Click on a name for bio.
To send a staff member an email, use this format: first name initial (example:

Luis Guardia, President

Naiha Anib, IT Technician

Alexandra Ashbrook, Director of Root Causes and Specific Populations

Martha Assefa, Anti-Hunger Associate, D.C. Hunger Solutions

Diane Bacote, Staff Assistant, Administration and Regranting

Jordan Baker, Senior Communications Manager

Colleen Barton Sutton, Communications Director

Cherise Bathersfield, Senior Content Writer / Editor

Jacqueline Bavaro, Program Manager, New Jersey Food Security Initiative

Susan Beaudoin, Program Manager, Root Causes and Specific Populations

Kelsey Boone, Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst

Alexis Bylander, Senior Policy Analyst and Healthy School Meals for All Campaign Senior Manager

Vijay Das, Government Affairs Senior Lobbyist

Rashan A. Datcher, Senior Human Resources Manager, People and Culture

Lauren Drumgold, Emerson National Hunger Fellow

Andrea Dulanto, SNAP Anti-Hunger Program Assistant, Maryland Hunger Solutions

Jessica DurovyState Initiatives Development Associate

Elisabet Eppes, Deputy Director, Maryland Hunger Solutions

Crystal FitzSimons, Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs

Michelle Griffin, Staff Associate

Julia Gross, Senior Anti-Hunger Program Associate, Maryland Hunger Solutions

Clarissa Hayes, Deputy Director, School and Out-of-School Time Programs

Steve Hayward, Senior Communications Coordinator

Geraldine Henchy, Director of Nutrition Policy and Early Childhood Programs

Kelly D. Horton, Chief Program Officer

Erin HysomSenior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst

LaMonika Jones, Director, D.C. Hunger Solutions

Betsy Kerrigan, Director of Network Engagement

Timothy Klipp-LockhartGovernment Affairs Manager

Allison Lacko, Research Scientist

Irene Lewis, SNAP Policy Analyst

Sally Mancini, WIC CIAO Project Manager

Angie Nguyen-Chau, Senior Accountant 

Denise OdellExecutive Assistant to the President

Gina Plata-Nino, SNAP Deputy Director

Etienne Melcher Philbin, Chief of Staff

Brittani Riddle, Manager, Communications – State Initiatives

JD Robinson, Anti-Hunger Program Coordinator – SNAP, Maryland Hunger Solutions

Alan Sharpe, Senior Technology Coordinator

Rebecca Shaw, Senior Digital Communications Coordinator

Dominique Small, Human Resources Coordinator

Nomi Small, Network and Events Coordinator

Marko Stankovic, Senior Development Associate

Ellen Teller, Chief Government Affairs Officer

Polly Thibodeau, Deputy Director, Development

Blake Turpin, Anti-Hunger Program Associate, D.C. Hunger Solutions

Muhammad Usman, Financial Analyst

Jalal Vardag, Director of Finance and Risk Management

Michael J. Wilson, Director, Maryland Hunger Solutions

Luis Guardia

Luis Guardia serves as president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.

Prior to FRAC, Guardia served in top leadership roles in global philanthropy and international development organizations including Global Impact, The ONE Campaign, and the International Center for Research on Women. Guardia began his nonprofit career in arts and media organizations such as NPR, CPB, the Guggenheim Collection, and the Phillips Collection. Guardia also serves on the Boards of ActionAid, Population Action International (PAI), and Kalanidhi Dance.

He received his M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University, his MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.

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Naiha Anib

Bio to come.

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Alexandra Ashbrook

Alex is the Director of Root Causes and Specific Populations at FRAC. She works to drive new initiatives and partnerships to improve public policies to end hunger in the U.S. Current focus areas include spearheading FRAC’s efforts to reduce food insecurity among older adults and immigrant families and engage the anti-hunger network in permissible election-related activities to build the political will necessary to end hunger. She helps build out partnerships including those with medical and health organizations, veterans, military families, and LGBTQ communities.

From 2007–2015, Alex served as the director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of FRAC, where she led efforts to create a hunger-free community and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income residents of the nation’s capital. From 1996–2006, Alex served as a senior program director at Street Law, the national nonprofit dedicated to transforming democratic ideals into citizen action. Alex received her J.D. magna cum laude and LL.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. from Haverford College.

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Martha Assefa

Bio to come.

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Diane Bacote

Diane has worked with FRAC since 2016 and was hired in March 2021 moved into the role of Staff Assistant, Administration and Regranting. She works closely with the Director of Human Resources and Operations and D.C. Hunger Solutions.

Diane’s background experience is in human resources. She has worked in the private sector as the Church Administrator for National Baptist Memorial Church, the Department of Energy as a Senior Administrative Assistant, and as the Support Services Specialist for the Office of the People’s Counsel of DC.

She has recently completed her B.A. in Business Administration from Strayer University.

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Jordan Baker

Jordan Baker joined FRAC in April 2020 as the senior communications manager. In this role, she is responsible for initiating and implementing media relations strategies and creating compelling content across a range of platforms.

Most recently, she served as the Communications & Outreach Manager for the National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC), growing NCLC’s presence among student body leaders and the broader higher education policy community. In her role, she managed day-to-day digital, media, and advocacy activities on behalf of the organization. Prior to NCLC, she served as an Assistant Account Executive for JPA Health Communications, managing media opportunities, social media campaigns, and event planning on behalf of healthcare and wellness clients.

She holds a Master of Arts in Professional Communication degree from Southern Utah University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts as a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). She is an active member of the JCSU DC Alumni Chapter and ColorCommDC, a business community for women of color in the communications industry.

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Colleen Barton Sutton

Colleen joined FRAC in October 2014, as communications director. In this role, she spearheads the development and implementation of a multi-faceted strategic communications framework to help advance the organization’s mission to end hunger in America.

Prior to FRAC, Colleen was the founder and principal of Red Jacket Communications, LLC, a boutique public relations and event firm. Colleen designed and executed strategic communications plans for global and national policy and program initiatives, research reports, brand development, fundraising promotions, product launches, and major events. Her clients included government contractors, small businesses, and international and national nonprofits. In her previous work with nonprofits, including Catholic Charities USA, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Save the Children, Colleen created and implemented communications efforts that increased awareness, advocacy and greater investment in programs and services aimed at underserved populations. At Save the Children, she built a media program in a newly created public affairs department, and led the U.S. agency’s media response to major humanitarian crises, including post-9/11, the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Haiti Earthquake as well as the agency’s first advocacy-awareness campaign, Every Mother, Every Child and its signature research report, The State of the World’s Mothers.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Homestretch, a nonprofit in Northern Virginia that helps transition families out of homelessness.

Colleen received her B.A. in English, with a public relations concentration, from the State University of New York at Fredonia.

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Cherise Bathersfield

Cherise Bathersfield is the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) Communications senior content writer/editor. She provides editorial services, including writing and editing, and assists with managing the production process for FRAC’s publications and other editorial content and projects that communicate FRAC’s mission, initiatives, advocacy, and research.

For more than 10 years, Cherise has worked as a marketing and communications writer and/or editor for nonprofits and associations such as the Greater New York Hospital Association and the American Psychological Association. Previous to that, she was a research editor at several national consumer magazines in New York.

Cherise graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and completed the New York University School of Professional Studies public relations and communications certificate program.

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Jacqueline Bavaro

Jackie joined FRAC in August 2023 as the Program Manager of the New Jersey Food Security Initiative (NJSFI). In this role, she is responsible for facilitating community-centered and collaborative efforts to increase food security and advance health equity in New Jersey.

Jackie previously worked with the NJ YMCA State Alliance managing their SNAP-Ed, SNAP Navigator, and other community food programs. In this capacity, she provided training and technical assistance to a variety of diverse community partners and coordinated efforts with NJ State Agencies. She is a certified instructor for Adult Mental Health First Aid and the Cost of Poverty Experience. Jackie has received the YMCA of the USA’s 30 Under 30 Award for her project leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

She has a B.S. in Dietetics from the University of Delaware and a Master of Public Health from Montclair State University.

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Susan Beaudoin

Susan joined FRAC in September 2012. In her current role as program manager, root causes and specific populations, she supports work to implement cross-program projects and drive new nutrition and anti-hunger strategic initiatives at FRAC. In her previous role as FRAC’s senior development associate for state initiatives, she was responsible for fundraising activities to support FRAC’s state-based efforts with D.C. Hunger Solutions and Maryland Hunger Solutions.

Prior to joining FRAC, Susan served as coordinator of the Food and Health Network of South Central New York and worked with the Washington Youth Garden and the Rural Health Network of South Central New York.

Susan holds a B.A. in political science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown University.

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Kelsey Boone

Kelsey joined FRAC in July of 2020 as a policy analyst on the child nutrition team before becoming a senior policy analyst in September of 2022. In this role she is responsible for FRAC’s work on Pandemic EBT and Summer EBT, as well as supporting the team’s work on matters relating to summer and afterschool meals

Kelsey comes to FRAC from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities where she worked as an intern on the Food Assistance team. Her background includes interning at Economic Mobility Pathways in Boston, where she focused on advocacy efforts aimed at state safety net programs. She has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and an M.P.P. from the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Alexis Bylander

Alexis joined FRAC in November 2020 as a Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst. In this role, she serves as a resource for state advocates lobbying on behalf of healthy school meals for all legislation.

Alexis has extensive experience with grant management and advocacy campaigns, specifically around the federal nutrition programs and tobacco prevention.

Alexis holds a B.A. in Political Science from Concordia College, an M.S. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center.

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Vijay Das

Vijay Das joined FRAC in October 2021 as their Government Affairs Senior Lobbyist.

Vijay has nearly a decade of advocacy experience in Washington, spanning issues relevant to fighting poverty and advancing democracy reforms in America. He previously was a Senior Campaign Strategist at Demos and the Health Care Policy Advocate at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. Vijay has also previously worked as a policy fellow for the California Attorney General and in the U.S. Senate.

Vijay is a graduate of Vassar College and UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.

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Rashan A. Datcher

Rashan joined FRAC in May 2011 and is FRAC’s human resources manager. In this role, Rashan works closely with the director of human resources and operations on a variety of office procedural, HR-related, and administrative fronts. She also coordinates processes related to position openings and coordinates the internship program.

Rashan has a B.A. in business administration from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta Georgia and an M.A. in human resource management from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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Lauren Drumgold

Lauren joined FRAC in February 2023 as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow of the Congressional Hunger Center. In this role, she conducts research and analysis on SNAP policies and supports the creation and facilitation of webinars about SNAP for key audiences.

As a part of her field placement as an Emerson fellow, Lauren worked with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council in Chicago, IL, where she supported their Productive Landscapes project to improve transparency on land acquisition for urban farmers interested in purchasing land for their urban agriculture endeavors. Lauren has previously served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year New York where she supported after-school enrichment programming and academics. During graduate school, she was a Graduate Fellow for the College Prep Program at Washington University in St. Louis supporting high school students from underrepresented backgrounds in academic enrichment and college-access.

She has a B.S. in Biology from Bates College, and an M.P.H from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Andrea Dulanto

Andrea (she/ they) joined FRAC in June 2021 as an Anti-Hunger Program Assistant. In this role, they assist with SNAP outreach through the Maryland Hunger Solutions hotline. They also support outreach through the development of relationships with community partners and other organizations.

Their professional experience includes working as an English as a Second Language instructor and writing tutor. They have also contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.

Andrea has a B.A. in Literature from Antioch College, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University.

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Jessica Durovy

Jessica joined FRAC in July of 2020 as the State Initiatives Development Associate. In this role, she supports D.C. Hunger Solutions and Maryland Hunger Solutions in their development initiatives. She does this by drafting grant proposals and reports, maintaining funder relationships, and conducting research.

Jessica has over ten years of development, program management, and education experience. Her background includes development and programming work with Peace Corps Azerbaijan, The International Rescue Committee, The Highland Center, and The Arab-American Family Support Center.

She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Old Dominion University, and an M.A. in International Affairs and Nonprofit Management from The New School.

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Elisabet Eppes

Elisabet joined FRAC in January 2023 as the deputy director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. In this role, she plays a leadership role within the unit, working closely with the director on policy development, advocacy, and coalition building, as well as providing team leadership, staff growth, and project management support.

Elisabet has ten years of experience in public health nutrition, primarily focused on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Her background includes serving on the Public Policy and Program Innovation teams at the National WIC Association, as well as managing a national WIC innovation project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Elisabet earned an MPH from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Washington, and a BS in Biobehavioral Health from the Pennsylvania State University.

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Crystal FitzSimons

Crystal leads FRAC’s work on the child nutrition programs that serve school-age children. She analyzes policy to advocate for legislative and regulatory improvements to increase low-income children’s access to the nutrition programs; develops strategy and direct field efforts to achieve program improvements; provides technical assistance; conducts training; and develops materials for national, state, and local organizations. Crystal is the author or co-author of numerous publications, including FRAC’s annual participation reports on school breakfast, summer nutrition, afterschool suppers, and community eligibility. She frequently speaks at national and state conferences and meetings. Her previous work experience includes the Center for Community Change as a policy analyst on transportation issues and Housing Comes First, Missouri’s statewide low-income housing coalition, as Director of Tenant Organizing. She holds a B.A. in philosophy and sociology from Carroll College and an M.S.W. from Washington University.

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Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin joined FRAC in May 2016 and is a staff associate. She works closely with the Director of Human Resources and Operations and the Director of Finance. Michelle has over 15 years of bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and accounts payable experience and has worked in both the nonprofit sector and in banking.

Michelle has an Associate Degree in accounting, and she plans to return to complete her studies to acquire her bachelor’s degree in accounting.

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Julia Gross

Julia joined Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of FRAC, in October 2018. In her role as senior anti-hunger program associate, she works to support and expand participation in child nutrition programs around the state of Maryland through advocacy, community engagement, and the promotion of best-practices.

Before coming to Maryland Hunger Solutions, Julia served in Peace Corps Albania from 2016-2018 as a Health Extension Specialist, where she taught health education and life-skills development in primary schools. Prior to Peace Corps, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA to support after-school and summer nutrition programs in Maryland, and again as a health educator at a center for low-income and homeless women in Spokane, WA.

She received her B.A. in Anthropology from San Diego State University, and holds a Master of Public Health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

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Clarissa Hayes

Clarissa Hayes joined FRAC in February 2015. As Deputy Director, School and Out-of-School Time Programs, she works to expand access to the child nutrition programs and helps to develop, meet, and track the team’s goals.

Before joining FRAC, Clarissa was an anti-hunger program associate at Maryland Hunger Solutions (an initiative of FRAC) and worked to increase participation in the child nutrition programs across the state. She has also completed two years of national community service through AmeriCorps NCCC and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Clarissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.

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Steve Hayward

Steve joined FRAC in March 2022. As Senior Communications Coordinator, he manages FRAC’s web properties, including,, and; coordinates email campaigns; and serves as technical support for webinars.

Before joining FRAC, Steve served for six years as the Lead Content Developer at Eagle Peak Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency in Philadelphia, where he focused on search engine optimization (SEO) and written content development.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Comparative Literature from the Harvard Extension School.

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Geraldine Henchy

Geri is the director of nutrition policy at FRAC. Geri’s work focuses on nutrition policies, such as increasing the healthfulness of nutrition programs, necessary to reach the goals of eradicating domestic hunger and improving the nutrition and health of low-income individuals and families.

Geri is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee to Review the Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Requirements, which has the task of creating nutrition standards to bring the meals served into compliance with the Dietary Guidelines. Geri is the current chair of the legislation and policy committee of the American Public Health Association’s Food and Nutrition section. She currently serves on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Management Improvement Task Force.

She has been honored to receive awards for her work on the Child Nutrition Programs from the Sponsors Association, the National Sponsors Forum and the California Roundtable. Most recently, the National Association of Family Child Care honored Ms. Henchy with their Advocate of the Year Award.

Geri is the author of numerous policy briefs on the federal child nutrition programs. She has co-authored a number of publications, including Making WIC Work for Multicultural Communities: Best Practices for Outreach and Nutrition Education, Time for a Change: WIC Food Package Guide, WIC In Native American Communities: Building a Healthier America, and WIC Partnerships and the Nurturing Parent. Ms. Henchy is also the author of a number of web-based tools, including most recently the Child Care Wellness Tool Kit: Child and Adult Care Food Program.

She is a Registered Dietitian and has an M.P.H. in nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Kelly D. Horton

Kelly joined FRAC in March 2023 as Chief Program Officer. In this role, she works closely with the President and other senior leaders of the organization to advance FRAC’s unique value proposition by driving strategy and innovation in ending poverty-related hunger. On a day-to-day basis, Kelly leads, manages, and coordinates the work of multiple program areas and is responsible for ensuring cross-coordination between program areas and with other departments.

Kelly is a high performing executive level leader and nationally recognized food, hunger, sustainable nutrition, and agriculture policy and program expert. She has significant experience in progressively senior positions leading and managing various teams and projects. Kelly has served in leadership roles in private and publicly held for-profit companies and non-profit organizations, as a fellow within the Obama Administration, and as a senior advisor to members of Congress. Before joining FRAC, she served as Senior Director of Government Relations at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President of Food Advisory & Corporate Reputation at Edelman, North America Policy Director for Mars, Senior Nutrition and Agriculture Advisor for a ranking member of the House Agriculture and FDA Appropriations subcommittee, and Policy Director for the National Council on Aging’s Center for Health Aging.

Kelly earned her Master of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and her certification in dietetics from Simmons College. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.

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Erin Hysom

Erin joined FRAC in January 2023 as a Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst on the School and Out-of-School Time team. In this role, she serves as a resource to schools and partners seeking to expand participation in the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs.

Erin has nearly fifteen years’ experience working on federal nutrition programs, starting as a dietitian with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to administering and operating the Child Nutrition Programs at the federal, state, and local level. Most recently, Erin served as a regional supervisor overseeing the production, service, and growth of 10,000+ school meals per day, in one of the 50 largest school districts in the country.

Erin holds a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences – Dietetics from Rutgers University, and an MPH in Public Health – Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University. Additionally, she completed her dietetic internship with Saint Elizabeth University, formerly known as The College of Saint Elizabeth.

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LaMonika Jones

LaMonika Jones is the Director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of FRAC.

She joined D.C. Hunger Solutions in September 2021 as the Anti-Hunger Program Analyst – Child Nutrition Programs. In this role, she was responsible for working to increase participation and improve benefits in the child nutrition programs (WIC; school meals; summer, after school and child care meals) in the District of Columbia through advocacy, research, coalition-building, outreach, technical assistance, public education and program monitoring.

Previously, LaMonika served as the Procurement and Purchasing Compliance Officer with Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning working within the Nutrition Services Division providing technical assistance and monitoring oversight for child nutrition program providers participating in Child and Adult Food Care Program and Summer Food Service Program. She also served as a Steering Committee member of the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition focusing on the use of local food systems in early child care and K-12.

LaMonika has a B.A. in Political Science and Communication from Oakland University, and a M.Ed. in Urban Teacher Leadership from Georgia State University. She is currently a 2021-2022 Equity Leaders Action Network (ELAN) Fellow working diligently to advance policies, practices, programs, and initiatives that intentionally redress racial marginalization and create racial equity in early childhood systems. She is also an Advisory Board Member for National Farm to School Network; Co-Chair of Fair Budget Coalition Food Access Issue Group; and Co-Chair of FRAC’s Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.

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Betsy Kerrigan

Betsy joined FRAC in July 2022 as a returning staff member. Previously she served as the field organizer and she has returned as the director of network engagement. In this role she is responsible for helping coordinate FRAC’s many conferences and strategically growing the network.

Betsy has worked in various non-profits with a focus on alleviating hunger and strengthening nutrition programs. She also spent 6 years in the construction industry working in office support roles for highway projects,

She has a B.A. in English from Mary Washington College.

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Timothy Klipp-Lockhart

Tim joined FRAC in January 2022 as the Government Affairs Manager. In this role, he is responsible for communicating and maintaining the development and implementation of FRAC’s legislative agenda. Along with the rest of the Legislative Affairs team, Tim works with Congress, the White House, national organizations, FRAC’s diverse state and local grassroots field network, to help improve the access and participation to domestic anti-hunger programs for low-income individuals and families.

Tim has over 12 years of local and national nonprofit government affairs and program management experience.  He previously served as a Project Associate on the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he was responsible for planning and implementing a nationwide settlement implementation to facilitate expunging the records 1500 class action members.  He also gained extensive experience with event planning and policy advocacy centered on gender and racial equity in conjunction with the Public Policy Project.  Prior to work at the Lawyers’ Committee, Tim worked in Congressman Ben Ray Lujan’s D.C. office, and for a local non-profit in Lincoln, NE.

Tim has a B.A. in Music Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE, and a MSW from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

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Allison Lacko

Allison joined FRAC in October 2020 and serves as FRAC’s Research Scientist. She provides expertise on research projects, including research design, analysis, and applying an equity lens throughout the research process. She currently leads the research arm of several FRAC projects, including a $2 million USDA grant to improve equity in the Child Nutrition programs and is FRAC’s research lead on the WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Grant. In addition, Allison provides general research and analysis that support FRAC’s advocacy to address the root causes of hunger and strengthen the federal nutrition programs.

Allison served as a Community Economic Development facilitator with the Peace Corps (Costa Rica 2012-2014). After the Peace Corps, Allison worked for Zufall Health, a federally-qualified health center in her home state of NJ. She received her B.A. in Economics-Political Science from Columbia University. In 2020, Allison received her Ph.D. in Nutrition Epidemiology from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill, where she was a member of the Global Food Research Program, a Predoctoral Fellow at the Carolina Population Center, and a Royster Fellow. In her free time, she loves to try new food and find her rumba on the salsa floor.

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Irene Lewis

Irene joined FRAC in June 2022 as a SNAP Policy Analyst. In this role, she supports strategies to improve SNAP benefit access and adequacy through research and engagement with national and state partners.

Prior to joining FRAC, Irene interned at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in the Civil Rights Division as part of the MPA-DC Program at Ohio State University. During this time, she completed a research capstone that examined racial equity in USDA’s grant programs. Additionally, Irene has extensive experience engaging in food security and other agricultural policy issues. She is a member of the National Society of MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences).

She has a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA, and a Master of Public Administration from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.

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Sally Mancini

Sally Mancini joined FRAC in December 2022 as the Project Manager for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Community Innovation and Outreach (WIC CIAO) Project.

Sally has over twenty years of public health, non-profit grant management experience. Throughout her career, she’s worked collaboratively with national, state, and community partners to improve health outcomes for children and families with a focus on advancing health equity. Most recently, Sally was the Director of Advocacy Resources at the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Health.

Sally holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Gordon College and an MPH from the University of Connecticut.

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Angie Nguyen-Chau

Angie joined FRAC in May 2021. She is currently the senior accountant and supports the Deputy Director in various financial tasks.

Prior to joining FRAC, she was the Finance Associate at Indivisible, a non-profit advocating for progressive policies.

Angie received her B.A. in Political Science and East Asian Studies from New York University, and M.A. from Florida State University.

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Denise Odell

Denise is the assistant to FRAC’s President, Luis Guardia. At FRAC, she supports the activities that promote FRAC’s mission, its President and Board of Directors. She brought to the position her board relations, membership, fundraising, and administrative experience.

Prior to joining FRAC, Denise was the membership director at Partnership for Caring, a nonprofit focused on end-of-life issues.

Denise is a professional photographer who exhibits her artwork at fine arts galleries throughout the United States.

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Gina Plata Nino

Gina joined FRAC in November 2022. As SNAP Deputy Director, she works with the SNAP team to seek ways to improve SNAP’s reach and support for low-income households, including people and families working their way up the economic ladder. She helps to produce and direct hands-on support to national, state and community-based organizations, state and local government agencies, private nonprofit organizations, and activists, providing legislative and technical assistance to strengthen SNAP’s access, benefit adequacy, reach, and quality customer service.

Prior to joining FRAC she worked with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute as a lead advocate on the Hunger Free Campus legislative campaign and helped address related food security issues among college students. She also assisted with targeted help on the passage of current legislation working with MA Legislative delegation. She worked with state and federal agencies to eliminate systemic barriers to food access. Prior to joining MLRI, she managed the Food Security Project – a collaboration of the Worcester County Food Bank and Central West Justice Center. There she also worked as a benefits attorney where she gained knowledge and experience in working with broad safety net benefits and systems. 

Gina began her career by clerking at the Massachusetts State Appeals Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the first circuit. She has received numerous awards, including Top Women of Law from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (2022) and YWCA’s Katherine F. Erskine Award (2021). She has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. from Montclair State University.

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Etienne Melcher Philbin

Etienne joined FRAC in November 2007 and serves as the organization’s Chief of Staff. In her previous role as deputy director, school and out-of-school time programs, she worked with a diverse group of national and state partners to expand access to the child nutrition programs, including school meals and Pandemic EBT. Before joining the child nutrition unit, Etienne worked on FRAC’s legislative team, advocating for federal legislation to strengthen domestic anti-hunger programs for low-income individuals and families.

Prior to joining FRAC, Etienne worked with RESULTS’ domestic policy campaign on early childhood development issues.

She has a B.A. in political science and religious studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN.

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Brittani Riddle

Brittani Riddle joined FRAC in June 2021. In her role as Manager, Communications – State Initiatives, she serves as the communications liaison for D.C. Hunger Solutions and Maryland Hunger Solutions.

Brittani has over ten years of communication experience in radio, digital, and social media. Brittani previously worked as a radio producer and programmer for WHUR-FM in Washington D.C. and WAVA-FM in Arlington, Virginia, producing talk and music programs and long-form audio documentaries. Prior to joining FRAC, Brittani worked at American University Library as the Communications Coordinator.  There she managed communications efforts, including strategic planning and social media. Brittani has also worked as a freelance radio producer and social media manager.

Brittani has a B.A. in Audio Production from Howard University and recently earned an M.A. in Strategic Communication from American University.

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JD Robinson

JD joined Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of FRAC, as an Outreach Intern in 2018, and is currently the Anti-Hunger Program Coordinator – SNAP. He works to increase participation and access to the SNAP program for all Marylanders by coordinating outreach efforts with staff and volunteers. He also engages local partners and organizations in training and educating their staff on SNAP and food insecurity issues.

JD previously worked as a bartender in Baltimore, and volunteered on local farms.

JD holds a B.A in communication from McDaniel College.

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Alan Sharpe

Alan is FRAC’s senior technology coordinator. For nearly 27 years, Alan has served in various support capacities as a member of FRAC’s administrative staff. Initially secretarial, his duties have expanded with technology and the onset of computerized office functions. In his current position as senior administrative assistant/information systems coordinator, he oversees FRAC’s information technology needs, provides in-house computer “help desk” and administrative support for program staff, and serves as liaison between FRAC and its various IT consultants and vendors.

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Rebecca Shaw

Rebecca Shaw joined FRAC in August 2021. She currently serves as the senior digital communications coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for initiating and implementing social media strategies and content management and execution across a range of platforms.

Most recently, she served as the communication manager for the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). In this role, she had editorial responsibility for key print and electronic publications and oversaw the implementation of the association’s social media plan. Prior to NSPRA, she served as the project coordinator for the Children’s Programs Department at AASA, The School Superintendents Association. In this role, she managed the department communications. She also provided support on initiatives like children’s health insurance and school breakfast.

Rebecca has a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.

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Dominique Small

Bio to come.

Nomi Small

Nomi joined FRAC in March 2020 as the network and events coordinator. In this role, she coordinates and supports FRAC’s network of anti-hunger advocates and manages logistics for FRAC’s events.

Prior to her current role, she was FRAC’s communications coordinator. In her previous role, she was responsible for maintaining and updating the FRAC’s website, wrote and distributed the weekly FRAC News Digest, and provided technical assistance for FRAC’s webinars. Before joining FRAC, Nomi interned with the Oklahoma Food Banks in their Advocacy and Public Policy Department. She also worked as a Park Ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Cape Cod Canal.

She holds a B.A. in sociology from Dickinson College.

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Marko Stankovic

Marko joined FRAC in April 2012. As senior development associate, his job duties include doing research on prospective funders, maintaining communication with donors and grantmakers, submitting grant proposals and reports, processing all donations and grants, and event management. Prior to joining FRAC, he had fundraising internships at the International Student House and Education USA. Marko holds an M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

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Ellen Teller

As chief government affairs officer, Ellen Teller directs the development and implementation of FRAC’s legislative agenda. Working with Congress, national organizations, and FRAC’s diverse state and local grassroots field network, Ellen advocates for improved access and participation to domestic anti-hunger programs for low-income individuals and families.

Ellen joined FRAC in 1986 as a staff attorney and had previously worked at the American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Consumer Federation of America.

Ellen has a B.A. in political science and English literature (1978) from the State University of New York College at Oneonta, and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law (1983). She is a Member of the DC Bar and serves on a the Boards of the Coalition on Human Needs (Chair); Manna Food Center, Rockville, Maryland; ActionAid USA; and the Bill Emerson Hunger Fellows Advisory Committee, Congressional Hunger Center. Honors include: National WIC Association Leadership Award, 2006; Commodity Supplemental Food Program Association Award, 2003 & 2010; and the Congressional Hunger Center Emerson Fellows’ Fairy Godmother Award, 2008.

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Polly Thibodeau

Polly joined FRAC in February 2013 and is Deputy Director, Development. In this role, she crafts funding proposals and reports for institutional funders in support of FRAC’s breadth of work.

Polly has 15 years of experience writing and managing grants. She previously served as the Director of Development at Joy of Motion Dance Center, where she was responsible for planning and implementing all of its contributed income activities. Prior to that, Polly provided comprehensive research and grants administration for a portfolio of externally funded projects, including a $3 million Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at The George Washington University. She has also written grants for the local modern dance company Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co. and Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.

She has a B.A. in sociology from Hood College and a B.A. in dance from The George Washington University.

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Blake Turpin

Blake joined FRAC in November 2022 as an Anti-Hunger Program Associate. In their role, they work to increase SNAP participation and quality in the District through advocacy, research, client outreach, coalition-building, technical assistance, public education, and program monitoring. They also work to advance the anti-hunger and anti-poverty goals of D.C. Hunger Solutions and partner coalitions.

Blake has previously served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow at Project Bread in Boston, MA, where they worked on child nutrition program policy, and at RESULTS Educational Fund in Washington, D.C., where they worked on housing and tax policy. Prior to this, they interned and volunteered in various roles related to education, immigration, and criminal justice.

Blake has a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee.

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Muhammad Usman

Muhammad joined FRAC in June 2023 as a Financial Analyst. In this role, he is responsible for planning and preparation of the budgets for the entity and for individual funders.

Prior to Joining FRAC, Muhammad worked for public accounting firms, CohnReznick LLP and DHG LLP (Forvis).

Muhammad received a B.A in Finance and Accounting from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

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Jalal Vardag

Jalal joined FRAC in August 2020 as the Deputy Director of Finance and Operations. In this role, Jalal is responsible for the coordination and management of FRAC’s annual audit, budgeting, financial accounting and reporting, payroll processing and accounting, internal controls, and financial analysis. He also works with department directors to ensure adherence with FRAC’s financial and administrative policies to maintain fiduciary responsibility. He serves as a key resource to the senior management team providing strategic and accurate financial advice to key leaders, the Executive Committee and the Board.

Prior to joining FRAC, Jalal was a Controller at Working America, AFL-CIO, the largest non-union workers’ group with a membership of 3.3 million and an Assistant Controller at Indivisible, a movement of 6000 groups advocating for progressive values and policies. Jalal serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Taskforce and member of the Nonprofit Symposium Planning Committee at the Greater Washington Society of CPAs.

Jalal holds a BBA in Accounting from Bernard M Baruch College in New York City.

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Michael J. Wilson

Michael joined Maryland Hunger Solutions in July 2013 as Director. In this role, he is helping to lead Maryland’s premier hunger advocacy, education, and outreach organization as it works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income families in Maryland. Michael serves in a leadership role in many statewide coalitions and is a core advisor in the Governor’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger.

For more than three decades, Michael has been a leading advocate for economic and social justice. He worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative and press assistant for the late U.S. Representative Charles Hayes (IL). He also served in numerous positions at the U.S. Department of Labor, culminating as Chief of Staff in the Employment Standards Administration where he coordinated legislative, regulatory, communications, and policy development. Michael also was an international officer and director at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union where he headed the legislative and political department and led the union’s efforts in food policy and worker advocacy. Michael served as a FRAC Board Member for more than a decade, as well as a Board Member for the Consumer Federation of America and Americans for Democratic Action, where he also served as National Director. He received the Community Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capitol Area in 2009, the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Achievement Award in 1997 and 1999, and a Special Commendation from the Wage and Hour Division in 1997.

Michael has a B.A. in communications arts and sciences from Michigan State University.

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