Board of Directors

John Stocks - Board Chair

John is the executive director of the National Education Association. Previously, John served as assistant executive director for public affairs at the Wisconsin Education Association Council. He also served as executive director of Idaho Fair Share, a grassroots citizen action organization dedicated to keeping utility rates affordable for working families, and spearheaded legislation on behalf of low and moderate income utility ratepayers. He currently sits on several boards, including Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and Learning First Alliance.

In 1988, John ran successfully for State Senate in Idaho. His legislative record includes successfully shepherding a bill to improve protections for people facing foreclosure on their homes due to family medical crises. He established his bona fides in political strategy as chief architect of the Idaho Senate Democrats’ re-election plans, securing seven new Senate seats and protecting all incumbents over three election cycles.

A native of New Orleans, John is a graduate of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He and his wife, Connie, have two children.

Patricia Bauman - Vice-Chair

Patricia is President of the Bauman Foundation. In recent years, the foundation has supported civic participation through general support of organizations engaged in voter registration, outreach and election protection. She shaped the foundation’s activities at the intersection of human health and environment and policies to foster access to government information.

Patricia is Co-Chair of the Brennan Center, Co-Chair of Catalist LLC and a Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She also serves on the board of Public Interest Projects/Neo Philanthropy and Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She is a longstanding active Democratic political donor.

Patricia is a graduate of Radcliffe/Harvard College, Columbia University School of Public Health, and Georgetown University Law Center.

Paul Egerman - Treasurer

Paul is a retired software entrepreneur who previously founded two successful health information technology companies: eScription, a company that provides dictation and transcription management and automatic speech recognition for the healthcare industry and IDX Systems Corporation, a worldwide supplier of administrative and financial solutions for healthcare organizations.

Paul is involved in several progressive political campaigns, recently serving as finance chair for Elizabeth Warren. He also cares deeply about Israel and is affiliated with progressive Israel policy groups as a member of the J Street Advisory Council and Board of Directors for the New Israel Fund.

Paul holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Weston Milliken - Secretary

Weston Milliken, Ph.D. is a management consultant specializing in human and organizational development, philanthropy, and quality improvement. He serves on a number of for-profit and non-profit Boards. Weston lives in Los Angeles.

Farhad Ebrahimi

Farhad Ebrahimi is the founder and trustee chair of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. The Chorus Foundation supports communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change.

Farhad is also a founding member of the Boston-based organizing collective Simorgh, and he serves on the boards of the New Economy Coalition and Citizen Engagement Lab. When not wrestling with the implications of such titles as “organizer” and “philanthropist,” he is a musician, lover of film and literature, and bicycle snob.

Farhad graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics with Computer Science. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Josh Fryday

Josh Fryday is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NextGen Climate, founded by Tom Steyer.

Prior to this role, Fryday served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy (‘09-‘13) as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). He served overseas in Yokosuka, Japan, where in addition to his legal duties, he augmented the Navy’s 7th Fleet’s Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief efforts during ‘Operation Tomodachi’ following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. He was also stationed in the Office of Military Commissions, working on the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainee cases, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the closing of Guantanamo.

Before serving in the Armed Services, Fryday worked as a political advisor and organizer on local, state and national campaigns, including the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections.

Josh received his law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law, and clerked in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California as well as the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

He also received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. He later served on the UC Berkeley Alumni Board of Directors (06-09), where he cofounded the Equity Scholarship to increase diversity on the UC Berkeley Campus. He is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, a Term-Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Demos and Tech4America.org.

Josh is married to Mollye Fryday, an educator, and they have two energetic young boys, Shay and Calvin.

Nick Hanauer

Nick is chairman of Pacific Coast Feather Company and vice chairman of Marchex, Inc. In 2000, he became a founding partner of the venture capital firm, Second Avenue Partners, where he serves on the boards of both MarketLeader, and Qliance Medical Group. Nick is also the former chairman of the board of aQuantive, a digital marketing services and technology company that sold to Microsoft for $6 billion.

Nick is actively involved in the Seattle community. In 2000, he co-founded the League of Education voters and set out to help transform the educational system and increase student achievement. He is a current board member of the University of Washington Foundation.

A Seattle-area native, Nick is an avid adventure traveler who has visited more than 60 countries, a fly fisherman, and an amateur astronomer. He and his wife, Leslie, reside in the Seattle area with their two children.

Mary Kay Henry

Mary Kay serves as International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the fastest-growing union in North America with 2.2 million workers in healthcare, public, and property services.

Mary Kay joined SEIU’s staff in 1979, rising to become chief healthcare strategist and International Executive Vice President in 2004. She led the union’s efforts to win a stronger voice for healthcare workers and enact historic healthcare reforms. In 2010, Henry was unanimously elected International President.

Mary Kay sits on the boards of the Economic Policy Institute, American Income Life, Fresh Thinking, and is an advisory member of the National Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice. She also serves on the Change to Win Leadership Council and is a founding member of SEIU’s gay and lesbian Lavender Caucus. Mary Kay previously served on the executive board of Families USA and was a labor adviser to the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.

David desJardins

David is a private investor, an active philanthropist, and a supporter of many progressive groups and organizations. David and his wife Nancy Blachman are founders of the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, a program of math education and enrichment for middle and high school students.

A mathematician and software engineer, David was among the first 20 employees at Google, where he worked from 1999 to 2005. Since leaving Google, David continues to engage with mathematical research. David is a trustee of the University of California Berkeley Foundation, and a member of two visiting committees at MIT.

David has degrees from MIT and the University of California at Berkeley. His dissertation involved the analysis of a mathematical game, with applications to information theory.

Keith Mestrich

Keith Mestrich is the President and CEO of the Amalgamated Bank – the nation's only union-owned bank and the leading financial institution for the nation's progressive community. Keith's background includes over 25 years of experience working with the bank's core constituencies in the labor movement and non-profit organizations. Keith first joined Amalgamated in June of 2012 initially directing the bank's Washington Region where he coordinated the bank's operation's in the nation's capital.

Prior to joining Amalgamated Bank, Keith served as the Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In his capacity at SEIU, Keith also served as a trustee on three separate Taft-Hartley funds and on the Investment Committee for the SEIU Master Trust.

Keith is a 25-year veteran of the labor movement, beginning his career as a researcher at the AFL-CIO where he gained experience assisting unions on hundreds of organizing, bargaining and political campaigns. In 2002, Keith went to work for UNITE, the bank's majority shareholder, where he served in various capacities including Director of Corporate Affairs, President of one of the union's locals and Executive Assistant to the International President. Following the formation of Worker's United, Keith was named the new union's first Chief of Staff.

Keith is currently on the Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer of the Union Health Center in New York City, the Public Utility Law Project, and the DC Employment Justice Center. He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Consumers League and serves as an Advisor to The Workers Lab.

Keith received a degree in Political Science and Public Policy from Kalamazoo College where he graduated magna cum laude and was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Fran Rodgers

Fran Rodgers was the founder and CEO of WFD. Established in 1983 to assist employers in responding to the changing work force, the organization pioneered the development of a new generation of employee benefits and consulting and research services, especially addressing the needs of women. More than 3 million employees were covered by the services. Fran has served on many corporate and not-for-profit Boards including NARAL, Progressive Majority and Harvard related hospitals and health services. Fran has served as a Trustee of Barnard College, as well as a board member of Bank of Boston and Fleet Financial. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, and a national winner of the Ernst & Young/Merrill Lynch Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Fran has received the alumna of achievement award at Barnard College, and has been honored by International Women’s Forum, American Society of Aging, and Big Sisters.

Fran is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and Tufts University/MGH professional training program in Clinical Psychology. She is married to Charles Rodgers. They have two daughters.

Susan Sandler

Susan Sandler continues a philanthropic family tradition at the Sandler Foundation, where the Foundation had made charitable grants exceeding $650 million as of December 31, 2013. The Sandler Foundation’s mission is to be a catalyst to strengthen the progressive infrastructure, expose corruption and abuse, advocate for vulnerable and exploited people and environments, and advance scientific research in neglected areas. In addition, Susan is the President of the “Progressive Era Project,” a donor collaborative that builds infrastructure in California to move forward a bold, social justice policy agenda through investing in voter turnout, the candidate pipeline, and other strategies.

Prior to transitioning to full time work as a funder in 2008, Susan spent her career advancing racial justice in education as an executive director, policy advocate, writer, researcher, professional development provider, school therapist, teacher, and activist.

Susan holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from San Francisco State University. She is the Chairperson of the Board for the Center for Community Change Action and sits on the Board of Directors for Center for American Progress.

Rob Stein - Founder Emeritus

Rob Stein is Founder of the Democracy Alliance and Co-Founder of the Committee on States. An attorney by training, Rob has founded and run several non-profit organizations (1979-1988); was Strategic Advisor to the Chairman, Democratic National Committee (1989-1992); was Chief of Staff of the Washington Office of the Clinton-Gore Transition (1992); served as chief of Staff of the United States Department of Commerce (1993-1995), and was a private equity investor working with dozens of early-stage companies (1996-2002).

Rob’s original, comprehensive research (2003-2004) about the funding, management and overall infrastructure of the conservative movement over the last three decades led to the formation of the Democracy Alliance.

Staff

Gara LaMarche - President

Gara LaMarche is President of the Democracy Alliance (DA), providing overall leadership, strategic vision and management capacity for the organization. Prior to joining the Alliance, Gara served as Senior Fellow at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and previously, as President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies. At Atlantic, he led the foundation's efforts to embrace a social justice framework for grantmaking, and spearheaded the largest-ever grant made by a foundation for an advocacy campaign – over $25 million to press for comprehensive health care reform in the U.S. Before joining Atlantic in 2007, Gara served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations (OSF), launching the organization’s pivotal work on challenges to social justice and democracy in the United States. A longtime advocate for human rights at home and abroad, he has held various positions with Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Gara is a frequent commentator on progressive issues in the news, and is the author of numerous articles on human rights and social justice issues, which have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Nation, and American Prospect, among many others. He has taught courses on philanthropy, public policy, and non-profit leadership at NYU’s Wagner School, as well as courses at the New School University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A Westerly, Rhode Island, native, he is a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University in New York.

Julie Kohler - Managing Director

As Managing Director, Julie works closely with the President and the Board to develop and implement the Democracy Alliance’s (DA’s) strategic plan and annual goals, oversees the organization’s day-to-day operations, and directs the staff team. Julie previously served as the organization’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, with responsibility for ensuring synergy between the Investment and Partner Services divisions and leading the DA’s investment services work. Julie has over a decade of experience in philanthropy, with deep expertise in civic engagement, state infrastructure, policy/advocacy, and social innovation grant making.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Julie served as Director for Education & Civic Engagement at Public Interest Projects, where she managed four funding collaboratives designed to promote stronger participatory democracy and more equitable public schools. She also directed the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s National Venture Fund, which invested $13 million annually in civic engagement and social venture projects, and taught at the University of Maryland.

Julie holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in family social science from the University of Minnesota.

Ryan Rodriguez - Vice President, Partner Services

Ryan Rodriguez is responsible for coordinating the Democracy Alliance's semi-annual conferences, assisting with regional events, and working on other partner engagement activities. Prior to joining the Democracy Alliance, Ryan was the National Events Manager for EMILY's List, where he organized their national conferences, their major annual DC luncheon, and a variety of other fundraising events around the country. Ryan has significant fundraising experience, having worked as the finance director and on the finance staff for a number of congressional races including Gwen Moore (WI-04, the first African American woman elected to the US House from Wisconsin), Eleanor Jordan (KY-03), and Christine Jennings (FL-13). Before getting his start in politics, Ryan spent several years at the Smithsonian Institution where he secured corporate sponsorships and organized opening receptions across the country for the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition service. Ryan has a B.A. in political science from the American University. Ryan is a native of Wisconsin and currently lives in Washington, DC. In his free time he enjoys reading historical non-fiction about the War of 1812.

Caitlin Blair - Recruitment Manager, Partner Services

Caitlin Blair is the recruitment manager within the Partner Services team at the Democracy Alliance. Caitlin joins the DA after spending the past 5 years on the campaign trail. Most recently she worked as the finance director for Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer and candidate for Lt. Governor of Virginia. Previously, Caitlin worked as a regional finance director on the successful campaign of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Caitlin also worked for HM Consulting in Washington, DC as a fundraising consultant on the successful 2010 campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and CHC BOLD PAC, a PAC dedicated to electing members to Congress who will add diversity to our leadership and who will address issues that impact the Hispanic community in the United States. Caitlin began her political career as an intern for U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on his successful 2008 campaign.

Caitlin graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in political science. Caitlin is a Virginia native who now lives in Washington, DC.

Shehn Datta - Program Associate

Before joining the DA, Shehn Datta previously worked for State Voices, where she managed democracy programs and assisted the Programs Department in research and writing. She also served for a time as the Political Coordinator at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, where she supporting the political team in building partnerships and relationships with stakeholders and providing technical assistance to allies. Datta worked to elect President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 election cycles in North Carolina. In the intervening years, she attended the University of Oregon School of Law, focusing on international law and government services.

Shehn holds a B.A. in sociology and women’s studies from Mills College and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. She is a proud Californian, the daughter of immigrants, one of whom is a teacher, and an aunt to two amazing but silly nephews. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she enjoys discovering rooftop bars and reading novels in coffee shops.

Kimberly Douglas - Director of Operations

Kimberly Douglas has experience in customer service, special events, meeting planning, administration, operations and systems management in both nonprofit & corporate organizations. While attending Frostburg State University, Kimberly worked at WPGC 95.5 FM as a broadcast news intern. After graduation, Kimberly worked at the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, where she served as ACRPs 1st Education Services Representative. Kimberly was instrumental in helping design and implement ACRP's Customer Service Center. In 2005, Kimberly joined the Forum for Youth Investment as their Office/Meetings Manager and served as the primary liaison between staff and external vendors. Kimberly also worked as the Administrative Director for the Population Institute.

Kimberly has a Masters degree in Organizational Communications and Human Resources from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications, Ballet and Modern Dance from Frostburg State University.

Owen Hooks Davis - Partner Services Associate

Owen's responsibilities at the DA include partner engagement and event coordination. He spent the last several years working on various races in his native Massachusetts, as a field organizer for the Senate campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and campaign manager on two mayoral races.

He has previous experience as a researcher at public affairs firms SKDKnickerbocker and Ward Circle Strategies. He also worked briefly as an on-location production assistant for The Daily Show.

Tori Miyagi - Program Manager

Tori Miyagi joined the Latino Engagement Fund at its founding in 2012 and currently serves as Program Manager and principal deputy. Miyagi marshals the resources of the Fund’s staff and directs national programming and services. Miyagi implements the investment process, providing intensive performance measurement and hands-on relationship management to a portfolio of high-performing community organizations. In this role, Miyagi also manages strategic partnerships with allied funds and funding efforts and facilitates complex, strategic projects with multiple funders and co-investors.

Previously, Miyagi was an Associate in the Democracy Alliance’s Investment Services department where he worked with movement stakeholders to analyse, communicate, and document the programmatic and political impact of the Alliance portfolio to Alliance Partners. Earlier in his career, Miyagi worked with immigrant-rights organizations and political campaigns at a political consulting firm in Washington, DC.

Miyagi was born and raised in a union family in Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi. He is an alumnus of The American University, holding a BA from the School of Public Affairs, and is a graduate of The American University’s Campaign Management Institute and Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute.

Eddy Morales - Director, Latino Engagement Fund

Eddy Morales is Director of the Latino Engagement Fund, a collaborative effort between over 60 individual philanthropists, progressive institutions, and foundations of all sizes to drive resources and strategies that build strong progressive Latino organizations with powerful leaders and a sophisticated base working to make concrete improvements in people’s lives.

Since becoming the Fund’s inaugural Director in 2012, Eddy is now also working with Democracy Alliance Partners to develop strategies for the broader New American Majority and to ensure our democracy, economy, and leaders work for, represent, and reflect the New Majority.

Eddy brings more than a decade of senior leadership experience to the Fund and the DA, most recently as Deputy Director of Voto Latino, where he increased the annual operating budget and oversaw strategy and day-to-day operations. Previously, Eddy served as Deputy Director of Leadership Development at the Center for Community Change where he launched a leadership development program to recruit and nurture low-income community organizers of color into community based organizations.

Gwen Roby - Executive Assistant

Joining the Democracy Alliance in October 2014, Gwen Roby now serves as the Executive Assistant to the President and Managing Director. Prior to joining the DA, Gwen was the Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO and Director of Administration and Operations at the Insured Retirement Institute. Her previous experience also includes serving as the Executive Administrator of the German Marshall Fund, and Senior Administrative Associate of the National Academies. Gwen served in the United States Army from 1990 to 2000 as an Administrative Personnel Supervisor.

Frank Smith - Consultant (Investment Services)

Francis Smith has been involved in political and public policy issues throughout his career. He is President of a Cambridge, Massachusetts consulting firm specializing in election and non-profit law and policy work. He has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Boston and worked on a number of political campaigns, including two Presidential elections. He is co-author of a recent book on the American healthcare system and writes a monthly newsletter on American politics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Boston College Law School, and a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He has served on a number of non-governmental organization boards.

Katherine Storch - Senior Research Analyst

Katherine joins the Democracy Alliance as a Senior Research Analyst with the Investment Services team. She previously worked at Sachs Waldman, P.C., a Detroit firm known as a progressive and effective representative of labor organizations and their members, as well as a significant force in plaintiff’s personal injury law litigation. While in law school she clerked at the Free Legal Aid Clinic, assisting indigent Detroit residents in family law matters, was a leader in the student chapter of the American Constitution Society, and founded her school’s chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Katherine holds a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School, a Masters in European Studies from Jagiellonian University, Krakow and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from the University of Michigan. In her spare time she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring new cities, and spending time with her rescued dog, Todd.

Austin Thompson - Director, Youth Engagement Fund

Austin L. Thompson is the director of the Youth Engagement Fund (YEF). Through leveraged grant making, YEF works to engage young people in civic life, build their long-term power, and help secure a permanent progressive majority. Austin comes to YEF and the DA from SEIU, where he served as the union's Millennial Program Coordinator. He led the launch and development of this program, which developed local infrastructure across the United States and Canada for youth and emerging member leaders to take action in elections and on progressive issue campaigns. Prior to his work with the Millennial Program, heworked as a lead organizer for SEIU in Wisconsin and taught comparative democracy and civics to high school students in Senegal and India. In addition to the DA, Austin is a community organizer and volunteer locally supporting economic development efforts in low-income and immigrant communities in Maryland and Virginia where he now lives.

Robert Wimberley - Partner Services Manager, Partner Services

Robert Wimberley oversees research operations within Partner Services at the Democracy Alliance. Before joining the organization, Robert worked as a political opposition researcher for over 40 campaigns across the country. Robert had previously worked as the finance director for a myriad of campaigns in red states, including a congressional race in Texas that earned a spot on the DCCC’s highly competitive Red-to-Blue program. His first campaign, straight out of the University of California at Berkeley, was working field in both West Virginia and Florida for the 2004 Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign. Robert holds a B.A. in both Political Science and French. Originally from Los Angeles, Robert lives in D.C. with his wife, Sarah. In his spare time, Robert volunteers with Special Olympics.