The SEED Foundation is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors. Each member brings his or her unique expertise—from education instruction and technology to finance and accounting.
The full board meets quarterly and holds the Foundation to high ethical standards, transparency, and accountability.Derek M. Abruzzese Derek M. Abruzzese
Derek Abruzzese is the vice president of strategy and product development for Tufts Health Plan. He is responsible for establishing the company’s overall strategy and for managing Tufts Health Plan’s portfolio of products and solutions. He oversees market, competitor, and strategic assessments; market research; new product introductions; and business line analyses. Prior to joining Tufts Health Plan, Mr. Abruzzese was a principal with Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman). In this role, he led teams helping Fortune 500 clients address strategic business design and operating improvement issues. He provided analysis and advice to senior managers in the health care, oil and gas, electricity, and telecommunications industries. He also oversaw training, recruiting, and career development for several departments within the firm. Mr. Abruzzese received a B.A., cum laude, in economics and mathematics from Yale University. In addition to his involvement with SEED, Mr. Abruzzese serves as president of the youth hockey program in Reading, MA.
Eric Adler is co-founder and managing director of The SEED Foundation. Mr. Adler grew up in Washington, D.C., and his passion for the city and its community started at a young age. While in D.C., he attended the Sidwell Friends School in northwest Washington. He then went on to study engineering and economics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After graduating from Swarthmore, he taught high school physics at St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, Maryland. It was during his time at St. Paul’s that he began to focus his attention on urban students. A few bright, lucky students from inner-city Baltimore were brought to St. Paul’s on academic scholarships, but he noticed that even with the same teachers, books, and classrooms as all the other students, the scholarship students seemed to struggle. It was this observation that caused Mr. Adler to ask himself “What would it take for these students to be able to succeed?” The idea of an urban, public boarding school planted itself in his mind. He went on to earn an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a management consultant to Fortune 500 clients, the principal of an investment advisory firm, and an adjunct faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Division of Business and Management. He then was introduced to Raj Vinnakota, who had a similar idea about building a boarding school for at-risk children. They teamed up to found The SEED Foundation and, in 1998, opened the first-ever SEED School in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Adler serves on the boards of Swarthmore College, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, and the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust. Eric is an Echoing Green fellow for his work at The SEED Foundation, is a past recipient of the Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Award, and received Oprah’s Angel Network’s Use Your Life Award on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He was named a 2002 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine. He is married with two children.
Ned Brody currently serves as Head of the Americas at Yahoo where he is responsible for the company’s advertising businesses in North, South and Central America. Ned brings over 25 years of experience leading, operating and advising companies in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Prior to joining Yahoo, Ned served as Chief Revenue Officer of AOL, Inc. where he led AOL’s global advertising businesses. Additionally, he was the first CEO of AOL Networks, AOL’s programmatic advertising division focusing on display, mobile and video advertising technology. Ned previously served as AOL’s EVP of Paid Services, where he led the company’s paid services business, including management of dial-up and premium broadband subscription services as well as the development of new offerings. Previously, Ned co-founded ARPU, Inc. and served as its CEO. He also served as the CFO of LookSmart, Ltd. until March 2001. Earlier in his career, Ned was a partner at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), where he worked with clients across multiple industries. In addition, he founded the firm’s Internet practice and served as the head of its San Francisco office.
Ned remains active in industry leadership and is a director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). He also serves on the board of directors at the Georgetown University Hospital.
Ned holds a B.S., magna cum laude, and a M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Christopher D. Buchbinder is a portfolio manager and senior vice president at the Capital Group Companies, the manager of the American Funds family of Mutual Funds. He is also a vice president of the Investment Company of America and of the American Mutual Fund. Chris has been with the Capital Group since 1995, first in a rotational development program, then as the analyst responsible for the telecommunications and auto industries, then as director of research for the U.S., before moving into his current role. Prior to joining the Capital Group, he graduated from Brown University with degrees in economics and international relations. Chris also serves as treasurer on the board of Sustainable Conservation, a California-based nonprofit.
Aviva D. Budd currently invests in and manages commercial real estate. She was previously a senior vice president of Terremark Worldwide, Inc., a leading operator of network access exchange facilities and managed services throughout the world, which was sold to Verizon. Prior to joining Terremark, Ms. Budd was a senior vice president of U.S. Realty Advisors. She has also served as the principal investment officer of the Combined Retirement and Trust Funds of the State of Connecticut and as senior vice president of The Related Companies, Inc. in New York City. Ms. Budd was a real estate partner at the law firm of Squadron, Ellenoff, Plesent and Lehrer, now the New York office of Hogan & Hartson. Ms Budd is a trustee of NYU/Polytechnic Institute, the Engineering School of New York University and serves on its Executive Committee. She received a B.S., summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She and her husband, Martin, live in Stamford, Connecticut.
Cheryl Dorsey is President of Echoing Green, a pioneer in the social entrepreneurship movement. This global social venture fund has awarded over $30 million in start-up capital to over 500 next generation social entrepreneurs worldwide since 1987. Dr. Dorsey received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor; Special Assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department; transition Team Member of the Innovation and Civil Society subgroup of the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group; and vice chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
In addition to serving on The SEED Foundation’s Board of Directors, Dr. Dorsey serves on several boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, and Northeast Bank. In 2009, Dorsey was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School. For 2010 and 2011, she was named as one of The Nonprofit Times‘ “Power and Influence Top 50.” Dr. Dorsey received her bachelor’s degree in history and science magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and her master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Thomas J. Downey, chairman of the Downey McGrath Group, Inc., served as a Democratic Congressman from the Second District of New York from 1975 to 1993. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, he was the leading House sponsor of the 1988 Family Support Act, a major reform of the Federal welfare program, as well as the legislation authorizing the Israel Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA and the WTO. He was an advisor on both the SALT and START negotiations with the Soviet Union. After leaving Congress, he led the HHS, HUD, and VA cluster of the Clinton-Gore transition. Mr. Downey serves on the board of The Center for Social Gerontology. He has served on the boards of Appropriate Technology International, Food Research and Action Center, Child Trends, and Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center.
Vasco Fernandes has over 25 years experience as a leading business innovator, management consultant and advisor to leading private and public enterprises worldwide. Mr. Fernandes is a widely recognized expert in strategic planning, operational performance improvement, and organization transformation. Mr. Fernandes is currently working with leaders of international, federal, state and local education and healthcare organizations in the design and successful roll out of large scale transformation and performance improvement initiatives. Mr. Fernandes was formerly vice president of Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman) and served as the managing director of the firm’s DC office. Prior to that, he was a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton in Europe. Before joining the consulting profession, he taught math at an urban school and at The George Washington University. Mr. Fernandes graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Princeton University and received a master’s degree in mathematical statistics from The George Washington University.
Ann B. Friedman is chair of The SEED Foundation board of directors and most recently taught beginning reading and writing with the Montgomery County Public Schools. She is a trustee of Conservation International, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and five years ago started the Women’s Conservation Forum in Washington under the auspices of Conservation International. Mrs. Friedman is a board member of the public television station WETA, where she has helped fund the development of a new website promoting adolescent literacy. Mrs. Friedman is a trustee of the National Symphony Orchestra and sits on the board of the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School. She earned her B.A. in history and economics from Stanford University, and later received a master’s in international relations from the London School of Economics and a masters in teaching from American University.
Dean C. Garfield is a premier advocate and thought leader of the information and communications sector. He is the president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council and most recently served as the executive vice president and chief strategic officer for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). He is a regular contributor to the National Journal’s education blog.
Karim Khalifa, senior vice president of Architecture and Construction Global Services, leads the group comprised of product development, estimating, technical services, and communications/marketing. Prior to his current role, he oversaw product development, new building construction and renovation for Marriott’s Select Service and Extended Stay brands as senior vice president of design and project management. Mr. Khalifa led the opening of the Marriott architecture and construction office in Frankfurt, Germany, and was responsible for extending Marriott’s brands into Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As a member of Marriott International’s Executive Green Council, Mr. Khalifa is a green advocate for the company and actively participates on many green panels at leading industry events. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and prior to his career at Marriott, he managed Parsons Latin American Consulting office in Lima, Peru.
Nancy Lane is a former vice president of government affairs and vice president of human resources and administration for Johnson & Johnson. Ms. Lane attended the University of Oslo and received a bachelor’s degree in public relations/journalism from Boston University. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and is an alumna of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, where she completed the Program for Management Development. She has served on numerous boards, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, World Learning, the National Board of Directors of the NAACP, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the Board of Governors of Rutgers University.
Glen Lewy is vice-chair of The SEED Foundation board of directors and a Senior Managing Director at Hudson Ventures, a New York venture capital firm. Mr. Lewy is a director of several companies in the Hudson portfolio. Mr. Lewy was formerly co-chairman and managing director of BT Wolfensohn, as well as a member of the management committee of Bankers Trust. Mr. Lewy joined BT Wolfensohn in May 1986 as a senior investment banker from the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, where as a partner he practiced corporate law, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Lewy received a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He was National Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League and remains a member of ADL’s National Commission and National Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and sits on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the New York Historical Society. Mr. Lewy also serves on the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem and the board of Quayle, Munro Holdings PLC in London.
Marc Miller is a partner at McLeod, Watkinson & Miller, a D.C. law firm. He has been active in various Washington arts organizations, having served on the board of the Washington Area Performing Arts Video Archive and lectured for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts and as Of Counsel to the National Theatre. He also served on the Board of the Fund For Free Expression. Mr. Miller served as Chief of Staff to two members of the House of Representatives before practicing law. He is the author of Politicians and Their Spouses’ Careers, a manual for families in political life and public service, and his law practice features an expertise in government ethics and intellectual property. A graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Harvard Law School, he served as the chair of the Princeton Alumni Association’s Committee on Community Service.
John Noel is chairman and chief executive officer of The Noel Group, a diversified organization that invests in promising companies. In recognition of the profitability, management, job creation, and civic involvement of his company, Mr. Noel was named an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001. In 1993, Mr. Noel and his wife Patty established the Make A Mark Foundation a nonprofit, humanitarian program focused on making a positive difference on both a local and global level. Through a network of partners donating time, abilities and finances, Make A Mark has built clinics, schools and orphanages in developing countries throughout the world. In 1996, the Noels established The Noel Compass Scholarship Program to provide access to higher education for low-income, high-achieving students from Wisconsin’s urban communities. The program includes room, board and tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as a paid internship at Noel Group. Today, the Noel’s “extended family” includes over 20 Compass Scholar college graduates.
Mr. Noel earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was recognized as the University’s “Alumni of the Year” in 1999. The University’s performing arts center was also dedicated in 2006 as the Noel Fine Arts Center.
Lou Perez is senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Detroit Lions. Previously, he was managing director of Modell Ventures, LLC, which oversees all wealth management aspects for three generations of the Modell Family. From 1998 to 2004, Perez served as vice president and chief financial officer of the Baltimore Ravens, and controller for the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers from 1997-1998. He also served as controller for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1992-1997. From 1986 through 1992, Mr. Perez was a member of the international accounting firm of KPMG, becoming a Certified Public Accountant in 1988. Mr. Perez graduated from The College of New Jersey in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree.
Michael G. Ryan is the chief financial officer of Equity Group Holdings. He is the officer and director of various investment and operating companies. Mr. Ryan is also an adjunct professor of finance at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He previously worked as an audit manager at Arthur Andersen in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ryan received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Lisbeth B. (Lee) Schorr is a policy analyst, author, and community builder. Ms. Schorr is a senior fellow of the Center for the Study of Social Policy. She was the founding co-chair and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change. Ms. Schorr has also held leadership positions in many national efforts on behalf of children and youth and is the author of Within Our Reach and Common Purpose.
Eileen Shields-West is an accomplished journalist, author, and philanthropist with a wide range of expertise in education, international affairs, and governance. Ms. Shields-West serves as chair of Refugees International, a leading non-profit organization aiding the displaced. She is also a past chair of Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School. A dedicated advocate of humanitarian issues, she has traveled widely to places such as Darfur, South Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo, Thailand, and Cambodia for Refugees International. Ms. Shields-West worked extensively as a reporter for CNN, CBS News, Time, and Business International. She has written a book on political campaigns and edited another on 21st century schools called Choosing the Right Educational Path for Your Child: What are the Options? She contributes to a blog for POLITIX on international matters and domestic politics and volunteers as a Bookpal in Washington, D.C. public schools. Ms. Shields-West received a bachelor’s degree in education, history and social science from St. John’s University in New York and a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.
Raj Vinnakota is co-founder and managing director of The SEED Foundation. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His parents, who had immigrated from India, were devoted to Mr. Vinnakota receiving a quality education, and instilled in him their belief that a good education was the way up and out of poverty. Mr. Vinnakota attended Princeton University, from which he received a B.S. in Molecular Biology, as well as certificate of studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. Mr. Vinnakota’s first job after college was as a management consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. However, his training as a scientist continued to shape his world view. After a conversation with friends about the challenges of educating urban, at-risk students, he developed a scientific hypothesis: that underserved children, when provided with a 24-hour, supportive, academically-rigorous environment, could achieve scholastic success. Soon after, Mr. Vinnakota met a management consultant from a competing company, Eric Adler, who also had visions of a college preparatory boarding school for urban youth. Together, they founded The SEED Foundation and opened the first-ever SEED School in Washington, D.C. in 1998.
Mr. Vinnakota serves on the executive committee of the Aspire capital campaign for Princeton University and is the former national chair for Annual Giving for his alma mater. He is also a former trustee and executive committee member for Princeton. Mr. Vinnakota is a board director for a public company, Colfax Corporation (NYSE: CFX) and serves on the national advisory committee for the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center. He served on the board of The Empower Program, which worked with youth to end the culture of violence. Mr. Vinnakota is an Echoing Green fellow and an Ashoka fellow. For his work at The SEED Foundation he has been named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine and has received the Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Award, and an Oprah Winfrey “Use Your Life” Award. Recently, Mr. Vinnakota was named the 2009 winner of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor that Princeton bestows on an undergraduate alumnus. Mr. Vinnakota is married and has one daughter and two cats.
Vin Weber is managing partner of Clark & Weinstock, providing strategic advice to institutions with matters before the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government. Mr. Weber served in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1993, representing Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. He was a member of the Appropriations Committee and an elected member of the House Republican Leadership. In 2004, he was the Bush-Cheney ’04 Plains States Regional Chairman.
Mr. Weber is chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization designed to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. He serves on the Board of The Council on Foreign Relations, co-chaired a major independent task force on U.S. Policy Toward Reform in the Arab World, is a member of the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, and serves on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion. He is a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and a board member of several private sector and nonprofit organizations, including ITT Educational Services, the Lenox Group, and the Aspen Institute where he serves on the Institute’s Middle East Strategy Group. He and his wife Cheryl have two daughters.
Donald Brown was a founder, officer and director of The JBG Companies and a founding senior partner in the law firm of Brown, Gildenhorn & Jacobs. He has taught at Harvard University’s School of Business Administration and The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. Mr. Brown received a presidential appointment to serve as Commissioner to the International Cultural and Trade Center in 1988. He was named Washingtonian of the Year in 1989 and Man of the Year by the University of the District of Columbia in 1997. He was on the executive committee of the Federal City Council and served on the boards of the Phillips Collection, Blair House, and the National Trust for the Humanities, in addition to serving as president of the Washington Area Tennis and Education Foundation. Mr. Brown is now retired and spends most of his time in Florida.
Helen Colson is president of Helen Colson Development Associates, a management and development consulting firm currently serving 40 individual schools in seven states and the United Kingdom, and the National Association of Independent Schools. Prior to establishing her own firm in 1990, Ms. Colson served for 12 years as associate headmaster for development and planning at The Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Wellesley College, Ms. Colson received an M.A. degree in economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In 1990, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded Helen the Robert Bell Crow Award for service to the national independent school community. In 1997, she received CASE’s Steuben Apple Award for teaching excellence.
Virginia W. Newmyer has served on the boards of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington and Sidwell Friends School and was chairman of the board of Library Trustees of the District of Columbia. She has lectured on travel, history, and literature for the Smithsonian Institution since 1980 in both Washington, D.C. and the British Isles. In addition, Mrs. Newmyer has lectured at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Folger Shakespeare, and several universities. She has published book reviews, travel articles, and historical pieces in The Washington Post and other publications. Mrs. Newmyer attended Smith College, received a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and earned a master’s degree from American University.