Staff Directory

Board of Directors

The Reverend Dr. Thomas F. Pike,
Chair Emeritus

The Reverend Dr. W. Wilson Goode, Sr., Chair
A. Robert Jaeger, President
The Reverend Dr. Roy G. Almquist, Secretary
John Asher, Jr.
The Reverend Dr. Eugene C. Bay
David R. Cooper
John J. DiIulio, Jr., Ph.D., Vice Chair
The Reverend Dr. Thomas E. Frank
Sally Harris
Henry G. Hart
The Reverend Pierce W. Klemmt
The Reverend Katherine Glaze Lyle
Corlis S. Moody
James R. Nader, FAIA, Treasurer
James B. Straw, AIA
David J. Winkowski, Esq.
Gordon R. Woodrow

Founding Board Members

Nancy Arnon Agnew
Holly Harrison Fiala
The Reverend Thomas Phelan
Stanley M. Smith
Anthony C. Wood

A. Robert Jaeger
215-567-3234, ext. 12

Bob holds a Master’s degree in preservation planning from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Prior to co-founding Partners for Sacred Places in 1989, Bob worked with the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation as Senior Vice President for the Historic Religious Properties Program. He is the co-author of Sacred Places at Risk (1998) and Strategies for Stewardship and Active Use of Older and Historic Religious Properties (1996), author of Sacred Places in Transition (1994), and editor (from 1985 to 1989) of Inspired, a bi-monthly magazine with news and technical articles on religious property preservation.

Tuomi Joshua Forrest
Executive Vice President
215-567-3234, ext. 13

Tuomi has offered technical advice and consultation to thousands of congregations of all faiths on the care and active community use of their historic religious buildings since joining Partners in 1997. He has contributed to publications such as Sacred Places at Risk (1998), Open the Doors: A Guide to Serving Families in Sacred Places (2001), and Your Sacred Place is a Community Asset: A Tool Kit to Attract New Resources and Partners (2002), and he has also spoken at many conferences and workshops around the country. He is a lead designer and trainer for Partners’ New Dollars/New Partners program and currently oversees all of Partners’ programming efforts, including the development of regional office and grant funds. Previously, Tuomi worked at the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and as an architectural photographer. He received an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College.

Gianfranco Grande
Senior Vice President
(866) 796-0297, ext. 24

Gianfranco brings over ten years of experience in development and management of nonprofit organizations, from startups to agencies with annual budgets exceeding $45 million. He served as Principal of Philantropia, Ltd., Executive Director and President of First Step Foundation, and Vice President of Notre Dame High School. A graduate in literature and philosophy from the University of Rome, Gianfranco worked for many years as the foreign editor at a major Italian magazine, and he has published several works of fiction and nonfiction. He is Chairman of the Board for the “Education Center,” a nonprofit organization in the Greater Chicago area, as well he a founding board member of the Linardakis Foundation. Gianfranco is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago Chapter.

Caroline Acheatel
Program Manager, Food in Sacred Places
215-567-3234, ext. 21

Caroline brings architecture and design experience to Partners through her education and work experience at the University City Historical Society and the Common Press Print Shop. She has a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and works to create sustainable, productive, and community-oriented space-sharing partnerships through the Food in Sacred Places program.

Alison Cornish
Senior Director of Programs
215-567-3234, ext. 11

Alison brings her backgrounds in both historic preservation and ministry to her work at Partners. She holds a B.A. in Art and Architectural History from Wellesley College, an M.A. in Conservation of Buildings from the University of York (UK), and an MDiv from Andover Newton Theological School. She has served as a project manager, researcher, and consultant for municipalities, museums, and nonprofit organizations working to conserve and interpret their historic sites. After completing seminary, Alison was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister, and served congregations on Long Island, NY. She worked with Partners as a trainer in the New Dollars/New Partners program before joining the staff in 2013.

Karen DiLossi
Director of Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places
215-567-3234, ext.16

Karen has a B.A. in History and Drama from Washington College and an M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University. She has worked professionally in theatre since 2000, both onstage and off, serving as actress, stage manager, director, producer, administrator, and manager. Her directing credits include Jump/Cut, Twelfth Night, Tartuffe, and Pounding Nails. She is the co-Artistic Director of Madhouse Theater Company, and serves as the secretary of the Board of Directors for Flashpoint Theatre Company; she is also a panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. As the Director of Programs & Services for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for over eight years, she produced the Barrymore Awards many times and directed them herself twice. Karen has taught acting at West Chester University and served as a stage management consultant for Villanova Theatre.

Stephanie Kish
Director of Operations
215-567-3234, ext. 17

Stephanie has more than 10 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, including Edison Theatre, Playhouse Square Center, Apollo’s Fire: the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Theatre Communications Group, and the Fine Arts Fund (now ArtsWave). After moving to Philadelphia in 2003, Stephanie worked for eight years for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, most recently serving as the Director of Ticketing Services. In Philadelphia, she also worked with 1812 Productions and the Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe, and served on grant panels for the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. In addition to her work with Partners for Sacred Places, Stephanie is the Managing Director of Madhouse Theater Company, a small nonprofit theatre company focused on comedic works. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, along with an M.A. in Arts Administration and an MBA in Management from the University of Cincinnati.

Susan Matyas
Director of Development and Communications
215-205-5086 (mobile)

Susan has over 25 years of experience in business and the arts. Prior to joining Partners in 2013, Susan consulted with area nonprofit arts organizations on capacity building including strategic planning, board development, organizational development, donor development, marketing, and grant research and writing. Susan is an adjunct professor in the Arts Administration Graduate Program at Drexel University and was previously the Director of Business Development at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Susan has an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel and an undergraduate degree in Computer & Information Sciences.

Neeta McCulloch
Communications Manager

Neeta joined Partners in the fall of 2008 as the editor of Sacred Places magazine, content manager for Partners’ website, and general communications support. As Communications Manager, she continues with those responsibilities while also managing Partners’ communications efforts. Neeta has worked for a variety of preservation organizations, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Chestnut Hill (PA) Historical Society, and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. She has a B.A. in Art and Architectural History from Wellesley College and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Office

Joshua Thomas Castaño
Program Manager, Pennsylvania Office
215-567-3234, ext. 18

Joshua brings to Partners his professional experience as a historic preservation specialist in one of the nation’s most densely and diversely populated communities of Paterson, NJ. There, he helped build partnerships between historic congregations and public institutions, with a particular focus on heritage tourism initiatives that benefited many of the dynamic congregations successfully serving the city’s economically challenged neighborhoods. Joshua also developed a variety of heritage-based public education programs and participated, through research and legislative assistance, in the local landmark designation of historic congregations in addition to formal advocacy on behalf of threatened historic sites. In addition to his work at Partners, Joshua also provides consulting assistance and leadership for regional denominational committees and boards within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultural institutions in the New York metropolitan region. Joshua earned a B.A. in Art History from Oberlin College where he curated an exhibition on the landmark Robert Venturi-designed addition to the Cass Gilbert-designed Allen Memorial Art Museum.

Rachel Hildebrandt
Program Manager, Pennsylvania Office
215-567-3234, ext. 21

Rachel holds an M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Before beginning work at Partners, she co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011), both published by Arcadia Publishing. She continues to write as a freelance contributor for Philadelphia’s Hidden City Daily web magazine.

Texas Office

Suzanne Yowell
Director, Texas Office
(817) 965-5072

Suzy is a Fort Worth, TX, native who brings to the Texas Office twenty years of experience in business planning, investment strategies, management, fundraising, and development. She has an extensive background in the real estate field, has served on numerous nonprofit boards, and is an accomplished fundraiser. She was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Education in Texas and received a Life Time Achievement Award for her work with the Fort Worth School District. Suzy attended Tarrant County College and studied Nonprofit Management at Texas Christian University. She is a member of the Tarrant County Coalition for Nonprofit Professionals.

Alison Hernandez
Program Coordinator, Texas Office
(866) 315.4840, ext. 252

A native of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Alison graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a B.S in Architecture. As a student at UTA, she collaborated on the Congo Street Green Initiative that serves to implement new methods of sustainable design for under-served communities while also revitalizing a forgotten street in the East Dallas neighborhood of Jubilee Park. She is currently finishing a Masters degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia. Previously, as an intern at Partners for Sacred Places, Alison participated in the survey and documentation of historic Texas churches for the Texas Sacred Places Project.

Chicago Office

Ellyn Barkley
Executive Program Assistant, Chicago Office
(866) 796-0297

Ellyn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Architecture. She is working at Partners as a Fellow through the Fox Leadership Program. While at Penn, she was a member of the varsity volleyball team and continues to be involved with the team as a coach. She has previously worked at Scarcello Associates and Bobby Hill Designs as a design and architectural intern.

Amy Schachman
Associate Director, Chicago Office
(866) 796-0297, ext. 93

Before joining Partners, Amy worked in development at a charter high school in Chicago, and interned in research and exhibition design at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. She graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Art History and Human Rights, and received an M.A. in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University Chicago.

Laura Schuetz
Consulting Services Associate
(866) 796-0297, ext. 94

Laura brings her experience in historic preservation and nonprofit-program coordination to her role as Consulting Services Associate. After receiving a B.A. in Journalism and History from American University, Laura managed and monitored outcomes for educational services geared toward at-risk youth at a community-based nonprofit in Washington, DC. While working toward a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Georgia, she collaborated on preservation projects with a variety of stakeholders, including local landowners, the City of Athens (GA), the United Church of Christ, and the National Park Service. After receiving her graduate degree, she interned with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington, DC, and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County in Chicago, IL.

Mariam Thiam
Project Manager for Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places, Chicago Office
(866) 796-0297, ext. 97

Mariam joined Partners as Project Manager for Arts in Sacred Places in September 2013. Previously she served as the Executive Director of the Hyde Park School of Dance, a non-profit organization focused on training, performance, and community, servicing more than 400 children and adults annually. She has also served as Education and Outreach Coordinator for Luna Negra Dance Theater, Executive Director of Blessed Sacrament Youth Center in the North Lawndale community, and Program Coordinator with Chicago Cares, where she developed and managed volunteer-led arts and education programs for youth. Mariam has a B.F.A in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Spertus College Chicago.