We’re proud to support Greater Boston’s nonprofit leaders of color with our Executive Directors of Color Capacity Support Pilot.
Meet the Members of the Pilot
Renée Boynton-Jarrett, a pediatrician and social epidemiologist, is an associate professor at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. She is the founding director of the Vital Village Network. Vital Village uses a trauma-informed lens to improve community capacity to promote child wellbeing in Boston and support coalitions nationally through the NOW Forum. Her scholarship has focused on early-life adversities as life course social determinants of health.
Keturah Brewster has played various roles at I Have A Future for the last ten years and now serves as the interim executive director. Keturah has supported young people and organizers around the state in order to increase youth opportunity by building leadership development, challenging political leaders, and engaging with our communities around this dialogue. Keturah is a certified youth worker, and in 2017 she and her colleague won the Advocacy Champion Award. Keturah lives in Dorchester and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Communications at UMASS Boston.
Alison Carter Marlow
Alison Carter Marlow is the executive director of the Jeremiah Program’s Boston site, part of a data-driven organization seeking to partner with moms and their children. She was born in Boston and raised in Hartford, Conn. She attended public, predominantly Black middle and high schools, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Black Studies. Her first full-time job was that of G.E.D. teacher in a Ford Foundation-funded pilot program serving underemployed/non-credentialed Black and brown young men. Alison then led a federally funded welfare-to-work program and other pilots at ABCD’s central office and in neighborhoods like South Boston, but wrestled with what approaches would truly disrupt poverty. After earning a graduate certificate in a challenging and transformative Suffolk University Public Management program, choosing to leave ABCD for a smaller organization whose mission promoted vocational and educational credential attainment for Boston youth felt like the right, next move. Alison worked at YouthBuild Boston as its Director of Programs and Operations, overseeing the organization’s public grants, reports and compliance requirements as well as strategic partnerships which piloted new initiatives. Serving at Jeremiah Program’s Boston site presents an opportunity to grow professionally and answer career-long questions about what really works.
J.Cottle B.A, M.Ed, (He, Him, His) is an educator, arts–administrator, musician and writer and is the founder/executive director of Dunamis. He has worked as an arts-educator at the Boston Arts Academy, Dorchester Academy, Boston University/Malden Public Schools Reach For The Stars Academy, BELL and the Young Civic Leaders Coordinator at MassVOTE. As an arts administrator he has supported the Community Music Center of Boston, BPS Performing Arts Department, and the Berklee College of Music. J’s work specializes in designing curriculum and O.S.T.-programs using integrated arts-techniques and youth development practices to facilitate transformative growth. J is a 2019 National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow.
Cherie Craft is a native of inner city Boston, where she’s raised 5 children. She’s dedicated her life to educating children and empowering families living in challenging situations. Having studied Sociology and Counseling Psychology, she began her career in Pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and is now the founder/CEO and executive director of Smart from the Start, a community engagement and family support organization that promotes the healthy development of young children and families. Additionally, for 22 years Ms. Craft has served as senior faculty with the National Institute for Family Centered Care, and after recently stepping down from the Community Board of Children’s Hospital Boston, Ms. Craft was appointed to the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and Maternal Child Health Council of DC. Ms. Craft engages in national and international speaking engagements and is a member of the NAACP, Urban League, and International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse, among other organizations.
Benjamin Echevarria is the executive director of The Welcome Project, an organization dedicated to building the collective power of immigrants to shape community decisions. A pastor and a longtime leader in the Latino community, Ben’s work in the social justice movement has led him to organizing and advocating for those whose voice isn’t being heard. Ben now leads fights for equity, immigration, education, and leadership development. Ben serves as a trustee for Cambridge Health Alliance, as treasurer for Community Works, and co-chair of Tisch College Research Center at Tufts University. His leadership on equity and equality has earned him the recognition of the State House of Representatives, and to being named one of Somerville’s top 40 leaders by Scout Magazine, and one of the “100 Most Influential People on the Latino Community” by El Planeta Newspaper.
Maria Fenwick is the founder and executive director of The Teacher Collaborative. Maria taught in Boston Public Schools for six years and brings an extensive network of local education leaders from non-profits, foundations, districts/CMOs, and state policy to her current work. As an independent contractor, she built a strong brand around her expertise in teacher engagement that is purposeful and outcomes-driven. Maria holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Colby College, a master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from UMass Boston/Boston Teacher Residency. Maria lives on the South Shore with her husband, 3 children, and a cat.
As a Biracial Black woman, Alicia Fleming has always been drawn to issues of social justice, civil rights and inequality. Alicia developed strong beliefs about economic inequality while being raised by a single mother and then becoming a foster child and a ward of the state. Alicia was one of the 10% of foster youths in this country to both graduate high school and pursue higher education and her experiences in public schools across the Western Mass. region contributed to her passion for education equity. Ms. Fleming works to amplify the voices of those who are marginalized by exploring ways in which we can be more inclusive in our activism and better, more effective advocates. She is devoted to improving our means for dealing with economic injustice and creating true equality in our communities in her current role as one of the co-executive directors of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.
Priscilla Flint-Banks is the co-founder and program director for the Black Economic Justice Institute, Inc. (BEJI), a nonprofit that advocates and develop programs that address justice and economic opportunity for black and other people of color of Boston. Priscilla is also the convener for the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition, a network of over 200 members and organizations who have come together to advocate for services and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Banks was born and raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was educated in the Boston Public Schools and attended Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she received a Master’s Degree in Education. Ms. Banks is a licensed minister and an active member of Global Ministries Christian Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She and her husband Brother Lo have three radio broadcast on Boston Praise Radio and TV Networks (102.9fm) and www.bostonpraiseradio.tv, every Thursday morning 8:00-10:00am. On Tuesday 6-7 pm she co-hosts the Civic Engagement hour with Pastor Franklin Hobbs. She currently resides in Roslindale, Massachusetts with her husband, Brother Lo Banks.
Lily is a native of Boston’s Chinatown and Quincy, Massachusetts. Her commitment to social justice was formed early, as a child of immigrant parents and low-wage workers in the local restaurant, hotel, and healthcare industries. Lily was a volunteer organizer with the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM), recruiting and developing immigrant youth leaders across the state. In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Lily led two-week vigils in front of the Mass. State House against proposed anti-immigrant amendments. She also built a coalition of more than 40 community organizations for the DREAM Act. Lily joined Massachusetts Jobs with Justice as an organizer in 2012. She helped the organization expand its geographic reach and develop educators, parents, and students into movement leaders. She has deep organizing experience in Boston, Framingham, New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Worcester, and Fitchburg. Lily is on the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (MEJA) and Raise Up Mass steering committee.
Denise Matthews-Turner became interim executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) in January 2021. Founded in 1973, City Life works for racial, social, and economic justice and gender equity by fighting displacement and building community power. With City Life since 2009, Denise was the director of administration. For the past 2 years she has co-facilitated the organization’s work to support Black women leaders, the Black Feminist Praxis Circle. Denise is a fabric artist and leads CLVU’s arts and culture committee. Denise brings more than 30+ years of experience working in Boston community-based organizations, including Action for Boston Community Development and Madison Park Development Corporation where she worked with youth and adults. She also worked for 12 years at YouthBuild USA, a national nonprofit organization where she served as director of administration and human resources. A native of New Jersey, Denise is a graduate of Boston University.
Celina Miranda, Ph.D., is executive director of Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), a youth development organization located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Before joining HSTF in August of 2016, she was senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, where she managed grants in education and economic mobility. Prior to the Smith Family Foundation, Celina was vice president and charitable giving manager for BNY Mellon Public Affairs office in New England. Among her accomplishments at BNY Mellon she is most proud of her leadership role in the development of a multi-year initiative focused on youth aging out of foster care. Celina began her career in philanthropy at The Hyams Foundation, where she managed grants and provided leadership on initiatives in the teen development area. Celina is a trustee of the Rutland Corner Foundation and an adjunct lecturer at Boston University School of Social Work in macro practice. Celina holds a BA from Smith College in Latin American Literature and Latin American Studies, and a MSW and Ed.M. from Boston University. Celina also holds a doctorate in Social Work and Sociology from Boston University. Her dissertation research looked at the integration of positive youth development in community-based organizations.
Catherine T. Morris
A mother, entrepreneur, and visionary, who works at the intersection of arts, culture and creative placekeeping. Over the last 20 years, Catherine has spent her time and energy producing shows, as well as mobilizing and engaging local audiences to experience the arts. She is the founder and executive director of Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest, a volunteer run nonprofit organization that breaks down racial and social barriers to arts, music and culture for communities and artists of color across Greater Boston and beyond. As a result, BAMS Fest has presented 400+ local and national performing, recording and visual artists, curated in (25+) public spaces and has attracted over (10,000+) attendees. Catherine is an alumna of Temple University School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management in Philadelphia, PA, and received her Masters of Science from Simmons University (Boston, MA). It is Catherine’s hope that BAMS Fest becomes a pipeline to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem and creative economy in a manner that inspires hope, changes individual and societal bias, and positively impacts the livelihoods of future creatives.
Award-winning multi-digital media artist, musician, organizer & filmmaker, Cliff Notez’ art is a continuous exploration of the black mind. Rooted in hip hop, their art tackles the political and the personal, exploring the intimate consequences of a society where black bodies are easily ignored, forgotten, or disregarded. Cliff’s Second full-length album, Why The Wild Things Are, was released September 11th 2019. Their films have won over 5 and been official selections for 20 and counting film festivals globally. In 2017 they was the grand prize winner of the March on Washington Festival and honored alongside TaNehisi Coates. In 2018 they took home Best New Artist at the Boston Music Awards while racking in over 11 nominations between 2019-2020 including Artist of the Year and Live Artist of the Year. In 2019 Cliff became the first musician to be named “Musician of the Year” for Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston and their 100 Most Influential Bostonians in 2020.
Andrea immigrated from Ghana in 1998 when she was only three years old with her family. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation. UMass Amherst sparked her interest in social justice. She became empowered to fight for environmental justice with the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, and education justice with the Center for Education, Policy & Advocacy. She has been in the fight for environmental justice for 6 years, and has led Neighbor to Neighbor to think about the intersections of environment and climate with the myriad economic and racial justice issues facing our communities. When she’s not engaging with the community to push for systemic change, she likes to read, cook, be outside, and tend to her thirteen house plants.
Emmanuel Owusu is the founder and executive director of African Bridge Network (ABN) and an alumni of the Lenny Zakim Fund’s Transformational Leadership Program. His life purpose to help develop the potential of the African Diaspora. ABN’s services include the Untapped Talent project, a diverse leadership development program for foreign-borns in the human service industry in Massachusetts. Other ABN services are the Orientation Workshop for Skilled Immigrants, Career Advising Services, and the Professional Mentoring program. Prior to founding ABN, Emmanuel was an experienced urban, environmental and policy planner with more than ten years grant program management experience in urban housing, land use, land conservation, and urban tree planting.
Michelle Renee Jenkins
Michelle Renee Jenkins founded Bryce’s Journey, Inc. on October 20, 2017 to help working mothers like herself find an easier path to success for their children who are high-functioning children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ms. Jenkins is a certified Paralegal with more than 27 years of professional experience working in the legal field. Ms. Jenkins is responsible for building the organization from the ground, up. Although she has no formal business background, her legal background provided her the experience to form and create her organization. Ms. Jenkins has a son, Bryce, who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and understands families living with ASD and/or ADHD well, through her own lived experience. Bryce’s Journey, Inc., is dedicated to helping reduce disparities of care for working class families and underserved populations of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or ADHD. Her services are free or low-cost and available in the inner-city Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Roslindale, where Bryce’s Journey’s constituents live.
“Creative individuals are the essence of a thriving community. It always takes the artist to see the beauty and endless possibilities of a neighborhood.”
An avid artist, educator, activist, entrepreneur and community organizer, Aziza is a woman committed to shaping, reenergizing and creating systemic, sustainable changes. She knows that communities need artists and could not survive without a creative perspective. Sitting on multiple boards and advisory committees for several of the developments, she sees firsthand how difficult and beautiful change can be. Aziza is the executive director of the Transformative Culture Project, which works to create a world in which artists and cultural creatives are celebrated and compensated for their role in imagining the future and connecting people to one another. The daughter of Paul Goodnight, famed painter and entrepreneur best known for his vibrant depictions of Black culture around the world, and employee of the family owned business Color Circle Art Publishing Inc., she is a a graduate of HBCU Hampton University. She has spent her time since graduation serving communities of color. Boston has been the base for her activism from serving as Chair of the upcoming Frederick Douglass Sculpture Project (2011-Present) to sitting on the executive board of the Boston Branch NAACP as the Chair of the ACT-SO Committee (2012-2016), and now as a member of the UNCF Board.
Erika Rodriguez is Chica Project’s executive director. A well-recognized community organizer and nonprofit leader in the City of Boston, Erika has previously worked for Beantown Society, The City School, and Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA). Her work with underrepresented women is thoughtful, strategic, and visionary. Her passion and energy have been directed toward empowering youth of color to analyze power and oppression in society and to embrace their gifts, strengths, and leadership through love and the spirit of community. Erika’s focus of leadership with Chica Project has been to carry out its mission in every way possible to close the opportunity divide for Latinas and other Women of Color by empowering them with the skills, confidence, and network necessary to thrive personally and professionally.
Erika is a first-generation Dominican, born and raised in Boston, and was a student in the Boston Public Schools. She later enrolled in the city’s METCO program, wherein she attended Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. Erika holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Africana Studies from Simmons University. A recipient of the distinguished Boston Neighborhood Fellow Award, which was issued by The Philanthropic Initiative along with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, as well as El Mundo Boston’s Latino 30 Under 30 award, she most recently was awarded the Lenny Zakim Fund fellowship in their 16-month Transformational Leadership Cohort program on nonprofit management.
Jaykyri Simpson directs Young Man with a Plan, a Boston mentoring program serving 160 Black and Latino teens and eight mentors from eight cross-sector (BPS district and charter) schools. Prior to becoming director of Young Man with a Plan, Jaykyri led Project Ochendo at New Mission High School in Boston, where he mentored students of color, helping them improve their study skills and grades, and to access and persist at college. Previous employment also included positions in admissions, retention, campus life, and coaching at Mt. Ida College. Originally from Cleburne, Texas, Jaykyri attended Hill Junior College and completed his B.A. in Sports Management at the University of New England (UNE). While at UNE he captained their division-winning basketball team and was named team MVP. Jaykyri received his MBA from St. Joseph’s College in Maine and is a 2021 doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership program at New England College, where his research explores factors that contribute to college persistence in Black males. Jaykyri, who was in the Lewis Family Foundation’s 2020 Strong Leaders cohort, has also consulted and presented on strategies for successfully engaging young men of color in the classroom.
Marquis is the founder and CEO of Coaching4Change, a nonprofit that partners K-12 schools with colleges to develop a diverse teacher pipeline. This pipeline exposes students of color to teaching as a profession through mentoring and after school collaboration. Marquis founded Coaching4Change in 2010 to help low-income, students of color reach their potential and close the achievement gap through hands-on, practical learning experiences that engage students in a myriad of ways. Marquis has been honored by Echoing Green, a leading impact investor that selects 20 startups from 3,500 global applicants, as “one of the world’s best emerging social innovators.” He was also named a Social Innovator by the Social Innovation Forum in 2014 and a Pahara Next Gen Fellow in 2015. Marquis was recognized as one of five national recipients of the Claneil Emerging Leaders Fund in 2015 and a CNN Hero in 2016. Marquis holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Stonehill College and a Master’s Degree from Smith College.
Rosario Ubiera-Minaya is a leader, community activist, and social entrepreneur originally from the Dominican Republic. She has over 25 years of experience working and advocating for systemic change, social justice, and equity, on behalf of the Latinx community, in the areas of education, housing, voter engagement, public health, and the arts. She has successfully developed and implemented initiatives that have made impactful contributions to promoting the social and economic wellbeing of the Latinx community. Rosario is the executive director of Amplify Latinx, a non-partisan, collaborative movement whose mission is to build Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement and representation in leadership positions across sectors. Rosario is leading a Latinx power coalition of over 3,000 active members and over 140 business and community partners.