As Director of Community Investment for IMC, Easter Maynard combines a career focused on business and philanthropy to lead ChildTrust Foundation, IMC’s charitable arm. Started in 2003, ChildTrust Foundation invests primarily in early childhood education and literacy efforts across North Carolina with a particular focus on serving under-resourced families and communities. In this role, Easter has helped establish an early childhood funders collaborative leveraging nearly 20 grantmaking partners to invest in and advocate for strong early childhood policy and practice in the state.
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.”
Peggy is the Director in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s Private Company Services (PCS) assurance practice based in Raleigh, North Carolina. With over 14 years of experience, Peggy provides private companies with audit and business advisory services across a broad range of industries including industrial products and manufacturing, engineering and construction consulting services, medical device, wholesale distribution, and nonprofit organizations.
Banu Valladares has an extensive non-profit background in education, the arts and humanities, specializing in forming strategic partnerships with national, state and local agencies. She has served with the NC Humanities Council, the NC Arts Council, and SonEdna where she was the Executive Director. Banu moved to Charlotte from Venezuela to attend UNC-Charlotte and called Charlotte home until 2004. She returned to Charlotte in 2014 after posts in the triangle area of North Carolina and Mississippi.
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 her master’s (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.
For the last 20 years, Dr. Eric C. Bracy has served in various capacities as a teacher; Assistant
Principal for Elementary and Middle School; Principal and Central Administrator; Superintendent in Northampton County Schools and Sampson County Schools. Dr. Bracy earned a Doctor of Education in Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; a Master of Education from Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia; Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education from North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina. He is a member of several professional and local organizations.
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.
Sherry Franklin is a Technical Assistance Specialist within the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently works with two national technical assistance centers funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education: the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center and the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems and (DaSy). She provides TA to federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state leaders who serve children with disabilities ages birth to five and their families. Sherry’s areas of expertise include building the capacity of states to strengthen state systems to implement evidence-based practices with a particular focus on early intervention services, governance, quality improvement, and child/family outcomes measurement.
Mrs. Greene-Washington is the president of Indigo Innovation Group, a consulting firm dedicated to serving as a thought-partner, advisor and consultant to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations that are committed to accelerating change through system-level approaches, equity, and strategic collaboration. In addition to this role, she is the founder of CoThinkk, a social change philanthropy committed to improving the economic mobility, leadership, health and wellbeing, and education narrative of communities of color in Western NC. Her experience in community economic development has served as a foundation for her strong commitment to targeting systemic change and accelerating efforts at the intersection of economic development, health, and education. Throughout her career, she has taken on projects that address complex issues and led high level, long-term place-based projects and special initiatives.
Nation Hahn, who serves as the director of growth for EducationNC, has expertise in design thinking, communications, public policy, and politics. At EdNC, Nation helps drive the postsecondary and community college coverage, including the Awake58 weekly newsletter and Twitter account.
Hahn works on fundraising and partnership efforts, iterating an investment strategy that combines a theory of change, leadership development, and force amplification through “go and see” opportunities for philanthropists and policymakers to build relationships with community college and local leaders. Nation leads a responsive innovation strategy for EdNC, including audience growth and engagement.
Hal Kaplan is Executive Chairman of Kaplan Early Learning Company. Started by Mr. Kaplan’s father in 1951, the company is the leading international provider of products and services that enhance children’s learning, with the core value “we strive to improve outcomes for all children.” The company engages in publishing and development of curriculum and assessment products and is committed to introducing new products that promote learning and play. The company’s clients include school systems, childcare centers, and federally supported programs. The company’s headquarters is in Lewisville, North Carolina, where Mr. Kaplan and his wife reside.
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.
Rashidah Lopez Morgan
Rashidah Lopez Morgan is Principal consultant with Education First, an education policy and strategy consulting firm. She works with K-12 education leaders to create and implement organizational strategies and talent management solutions that help prepare students—and particularly students of color—for success in college, careers and life. She has worked with state and local education agencies across the country, as well as numerous national and regional philanthropic organizations.
Munro Richardson is Executive Director of Read Charlotte, a community initiative that unites families, educators and community partners with the goal of improving third-grade reading proficiency in Mecklenburg County to 80% by 2025. In this role, he is responsible for using research, data and strategic funding to coordinate, integrate and align the efforts of dozens of organizations across Charlotte-Mecklenburg to improve children’s language and literacy development from birth through third grade.
Munro has worked in philanthropy for most of the past 20 years. Read Charlotte is his fifth startup venture. He has received local and national recognition for his efforts at Read Charlotte. Munro holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors, master’s degrees from both Harvard University (where he was a Mellon Fellow) and Oxford University (where he was a Rhodes Scholar), and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
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.
Jennifer Vu, MD
A North Carolina native, Phuong-Mai Jennifer Vu is a board-certified internist and pediatrician practicing in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for both her undergraduate education and earned a Master’s in Public Health in nutrition. She received her MD from East Carolina University and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She was selected to serve as Pediatric Chief Resident from 2015-2016 with a focus on training young physician residents in pediatrics.
Click here to access the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Board Portal.