North Carolina Community Foundation
3737 Glenwood Ave., Suite 460
Raleigh, NC 27612
Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, President and CEO
Jennifer Tolle Whiteside serves as president and CEO of the North Carolina Community Foundation. She has led the Foundation, its 20-member board of directors and 30-person staff for more than a decade, more than doubling NCCF assets and grantmaking in her tenure. As NCCF’s second CEO, she is responsible for long-term growth and sustainability, strategic planning, and serves as the public face of the Foundation. She loves working every day with generous, passionate and engaged North Carolinians to build community through philanthropic giving.
Tolle Whiteside has 28 years of experience in nonprofit management and civic affairs. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the first CEO and president of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, a nonprofit organization she grew from one staff member to 14 full-time employees and a statewide network. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, received a master’s degree from Louisiana State University and is an alumna of Leadership North Carolina.
Tolle Whiteside has served on numerous nonprofit boards and public commissions, including several legislative appointments. She is the vice chair of the North Carolina Rural Center board and serves on the Community Foundation National Standards Board. She previously served as chair of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children and co-chair of the NC Child Fatality Task Force. She is a past recipient of the Old North State Award from the Governor of North Carolina and the national US Commissioner’s Award. She has been named a News & Observer Tar Heel of the Week and counted among the Triangle Business Journal’s most influential female leaders. She is a recipient of the Women of Achievement Award by the Federation of Women’s Club and was inducted into Leadership Raleigh’s first Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
Jennifer lives in Raleigh with her husband Ted, their two rescue dogs Bumble and Honey and FaceTimes frequently with her daughter, Lindsay, who attends college in Memphis.
Cherry Ballard, Assistant to the President
Cherry has been with the Foundation since its inception in 1988. She serves as the assistant to the president and works closely with our board of directors and donors across the state. Cherry has an associate’s degree in business from Wake Technical Community College. Cherry enjoys tennis, yoga and spending time with her two grandchildren, Abby and Nolan.
Beth Boney Jenkins, Vice President of Development
Beth leads the development team in charitable fund establishment and growth, including estate and planned-giving services. Beth has a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College and a master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina State University. She currently serves as board chair of the North Carolina Planned Giving Council.
Megan Lynch Ellis, Regional Director for Development, Northwest and West
PO Box 524
Boone, NC 28607
Megan Lynch Ellis is responsible for development in 18 counties that make up the western and northwestern regions of the state. Her work is to identify and cultivate donors throughout the region by developing relationships with professional advisors, individuals, businesses, other foundations and nonprofit organizations, with a goal of building and growing charitable assets, primarily endowment funds. Prior to joining NCCF in 2013, Megan was major gifts and special events coordinator for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. She is the current board president of Beanstalk Community Theatre, former president of the board of directors of the Children’s Playhouse in Boone, former board member of the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge and former treasurer of the board for the Cancer Resource Alliance of the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center. Megan attended the University of South Carolina and Temple University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English. She also has earned a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
Mary Morgan, Philanthropy Counsel
Mary serves as in-house legal counsel for NCCF on issues concerning contributions, unique gifts, fund agreements, granting and planned giving. She advises leadership on issues related to public policy and serves as liaison to professional advisors across the state as a member of our development team. Mary has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University and attended the Wake Forest University School of Law where she was a member of the law review. Following law school, Mary clerked for N.C. Court of Appeals Judge K. Edward Greene and of U.S. District Court Judge Earl Britt. Mary practiced law with Morgan & Reeves in Raleigh and Lillington before originally joining the Foundation as legal counsel in 2006. Outside of work, Mary is active in community activities, having served as board president of Playspace Children’s Museum, president of the Sir Walter Cabinet, vice-president of the N.C. Center for Voter Education and on the boards of Wake County Habitat for Humanity and KidsVoting Wake County. She currently serves as vice-chair of the board of trustees for North Carolina Baptist Retirement Homes and board vice-chair of Common Cause North Carolina.
Wilson Simmons, Chief Financial Officer
Wilson Simmons joined NCCF as chief financial officer in May 2017. As CFO, Wilson has full management responsibilities for all financial and compliance matters of NCCF. Wilson’s career includes a mix of public accounting and private industry practice, with more than10 years of service in senior financial roles within nonprofit organizations. He is a Greensboro native and alumnus of North Carolina State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business management. He received a master’s of accountancy from George Washington University in Washington D.C., is a certified public accountant and a graduate of Leadership Triangle. He is a proud father to two sons and enjoys traveling with his family, golf and his dogs Marley and Junebug.
John Hartley, Director of Finance, Chief Investment Officer
John manages the Foundation’s portfolio and the work of our investment managers. He also serves as NCCF’s financial liaison with affiliate foundation boards and current and potential donors. He is a Certified Treasury Professional and currently serves on the board of the North Carolina Treasury Management Association. He had more than 20 years of experience in treasury management and corporate finance before joining the NCCF staff in 2005. John has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He enjoys travel, music, reading and a wide variety of sports.
Michelle Thrift, Controller
Michelle Thrift joined NCCF as controller in July 2017. She is a 1990 graduate of UNC-Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Michelle has more than 25 years of accounting experience, most focused in nonprofit accounting and over 5 ½ years of community foundation work. Michelle lives on a 30-acre farm in Siler City with her husband, 4 children, 2 dogs and varying numbers of goats. She enjoys spending time with family, enjoying the outdoors in a variety of ways, traveling and crossword puzzles. In her spare time, Michelle also enjoys creating projects from reclaimed wood.
Sandy Pickett, Finance Database Administrator & Gifts Specialist
Sandy joined the Foundation in 2017 as finance database administrator/gift specialist. Prior to NCCF, she worked in various roles within state government, private industry and − her favorite – North Carolina’s nonprofit sector. Sandy graduated from UNC-G, where she majored in broadcasting/cinema and minored in business and dance. She is a novice walker/runner and enjoys participating in 5k’s and half marathons across the state, which makes family “event” vacations one of her favorite ways to relax. Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband, son and rescue dog.
Lisa Meeks, Senior Accounting Associate
Lisa handles accounts payable and employee benefits for the Foundation. She is originally from Illinois and graduated from Highland Community College. She joined the NCCF staff in 2007 after working as a bank teller, bookkeeper and business owner. Lisa is an avid dancer, specializing in ballroom, salsa and west coast swing and is interested in healing and wellness, graphology and personal growth.
Grants and Scholarships
Leslie Ann Jackson, Director of Grants and Scholarships
Leslie Ann oversees all of NCCF’s grantmaking and scholarship operations and is responsible for the form and function of our community grantmaking programs, including those of our statewide network of affiliate foundations, several corporate programs and women’s giving circles. Leslie Ann also leads our scholarship programs, and has a particular interest in first-generation scholars. Leslie Ann came to NCCF in 2011 with career experience derived entirely from the nonprofit sector, specifically in the area of child mental health. A proud Demon Deacon, Leslie Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University. She continued her graduate studies in psychology at the College of William & Mary and completed her Nonprofit Management Certificate at Duke University. Leslie Ann devotes much of her time outside of work to SAFEchild, for which she conducts groups centered around child abuse and domestic violence. She also serves as chair of the advisory council of Read and Feed, a childhood literacy organization. Leslie Ann is also active in the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh, having held several positions on the executive board, including president. Otherwise you will find Leslie Ann singing in her car, preparing a meal for family and friends, reading the latest selection from her extensive book list or relaxing somewhere by the water.
Christopher Fipps, Grants Program Manager
Christopher facilitates NCCF’s grant programs, including our affiliate community grantmaking, corporate programs, women’s giving and other special grant initiatives. He is responsible for supporting advisory boards, applicants and grantees throughout the grants process. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has since held positions administering grantmaking processes in the nonprofit and government sectors with organizations such as Tar River Land Conservancy and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund. When not at NCCF, he fills his time with a small sustainable flower, tea and produce farm along the Flat River in Person County. He enjoys attending area farmers’ markets, art museums and exploring the great local foods scene.
Sybil Bowick, Grants & Scholarships Specialist
Sybil supports grantmaking from our designated, agency and donor-advised funds. She also works with students, educational institutions and our many scholarship administrators across the state to ensure smooth processing of all of NCCF's scholarships. She returned home after a 15 year career in public affairs/public relations in the District of Columbia. She received a bachelor's degree in political science with a concentration in public administration from North Carolina Central University and completed the paralegal studies program at Duke University. She has a long-standing commitment to community service, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Durham County Guardian ad Litem program and most recently with InStepp, Inc.
Noël McLaughlin, Director of Marketing and Communications
Noël directs communications, PR and marketing for NCCF. She joined the Foundation in 2008 after five years as a public relations consultant. She has 20 years of corporate experience and served as group vice president and manager of the corporate communications department for a national financial institution. She is co-founder of the Mountain Times in Boone. She graduated cum laude from Appalachian State University with a degree in English and has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has won numerous awards, including international honors for an NCCF annual report. She serves on the board of advisors for Wildacres/Friday Fellows Leadership Initiative and has served on many other boards, including the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Raleigh Alumni Association, NC Center for Nonprofits, Kids Voting-Wake County and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. She was a charter member of the Wake County Women’s Giving Network. She enjoys travel, art, hiking, reading and spending time with her family.
Louis Duke, Senior Communications Specialist
Louis manages external communications for NCCF’s statewide affiliate network and supports digital and social media communications, public relations and marketing. He serves as the Co-Chair of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers Emerging Leaders Learning Community and a member of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. He is a 2018 New Leaders Council - North Carolina Fellow. He graduated from Campbell University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in political science. In his free time, he enjoys photography and travel.
Marirose Steigerwald, Director of Operations
Marirose serves as director of operations, which means she and her team are responsible for HR, IT and office operations. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2016, she was a partner in a consulting firm specializing in search and leadership development. She has served in leadership roles in both large and small public and privately held companies. Her direct industry knowledge includes international software, a public utility, regional engineering firms and leadership consulting.
Marirose is a proud graduate of UNC Greensboro, where she received a BA in communication studies and minored in psychology. She holds certifications in behavior and motivator analysis tools and has served in a leadership capacity for a number of organizations, including past director of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and past chair of the UNC-G Alumni Association Board of Directors. Marirose completed the Leadership NC Class XXI and is serving as class ambassador. She received the 2011 Triangle Business Journal’s Women in Business award.
D'Wayne Wilkins, Manager of Information Technology
In August 2013, D’Wayne joined NCCF as manager of Information Technology. He manages and supports all of NCCF’s technologies, systems, databases and reporting and provides online support for the statewide community grantmaking process. Prior to NCCF, D’Wayne worked in various positions in the IT field. He has a bachelor’s degree in information science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is certified in CompTIA-Security+. D’Wayne is a professional photographer and musician who enjoys spending quality time, traveling and sightseeing with his wife and two sons. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Lori Johnson, Office Manager and Communications Assistant
Lori oversees headquarters facility issues and provides administrative support for the main office staff. She also assists with website maintenance and news release distribution. She joined the Foundation staff in 2008 after serving as an executive assistant and earning an associate’s degree from the Tefft Business School in New York. In her spare time Lori enjoys volunteering for a nursing home, traveling, reading, dancing and playing with her five grandchildren.
Sally Migliore, Director of Community Leadership
Sally leads and coordinates the statewide team of regional directors in all aspects of affiliate and donor services, scholarships and grantmaking. The Community Leadership Team supports our statewide network of local affiliates to lead philanthropic efforts in their communities. Sally joined the NCCF staff in 2011 after a successful career in the nonprofit sector. She was the executive director of the National Society for Experiential Education and served as the director of collaboration and training at the NC Center for Nonprofits. Sally has been a consultant to nonprofits and county and state government agencies. She currently serves on the board of Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). Sally has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a master’s in sociology from North Carolina State University. In her free time, she enjoys jogging, going to the gym, painting and spending time with her family and friends.
Sheila Cratch, Administrative Assistant
Sheila is the administrative assistant for NCCF’s Community Leadership and Development teams. She has more than 15 years of experience working as an administrative assistant in both the public and private sectors. She earned an associate’s degree from Campbell University with a concentration in business administration. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities and going on field trips to local places of interest.
(Cherokee, Clay, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison and Swain)
Katie Crumpler, Regional Director
PO Box 401
Mars Hill, NC 28754
Katie provides leadership for nine affiliate foundations in the Western region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, and administers scholarships. Her career has been in the nonprofit sector, with experience including the Public School Forum of NC and the NC Healthy Start Foundation. Katie volunteers for a number of organizations that support homeless populations, youth development through mentoring and tutoring and the empowerment of women. Katie received her master’s degree in public administration and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from NC State University. Her undergraduate degree is in political science and history from UNC-Greensboro. She also is an alumna of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) through the Institute for Educational Leadership.
(Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Catawba Valley, which includes Alexander, Caldwell and Catawba counties; Mount Airy, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin)
310 N. Center Street
Hickory, NC 28601
Mail: PO Box 2851, Hickory, NC 28603
Colby provides leadership for eight affiliate foundations in the Northwestern region. He supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. He builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds and administers scholarships. He joined the Foundation in 2016. Formerly, he was the Director of Grants and Compliance at Yancey County Schools and earlier was the Executive Director of Graham Children’s Health Services. He served on a variety of nonprofit boards and local government task forces doing work in health, the arts and economic development. He earned his masters of business administration (MBA) at Appalachian State University where he also attended for undergraduate studies. He’s a reader and a writer; he’s written five novels, two plays, and many other unfinished works. He enjoys spending as much time as he can with his family including his two kids, Emerson and Juliet.
Northern Piedmont Office
(Cary, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Vance and Wake)
Quinn Novels, Regional Director
3737 Glenwood Ave., Suite 460
Raleigh, NC 27612
Quinn provides leadership for six affiliate foundations in the Northern Piedmont region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships, and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She came to us from the United Way of the Greater Triangle where she had the opportunity to cultivate relationships with individuals and companies and helped to build strategy around individual donor engagement. She received her master’s degree in international development from Tulane University, her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Delaware and her Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. She also serves as the president of the University of Delaware’s Raleigh-Durham Alumni Club, is a member of the Junior League of Raleigh and is an alumna of Leadership Triangle.
(Anson, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph and Rockingham)
Dawn Neighbors, Regional Director
PO Box 739
Coats, NC 27521
Dawn provides leadership for seven affiliate foundations in the Sandhills region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships, and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She worked in higher education for 14 years in administration, development and grantwriting roles prior to joining the foundation in 2015. She also served as an affiliate foundation board member for five years in her home county of Harnett. She received her bachelor degree in political science from Campbell University. She has served on various chamber of commerce boards and has contributed to her local newspaper in an article series about nonprofit organizations and local charitable opportunities. She and her husband have three adult children between them and live in Harnett County. She recently became SCUBA certified and in her spare time enjoys traveling, boating, camping, gardening and cooking.
(Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson and Sampson)
Anne Sorhagen, Regional Director
1213 Culbreth Drive
Wilmington, NC 28405
Anne provides leadership for eight affiliate foundations in the Southeastern region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She is a business owner with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, holding leadership positions for statewide nonprofits as well as her local community. She currently is a member of the board of directors for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and Cape Fear Guardian ad Litem Association and is an active member of the Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County. She served on the Airlie Gardens Foundation Board for six years and has been a guardian ad litem advocate in 5th judicial district of NC (New Hanover and Pender counties) for ten years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and History from Meredith College.
Coastal Plain North
(Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Northampton, Rocky Mount, Warren, Wayne and Wilson)
Kelly Lee, Regional Director
PO Box 7394
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Kelly provides leadership for six affiliate foundations in the Coastal Plain North region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships, and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She is founding member of the Women Givers of Nash-Rocky Mount, a committee member of the Healthy Kids Collaborative of the Down East Partnership for Children and an avid supporter and volunteer for Special Olympics. She holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University and special certifications in event planning, small group facilitation and nonprofit marketing. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in leadership in the public sector from NC State University and is a graduate of Nash Community College.
Coastal Plain South
(Carteret, Craven, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico and Pitt)
Kim Ball, Regional Director
PO Box 3411
New Bern, NC 28564-3411
Kim provides leadership for seven affiliate foundations in the Coastal Plain South region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships, and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She worked in banking for 10 years and also worked in sales and marketing before joining the foundation in 2012. She is a founding member of the Colonial Capital Club, an active member of the regional Meredith College Alumnae Board, a member of the Craven County Chamber of Commerce and a member of Garber United Methodist Church. She is originally from Chocowinity, N.C., and has a bachelor's degree (B.S.) in business administration and a bachelor of art degree (B.A.) in Home Economics from Meredith College. In her free time, Kim enjoys gardening, running, playing bridge and boating.
(Beaufort-Hyde, Bertie-Hertford, Chowan, Currituck-Dare, Martin, and Northern Albemarle, which includes Camden, Gates, Pasquotank and Perquimans)
Natalie Jenkins Peel, Regional Director
204 South Poindexter Street
Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27909
Natalie provides leadership for six affiliate foundations in the Northeastern region. She supports the affiliate’s work in developing strong boards, promoting philanthropy, conducting grantmaking, and serving as community leaders. She builds relationships with fundholders and helps develop new funds, administers scholarships, and provides assistance to NCCF’s women’s giving programs. She is currently serving on the NCCF Wellness Committee. She has worked in the marine industry for several years and also worked in nonprofit management before joining foundation in 2013. She attended Virginia Episcopal School and is a graduate of Meredith College. She enjoys the arts, traveling and fishing. She currently is a board member of The Benjamin House, Elizabeth City Rotary Club and serves on the Vestry at Christ Episcopal Church. She and her husband are both from eastern North Carolina and are raising their three small children in Elizabeth City.