OUR TEAM

Shawn Escoffery

Executive Director

Shawn Escoffery is the Executive Director of the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation, where he leads a team committed to social justice and addressing the historical inequities that plague many lower-income communities. Since joining the Foundation 2018, Shawn has led the organization through a strategy revisioning process, created a fellowship for someone who was formerly impacted by the Justice System, and launched an Impact Investing portfolio with a 10% carve-out of the endowment. The Foundation now focuses on Criminal Justice Reform, Environmental Justice, and Affordable Housing Preservation with a trust-based approach that is centered in place and emphasizes lasting partnerships as well as capacity building. With assets exceeding $120 million, Shawn oversees a $5 million annual grantmaking budget and is responsible for sourcing impact investments ranging from $250,000 to $1 million aimed at advancing racial and gender equity. Prior to joining RPDFF, Shawn directed the Inclusive Economies portfolio at the Surdna Foundation – a nationally focused family foundation with over $1 billion in assets. In this role, Shawn worked to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses, equitable economic policy, and access to quality jobs. Shawn managed a $9.5 million annual grantmaking budget and an impact investing portfolio over $10 million. As an urban planner with over 20 years of experience, Shawn has worked on community economic development and affordable housing projects across the country. Shawn holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English Literature from Rutgers University and a Master’s of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds certificates in Communications and International Relations, Urban Redevelopment, and Effective Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University, respectively. Shawn currently sits on the board of directors of The Funders Network and Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Frida Hatami joined the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation in 2015 as its first Grants Manager. She has been instrumental in overseeing the effort to formalize processes and procedures, and to develop a state-of-the-art grants database. She is responsible for working with grantee partners, grantseekers, and Foundation staff to manage the grantmaking processes. Frida is also responsible for leading the Foundation’s emerging Environmental Justice portfolio, including identifying new partnership opportunities with organizations on the frontline of environmental fights and addressing capacity challenges of the field. Frida brings many years of experience in both philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, including her previous role at Annenberg Foundation, where she helped streamline the Foundation’s responsive grantmaking process and managed a $5.0M portfolio of several grants. She also spent time at the California Endowment, a $6.0B healthcare conversion foundation, and with Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles providing support to two major programs Family Violence Project and At Home Services. Frida holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from California State University, Northridge.

Frida Hatami

Grants Manager

Roger Perez

Program Officer

As Program Officer, Roger leverages his deep commitment to the social sector as he works with organizations and initiatives centered on Affordable Housing Preservation, Criminal Justice Reform, Environmental Justice. Roger is responsible for helping guide the Foundation’s programmatic strategy and portfolio theory. He is also playing a role in the organization’s emerging Impact Investing and deepening relationships in the field of philanthropy. Prior to joining RPDFF, Roger was a strategic financial advisor with Nonprofit Finance Fund – a national nonprofit and community development financial institution that serves nonprofit organizations and foundations. He led projects focused on business model analyses, growth scenarios, and organizational assessments with social sector organizations seeking to understand their full costs of service provision and improve societal outcomes. Throughout his career, Roger has worked with both nonprofit and for-profit clients as a consultant, project manager, and researcher in the United States and abroad. He currently serves on the board of California ChangeLawyers, Steering Committee of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and is an active member of the Switzer Environmental Leadership and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer networks. Roger received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina, Asheville, a Master of Arts in International Development and a Master of Business Administration from Brandeis University.

Evie Ponder was born in the South Bronx, New York, and grew up in the foster care system after her parents passed away due to health complications. At 16, Evie left school and used her passion for helping people by working in the restaurant industry. She began as a hostess, moving to a server, and then as assistant manager. She moved to Hawaii at 21 and was promoted to restaurant general manager the following year.

Unfortunately, because of unhealed trauma from birth, drugs became Evie’s daily medication to cope, ultimately leading her to federal prison. During the four years, she was incarcerated, Evie turned her life around, transforming pain into power. She wrote poetry, completed drug treatment classes, and graduated as the valedictorian of her GED class.

While incarcerated, Evie came across Susan Burton’s book, “Becoming Ms. Burton” and felt inspired to write a letter to A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and she was accepted into the program. Since living at a New Way of Life, Evie has embraced every opportunity offered to her, from being on The Kelly Clarkson Show, performing her poetry in Sacramento to and speaking at local and National events.

Evie Ponder

Philanthropy Fellow

Clara Steele

Associate Program Officer

Clara Steele serves as Associate Program Officer at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation, where she focuses on Criminal Justice Reform and Civic Empowerment. Raised in Altadena, CA, Clara was inspired to work in the social sector after her mother, Nancy Steele, founded Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (AFC), to preserve land in her neighborhood. The work of AFC showed Clara the power of nonprofits to address hyper-local community issues. Before joining the Foundation as a Program and Operations Associate in 2017, she was Lead Program Manager at Best Buddies International – an organization that empowers student leaders to engage their communities to eliminate the social segregation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At Best Buddies, Clara created and facilitated multiple leadership development trainings, led conflict resolution workshops, expanded services, and taught students how to organize. Currently, Clara is on the Los Angeles Steering Committee of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), regularly travels to Tijuana, Mexico to volunteer with Fundación Esperanza, and enjoys teaching people about honeybees through her family’s beekeeping business, Chaparral Mountain Honey Co. She received her BA in History from Occidental College.

 

Adrian Vasquez serves as a program associate at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation, where he supports the foundation on Criminal Justice Reform and Community Grants which allocates funding throughout Los Angeles County. He is the oldest of three brothers and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He worked for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), where he served as the Vocation and Education Manager for over five years. There, he helped men and women who were impacted by the justice system by providing them support with meaningful employment, mentoring, and counseling. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). His major is sociology. He took the role at CSULB to help create a student organization called Rising Scholars. An organization that provides a support network in academia for formerly incarcerated students and those directly impacted by incarceration. Prior to joining RPDFF, Adrian worked as the Program Associate for Youth Development and Education at the California Community Foundation. He helped coordinate a $38 million public-private partnership in funding organizations that are serving positive youth development in Los Angeles County. He is also a 2018 Just Leadership fellow. He was accepted to a fellowship program called Legal Education Access Pipeline (LEAP), which diversifies the legal profession by preparing underrepresented students to become successful law school applicants. He is currently a law student in Southwestern Law School’s evening program. Through his work and studies, he plans to become a lawyer to advocate for fair and just policies in the criminal justice system.

Adrian Vasquez

Program Associate

INTERN ALUMNI

Current role at employment:
Program Associate for the Youth & Transformative Justice Team for the Liberty Hill Foundation.
Current role:
He manages the day-to-day duties for the foundation’s California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMOC) work; the on-going support for 9 local grassroot organizations and 2 advocacy coalitions. I also manage our My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) portfolio as well as our Sports Teams relationships.
Date of Fellowship:
July 2019 – Aug 2020
Biography:
Tommy is the Foundation’s first Philanthropy Fellow and a proud and active member of The Anti-Recidivism Coalition. As a fellow, Tommy focuses on building his understanding of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors while also providing support to the Foundation’s Criminal Justice portfolio. As a teenager, Tommy fell victim to the Justice System. While incarcerated, he continuously strived to better himself and vowed not to leave prison the same way he had entered. He not only earned and received a General Education Diploma but also began his undergrad studies at Coastline Community College and Fresno Pacific University. Throughout his life lessons and experiences, he has tirelessly sought opportunities to assist and educate others on not making the same mistakes he made early in his youth. This has become not only his passion but his lifelong mission. Hence, Tommy continuously strives to be an advocate for Social Justice issues such as Criminal Justice Reform and Community Organizing. He especially wants to address the overwhelming disparities faced by Black male youth involved in Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Justice System. He diligently works on being a direct example of ‘changing the narrative’ surrounding those formerly incarcerated. Raised in Inglewood, California, Tommy is an alumnus of The Los Angeles Film School for Recording Arts. In every spare moment, Tommy enjoys spending time with his children and family.

Tommy Morris, Jr.

Philanthropy Fellow

Tommy Minor

National Urban Fellow

Current role at employment:
Co-manager of Alignment Initiatives
Current role:
Chisholm Legacy Project
Date of Fellowship:
September 2019 -May 2020
Biolraphy:
Tommy is a National Urban Fellow, where he is studying for a master’s degree in policy management from Georgetown University. In his fellowship year, he provides support to the Foundation through data analysis and research on policy solutions for issues involving Criminal Justice Reform and Environmental Justice. A native of Cleveland, OH, Tommy was inspired to work in the nonprofit sector after attending Morehouse College, following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, and Maynard Jackson. In his first opportunity out of college, Tommy returned home to address childhood lead poisoning, air quality issues, renewable energy, and other environmental justice-related issues that long plagued his hometown. Tommy eventually made his way to Oakland, CA working as an AmeriCorps Fellow for GRID Alternatives, where he provided support to the Workforce Development and Volunteerism team by building up their Collegiate Network and Solar Spring Break program. He also helped start GRID Alternatives’ work with returning citizens and piloted a solar reentry program that successfully placed trainees into green jobs. Tommy plans on leveraging his time as a National Urban Fellow to learn more about nonprofit communities from a philanthropic standpoint and expand his capacities to be able to help uplift communities fighting poverty, environmental harm, and neglect. Tommy holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morehouse College.

Current role at employment:
Student worker for Project Rebound at California State University Northridge
Date of Fellowship:
June2021-May2022
Biography:
Robert serves as a student worker for Project Rebound at California State University Northridge, and in addition to his work with Project Rebound, he serves on the board of directors for the University Student Union at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and as Co-Chair of the Facilities and Operations Committee. He moderated a panel discussion that was facilitated through Project Rebound’s Collectively Understanding Carcerality and Learning Transformative Justice Learning Community, which hosted “Empowerment Through Performance Art.” In the past, when he attended Los Angeles Valley College. He worked for the TRIO SSS program as a student worker and was a panelist for Site Unseen: Incarceration, which delved into the conditions of prisons within the United States and current and formerly incarcerated artists that express their art through their past lived experiences. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Chicano/a Studies at California State University, Northridge.

Robert Jacome

Philanthropy Fellow

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