Our Approach


  • Easter Maynard

    Board Chair

    Easter Maynard grew up in Raleigh, NC. She is the Director of Community Investment for Investors Management Corporation, parent company of Golden Corral Corp. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and her Masters in Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill. She has worked with many nonprofits as staff, a board member, and as a volunteer.  She currently serves on the boards of Golden Corral Corporation, the Triangle Community Foundation, Methodist Home for Children, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County.  She has experience on both ends of the funding spectrum, having run a small nonprofit organization and served in various grantmaking roles.  Easter and her husband, John Parker, have 3 children.

  • Patti Gillenwater

    Vice Chair

    Patti Gillenwater is CEO of Elinvar, a retained search firm focused on mission driven leadership. As Elinvar's leader since 1995, Patti has built the Elinvar organization around her belief that great results stem from leadership and great leadership happens when leaders are working in an environment that supports them. "It is with great leaders at the helm that mission driven organizations are able to create good things for all of their stakeholders."

    Patti's extensive nonprofit board experience makes her a key resource for boards of mission driven organizations seeking new leaders for the organizations they serve. Over the years Patti has served in various leadership roles and has invested her time in community service related to public school advocacy and support for all children having access to a world-class education. Current board positions she holds include:

    • Wake Education Partnership -Leadership Council (2004 - present)

    Patti began her career in recruiting following her tenure as a CPA. She gained financial and operational knowledge with two companies - Deloitte and International Paper Company. An honors graduate of the University of South Carolina with an undergraduate degree in Accounting, Patti has received numerous certifications in assessments related to leadership and team performance. She is also a writer and speaker on leadership issues. In 2012 she completed the Governing for Nonprofit Excellence program at Harvard Business School.

  • Harold Sellars


    Harold retired from Mechanics & Farmers Bank (M&F), Durham, NC in 2012 after 14 years as a Senior Vice President in the areas of Credit and Branch Administration.  He began his banking career in 1977 with United Carolina Bank (UCB) Whiteville, NC.  During his personal and professional growth years at UCB he held several Senior Management positions in the areas of Lending, Mergers & Acquisitions, Regulatory Compliance, and Community Reinvestment. The North Carolina native graduated with honors from North Carolina Central University with a B.A. degree in Business Administration.  He is also a graduate of the North Carolina School of Banking Mid-Management and Advanced Management Programs at UNC-Chapel Hill.

    Harold is a past member of the boards of the North Carolina Partnership for Children (“Smart Start”) and the Early Childhood Advisory Council.  He served as Board Chair for Durham’s Partnership for Children and was founding Board Chair of the Columbus County Partnership for Children.  In 1996 he was elected to the Whiteville City Schools Board of Education.  He is a U.S. Army Veteran and has served on the Boards of several Professional, Civic and Non-profit Organizations.

  • Duncan Munn


    Duncan started one of the first community early intervention programs in North Carolina which encompassed a rural, five-county area. He served as local and regional coordinator for services for all children and adults with developmental disabilities, and then was employed as the chief of Community Support Services for the NC Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. For the next twenty-five years, he directed the NC Early Intervention Program with responsibilities in such areas as system planning and evaluation, policy development, resource development, budget management, professional development, and family involvement. During this time, he served as President of the National Infant and Toddler Coordinators' Association. Following his retirement, he helped plan and design an interagency integrated early childhood data system which was funded through North Carolina's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant and served as a Project Manager with the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities. He has also taught early childhood special education as an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has served on a number of Boards including the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Executive Leadership Board, the North Carolina Family Support Network, and Community Partnerships, a community organization providing early intervention services. Other volunteer activities include working at the Neo-natal Critical Care Center at UNC Memorial Hospital.

  • Greg Alcorn

    After graduating from Catawba College in 1979, Greg began a business career and is currently CEO of Global Contact Services (GCS).  GCS provides clients with outsourced staffing and management for customer interactions.

    He is a graduate of Salisbury High School, Catawba College and has his MBA from UNC-Charlotte.  He has served on Catawba College Board of Trustees since 1999.  He was selected Alumnus of the Year in 2010, received the Church and College Award in 2015 and delivered the Baccalaureate Homily in 2015.

    Greg also serves on boards including United Church Homes and Services, North Carolina State Board of Education, Families First, the First UCC Foundation, Waterworks Visual Arts, and he is active with First Tee of Salisbury and Boy Scouts.  He is an active member at First United Church of Christ.

    His family recently started The Appleseed Early Childhood Project which provides electronic readers to socio-economically disadvantaged children ages 0-4 yrs.

    His wife of 25 years, Missie, is a business owner in Salisbury.  They have two adult children, Clark and Eleanor.

  • Sheresa Blanchard

    Sheresa Blanchard has been a practitioner and consultant in early childhood, special education, and early intervention for over 10 years.  A native of New Jersey, her professional career is primarily in North Carolina as a special education teacher, NC Rated License assessor and early interventionist.  She received Masters (Birth through Kindergarten) and Doctoral (Specialized Education Services) degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  From 2012-2013, she was a member of the North Carolina Early Learning and Development Standards Advisory Team who coordinated the creation of the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development.

    Currently, she is an assistant professor in birth through kindergarten at East Carolina University in the Department of Human Development and Family Science with a focus on family/community engagement, cultural reciprocity, and improving teacher preparation competencies.  Her work is through the lenses of equity, diversity, and social justice.

    In addition to her appointment to the North Carolina Early Childhood Association board, she is actively engaged with the NC Early Intervention systemic improvement efforts, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) VOICES Social Justice Council, and other local, regional, and national early childhood initiatives.

  • Peggy Carter

    Peggy Carter retired as vice president of the Forsyth Medical Center Foundation. She previously served as VP of corporate affairs for Sara Lee Corporation’s apparel operations (now Hanesbrands Inc.) and senior director of legal and regulatory affairs in external relations for RJ Reynolds.  She currently sits on boards for Winston-Salem State University’s Foundation (a past chair), Salemtowne Continuing Care Community (past chair), Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC-CH, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce (a past chair).  She also serves on the Provincial Elders Conference of the Moravian Church Southern Province, the Trustees of the Moravian Salem Congregation and the Winston-Salem Capital Campaign Coordinating Committee.

    Her prior board service includes the Winston-Salem Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, The Centers for Exceptional Children, Urban League, Crosby Scholars, Forsyth County United Way and WS/FC Arts Council.

    She and her husband, the late Donald L. Carter, have two sons. Carter earned her bachelor of arts degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a masters in news journalism at the University of Georgia.

  • Dr. Kenneth Dodge

    Kenneth A. Dodge, Ph.D., is the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He directs the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, which is devoted to finding solutions to problems facing youth in contemporary society, through research, policy engagement, service, and education. Professor Dodge earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University in 1978. He conducts research on the development and prevention of antisocial behavior in children and families and public policy to enhance children’s social development. He has been honored with the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Boyd McCandless Award, the Science to Practice Award from the Society for Prevention Research, and the Senior Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is married to Claudia Jones, M.D. They have two children, Graham and Zoe.

  • Marian F. Earls, MD, FAAP

    Marian Earls is the Lead Pediatric Consultant for Community Care of North Carolina, and is the current lead on the state CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grant for the state.   From 1994 to July 2012 she was the Medical Director of Guilford Child Health., a large, non-profit, private Pediatric practice that is the pediatric division of Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine in Greensboro, North Carolina.   She is also a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician. Guilford Child Health is a public-private partnership between two community health systems and the department of public health, and serves families at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.   She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics for the University of North Carolina Medical School.

    Dr. Earls also is Medical Director of the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic (multidisciplinary) for the Level III NICU at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro.  Dr. Earls is Immediate Past President of the North Carolina Pediatric Society (President 2008-2010).   She is chair of the Mental Health/School Health Committee for NCPS.   She has been a member of the Committee on the Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health of the AAP, and was the lead author on the committees Clinical Report “Incorporating Recognition and Management of perinatal and postpartum Depression into Pediatric Practice,” (PEDIATRICS, November 2010).   She is a liaison from the AAP to AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).  She has been elected to the Executive Committee of the AAP’s Section on Early Education and Child Care.  She is a member of the Mental Health Leadership Work Group of the AAP that is charged with national dissemination of mental health integration in primary care pediatrics.

    She has been a member of the board of the Family Support Network of Greater Greensboro for families who have children with special needs, and has been on the state advisory board for Family Support Network.   The Association for Retarded Citizens of Greensboro awarded her the professional of the Year Award for 2000, and she was a member of that board from 2004-2010.   She was Co-chair of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Task Force for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment in 2005 and is currently co-chair of the IOM Task Force on Early Childhood Mental Health.   Dr. Earls has been one of the Clinical Directors for Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) since its inception by NC Medicaid in 1998.  Guilford Child Health was the pilot site for the ABCD (Assuring Better Child Health and Development) Project (funded by the Commonwealth Fund) and Dr. Earls is the clinical director of that project, which is now state-wide.   The purpose of ABCD has been to integrate developmental services (screening, surveillance, parent education) into pediatric practice.    North Carolina State Medicaid Policy has now changed to be consistent with the process of developmental and behavioral screening implemented in this program and is requiring the use of validated, formal screens at EPSDT visits.     The Commonwealth Fund had an ABCD II project in several new states, and Dr. Earls did training and consulting for this initiative focused on early childhood mental health.   She provided technical assistance to five states for implementation of developmental and behavioral screening and surveillance through her Setting the Stage for Success grant from the Commonwealth Fund in 2006-2007.   She was faculty on the Healthy Development Learning Collaborative for pediatric practices in NC and Vermont in 2004.   From 2007 to 2010 she was the faculty chair for EDSI (Early Developmental Screening and Intervention) learning collaborative through UCLA.  She was recently faculty for the AAP Bright Futures Preventive Services Improvement Project Learning Collaborative.

    Dr. Earls received her A.B. in Biology in 1976 from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, her Master of Theological Studies (MTS) in 1978 from Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, and her M.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1984.   She completed her Pediatric Residency at Moses Cone Hospital (UNC AHEC) in Greensboro in 1987, and her Fellowship in Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics in 1988.

  • Dan Gerlach

    Since October 2008, Dan Gerlach has served as president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. After working as a budget analyst for the New York State Assembly for five years, Gerlach spent seven years as the director of the NC Budget and Tax Center and seven years as the Senior Fiscal Advisor for Gov. Easley. Dan has served on over a dozen commissions on budget, tax, agriculture and economic development at the state & national level.  He formerly served on the NC Network of Grantmakers Board of Directors and currently is actively involved in his church.

    Dan holds an M.P.A. in state and local public finance from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and bachelor’s degrees in economics and English from the University of Notre Dame.  He has served as an adjunct instructor of public administration at UNC-Chapel Hill and NCSU.

  • Heather Graham

    Heather Graham has spent the past two decades working to ensure that all students are prepared and have the opportunity to excel in college and careers. She has been a leader in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors where she has initiated, launched, and managed portfolios of high-impact grants focused on supporting students to and through college. As a Principal with Education First, she currently leads teams that provide strategic planning, policy analysis, advocacy, research and project management support to national and regional foundations, state and federal policymakers, and non-profit organizations. Her recent projects include leading teams that advised the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Lumina Foundation on the strategic direction of their education grantmaking and helping the NoVo Foundation’s network of 12 social and emotional learning grantees scale their programs.

    Previously, Heather served as a Program Officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she oversaw portfolios that included education grantees in California, Texas and the Southeast. In that capacity she provided strategic planning, operations, and governance advice and support to grantees, and developed major funding coalitions with national, regional and community foundations to support college and career readiness in California, Texas, and North Carolina. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Heather served as a Vice President with Teach For America, a White House Fellow with the Domestic Policy Council, and a Program Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she managed a portfolio of investments in the areas of education and family economic success.

    Heather spent a year in Chengdu, China as a Henry Luce Scholar, working with the Minister of Education. She began her career as a teacher in the South Bronx with Teach For America. Heather earned an M.A. in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a B.A. with honors from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Heather lives in Durham, NC with her husband and their two children.

  • Olson Huff, MD, FAAP

    Olson Huff is a developmental pediatrician who practiced in North Carolina for more than forty years.

    A well known child advocate, he was the founder of the Olson Huff Center for Child Development and the founding medical director of Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, NC.

    He initiated many programs to assist in the health care of vulnerable populations e.g. the dental program that serves children in rural western North Carolina.

    He is an author of many scientific articles, regularly writes a blog on children’s health and social justice issues and has written four books, one of which, “How to Enjoy the First 60 Days of Life,” won the gold medal from the Independent Publishers Association.

    He served the North Carolina Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics as vice-president and president, was a member of the Academy of Pediatrics National Nominating Committee and the Committee on Federal Government Affairs as well as chair of that committee.

    He has received numerous awards for his work as an advocate for children and for the advancement of health care access to vulnerable populations, including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine North Carolina’s highest civilian award, the advocacy award from the senior section of the Academy of Pediatrics and the Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee.

    He is a veteran of the USAF, a graduate of the University of Kentucky and received his medical degree from the University of Louisville.

    He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church, a jogger and an avid reader of US History.

  • Matty Lazo-Chadderton

    Matty was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where she became an educator, following in the footsteps of her grandmother and mother. She labored in the Venezuelan corporate world and managed her own art gallery in the Dominican Republic before settling with her family in North Carolina in 1987, in search of better services for autism.

    Over the past 15 years, Matty has dealt with governmental and civic areas of North Carolina, working as Director for Hispanic and Latino Affairs for the President Pro Tempore, NC Senator Marc Basnight from 2001 to 2011. She also held the position of Institutional Public Affairs Officer for the Consulate General of Mexico in Raleigh (2011), and later served as Director for Hispanic and Latino Affairs for the NC Governor (2012)

    Her passion for volunteerism, and civic engagement began when her two children were in pre-school, becoming an advocate for regular and special education.

    She is the proud mother of David of Cary, and Andrew and his wife Daphne of South Korea.

    Matty is on the boards of: Public School Forum of NC, the Student Science Enrichment Advisory Committee, for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; the Industry Advisory Council,  The Center for Sustainable Tourism at Eastern North Carolina University, and Organization of Women in the International Trade- Greater Triangle.

    She is a Fellow of: Early Childhood Leadership Development Program, UNC-Chapel Hill; Institute for Educational Leadership, and Triangle Leadership.

    She owns Lazo-Chadderton, LLC. , her consulting firm in Government, Hispanic and International Affairs, as well as Disabilities.

  • Don Stedman

    Don Stedman is a retired Child Clinical Psychologist who has worked for many years in North Carolina to establish and strengthen programs for young children, especially those with special needs. He is the co-chair of the Executive Leadership Board of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of NC at Chapel Hill.

    During his professional career he served on the faculty of Duke University, Vanderbilt University and the University of NC at Chapel Hill. He was Director of the JFK Center at Vanderbilt-Peabody, and Dean of Education and Associate Director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at UNC Chapel Hill. He served for nearly 15 years as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim Vice President for Research and Public Service Programs of the UNC System. He serves on several Boards and Advisory Groups in NC working on children’s issues.

  • Chuck Willson, MD

    Chuck Willson is first and foremost a generalist pediatrician and child advocate.  He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and MD from the University of Virginia in 1974.  After a pediatric internship at North Carolina Memorial Hospital, he entered the US Navy to pay back a scholarship commitment.  He served as a general medical officer at Camp LeJeune from 1975 to 1977.  Then he returned to the University of North Carolina to complete his residency, serving a chief resident year in 1980.

    Dr. Willson then entered private practice with Greenville Pediatric Services, Inc., becoming an owner in 1982.  In 1996, he led the development of a physician-led primary care medical home project for NC Medicaid patients.  He served as part-time medical director for the Community Care Plan of Eastern Carolina for 12 years, growing the program from one county with 12,500 patients to 27 counties with 122,000 patients.

    In 1999, Chuck left private practice to become a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University where he currently serves as the Director of the Center for Children with Complex and Chronic Conditions and medical director for the Child Health Access Care Collaborative (funded by a CMS Innovations grant), part of a statewide program to link primary care medical homes with pediatric specialists.

    Chuck has served in leadership roles in the North Carolina Pediatric Society, rising to president in 2002 and the North Carolina Medical Society, serving as president in 2005.  He currently is a delegate from NCMS to the AMA, and was recently elected to his second term on the AMA Council on Medical Service.  Chuck chaired the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission from 20o8 to 2011.  He has been a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine since 2000 and now serves on its Board of Directors.

    He and his wife of 37 years, Wendy, have three daughters and two grandsons.

  • Tracey Greene-Washington

    Mrs. Greene-Washington is the director of special initiatives at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, leading the strategic implementation of the foundation’s two major long-term efforts—Healthy Places NC, focused on improving the health of 10 to 12 rural counties, and Great Expectations, an early childhood initiative working to help Forsyth County’s youngest children be prepared for success in school and life by the time they finish kindergarten. Mrs. Greene-Washington is also the founder of CoThinkk, a giving circle committed to improving the economic mobility, leadership development, education narrative of communities of color in Western North Carolina

    Prior to joining the Trust, Tracey served as the program officer for community economic development at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and was instrumental in creating a strategy to address the statewide racial and gender wealth gap in North Carolina. Prior to these roles, she served as the Program Officer and Director of Learning & Evaluation for the National Rural Funders Collaborative for eight years, focusing on systemic change initiatives in rural communities of color. In her role, she oversaw the evaluation, research, grant-making, policy, and capacity building activities of the organization, while directing key organizational projects that provided analysis, learning, and knowledge-building to support implementation of policy and philanthropic initiatives in the South, West, and Northern Plains. Prior to her tenure at NRFC, she served as the Director of Technical Assistance & Training with the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations where she provided support to over 45 community development corporations across the state. Lastly, she continues to serve as the Principal for Nexus Point Consulting, a consulting group that is dedicated to accelerating change through innovative strategies and partnerships.

    Mrs. Washington is a native of Asheville, NC, former Board Chair for the Center for Leadership Innovation and Vice Chair for the Southern Rural Development Initiative. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work with minors in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received her Master Degree of Social Work with a concentration in communities and organizations from the University of South Carolina.