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 on September 2, 2014. As the lead for AAACF’s development team, Shelley will support the Community Foundation’s development goals including the Giving for Good initiative, donor philanthropic services, and marketing plan. Shelley brings a strategic perspective and wealth of development experience to her role at AAACF. A recent post-doctoral fellow at the Nonprofit & Public Management Center (NPM), Shelley earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan where she also created and delivered educational programs for both development professionals and undergraduates, including U of M’s Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP) which placed interns throughout the University of Michigan and Dobson Interns in 18 local nonprofits. She and husband Tim, a PGA golf professional, live with son Mitchell and dog Divot in Ann Arbor. In sharing why she was drawn to AAACF, Shelley noted, “The Community Foundation’s mission of providing leadership and creating impact in many areas across our local community deeply resonates with my personal and professional values, interests, and experiences.”
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 proudto 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
Karen Perkett, Executive Assistant
Jillian Rosen, Director of Community Investment
Phillippia Shumate, Interim Controller
Suzanne Upton, Communications Coordinator
Katie Van Dusen, Office Coordinator