Florida Philanthropic Network

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FPN Board of Directors

Susan TowlerSusan B. Towler, Chair
Susan B. Towler, APR, is vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation, established in 2001 as the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue. She is also executive director of community affairs for Florida Blue and has responsibility for the company's community investment programming. Towler previously had responsibility for coordinating and implementing Florida Blue's public relations programs and providing strategic communications counsel on critical business issues. Prior to joining Florida Blue in 1996, Towler served as client services manager at Robin Shepherd Public Relations. She's also held public relations roles with Gulf Life Insurance Company, BancBoston Mortgage Corp. and was president of SEB Communications. Towler serves on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. In addition, she served as the 2012-13 Chair of Leadership Florida and sits on the Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

Patty MaddoxPatricia Maddox, Vice Chair
Patricia Maddox is president & CEO of the Winter Park Health Foundation in Winter Park, which she has led since its inception in 1994. Maddox has directed all facets of the foundation's mission and program planning. She came to Florida in 1993 leaving Duke University, where she had been executive director of Medical School Alumni Affairs and Development. Currently, Maddox is active in the health and health care community, serving on the University of Central Florida College of Health and Public Affairs Executive Committee and Advisory Board, the Metro YMCA Board, the Orange County Chairman's Healthcare Roundtable, the Heart of Florida United Way Investing in Results Council, the Mayflower Retirement Community Board of Directors and the Florida Hospital Board of Directors.

Kim BentleyKim Bentley
Kim Bentley is assistant vice president of corporate philanthropy for JM Family Enterprises, Inc., a diversified automotive company headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida. In this position, she is responsible for the implementation of its corporate philanthropy strategy. Bentley's role at JM Family affords her the opportunity to be involved in many worthwhile organizations. She currently serves on the board of trustees for the Museum of Discovery and Science. She has received recognition from several nonprofit organizations including Women's Way of the United Way of Broward County Volunteer of the Year Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters Déjà vu Ball Honoree, Leadership Broward Fun Lunch Honoree, and March of Dimes Women of Distinction.

Mark BrewerMark Brewer
Mark Brewer is president and chief executive officer of the Central Florida Foundation in Orlando. Brewer's leadership at the foundation has been focused on improving charitable investment strategies for donors and philanthropists and strategic grantmaking to build the capacity of nonprofits in the region. His background includes more than a decade as a management and performance consultant in the nonprofit sector. Later, as a licensed investment professional, he assisted donors with estate and planned giving strategies. Brewer plays a leadership role in a number of community initiatives and serves on several community boards including the Central Florida Partnership, the Central Florida Homeless Commission and he is Chair of the advisory board of the Donors Forum of Central Florida. He has also served in leadership roles with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Central Florida Planned Giving Council, and is a Past Chair of the Florida Federation of Community Foundations.

Terese CoudreauntTérèse Coudreaut Curiel
Térèse Coudreaut Curiel serves as vice president of administration and secretary to the board of trustees of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She joined Knight Foundation in January 2011. Previously, Coudreaut ran the change management practice of a global consulting firm, Alexander Proudfoot and was executive director of organizational development for CS STARS, a risk management software and consulting division of Marsh, Inc., a subsidiary of MMC. Her earlier career includes a former engagement with Knight Foundation as the workforce performance and development manager and organizational development consulting work with Cambridge Technologies Partners. Coudreaut is a graduate of the State University of New York with a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications; she holds a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Columbia University.

Teri HansenTeri Hansen
Teri Hansen is president and CEO of the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation in Sarasota, which was founded in 2014 to promote meaningful change in the areas of humanities and the arts, education and science, humanitarian causes, the environment and medical research. Previously, Hansen was President and CEO of Gulf Coast Communty Foundation in Venice. Under her leadership, Gulf Coast focused on catalytic community initiatives that systemically addressed issues such as hunger and nutrition, homelessness, workforce investment, and STEM education. Prior to joining Gulf Coast in 2002, Hansen was vice president for gift planning and donor relations at The Cleveland Foundation. She volunteers her leadership nationally, statewide and regionally. She is a past chair of the Council on Foundations' Community Foundations Leadership Team, was the founding president of Community Foundations of Florida, and currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

Miguel MilanesMiguel Milanes
Miguel Milanes is regional vice president, Miami-Dade for Allegany Franciscan Ministries, where he has worked since 2003 directing the organization's activities in Miami-Dade County. He previously served as communications director for the Florida Department of Children and Families and directed the Miami-Dade County Health Department's Office of HIV/AIDS. In recognition of his work, President Clinton appointed him to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Milanes also worked as special assistant in the homeless program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC, and as an administrator for a community-based organization serving Hispanics in Oklahoma.

Katie ScanlanKatie Scanlan
Katie Scanlan is southeast region executive (FL, GA & TN) for enterprise business & community engagement at Bank of America, based in Tampa. A 21-year veteran of Bank of America, Scanlan has held various management positions during her tenure including Florida community relations manager, Florida sponsorship marketing manager and Florida public relations manager. In her current role, she is responsible for all philanthropic, sponsorship and civic activities in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Scanlan serves on the board of directors for Communities in Schools of Florida (CISFL) as well as on the resource development committee for CISFL. She was a member of Leadership Florida's Class of 28. Scanlan is an active member of Leadership Tampa Alumni, Tampa Bay Funders Forum and Florida Philanthropic Network. She graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Public Relations.

Ian SmithIan Smith
Ian Smith is senior vice president and chief communications officer for the Helios Education Foundation, where he provides strategic brand, marketing and public relations leadership to the foundation. As the most senior-level representative for Helios in Florida, Smith manages the foundation's Tampa office and is responsible for statewide community relations. He brings more than 13 years of professional television, print media, public relations and corporate communications experience to Helios. A former news producer and an Accredited Public Relations Counselor (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC), Smith's professional experience includes serving as communications director for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, director of public affairs for the Florida Home Builders Association, and deputy director of communications for the Florida Department of Community Affairs. He was a member of Leadership Florida's Class of 28. Smith earned his Master of Arts degree in English from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from Florida A&M University.

Ashley Smith JuarezAshley Smith Juarez
Ashley Smith Juarez is a trustee at The Emily Balz Smith Foundation, her family's foundation based in Jacksonville, and serves as the Clinton Health Matters Initiative regional director for Northeast Florida. Prior to joining the foundation, Smith Juarez served as the executive director of The Chartrand Foundation, a family foundation committed to expanding opportunities and excellence in Early Childhood through grade 12 public education. She has a background in teaching and dropout prevention. She also currently serves as the president of the Family Support Services board of directors, a member of The Women’s Giving Alliance Steering Committee and as a member of the WCJT Board of Trustees, Northeast Florida's local public broadcasting station, and is a member of the Duval County School Board representing District 3. She holds her B.S. in History and Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University.

Javier Alberto SotoJavier Alberto Soto
Javier Alberto Soto currently serves as president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, the community foundation for the Greater Miami area. Previously, Soto served as senior vice president and general counsel of Dutko Worldwide, heading the Miami division of the multi-disciplinary public policy management firm. Prior to joining Dutko in 2005, he held a variety of positions with Miami-Dade County. He was the transition chairman for the Office of Mayor Carlos Alvarez from 2004-2005 and the chief of staff for the Office of Mayor Alex Penelas from 2001-2004, and he served as the director of intergovernmental affairs and as assistant county attorney. He was an associate in the Litigation Department at Holland & Knight before moving into county government. Soto has been involved in a variety of professional and community organizations, serving as chairman of the Community Advisory Committee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. He serves on the board of directors of the Council on Foundations in Arlington, VA, and chairs the Council's Public Policy Committee. He was born in Madrid, Spain, is a graduate of Florida State University and has a law degree from Georgetown University.

FPN Staff

David BiemesderferDavid Biemesderfer
, President & CEO

David Biemesderfer joined FPN as vice president in January 2009 and was appointed president & CEO of the organization in June 2010. He came to FPN with more than 15 years of experience in philanthropy and association management work. He spent 10 years with the Minnesota Council on Foundations, leaving as vice president of communications and information services. Starting in 2005, Biemesderfer provided consulting services to a number of philanthropic organizations across the country in the areas of strategic communications, public policy, and accountability and ethics. Biemesderfer has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He currently serves as immediate past chair of the board of directors for the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Washington, DC. He previously served as a member of board of directors of the Council on Foundations in Arlington, Va. and serves on the Council's public policy committee. He holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master's degree in business from the University of Minnesota.

Chris JohnsonChristopher Johnson, Director of Programs & Learning

Christopher Johnson joined FPN in September 2013 as Director of Programs and Learning. In this position he will be responsible for managing the planning and delivery of FPN's programs and other services to meet our members' needs, and will be a key point person for membership recruitment. Christopher was previously Executive Director of the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida in Gainesville, an organization that he co-founded as the region's first nonprofit resource center. Under his leadership the Center started an annual Nonprofit Summit and Nonprofit Expo and published Alachua County's first State of the Sector report for the nonprofit sector. Prior to this position, Christopher served as Membership Director for the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce. In 2010 he was recognized as a 13 under 30 recipient by North Central Florida's HOME Magazine, and in 2012 he was the national recipient of the Nonprofit Leadership Award by Black Celebrity Giving. A three-time Gator, Christopher received B.S., M.S. and MBA degrees from the University of Florida. He is an active board member with several nonprofits and volunteers frequently.

Carla BattsCarla Batts, Office Manager

Carla Batts joined the FPN team to serve as Office Manager in July 2012. She has worked directly with youth in nonprofit prevention and intervention programs in the Tampa area for the past nine years, and during that time has partnered with several agencies and schools in the community to ensure successful outcomes and service programming. Carla served as transition services coordinator at PACE Center for Girls from 2003 until February 2010 and, while there, implemented an outreach program serving at-risk teenage girls within a local middle school. Since that time, worked with youth as the lead counselor at the Centre for Girls, a project of The Centre. Carla earned a degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida where she was acknowledged as a Conn Social Work Scholar and Dean's List of Scholars.


Stephanie GocklinStephanie Gocklin, Communications Manager

Stephanie Gocklin joined FPN as Communications Manager in September 2015. In this position, she will play a lead role in planning, creating and distributing FPN communications across print, web and social media. Stephanie has a broad advertising, design and communications background, including 11 years of publication experience with more than 12 years working at nonprofit organizations. Prior to working at FPN, Stephanie was the Director of Communications for CareerSource North Central Florida, where she managed brands for multiple grant-funded programs and produced campaigns to increase visibility of programs, resources and fundraising opportunities with employers and various community agencies. Before that, Stephanie spent more than 10 years with the Independent Florida Alligator, the nation's largest college newspaper, where she served as Production Manager and Art Director. She is an eight-time Florida Press Association Display Advertising award-winner and served as a judge for the 2010 FPA Better Weekly Newspaper Awards.


Geula FergusonGeula Ferguson, Director, South Florida Office

Geula Ferguson was appointed Interim Director, South Florida Office for Florida Philanthropic Network in May 2012. She previously served as Interim Executive Director of Donors Forum of South Florida, a regional association of grantmakers serving the South Florida region that merge with FPN in May 2012. Previously the marketing director for a technology company, Geula joined Donors Forum as a special events coordinator in 2006. After spending two years as the Special Projects Coordinator, she left for a position at the Sun Sentinel News in its education program, where she was the development coordinator. During her time at the Sun Sentinel, Geula brought new partnerships together to help deliver educational programs to South Florida students. In early 2011, she returned to Donors Forum as a program manager, and assumed the interim director position in September 2011. Geula is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she earned a degree in art history.   

FPN Consultants

Donnell MersereauDonnell Mersereau, Consultant, Community Foundations

As FPN's Consultant, Community Foundations, Donnell Mersereau plays a key role in planning and managing programs and other services for FPN's community foundation members. She previously served as Vice President, Community Foundations for the Council of Michigan Foundations, FPN's colleague organization in Michigan, where her duties included management and implementation of services to 55 community foundations in Michigan with a special focus on National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, regional marketing and visibility initiatives, and private foundation partnerships. She was also Executive Director of Midwest Community Foundations' Ventures (MCFV), a supporting organization of CMF responsible for the design and implementation of innovative products for the U.S. community foundation field. Donnell is a founding board member of the Community Foundation National Standards Board and serves on the Standards Action Team. She earned a Bachelor of Science - Communications (BSC) degree and an MFA degree in media management from Northwestern University.

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What's New

Webinar Archive: New Federal Guidance Highlights Importance of Nonprofit "Overhead" Expenses

Florida Philanthropy Comes Together to End Homelessness

FPN Blog: To Enhance Oversight of Charities, Let’s Build on the Good Work Already Being Done

Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practices - 2015 Edition

Webinar Archive: State of Health Care Enrollment in Florida

Nepal Earthquake Response, Relief & Recovery

New Effort Brings Together Funders Working to End Homelessness in Florida

Transforming the Lives of Florida’s Women & Girls Through a Collective Philanthropic Voice

Welcome New FPN Members

The Mosaic Company
FishHawk, FL

Florida Humanities Council
St. Petersburg, FL

FPN Leadership Circle

FPN is grateful to the followng members for their support of FPN's mission and work, above their annual dues investment, of $5,000 or more in 2014:

Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Inc.

Bank of America

Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay 

Jessie Ball duPont Fund

Florida Blue Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Health Foundation of South Florida

Helios Education Foundation

JM Family Enterprises, Inc.

JPMorgan Chase

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Quantum Foundation

Wells Fargo

Winter Park Health Foundation

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