Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

50 years of good 1963 - 2013

Meet Our Staff

Neel Hajra, President & CEO

Neel became AAACF's President & CEO effective January 1, 2015.  His list of accomplishments in the nonprofit sector and field of philanthropy is extensive.  Neel joined AAACF in 2011 as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Community Investment.  In that role, he has overseen every aspect of AAACF's operations, served as a key ambassador for the Community Foundation throughout Washtenaw County, and has been instrumental in leading a number of innovative community initiatives, including Coordinated Funding and Cultural Economic Development. Prior to joining AAACF, Neel spent ten years at Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW), where as President & CEO for two years, he led all aspects of NEW’s development efforts and operations including providing governance, technology and facility support to more than 400 nonprofits per year. Before NEW, Neel served as a corporate attorney at Ford Motor Company. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Neel holds a BS with honors in Physics from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. He is also currently a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School for Public Policy.

Neel is recognized statewide and nationally as a thought leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. He has received the Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders and the American Express Next Gen Fellowship, both of which recognize 12 individuals nationally for emerging and visionary leadership.

Shelley Strickland, Vice President for Development and Donor Services

Shelley joined the Community Foundation in Fall 2014. She brings 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector in various fundraising and communications roles. In addition to practical experience, Shelley is committed to furthering research and academic training on philanthropy. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan (U-M) Nonprofit & Public Management Center after earning her PhD from U-M, where she now holds an adjunct faculty appointment and has provided consultation to several nonprofit boards. Shelley was recruited back to her native Michigan from Georgia to create and deliver educational programs for both development professionals and undergraduates at U-M, including the course for the Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP). D-SIP has trained more than 200 college students in fundraising and philanthropy, including the 18 Dobson Interns who have worked in Washtenaw County nonprofits. A committed Center for the Education of Women (CEW) volunteer, Shelley and husband Tim, a PGA golf professional, live in Ann Arbor with son Mitchell, who attends the Go Like the Wind Montessori School.

Patricia Walker, Chief Operating Officer

Patricia joined the Community Foundation in December, 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. Patricia has extensive financial, managerial and leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. She has managed Michigan non-profit organizations for the last 15 years, with a successful record of consistently improving operational and financial performance. Most recently, she served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Michigan Science Center where she oversaw museum operations and administration through a period of early growth and stabilization at the start-up organization. Prior to that, she spent over 14 years at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where she served as Chief Operating Officer and, earlier, as Vice President for Human Resources. At the DSO, Patricia oversaw the launch of live concert webcasts, explosive growth in music education programs, new neighborhood residency initiatives and innovative program partnerships. Patricia holds an M.A. from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. Patricia lives in Ann Arbor with her daughter who attends Huron High School. When asked what she loves best about working at AAACF, she shares, “To serve my community by building a permanent endowment for the good of the community is amazing work. Supporting an array of nonprofit organizations and their missions is something I’m so proud to be a part of.”

Deborah VandenBroek, Development Manager

Sister Yvonne Fund for Permanent Supportive Housing Services
Deborah VandenBroek has been appointed to a new three-year parttime position at AAACF funded by the Washtenaw Housing Alliance (WHA), an anonymous donor, and AAACF to lead development efforts for the Sister Yvonne Gellise Fund for Permanent Supportive Housing Services. An experienced healthcare executive, Deborah brings a deep understanding of the potential for private philanthropy, particularly endowments, to provide long-term support for vulnerable populations. Deborah spent several years as the Director of Development at Packard Health, where she currently serves as a member of the board. Deborah’s previous health care experiences include ten years at Navigant Consulting as well as twenty years at Trinity Health, where Deborah served in a variety of leadership capacities including CEO and President of medical centers in Pontiac, Michigan and in Sioux City, Iowa, and as Vice President of Operations at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital System in Ann Arbor.

Christopher Lemon, Youth Council Advisor

As an inaugural member of the very first AAACF Youth Council in the 1989-1990 school year, Chris has come full circle.  He joined the Community Foundation in 2009 and serves part-time as the Youth Council Advisor.  As a climbing enthusiast, Chris spends time at his other day job as the General Manager of Planet Rock.  He also serves on Milan Township's Planning Commission, and is a founding member of AAACF's Next Generation Philanthropists, one of AAACF's giving circles. Chris often speaks of how impressed he is with how AAACF's Youth Council has grown, and the commitment and wisdom current YC members have in serving the young people in our community.  He shares, "I love working in an environment that promotes and celebrates civic participation.  It is a privilege to get to know and work with  nonprofits here in Ann Arbor.  We are surrounded by so many caring individuals who work hard to improve our City.  Working with them helps me feel even more connected to our community."  

Diann Moses, Gifts & Records Coordinator

Diann joined the Community  Foundation in 2005, and started as an  Administrative Assistant to AAACF's President.  Diann currently supports AAACF Donors as a Fund Specialist, and processes gifts and grants.  Prior to the Community Foundation, Diann worked in the title insurance field for 20 years. In addition to AAACF's endless supply of Diet Coke, Diann maintains her own supply of the "real thing" in a small retro refrigerator in her office.

Jillian Rosen, Director of Community Investment

Jillian joined the Community Foundation in  2012.  As the Director of Community Investment, Jillian manages and oversees all activities related to AAACF’s investments in our local community: grant programs, community initiatives and partnerships, scholarships, and the Youth Council program. In overseeing AAACF's general and targeted grantmaking programs, Jillian works with local nonprofits and the various advisory committees that evaluate grant applications. With an MBA and Masters in Professional Leadership from Brandeis University and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland, Jillian has a great understanding of strategy, people, and what makes communities thrive. Prior to AAACF, Jillian worked in the nonprofit sector where she had the opportunity to work on issues that she is passionate about: social justice, poverty alleviation and youth engagement in philanthropy.  


Phillippia Shumate, Controller

Phillippia  joined AAACF in November, 2014 to assume the responsibilities of the Community Foundation's controller.  Phillippia holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Davenport University and has more than 20 years experience as an accounting professional.


Katie Van Dusen, Community Investment & Projects Coordinator
Katie joined AAACF in August 2013 and plays an important role in supporting AAACF's grantmaking, community investment intiatives, and other special projects. Katie graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 with two degrees - a BA in Organizational Studies and a BMA (Bachelor of Musical Arts) in Violin Performance - earning academic honors.  Before joining AAACF, Katie worked as a Dobson Intern at the Glacier Hills Foundation supporting activities surrounding Glacier Hills' 40th anniversary celebration.

Katelyn Videto, Donor Services Officer

Katelyn joined AAACF in 2015 as Donor Services Officer. With more than 13 years in the philanthropic sector, Katelyn is an experienced professional fundraiser with a lifelong passion for community philanthropy and a love of the Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti area. Prior to joining AAACF, Katelyn was the lead fundraiser for Altarum Institute, a national health research nonprofit, building strategic foundation fundraising opportunities across the organization. Katelyn is the founding board chair of YNPN Washtenaw, a chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network, as well as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Detroit’s Ann Arbor committee. She began her career in community foundations with the Cadillac Area Community Foundation and the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), and she continues to consult for CMF, facilitating trainings for family foundations and youth grantmakers throughout Michigan. Katelyn has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan.


Maryellen Ferro, Community Investment Officer

Maryellen joined the Community Foundation in February of 2014 in a temporary capacity as the Scholarship Administrator and has grown to become our full time Community Investment Officer. In this role she participates in the development of the foundation’s scholarship and grant-making programs, provides technical assistance and serves as the point of contact for scholarship and grant applicants. Prior to working at AAACF Maryellen lived in Seattle where she began her experience working for non-profits after completing a year of Americorps. Maryellen's background includes program management and coordination for non-profits addressing crisis intervention, teen suicide prevention, increasing childhood literacy, and youth philanthropy. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two children.