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Dr. Marc Spencer has devoted his 25 plus year career to organizations that promote educational and economic opportunities to young people and communities. Marc’s leadership is defined by a commitment to social justice and equity, paired with an entrepreneurial spirit and drive. Marc joined Summer Search as Chief Executive Officer and Board President in 2017 and is leading the organization’s growth and change under a bold and visionary strategic direction.
Prior to Summer Search, Marc served as Chief Executive Officer of Juma Ventures, a national organization that strives to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth. Marc’s achievements include development of a San Francisco African American independent school, the design and directorship of the nation’s first Upward Bound Visual and Performing Arts program, the creation of CollegeSet.org, a national matched college savings platform for students, and the creation of YouthMade, a manufacturing internship program. He has been an adviser for the Aspen Institute and served on the boards of the National Youth Employment Coalition, Social Enterprise Alliance, Evergreen Lodge, City of San Francisco Youth Council, Oakland Workforce Investment Board, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. He holds an Ed.D. and an MA in Education from USF, and a BA in Anthropology from UCLA.
Eunice Dunham, our new VP of Talent, has spent the bulk of her career working in youth development. She finds inspiration from and is committed to working with others that are trying to create a better, more equitable world for all students and families. Eunice comes to Summer Search from a national non-profit, Playworks, where she was the Chief People Officer. Building strong teams, developing empathic leaders and creating an environment where employees feel empowered to be their authentic selves are just some of what Eunice considers her “super powers.”
When she’s not at work, you can find Eunice in the kitchen cooking for friends and family, hiking with her dog or joining her wife, Kira in a good game of chase with their daughter.
Prior to joining Summer Search, Nick Hutchinson was the Vice President of Public Policy at Citizen Schools and the Executive Director of US2020, a national initiative to help close the opportunity gap in STEM education for girls, students of color, and children from low-income households. Launched by President Obama at the National Science Fair, US2020 serves 22,000 students in thirteen cities, creating moments of discovery for the next generation of STEM professionals.
Prior to US2020, Nick served as COO at Juma Ventures, an award-winning social enterprise that provides employment and workforce development training to low-income students. During his tenure, Nick led fund development efforts to scale Juma’s model to New Orleans, New York City, San Diego, Santa Clara and Seattle, more than doubling the agency’s annual budget and quadrupling the size of Juma’s youth workforce. Before Juma, Nick served as Managing Director of the Arusha Project, a microfinance institution based in East Africa. His development background includes national political campaigns and public arts projects. He has served on the Education Committee at Opportunity Nation, the Governance Committee at Voices for National Service, and the K–12 Policy Committee at the Center for American Progress. Nick graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.
Kristine Leja has over 15 years of experience in fundraising, communications and non-profit management. She has held leadership positions at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, Edgewood Center for Children in Families and Westside Community Mental Health Services. Most recently she served as the Chief Development Officer and Interim CEO at Habitat Greater SF.
She has been a speaker/presenter at the Commonwealth Club, Foundation Center, NTEN, the Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals on the topics of non-profit management, marketing and fundraising. A native of Chicago, Ms. Leja holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is also an advisory panel member of the International Rogare Fundraising Think Tank out of Plymouth University and has served on the board of Voice of Witness for the last six years.
Melanie began mentoring and investing in the power of young people when she was in her teens and has never looked back. Over the last 14 years Melanie has been working in nonprofit organizations that support young people to use their power, potential and talent in personal, local and global leadership.
Melanie received her BA and subsequently, a Masters in Social Work and Masters in Public Administration – all at the University of Washington.
She craves outdoor adventures and can often be seen on her light green bicycle named Sweet Pea. She has made a fun-filled and friend-filled home with her partner Tina and her beloved puggle Theo. She will forever be a double Husky – go UCONN and UW!
Sylvia is motivated by the belief that all youth should have access to college regardless of their zip code, and is excited to serve this mission as the Executive Director of the Summer Search Philadelphia office.
Prior to joining Summer Search, Sylvia built an exemplary career in education and entrepreneurship. Sylvia started her real estate career with a start-up company, Taylor Properties, where she successfully negotiated and finalized construction, permanent and equity loans with private banks and government agencies to build and sell affordable, fee simple housing as well as commercial properties.
As Executive Director of the Museum of Afro American History in Boston and the Philadelphia chapter of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, she provided leadership on key strategic plans and implemented fundraising programs with staff and stakeholders, collaborated with the members of the media to promote the missions of these organizations, resulting in various articles, live television coverage and the creation of videos/films.
While as the director of the MAAH, the late Senator Edward Kennedy introduced her to First Lady Hilary Clinton. Senator Kennedy also invited her to witness the late President Nelson Mandela be presented with a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton. These profound experiences re-ignited her passion to work for organizations to alleviate poverty in this country.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of South Carolina and Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her hobbies include travel, biking, golfing, and reading tons of comic books, especially the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series!
Following a number of years running his own business, Peter began his journey in the nonprofit sector after deciding he wanted to do work with a more permanent impact on the world around him. Now, more than a decade into his career in youth development, Peter is motivated by the trajectory shift that can occur in a young person’s life as a result of intentional, high quality programming. The belief that the most profound impact of this work is that the benefits will continue to reveal themselves over years, lifetimes and even generations of families is a critical driver to what we get to do in this field.
Prior to Summer Search Peter led Community for Youth, a life-skills and mentoring program in Seattle where he lived for many years. In Seattle Peter also did extensive work with Youth Development Executives of King County, The Weikert Center’s Youth Program Quality Assessment tool, and Washington State Mentors Quality Mentoring Assessment Pathway Taskforce all of which worked to elevate the impact of mentoring young people. That work, seeing the incredible results that uncommonly intentional and professionalized mentoring yield, elevated the type of program that he wanted to work with. A move back home to the east coast brought him eagerly to Summer Search NYC.
Peter’s commitment to social justice extends beyond the workplace to a number of Boards and other volunteer opportunities including Fremont Community Therapy Project, Providence Hospitality House and work in King County Jail and Monroe State Prison. Now in NJ/NY after more than 20 years out west, Peter is looking forward to getting re-engaged in the local community. And in the days between there is always more live music to check out, more books to read, and more movies to see.
Megan is inspired by the courage and bravery that Summer Search students show in stepping outside of their comfort zone and pushing themselves to make impact in the world. She has the gift of sharing the hard work, joys and challenges of our students with our community of investors in NYC and working closely with volunteer leadership to grow the program to serve more students.
Megan grew up in Colorado and graduated from Cherry Creek High School and the University of Washington (Go Huskies!). After College she stepped out of HER comfort zone and moved to London and worked in event planning.
Megan lives in NYC with her husband and loves everything the city has to offer. She is an aging-but-still avid soccer player and enjoys drinking coffee with too much cream, traveling, adventuring and laughing with family and friends.
Alexandra believes every person has an equal right to an affordable education. Her passion for educational equity stems from a desire to do justice to her parents’ example and sacrifice. Alexandra sees the best in others: their humanity, beauty, talents and courage. It’s her aim to help others notice, develop and unleash their gifts to impact Summer Search’s mission. Alexandra started serving others when she was a brace-faced, bi-focal wearing 14-year-old. She has been an AmeriCorps volunteer, secretary of a Board of Directors for an organization serving survivors of domestic violence, and a staff aid to a Member of Congress. For the past six years, she’s been a Big Sister to young man named David.
Alexandra graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University. She’s currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration. She considers herself lucky to live in Santa Rosa, California with her husband Billy and their two-year-old Catahoula, Hooly.
Seth is passionate about serving youth, building community, and developing a culture of philanthropy among young people. All of these have come together in his work at Summer Search.
Seth is the chief evangelist for engaging alumni in every facet of our work: as volunteers, as staff members, as donors, and as cheerleaders in their communities. In representing and engaging the voices from the most permanent stakeholders in the Summer Search community, Seth deepens the relationship between Summer Search and nearly 2,500 alumni.
Seth comes to Summer Search with more than six years of experience in alumni relations and development, most recently at his alma mater, UC San Diego.
Seth has volunteered for a number of organizations such as the New Leaders Council, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the Trevor Project, and I’m From Driftwood.
In his free time, Seth loves to cook, practice yoga, sail the waters of San Francisco and San Diego, explore the beauty of San Francisco, and travel to exotic places near and far with his husband, Jared.
Erica believes that all youth are entitled to quality education and personal development opportunities. Her belief in creating equity for the leaders of tomorrow led her to Summer Search.
Erica brings four years of experience at Bay Area non-profits serving local youth. She first worked at Seneca Center as a mental health counselor for foster kids of all ages. She then moved from direct care to support staff, and joined HR/Talent team at Reading Partners, a national literacy program. Joining the Talent Team at Summer Search, Erica works to attract and retain the excellent talent through talent acquisition, onboarding, training, and more. She is proud to act as a resource and partner for staff throughout the organization.
When she is not working, you can find Erica spending time in the great outdoors hiking, camping, and discovering the best hidden swimming holes in California. She also travels frequently to Chile to visit her in-laws.
Erica obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Hispanic Studies from Oberlin College. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband and their scruffy terrier.
Brendan believes that everyone should have access to higher education, which is why he feels so honored to join the Summer Search team. He is excited to bring his creativity and passion to help promote the organization’s mission, and to tell the many inspiring stories of Summer Search’s students. Brendan’s passion for higher education comes in part from his own college experience at the University of Miami. Go Canes! He developed an enthusiasm for summer educational programs in high school after spending four weeks away from home studying ancient Greek culture and literature. To this day, Brendan says that this summer program was one of the most enriching and inspiring experiences of his life.
Brendan also loves to explore the world. He has lived and studied in New England, South Florida, “Old” England, and now the Bay Area. He has backpacked through Australia and most of Western Europe, including Greece, of course. In his free time, Brendan enjoys playing basketball, watching English soccer, and performing with The Freeze, an improvisational-comedy-hip-hop band.
Shelby grew up in a household that fostered a passion for politics and social awareness. This interest, strengthened by working with youth during her high school and college years, led her to develop a strong belief in education and social justice. Prior to moving to San Francisco in 2008 to join the Summer Search National team, Shelby spent six years at the Western Divisional Headquarters of The Salvation Army in Omaha, Nebraska. It was here that she first worked in development and began her career in data management.
In her role as the Senior Development Database Administrator, Shelby leads the overarching strategy and optimization of Summer Search’s development data. She supports all development staff to increasingly leverage the database to improve fundraising strategy and donor stewardship.
In 2013, Shelby was among the very first users to become Blackbaud Certified in The Raiser’s Edge (bCRE) and now holds a Professional level certification.
Shelby is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she majored in English with minors in Biology, History and Political Science. She also holds an A.A. in Web Support Technology. Outside of the office, she can often be found cheering for Nebraska football (Go Huskers!), experimenting with vegan cooking, enjoying all of San Francisco’s best concert venues, or exploring Golden Gate Park with her bull terrier, Penny.
Christina is a first-generation college graduate whose parents instilled in her a strong belief in the power of education. Her passion for driving social change by addressing systemic inequities has taken her from her home state of Arizona to Washington, D.C., Sweden, and finally New York, where she now calls home.
Christina brings to Summer Search several years of experience supporting and being a thought leader to executive leadership and boards of directors. Prior to Summer Search, she was with a small but mighty development team at Partnership with Children (PWC). At PWC, Christina led strategic year-end giving campaigns, managed fundraising and cultivation events, and served as the go-to person for her team and the board of directors. She has also worked with an international healthcare think tank, ACCESS Health International to support the creation of organization-wide policies and procedures.
Christina holds a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Arizona (beardown!). She had the incredible opportunity to study alongside students from all over the world when she specialized her MPA in international health policy at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. In her spare time, Christina enjoys training for her next race, weekend walks to the farmer’s market with her boyfriend and their pup, Pretzel, and planning the next Catan night/adventure with her loved ones.
Raquel Mata is an Oakland native that has spent much of her career dedicated to addressing the equity and achievement gap among underrepresented communities, particularly young people who are the most vulnerable to challenging community conditions, and more limited in educational and economic opportunities. She has joined Summer Search because she believes mentorship carries a lasting impact on young people that can positively change the trajectory of their lives.
Raquel brings over 10 years of experience in development and relationship management to her role at Summer Search. Before joining the team, she served as Head of Institutional Development at REDF where she developed and implemented key strategies that secured major partnerships against a $75 million campaign. After graduating from the University of California San Diego, Raquel moved to Washington, DC, and worked for various national organizations focused on youth development. After several years on the east coast, Raquel returned to Oakland where she enjoys spending time with her husband and pup; practicing yoga and following futbol, (Visca el Barca!).
Alison believes that all young people deserve access to the life-changing opportunities of travel and mentorship.
Through a graduate fellowship with Northeastern University’s Equal Opportunity Scholarship Office, Alison built relationships with several Summer Search Alumni who encouraged her to pursue work at Summer Search and continue to inspire her every day. Alison joined Summer Search Boston in 2010 as a Program Associate/Mentor and has since held several roles on both Program and Development teams. She now works for Summer Search National, raising funds from Corporate and Foundation donors.
Prior to Summer Search and Northeastern University, Alison spent three years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania teaching Middle School English and coaching High School soccer. Among Alison’s favorite things are her husband, daughter and pup Eddy, sunrises over Casco Bay in her home state of Maine, and sunsets over Mikumi National Park.