide clients with environmental liability coverage and risk management. In this role she is responsible for writing millions of dollars worth of premium and insurance limits. Sarah has a passion for environmental issues. She is a permanent volunteer for the Charles River Water Association where she collects and monitors river conditions in order to determine river trends and fluctuations over time. Previously, Sarah has performed multiple field studies in order to determine pollution sources in the Liesbeek and Ashuelot Rivers. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from Keene State College with a focus in hydrology and geography.
David Rein is a social entrepreneur from New York working to make a positive impact in the world. He is the owner of a boutique digital agency specialized in SEO, web design, & web development, and as of late, he has been providing pro-bono digital services to NGOs and nonprofits that are working towards creating more sustainable and just future for all people and animals. David is a passionate, insightful, and mission-driven person who works to direct the Earth on a better path and influence sustainable human growth and development. Rein Group LLC (https://reingroupllc.com), David’s agency has worked with over 150 clients, both new and established businesses, in drastically improving their overall online presence. Through creating and optimizing beautiful and functional websites from scratch to running comprehensive SEO campaigns that generate significant increases in organic traffic and conversions, they have helped countless businesses grow the bottom line and implement a “culture of SEO” into their existing company operations. David and his team are proud to have worked with Brandon in building parkesphilanthropy.com and are extremely excited at the opportunity to provide continued digital support services to Parkes Philanthropy that will help them in adding widespread, tangible value to non-profits both in the NYC area and across the world.
Our Trusted Advisors
As CEO of Bridge Philanthropic Consulting, Dwayne Ashley is renowned for his bold, strategic thinking and wise counsel in philanthropy. He is a successful entrepreneur In the course of his career, he raised more than $750 million. A fearless and authentic solicitor, he is committed to social justice and helping organizations of color maxImize their fundraising success. He advises non-profit, philanthropists and influencers globally.
A powerhouse of energy and a passion for fundraising, Dwayne has managed capital and annual campaigns and spearheaded development for such notable organizations as the Jazz at Lincoln Center, Success for Kids, 100 Black Men of America, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the United Negro College Fund, and the United Way of Texas Gulf Coast, among many others.
Dwayne is a thought-leader in the field and he has shared valuable concepts in numerous articles and in four books. They include Eight Steps to Raising Money: Measuring Your Fundraising Impact, Word for Word Publishing; 8 Winning Steps to Creating a Successful Special Event with Carol Campbell, Director of Events at Prairie View A&M University; I’ll Find A Way or Make One: A Tribute to HBCUs with noted journalist Juan Williams and Dream Internships: It’s Not Who You Know, But What You Know! He is an alumnus of Wiley College and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fel’s School of Government. He is very proud of his great-grand mother’s contribution of land to establish one of the oldest schools to educte blacks in Heflin, Louisiana. The school is now one of the oldest black churches in the state of Louisiana. Dwayne dedicates his work in philanthropy in memory of his late two older brothers, Ronald and Howard Ashley and his childhood friend, Late Houston City Councilman, Larry Green. Dwayne is a member of The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 1991.He has served as a member of the Boards of AFP in Philadelphia and New York Chapters. He is one of the Co-Founders of Jazz Houston, a performing arts organization dedicated to Jazz in Houston.
Kelsey Overby is the Head of Partnerships for the NationSwell Studio at NationSwell, a social impact company designed to accelerate social impact for purpose-driven leaders and organizations. The Studio focuses on strategic and creative engagements that change perceptions and move people to action. Previously, Kelsey gained experience across digital and social media, partnerships, and events, working with a variety of clients and partners from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies at the nexus of the public and private sectors. Kelsey currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Resolution Project, a global nonprofit that identifies and empowers an accelerated number of young leaders launching social ventures around the world. She is also an Advisor to Lensational, a social enterprise that empowers women through photography across 15+ countries. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she currently resides in New York City, where she enjoys hiking, sailing, and her morning coffee.
Edward Jones is the vice president of programs at ABFE. Prior to joining ABFE, he was the director of conference programming at the Council on Foundations, where he worked for 12 years. Prior to the Council, Edward worked for Micros Systems, as an operations manager, and at Amtrak, as manager, manpower utilization. Edward volunteers or supports several organizations through time, talent, and treasure. He was recently added to the 2013 Who’s Who in Black Washington, DC 3rd edition. Edward is a founding member of Black Benefactors, a social investment club/giving circle comprised of individuals, local businesses and organizations that are dedicated to addressing the societal ills facing Black people in the DC region. He is also a founding member of Black Philanthropic Alliance and Us Helping Us, People into Living, Inc. a regionally-focused HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment & overall health & well-being organization. He also serves on the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers Racial Equity Working Group. Edward is active member/volunteer of Zion Church in Landover, Maryland and founding member of its Justice League. Edward is an appointed member of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Serve DC Commission for volunteerism. Born in Los Angeles, Edward is a graduate of the University of Akron (OH). He especially enjoys connecting people.
Paul Grossinger is a New York-based entrepreneur, angel investor and syndicator. It’s his mission to drive social change through community development and high growth business investment.
As well as co-founding Gaingels, he is co-founder of Blue Jay, the first investment network backing Johns Hopkins alumni, and its allied student fund A-Level Capital and he teaches a short course on entrepreneurship annually at Johns Hopkins during January intersession. As a angel investor he has backed eight funds and 74 start ups.
As an entrepreneur he co-founded Pervasive Group and L&M Media and was the Chief Evangelist at Imperative. Paul is also a philanthropist, serving as a past Board of Governors member for StartOut and Board Member for Marriage Equality USA, an advisor for to Out in Tech, and as a Trustee Scholarship Advisory Group member for Johns Hopkins. A regular speaker and panelist, he also writes regularly for Inc.com and Huffington Post.
Robert Acton, JD is Principal and Founder of Cause Strategy Partners, a firm that provides strategic counsel and high-impact programming to foundations, companies and social good organizations with a specialized focus on building both board and executive leadership. We have extensive experience partnering with local, regional and national foundations; Fortune 500 corporate social responsibility groups; and nonprofit boards of directors, chief executives and staff leaders.
Rob has more than two decades of experience founding, leading and scaling social good organizations as both a nonprofit chief executive and board leader. He has provided strategic counsel and consulting to numerous Fortune 500 companies including Google, Barclays, LinkedIn, BlackRock, Citigroup, MasterCard, Cushman & Wakefield, ConEdison, Time Warner, HBO, The Macquarie Group, Alcoa, and Verizon. Rob has developed strong partnerships with leading philanthropic foundations including The Ford Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Robin Hood Foundation, to name a few. For the last ten years, Rob has frequently written, taught and presented on the topics of board service, nonprofit leadership, and social impact.
In 2011, Rob was appointed Executive Director of Taproot Foundation in New York City and served as interim leader of the foundation’s work in Chicago in 2014, as well. Taproot Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging business executives in pro bono service in order to strengthen the nonprofit sector and, in turn, our nation’s communities. Rob led the organization’s strategic effort to build a multi-million dollar pro bono marketplace in New York City. During his four-year tenure, revenue more than doubled and the number of nonprofit organizations served grew 220%. Partnering with more than two dozen Fortune 500 companies and philanthropic foundations, Rob helped drive an expansion of the organization’s programmatic offerings. Most notably, Rob worked with the Heckscher Foundation for Children, Google and Alcoa to build a board seat program that recruited and trained more than 100 executives and employees for board service in six U.S. cities.
Prior to Taproot, Rob led Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) in Chicago. During his seven year tenure as Executive Director, CGLA grew substantially in size, reputation and community impact, expanding ten-fold the number of indigent clients served, adding policy work as a key aspect of its programs, tripling the agency’s annual revenue, scaling pro bono legal service, and doubling the organization’s staff. Under Rob’s leadership, CGLA received Chicago’s prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence.
Training others to lead effectively is one of Rob’s passions. He has served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law and North Park University in Chicago. He is a frequent presenter with the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management and was on the design team of the Center’s New Nonprofit CEO Boot Camp. Since its inception, Rob has led a highly regarded session to help new nonprofit CEOs overcome the early challenges of nonprofit leadership. He presents regularly at conferences around the country.
Rob currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Development Committee of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, an organization representing and serving 1,500 member nonprofit organizations in the New York City region. He also serves on the Board Governance Committee of the NYC Anti-Violence Project. Previously, he was a founding Board member of Illinois Legal Aid Online, served on the Advisory Board of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, and served on the Board of Trustees of Spring Arbor University. He was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and confirmed by the Senate to serve on a state commission investigating police abuse.
Rob is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. He attended Michigan public schools, Spring Arbor University & Brooklyn Law School.
Rob’s causes: second chances for ex-offenders, nonprofit capacity building and access to the arts.