Fund Staff

EunSook Lee

EunSook has been with the AAPI Civic Engagement Fund since its establishment in 2014. Prior to that, she worked with Unbound Philanthropy and the Four Freedoms Fund and other funders on initiatives related to administrative relief and the DACA program and supported the formation of the Asian American and Arab American Collaboration for Deferred Action in Chicago. She is the former senior deputy for Congressmember Karen Bass, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), executive director of Korean American Women In Need, and Station Manager of CKLN Public Radio in Toronto, Canada. EunSook was born in Hwasoon, South Korea and immigrated to Canada at a young age. As a teenager she helped found Youth Against Apartheid, which successfully campaigned for the Toronto School Board to divest from South Africa and later became active in the movement for democracy, reunification, and human rights in Korea as a member of Young Koreans United of USA.

Jeanelle Sales
Program Manager

Jeanelle is experienced in working in various areas such as business operations & administration, event coordination, and finance in healthcare and nonprofit. As a Filipino-American and local native of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, she recently relocated to Las Vegas to start a new chapter in her life. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, she was working for National CAPACD as their Business Operations Coordinator. Her experience at National CAPACD built a strong foundation for her to understand and learn the issues our communities face. With a B.A. in Humanities, an MBA, and life’s experiences, she strives to use her background and knowledge to serve and build others, especially the AAPI community and other minority groups.

Fund Steering Committee

Ethan Frey
Program Manager, Civic Engagement and Government, Ford Foundation

Ethan Frey joined the Civic Engagement & Government team at the Ford Foundation in 2013. Since joining the Foundation, he has helped to manage a large-scale three-year voter engagement grant making program in the Southwest, oversaw a restructuring of their core programming on voting rights and integrated voter engagement, and is currently developing their new strategies focused on building progressive governance at the state level. Previously, he organized in Pennsylvania and Ohio during the 2008 and 2012 general elections. In between, Ethan also worked to unionize low-wage workers in Miami, Florida, as an organizer for the international trade union Unite Here, which represents food service, hotel, and gaming employees, and at Project Renewal, Inc., a nonprofit social service provider, where he worked to protect public benefits for low-income New Yorkers as a non-attorney civil legal advocate. Ethan is a 2010 graduate of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.

John Govea
Program Director, Immigrant Rights and Integration, Haas, Jr. Fund

John joined the Haas, Jr. Fund staff in 2017 after 10 years with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey, where he managed national programs and initiatives focused on childhood obesity and health equity. Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, John is descended from Mexican immigrants who settled in the state. His father came to the United States under the bracero program during World War II to work on the Santa Fe Railroad. His maternal grandparents were migrant farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley.

John started his professional career as an attorney representing farmworkers in rural California. He has worked on the staffs of the Community Foundation for Monterey County and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and was senior program officer with the State of California’s California Service Corps, where he oversaw implementation of the state’s AmeriCorps program.

Connie Cagampang Heller
Co-Founder, Linked Fate Fund for Justice
Connie Cagampang Heller is an artist, strategy design consultant, and philanthropist. Recently her art has been featured at the National Academy of Medicine’s Visualize Health Equity Community Art Project and in Shakti Butler’s film, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. When not in the studio, Connie collaborates with academics, philanthropists and grassroots leaders to create learning spaces to share research and strategies to address structural racialization and implicit bias. Most recently, she helped design the Haas Institute’s 2017 Othering and Belonging Conference.

Sixteen years ago, she and her partner cofounded The Linked Fate Fund for Justice, which supports grassroots organizing and intermediaries working to end systemic racial inequity. She currently serves on the boards of the Groundswell Fund for Reproductive Justice, Groundswell Action Fund and is a founding board member of the Perception Institute.


Geri Mannion
Program Director, U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund, National Program, Carnegie Corporation

As Director of Carnegie Corporation’s U.S. Democracy Program, Geri Mannion brings a wealth of experience about the role of philanthropy in challenging, improving and deepening the civic dialogue. She has directed the division since 1998, after staffing the Corporation’s program of Special Projects for almost ten years. While the Corporation continues to support projects that focus on improving voter engagement among those least likely to vote, the U.S. Democracy Program focuses primarily on immigrant civic integration. Active in professional organizations that work to advance and strengthen the philanthropic and nonprofit world, Geri is on the board of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a national affinity group of funders active in supporting programs that impact immigrants. She is a former co-chair of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, an affinity group of funders that encourages foundations to fund voter registration, voting rights, civic education, and campaign finance reform. She remains an active participant in this organization. In 2009, Geri, together with her colleague Taryn Higashi, received the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, one of philanthropy’s highest honors, for founding the Four Freedoms Fund, a funder collaborative. In 2010, she was named as one of the nonprofit sector’s top fifty leaders by the Non-Profit Times. Since 2014, she has chaired the Council on Foundations’ Scrivner Selection Committee. Geri holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in political science, both from Fordham University.

Jodeen Olguin-Tayler

 has nearly two decades of experience leading movement and field building initiatives that center gender and racial equity. Whether it be through building national field infrastructure, running civic engagement programs, online campaigning, or organizing and advocacy, Jodeen is recognized by the field for leading innovative projects that build cross-sector strategic partnerships and advance values-based campaigns. Her past experience includes Vice President of Campaigns & Partnerships at Demos, Campaigns Director for the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, and Field Director for As a SouthWest born Chicana from a family of sheep ranchers, Jodeen brings a strong movement building orientation to her work, and is a practitioner of Forward Stance and other social change strategies that integrate normative and cultural change work with systems change and structural transformation


Refujio “Cuco” Rodriguez
Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Rodriguez serves on the foundation’s Racial Equity and Community Engagement team and is responsible for developing and coordinating strategic grantmaking activities aimed at addressing racial equity, community engagement, and nurturing opportunities for positive systemic change for historically marginalized communities and vulnerable children. Prior to joining the foundation, Rodriguez served as division chief and ethnic services manager with the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, where he was responsible for implementation of the new Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).  MHSA is a statewide initiative intended to transform the mental health system in CA counties. Rodriguez was also responsible for engaging multiple cross-sector and multi-ethnic community stakeholders in coordination of the MHSA. Rodriguez established Santa Barbara’s first Latino Mental Health Consumer and Family Advocacy Network in order to engage Latino stakeholders in the implementation of the MHSA. Rodriguez has served as department director for Family and Youth Services with the Community Action Commission, where he led the implementation and execution of all Family and Youth Services programming; funding development; development of policies procedures and training; and budget development and oversight. Rodriguez has worked with communities on issues including: teen pregnancy, reproductive health, youth violence, gang intervention, rites of passage facilitation, mental health, father involvement strategies and community engagement. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Human Services Department at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. Rodriguez has held various community service positions and served as the board chair of the National Compadres Network. Rodriguez obtained a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering technology and a master’s degree in education with concentrations in counseling and guidance, both from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.


Sue Van
President and CEO, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

Sue Van is the President and CEO of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. Its largest program is in translational research in biomedical engineering. By implementing industry best practices, this process accelerates the translation of promising university innovations into practical advances that improve patient care. The foundation also collaborates with scientific societies to bring the latest education and standards of care to resource-limited nations. The foundation’s newest initiative is its work with Asian American and Pacific Islander groups to form one cohesive community to promote civic engagement and to address health disparities. Prior to establishing the Foundation, Sue was the Executive Vice President and CFO of Coulter Corporation, a leading global diagnostics company. In this capacity, she was responsible for the company’s long-term strategy, as well as its financial and legal affairs. Sue was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated to the US at the age of five. Sue earned a B.A. in Political Science from American University, and an M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University.


Updated on 2018-09-07T14:36:11+00:00, by aapifund.