Meet Our Newest ColleaguesDecember 13, 2022
We are thrilled to welcome the following new team members, who bring a wealth of professional experience and deep passion for the Rochester region.
Office of the President
Iris Bieri, Chief of Staff, most recently served as chief of staff for New York State Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, who represents the Eastern suburbs of Rochester. Iris previously served as deputy director of The Iran Project – a bipartisan advisory group that supports principled diplomacy to reduce U.S.-Iran tensions – and maintains an advisory role.
Iris is a certified mediator in the state of New York and has mediated cases for the Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester. She holds a B.A. from Earlham College and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University.
We are also excited to announce that Teresa Stewart, who is the Foundation’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Human Resources Associate, has transitioned from the Finance, HR and Administration department to the Office of the President. One of her first projects will be to help lead a plan to improve equity in the Foundation’s internal policies and procedures and hiring/promotional practices.
Zakiya Tripp, Philanthropic Planning Administrator, is a two-time graduate of SUNY Brockport, most recently with her Master of Public Administration (MPA) focusing on healthcare and nonprofit management. As an undergraduate, Zakiya was a member of the national honor societies of Alpha Chi, Phi Theta Kappa, Tau Sigma, and Triota. She brings abundant experience in customer service, events, databases, and project management.
Dawn Perry, who joined the Community Foundation in January of 2022 as Executive Assistant to the President, has taken on a new role as Giving Circle Associate to support our six giving circles.
Erin Budd Barry, Vice President, fills the role previously occupied by current President and CEO Simeon Banister. Erin most recently served as the inaugural director of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at St. John Fisher University, which focuses on community-engaged scholarship and civic learning. She held leadership roles in healthcare and systems redesign after starting her career at University of Rochester Medical Center’s regional business development office.
Erin is a founding member of 100 Women Who Care (Rochester Chapter) and currently serves on boards and committees that include Elevate Rochester, Episcopal Senior Life, and the Mary Cariola Center. She is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion in her personal and professional life. In addition to her volunteer leadership on the DEI subcommittee for Penfield schools, Erin served on numerous committees at Fisher including the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative team, workgroups of the Presidential Taskforce for DEI, and the Senior Diversity Officer’s Inclusion Council.
Erin graduated from Rochester’s School of the Arts, where she majored in dance. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Hamilton College and an MBA from UR’s Simon Business School.
Berta Rivera, Director, brings more than a dozen years’ experience working in nonprofit organizations. In her previous role at ESL Charitable Foundation, she managed a $12 million portfolio focused on expanding individual opportunity, building relationships with nonprofit and other community leaders, and aligning efforts and funding initiatives to support employment, income, and racial equity.
A Rochester native, Berta previously worked at the Empire Justice Center as Director of the C.A.S.H. (Creating Assets, Savings & Hope) program, which provides free tax preparation services and financial coaching for income-qualified families. She also served on the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative’s Employment Working Group and is a volunteer managing director of Simon Vision Consulting. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and is pursuing an MBA from UR’s Simon School.
Virgil Parker, Program Officer for Equity, is a U.S. Fulbright alumnus, community advocate, and Howard University graduate with a degree in journalism and minor in Afro-American studies. He has moderated and participated in national and regional conversations regarding a variety of topics, such as improving police-community relations, increasing philanthropic impact for communities and institutions of color, and the United Nations’ 8th sustainable development goal: decent work and economic growth. A native of Rochester, his work has been included in media outlets such as Forbes, iHeartRadio, Blavity, HBCU Buzz, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
Morgan Bajish, Program Administrator, recently completed an AmeriCorps VISTA service year, focusing on capacity building and volunteer management for City Roots Community Land Trust and Taproot Collective. She graduated in 2021 from St. John Fisher University, where she earned a degree in English and political science and volunteered with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, tutored Rochester City School District students through the First Generation Program, and served on the committee for Teddi Dance for Love to raise money for Camp Good Days.
Dr. Megan Norris, Executive Director of ACT Rochester, succeeds former director Ann Johnson, who retired in 2022 after 12 years leading the community indicators project. Meg recently completed her PhD in sociology at Brown University, where her studies focused on social inequality and the intersection of schools, families, and neighborhoods and utilized a variety of research methods and national datasets.
Meg earned her degree in Educational Policy from UR’s Warner School of Education and accumulated a decade’s worth of experience in research, policy, and advocacy work along the East coast and Chicago. Most recently, she supported the development and execution of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s grantmaking strategy with research and evaluation support. Meg’s combined experience in policy and research orients her data training toward community action, informed decision-making, and effective policy.
Find our full staff directory at racf.org/Staff.
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