Our team


Megan Kashner
Founder & CEO
Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald
Vice President, Partnerships
Venita E. Griffin
Marketing Manager
Cay'me Jones
Community Engagement & Partnership Development


Aleca Tesseris Sullivan
Opportunities Manager
Emily Brittain
Operations and Project Manager
Andrea Perkins
Community Engagement Manager-Detroit
Ken Goldstein
Community Engagement & Partner Success


Samantha F. Brdek
Accounting & Finance

Lindsay Rosenfeld

Relationship Coordinator

Sady Garcia
Operations Coordinator
Jack Grundy
Impact Measurement & Analytics Fellow

 

Natalie Pertz

Community Engagement Fellow

Emma Levin

Summer Intern

   


Megan Kashner

Founder & CEO

LinkedIn Profile

megan at benevolent.net

For over 20 years Megan Kashner, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, walked alongside low-income families, creating relationships, programs and supports that would help people reach their goals and provide a sound future for their children. When she woke up on February 13, 2011 with the idea of Benevolent she saw a solution that had the potential not only to plug the gaps for families and support their pursuit of personal goals, but to introduce a new perspective on the experiences of low-income Americans who had for too long been publicly denigrated. Read more…


Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald

Vice President, Partnerships

LinkedIn Profile

elizabeth at benevolent.net

Elizabeth oversees Benevolent's partnership strategy, working to develop strategic collaborations with nonprofits, individuals, foundations, and corporations that drive organizational growth and impact. She comes to Benevolent with over 15 years of nonprofit experience in organizational strategy, leadership, and partnership and business development.


Prior to joining Benevolent, Elizabeth worked with the Taproot Foundation serving as both the Executive Director for Chicago and the Director of National Partnerships (and a few other roles!) She has also worked with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Center on Halsted, and Lookingglass Theatre. Previously, she founded 20% Theatre, an all women's company dedicated to addressing the inequity of women in positions of power in theatre. She served as Artistic and Producing Director of the company from 2003-2010. She holds a BA from Smith College in English and Theatre.


A New Englander permanently transplanted to Chicago, Elizabeth and her wife Katie live with their daughter, 3 cats, and one very energetic dog in West Humboldt Park and spend much of their time wondering if a 30 hour day is possible and/or searching out the nearest playground.


Aleca Tesseris Sullivan

Opportunities Manager

LinkedIn Profile

aleca at benevolent.net

Aleca brings over 25 years of experience in economic development and community outreach experience to Benevolent, crossing the private, nonprofit and government sectors. She has worked in management consulting for private firms both in the United States and abroad, spent several interesting years working for the National Park Service and most recently completed a decade of very fulfilling work in education and community building. Aleca earned her Masters Degree from Boston University in American Studies and Preservation Planning. She earned her BA in economics from the University of Michigan. She is the mother of three wonderful children and one very enthusiastic puppy.

Samantha F. Brdek

Accounting & Finance

LinkedIn Profile

samantha at benevolent.net

Samantha ensures that our clients are able to get the money they need to improve their lives and that Benevolent has the ability to help as many people as possible for many years to come. She received her Masters Degree in Accounting from DePaul University and is a member of the Illinois Certified Public Accountants Society. For the past five tax seasons Samantha has volunteered to help senior citizens complete and feel more confident about their taxes. Before becoming an accountant Samantha had the opportunity to travel to India where she taught English and Math to orphans and underprivileged children. She currently spends her free time with her child, reading, biking around Ann Arbor, MI, and working in her yard.


Venita E. Griffin

Marketing Manager

LinkedIn Profile

venita at benevolent.net

Venita is responsible for Benevolent's off- and online marketing  communications efforts.  In addition to overseeing our strategic marketing, she manages and oversees media partnerships and sponsorships, social media and more.


She is an award-winning professional with 10+ years’ experience in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors and has managed large-scale projects for American Airlines, Telepictures Productions and more.


A football fanatic, she can be found loudly rooting for her hometown team - the New Orleans Saints - during the NFL season.


Emily Brittain

Operations and Project Manager

LinkedIn Profile

emily at benevolent.net

Emily manages Benevolent's operations and project implementation. She has extensive experience in youth development, customer relations and community partnership building, as well as technological troubleshooting. Before moving to Chicago, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia. Emily earned her Bachelor's from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and her Master's from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, with a focus on community planning, organizing, and development. Emily enjoys hiking, riding her bike, and spending time with a good book.


Cay'me Jones

Community Engagement & Partnership Development

LinkedIn Profile

cayme at benevolent.net

Cay’me Jones comes to Benevolent after having worked the last few years in development and communications. With over 13 years of building community partnerships and advocating for social justice, this seasoned life coach has made her life’s mission working collaboratively to effect change within the larger society for the under-represented. Holding a BA in Psychology from Wichita State University and currently working on her master’s degree in Executive Coaching from Queens University of Charlotte, Cay’me is touted as someone who can see “both the forest and the trees." When she is not trying to save the world *smile*, you can find her singing with her church’s worship team, being silly with her daughter, Zavi (and managing Zavi’s ever-growing fan club), or desperately trying to make her way to the closest beach.



Ken Goldstein

Community Engagement & Partner Success

LinkedIn Profile

ken at benevolent.net

Ken has over twenty years of prior experience in the nonprofit sector as a senior executive, board member, volunteer, and ten years as an independent consultant. He has helped organizations through strategic planning, leadership transitions, and fund development training, and has raised several million dollars in grants for small, grassroots organizations. An avid blogger, he has written repeatedly about social media for nonprofits and the importance of storytelling in fundraising. Ken received his BA in Politics from University of California Santa Cruz and his Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) from California State University Sacramento. Ken and his wife live above Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains, among the coastal redwoods, enjoying long walks through the forest, yet still manage to spend entirely too much time online.

 

 

Andrea Perkins

Community Engagement Manager-Detroit

LinkedIn Profile

andrea at benevolent.net

Dedicated to optimizing the resources and infrastructure of underserved communities, Andrea hails from Detroit as the Community Engagement Manager. With experience in planning, community development, government, grant writing and youth development, Andrea is happy to have joined the Benevolent team and work alongside individuals committed to uplifting communities one resident at a time. When Andrea is not working, she enjoys playing recreational sports, coaching youth volleyball, bike riding (in large groups), gardening and exploring unfamiliar cities large and small. A native of Detroit, Andrea received a BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University. 


Sady Garcia

Operations Coordinator

LinkedIn Profile

sady at benevolent.net

Sady contributes to the growing operations and system development needs of Benevolent. She brings extensive experience in nonprofit management, community engagement and government operations. Sady completed her Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from Indiana University with a concentration in Government Administration & Policy. A Hoosier through and through, she has two BA degrees from Indiana University in Communication & Culture as well as Political Science. Sady loves exploring all Chicago has to offer, watching movies, traveling, and spoiling her dog Toni.


Lindsay Rosenfeld

Resident in Social Enterprise

Relationship Coordinator

LinkedIn Profile

lindsay at benevolent.net

Lindsay joins Benevolent through New Sector Alliance's Residency in Social Enterprise fellowship - an 11-month program which prides itself on developing emerging professionals in the social impact sector. While earning her BA in Global Studies and Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she sought to better understand how individual and collective histories and enduring struggles manifest themselves in the individual and in society. With over four years experience in crisis intervention and equine therapy, Lindsay is excited to join the Benevolent team and the non-profit community in Chicago. She currently spends her free time soaking up the smells, tastes, and sounds of her new city - one bike ride at a time.


Jack Grundy

Impact Measurement & Analytics Fellow

jack at benevolent.net

Jack joins Benevolent through New Sector Alliance’s summer fellowship – a three-month program that develops emerging professionals in the social sector. Jack studies finance, math, and computer science at Washington University in St. Louis and previously worked in Louisville Metro Government’s Department of Economic Growth and Innovation. Teaming with Emily and Aleca, he is working to implement systems to support Benevolent’s exciting growth. While not working, Jack enjoys running, reading, and exploring Chicago.


Natalie Pertz

Community Engagement Fellow

LinkedIn Profile

natalie at benevolent.net

Natalie joins Benevolent as Community Engagement fellow through New Sector Alliance’s summer fellowship. While in the midst of achieving her BA in Theater and Communication Arts at Gannon University, she became aware of the stark inequalities between her college community and the surrounding urban neighborhoods. With an extensive arts background in acting, directing, and management, Natalie began to utilize her passion as a mechanism of outreach and education with the Erie City School District over two years ago. Venturing to Chicago for the summer months, Natalie is thrilled to immerse herself in the non-profit world for the first time as a member of team Benevolent with a long term goal of starting her own non-profit. This fall Natalie will begin a year-long Theatre Education apprenticeship at Hartford Stage, a Tony-award winning regional theatre, in Connecticut.


Emma Levin

Summer Intern

emma at benevolent.net

Emma joins Benevolent as a Summer Intern for 2014. She's currently attending Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, PA as a Psychology major and hopes to one day become a Marriage and Family Therapist. Emma’s home is (and has always been) in the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe. She is extremely excited to be working with the Benevolent team for the summer and is eager to learn a tremendous amount from the experience. In her free time, Emma enjoys traveling, spending time with her two dogs, attacking her ever-increasing list of books to read, and writing spoken word poetry.