Meet Our Staff
Neel Hajra, President & CEO
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
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 22 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 St. Paul Lutheran 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 16 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 family. 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
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
Diann Moses, Gifts & Records Coordinator
Jillian Rosen, Director of Community Investment
Phillippia Shumate, Controller
Katie Van Dusen, Community Investment & Projects Coordinator
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.
Denise Sandor, Data and Research Coordinator
Denise joined the Community Foundation in December 2015 as the part-time Data and Research Coordinator. Prior to joining AAACF, Denise has over 15 years of data analysis, process streamlining, and reporting experience from her days in corporate supply chain management. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Grand Valley State University, as well as a Master of International Management from Thunderbird, American Graduate School of International Management. Having a passion to help people, Denise is also a certified yoga teacher and can be found teaching a variety of group and private yoga classes at fitness centers and businesses in the local area.