Melissa Beck, Executive Director

Prior to joining EFA, Melissa was CEO of Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing access to justice for children and families throughout New York State. Before LIFT, she worked on criminal justice reform on a national and local scale. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Melissa was a litigator, working as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn DA's Office and as a criminal defense attorney. Melissa has been an Adjunct Professor of Nonprofit Management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and an Adjunct Professor of Women’s Studies at Fordham University. She is the author of numerous articles on nonprofit management and social justice issues as well as a playwright. She sits on the Leadership Council of the Support Center on Nonprofit Management and on the Steering Committee of the Active Owners Working Group at Confluence Philanthropy. A graduate of Hampshire College, Melissa received her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and holds a certificate in nonprofit management from the Columbia Business School.

Eliza Brown, Administrative Coordinator

Eliza joins EFA after a lifetime in the arts, designing sets for NYC’s downtown theater scene and then starting her own family photography business, Eliza’s Eye. She has worked as a bookkeeper and administrator for an architecture design firm and Broadway prop shop, and she’s excited to apply these skills to her position at the EFA. Eliza is a graduate of Smith College and holds an MFA in Design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

David Monsma, Program Director

David oversees EFA’s Environment program. Prior to joining EFA, David served as a Vice President at the Aspen Institute and its Executive Director of the Energy and Environment Program. An attorney by training, David was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Law and Social Responsibility at Loyola University in Maryland; served as director of business and environment at Business for Social Responsibility in San Francisco; and co-founded the Environmental Justice Law Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law while serving as staff counsel for the Environmental Action Foundation. During the Clinton Administration, he was the environmental management task force coordinator for the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. David began his legal career working for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General and the ACLU of Maryland before joining the US Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Toxics Substances and Pollution Prevention in Washington, D.C.

Laura Nixon, Program Officer

Laura oversees EFA’s Reproductive Health and Justice program. Prior to joining EFA, Laura was a Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where she led the expansion of the organization’s reproductive justice program. Before that, Laura held positions at the Office of the General Counsel at CUNY, Kingsborough Community College, and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Laura is a graduate of The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she was the editor-in-chief of the CUNY Law Review. Currently, Laura co-chairs the Health Working Group of the Appalachia Funders Network.

Carol Pickering, Food Security + Next Generation Committee Consultant

Carol is an Associate Partner with Dietel & Partners and currently working with EFA’s Adjunct Committee on a Food Security grantmaking initiative. She also provides guidance on the Committee’s discretionary grantmaking. Prior to joining Dietel & Partners, Carol was business reporter and food entrepreneur. Carol is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound.

Alexandra Russell, Democracy Consultant

Alexandra works as a philanthropic consultant and donor advisor in the areas of democracy, voting rights and electoral politics.

Prior to joining EFA, Alex ran a national Working Group for funders on Money in Politics at the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. Previously, she directed the Barbara Lee Family Foundation and Lee Family Office, funding initiatives to advance women’s political leadership. She served as program director for the national media reform organization Free Press, and directed the state level campaign finance reform organization Mass Voters for Clean Elections. She began her career in Seattle as a Fellow with the Public Interest Research Groups.

Alex serves on the board of trustees at the Beveridge Foundation and the Advisory Council of Emerge Massachusetts and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. She graduated from Dickinson College and has a Masters degree from Boston University’s School of Theology.

David Stocks, Program Director

David Stocks is the Arts Program Director at EFA. Prior to joining EFA, David was the President of the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, in New Lebanon, NY.  Earlier in his career, David was the founding board president and first Executive Director of Friends of the Katy Trail in Dallas, Texas, now one of the nation’s most successful rail-to-trail projects, and was a real estate broker there.  He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.