The FCCP Advisory Board is pleased to present to membership the following slate of candidates to join the FCCP Advisory Board this year (see full bios below). In recruiting these candidates, the Advisory Board sought to ensure that the nominees would bring a range of diverse perspectives, opinions, and experiences, and that they would represent a variety of philanthropic organizations, geographic regions, and foundation/organization size.

  • Jesse Beason, Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs, Northwest Health Foundation (First Term)
  • Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, Principal, Dancing Hearts Consulting, LLC (First Term)
  • Denise Cardinal, Executive Director, WIN Minnesota (First Term)
  • Scott Nielson, Managing Director of Advocacy, Arabella Advisors (First Term)
  • Christine Reeves Strigaro, Executive Director, The Sapelo Foundation (First Term)
  • Uma Viswanathan, Program Officer, Racial Equity and Community Engagement, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (First Term)
  • Carmen Lopez-Wilson, Policy Officer, Good Government Reforms, Thornburg Foundation (First Term)
  • Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, Program Director, Democratic Practice–United States, Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Second Term)

We are asking our membership to approve this slate of candidates for a three-year term by filling out the form below. As the designated representative for your organization, you are the authorized voter under FCCP’s one vote per member-organization policy. You can find more information on the role and responsibilities of FCCP’s Advisory Board here.

If confirmed, Jesse, Esperanza, Denise, Scott, Christine, Uma, Carmen and Keesha will join Marcia Avner (Bauman Foundation), Evan Bacalao (Open Society Foundations), Steven Cole-Schwartz (The Partnership Funds), Connie Malloy (The James Irvine Foundation), and Ilona Prucha (Wellspring Advisors, LLC) on the FCCP Advisory Board. All FCCP Advisory Board members are elected to staggered three-year terms.



Full Candidate Biographies

Jesse Beason leads the Northwest Health Foundation’s work in communications, public policy, government relations and partnership development. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Jesse served as Executive Director of Proud Ground, as Senior Policy Director of Housing, Culture and Planning for then-Commissioner Sam Adams and in public affairs at Metro. Jesse is a graduate of Neighborhood Partnerships’ Future Leaders Initiative, a Marshall Memorial Fellow of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, and recognized by Portland Business Journal as a top 40 under 40 and Portland Monthly as a Rising Star. He was a 2014 cohort member of the African American Leadership Academy. Jesse serves on Color PAC’s board of directors and the Steering Committee of the Portland African American Leadership Forum. He is also chair of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Community Advisory Board. He’s member emeritus of the Portland Housing Advisory Commission, Regional Arts & Culture Council, National Community Land Trust Network (now Grounded Solutions) and Yes for Affordable Homes Executive Committee. Jesse moved from Denver, Colorado to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark College. He stayed. Jesse and his partner now live in North Portland.

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett has spent the last 16 years building political power for working class, immigrant, and communities of color in Oakland, around the state of California and across the country. Esperanza’s unique role and work at the intersection of progressive politics and the social justice movement has earned her dozens of awards including: The 2010 Redford Center Art of Activism Award (with a video to share her work and story), the Oakland League of Women Voters’ Democracy Award 2014, and the Alameda Labor Council’s Community Organization of the Year 2015. Esperanza launched Dancing Hearts Consulting, LLC. in July of 2017 to support progressive donors, foundations, and organizations design and implement strategic programs and campaigns that build power for those most impacted by systemic oppression. Prior to becoming a consultant, she served as the Chief Strategy Officer of the Groundswell Fund where she led a multi-million dollar Capacity Building Department, designed a state-based funding model for the Ecosystem initiative and served as a spokesperson for the organization. Prior to working in philanthropy, she served as the first executive director of Oakland Rising, a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic social justice collaboration that educates and mobilizes low-income, immigrant, and voters of color in East and West Oakland. She was the first woman of color to lead a collaborative civic engagement formation of this kind in the United States, and built a solid reputation as a savvy electoral strategist, a seasoned political organizer, and a civic engagement innovator. During her tenure, Oakland Rising identified 25 percent of Oakland’s entire electorate in support of progressive policies, issues, and campaigns. Before coming to Oakland Rising, Esperanza served as the national political director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CD-9), regional field director for Northern California for Barack Obama during the 2008 CA primary, a community organizer in post-Katrina Louisiana, and a Labor Organizer with SEIU 1000 (Los Angeles, CA). Esperanza is a self-identified queer, Afro-Puerto Rican woman, native daughter of Oakland, and a graduate of Mills College with a B.A. in English Literature. Esperanza is married to wife Christine and her proudest accomplishment is her brilliant and tenacious son, Santiago. They live at Dancing Hearts Ranch, a 16-acre ranch in the Cascade Mountains of Southern Oregon where they grow hops and ride horses.

Denise Cardinal is Executive Director of WIN Minnesota and held several positions with progressive candidates, causes and campaigns including Senator Al Franken (D-MN) in his 2014 re-election and the successful 2010 IE effort credited with DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s victory. She was Executive Director of ProgressNow, a 21-state network of communications organizations. She started Alliance for a Better Minnesota in 2007, which is widely touted as a national model (see: New York Times, Mother Jones, Star Tribune). Before moving back to Minnesota, Denise served as Senior Press Officer for the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. and as the Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). She’s worked at newspapers in Nevada, Idaho, Iowa and earned a degree in Journalism from Drake University. She’s the first in her family to attend and graduate from college, and lives in Saint Paul with her two school-aged children, husband and rescue dog.

Scott Nielsen joined Arabella Advisors in 2015 as the firm’s first managing director of advocacy, bringing decades of experience designing, executing, and evaluating strategies for achieving policy reform and social change. He leads Arabella’s advocacy team in helping foundation, family, and individual clients use their resources to effectively pursue the social and political goals that matter to them. His areas of expertise include civic engagement, issue advocacy, public policy, and infrastructure development and field building. Prior to joining Arabella, Scott founded Alexander Nielsen Consulting (ANC), a firm that partnered with foundations and individual donors to conduct research and evaluation, design and implement grant-making programs, and develop communications strategies and infrastructure. As principal of ANC, Scott worked with a range of leading donor institutions, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Democracy Alliance, the State Infrastructure Fund, and the Open Society Foundations. Before founding his own firm, Scott spent 13 years as a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, including seven years in the MacArthur Fellows Program. He designed, managed, and assessed major foundation initiatives in issues such as campaign finance reform and citizen participation, Native American education and culture, international human rights, economic globalization, and racial and ethnic pluralism in the United States. Scott has written widely on philanthropy and the independent sector, and he serves as an advisor and board member to several national nonprofits, including State Voices, Boston Review, Faith in Public Life, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. He is a regular panel contributor and speaker to groups working with or within the nonprofit and civic engagement sectors. Scott holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Christine Reeves Strigaro is the Executive Director of The Sapelo Foundation, a private family foundation in Savannah, GA with a mission to: “promote progressive social change affecting vulnerable populations, rural communities, and the natural environment in the state of Georgia.” By aligning all philanthropic assets, tools, partnerships, and creativity, The Sapelo Foundation catalyzes solutions for systemic problems and lifts up Georgia as a destination for leadership, collaboration, ideas, and solutions. Christine is dedicated to the strength and vibrancy of marginalized communities and the protection of their environments. With equal conviction, she believes philanthropy is a team sport for championing grantee partners and ensuring that communities are participants, not just recipients. Active in national and Georgia communities, Christine serves on the public policy committee of Georgia Grantmakers Alliance. Previously, she served as Director of Foundation Programs at Alliance for Justice and Senior Field Associate at National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. She also served on the boards of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and Alliance for Nonprofit Management. Christine graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She earned her master’s degree from Duke University’s Terry Sanford School of Public Policy in Durham, NC.

Uma Viswanathan is a Program Officer of Racial Equity and Community Engagement at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Her work focuses on galvanizing communities in cross-racial movements and cross-sector coalitions rooted in cultural and historical integrity, to build collective power towards racial equity within and across Latino, API, Native, African and African-American communities. Prior to joining the foundation, Uma was director of leadership development for Urban Habitat, leading an innovative program that trained and placed cohorts of racial justice leaders onto local and regional boards and commission. Uma has also served as director of strategy at the International Association for Human Values in Washington, D.C, and was founder and director of Nouvelle Vie Haiti, a leadership development initiative empowering Haitian youth to build community resilience and urban food security. She is an advisory board member for Leadership Learning Community, which networks and resources leadership funders, practitioners and consultants committed to racial equity and systems transformation, and serves as volunteer co-director of Yesplus, a meditation-based leadership program for college students. The daughter of South Indian immigrants, Uma holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in history of science, both from Harvard University, and is a certified meditation teacher with the Art of Living Foundation.

Carmen Lopez-Wilson is the Good Government Reforms Policy Officer at the Thornburg Foundation, which seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics. Ms. Lopez formerly served as the Data, Research and Policy Director for America Votes-NM. She convened the election administration coalition, which sought common ground and forward movement on election modernization, and provided expertise to issue and electoral campaigns. She previously worked for the NM Legislature, the Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute, and worked on issue campaigns at the state and national level. Ms. Lopez earned a MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Political Science from Mount Holyoke College. Her thesis was entitled, “Wealth, Influence and Democracy: An Analysis of Campaign Financing in the United States.”

Keesha Gaskins-Nathan is the director for the Democratic Practice–United States program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She is a long-time organizer, lobbyist, and trial attorney. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, she was senior counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice, serving as the director of the Redistricting and Representation program. Her portfolio included redistricting reform, voting rights, and elections, with a focus on voter suppression issues. Keesha is a frequent lecturer and writer on issues related to women and politics, movement building, and democratic reform. She is the author of a number of articles and publications related to voter suppression, voting rights, and redistricting. Keesha served as executive director for the League of Women Voters Minnesota, where she worked on a wide range of voting rights and civil rights issues. Prior to that, she was the executive director for the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus. She worked for a number of years as a trial attorney, most notably with the firm Bowman and Brooke, LLC. Ms. Gaskins-Nathan also served as a special assistant appellate public defender for the State of Minnesota. She also served as the Legal Redress Chair for the Minnesota-North Dakota-South Dakota State Conference for the NAACP, and the 3rd Vice President for the Minneapolis NAACP. She also served on the Board of Governors for the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. As an undergraduate, she served as the Chair of the Human Rights Commission for the City of Saint Cloud, MN. Following law school, Keesha served as a shared judicial clerk for the Honorable Alan Page and the Honorable Joan Ericksen at the Minnesota Supreme Court. She was also a 2008 Feminist Leadership Fellow with the University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs – Center on Women and Public Policy. In 1999, she received her Juris Doctor for Northeastern University School of Law and graduated with honors with a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science from St. Cloud State University. She is a frequent commentator on voting rights and redistricting reform and regularly appears on numerous news and public affairs programming, including past appearances on PBS’s NewsHour, MSNBC, and Bill Moyers.