Piper Fellow Recipients 2015

2015 Piper Fellow Marc Ashton

Marc Ashton “Leadership starts with the simple question, ‘What if?’ Then begins the long road to discover the answer. This Piper Fellowship will mark the path. I can’t wait.”
-Marc Ashton, CEO, Foundation for Blind Children

Marc Ashton was a successful entrepreneur and never considered a nonprofit career until his son was diagnosed with vision loss. The dramatic change in his family’s life quickly led him to the Foundation for Blind Children, first as a parent, then as a board member and now as the CEO. Ashton’s business acumen successfully steered the organization through the Great Recession and on to enormous growth in its programs, including a new school and the new Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Low Vision Optometry Clinic.

Ashton’s fellowship includes launching a social entrepreneurship software program at Foundation for Blind Children. He will begin at Stanford’s Social Entrepreneurship Executive course, move to Columbia’s course on bringing analog organizations into the digital age, and conclude at Berkeley’s Venture Capitalist Executive Program to learn how to monetize this venture and sustain the organization’s future.  He will explore some meditation in Sedona.

2015 Piper Fellow Tara Jackson

Tara Jackson “The internet and social media have changed the world. With this incredible opportunity, I plan to learn how to better use these tools to create constructive political and social change.”
– Tara Jackson, President, Arizona Town Hall

Since taking the helm of Arizona Town Hall in 2006, Tara Jackson continues to build on the organization’s reputation for solving critical and often divisive issues with strategic partnerships, expanded community programs, the development of a consulting practice, and the creation of the Future Leaders Town Hall. Prior to joining Arizona Town Hall, Jackson practiced law for 16 years as a commercial litigation attorney. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a law degree from Indiana University.

Jackson’s fellowship will focus on how to create and distribute information in the digital age that fosters constructive civic engagement.  Her fellowship includes a program at the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University where she will study research-based strategies for creating content that maximizes social impact, followed by an intensive hands-on program at Berkeley about creating digital media for creative content. Jackson will also attend a program at San Francisco State University on the use of social media for social impact and a Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management course at Harvard Business School focusing on implementing change to improve operational effectiveness.  Reflection time will be added at the end of each program to allow for the immediate processing of concepts into action plans in addition to attending yoga and writing retreat.

2015 Piper Fellow Mattie Lord

Mattie Lord “As community leaders, I believe we have an obligation to face complex social issues, cast a vision for what we genuinely believe is just and fair—even if it seems impossible—and then  fueled by passion, use our time, talent, and relationships to make incremental progress toward that ultimate goal.”
– Mattie Lord, Chief Program Officer, UMOM New Day Centers

As the Chief Program Officer at UMOM New Day Centers, Mattie McVey Lord oversees programs and services designed to end homelessness, one family at a time. Much of her day is spent outside of UMOM building partnerships, impacting local policy, and planning for greater efficiency and effectiveness within the community-based service delivery system.  Previously, Lord led interagency efforts to prevent and end homelessness as the State Homeless Coordinator at the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth at the Arizona Department of Education.  She chaired the Board of Directors for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and the 100,000 Homes Campaign Task Force on Family Homelessness. Lord was named Advocate of the Year by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness (2014) and a Flinn-Brown Fellow by the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership (2015). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from The University of Arizona and a Master’s in Education from Chapman University.

Lord will use her fellowship to research a new menu of services for UMOM.  She believes there is strength in direct service providers engaging in, influencing, and informing, public policy decisions.  Additionally, she believes direct service providers have much to learn from each other and seeks to explore peer-to-peer models of technical assistance. Her professional development spans visiting eight best practice sites including Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C. where she will explore the intersections of direct service, public policy, advocacy, and technical assistance as they relate to serving vulnerable populations. She will attend the Aspen Institute’s Leadership, Values and Good Society seminar and hone her leadership skills with executive coaching. Lord will conclude with reflection time at the Living School for Action and Contemplation.

2015 Piper Fellow Jeffory Morris

Jeffory Morris “Our community values the arts and how it transforms our children’s imaginative ideas into a lifetime of learning and discovery. This prestigious opportunity will allow me to enhance my professional calling toward that of an effective fundraiser to better serve i.d.e.a. Museum and the stakeholders who value its exhibitions and programs.”
– Jeffory Morris, Curator of Art, i.d.e.a. Museum

Jeffory Morris joined the i.d.e.a. Museum as Curator of Art in 2006 after serving at two other cultural institutions since 1988. He plays an integral role in the organization’s strategic planning, including successfully increasing attendance and revenue through the rebranding of the museum in 2014. Morris has dedicated talents to leading the museum’s design team in the creation of 49 interactive exhibitions for children and adults to enjoy. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts from the University of North Dakota and his MBA from the Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona.

Morris’ fellowship is focused on gaining knowledge about nonprofit fundraising, starting with a course of study toward a certificate in fundraising management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Synchronized with his classwork, he will visit best practice sites and conduct interviews of museum fundraising professionals and meet with federal grant organizations. In addition, Morris will attend two national conferences on fundraising and museums, and take a weeklong intensive improvisation class with Second City Theater. Site visits will include museums in or near San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and New York. Following the sabbatical, Morris will work to build upon best practices that increase sustainable funding sources with the museum Board, Executive Director, and development team.

2015 Piper Fellow Poulson Reed

Poulson Reed “I look forward to enhancing my skill set as a nonprofit leader not only through study and formal learning, but by spending time with inspiring and innovative leaders from other fields. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
– Reverend Poulson Reed, Rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School

As Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and Day School since 2009, the Reverend Poulson Reed works closely with leaders, staff, and volunteers to discern and implement a vision for ministries that make a difference in the lives of church and school members, students, and those in need. Father Reed is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Divinity School.

Reed’s fellowship, focused on leadership development and exploring the role of the church in the 21st century, will involve coursework and coaching in nonprofit leadership, site visits to innovative ministries in Pasadena and New Orleans, a week of writing and study at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and reflection time at Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center in New Mexico.

2015 Piper Fellow Dan Schay

Dan SchayIn Memoriam “The delivery of compelling, shared experiences that help forge community and define identity is why the performing arts should, will, and must survive —even in a difficult economic environment and a world that is simultaneously connected and alienated by technology. This Fellowship is about finding ways we can do it more and do it better here at Theater Works and across the Valley.”
– Dan Schay, Executive Director, Theater Works

Daniel Schay, named a 2015 Piper Fellow, sadly passed away in April 2016. Dan was an accomplished artist, and a leader and voice for the arts community. He will be forever missed. Following outlines the thoughtful plans Dan had for his Piper Fellowship.

Daniel Schay, with more than 35 years of experience in the field of arts management, became Executive Director of Theater Works in 2012, after seven seasons as Managing/Executive Director at Phoenix Theatre. Schay’s fellowship plans included: the Shannon Leadership Institute of Minneapolis; the Stanford Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders; annual conferences of the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and the National Center for Creative Aging; and site visits to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the Quad Cities in the Midwest, the North Texas metroplex, and Denver, Colorado.

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