Our Team

CEF Executive Director


Donna Carrington, She/Her

Executive Director Full-Time

Donna leads both the Chapel Hill and Durham geographies, working with staff, Advocates, Members, and the Board of Directors. She stewards organizational vision and growth for all of CEF. Donna supports both offices in developing partnerships to secure housing justice and financial security for all Members. Donna’s passions are music, Jeopardy, Mahjong, and cooking shows.

Program Management

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Joe Katusich, He/Him

Member Services & Program Manager Full-Time

Joe is the Member Services and Programs Manager and primarily focuses on supporting CEF’s program staff in Durham and Chapel Hill, as well as guiding program strategy. With a large background in community service and civic engagement, Joe’s connection to CEF’s mission and values runs deep. After receiving a degree in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, he served two years as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Boston before launching into a non-profit career in Boston. That is where he discovered his passion for fostering beloved communities through empathy, equity and empowerment. In his free time, you can find him checking out the local trails on foot or on his mountain bike, cooking, kayaking, and spending time with friends and family. Decades from now, when Joe retires, you will find him in a rustic cabin in the wilderness surrounded by his loved ones, dogs, good food, and all the books and movies he can get his hands on.

Durham County Team

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Jada McLeod, She/Her

Advocate Program Coordinator Full-Time

Jada is the Advocate Program Coordinator for CEF’s Durham office where she is in charge of recruiting, training, and managing Advocates. Additionally, she facilitates two Advocate leadership teams, provides in-office support to Advocates and Members, and serves as the co-lead of her office. She aims to create a place of learning, growth, and joy for all who enter our space. Jada recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill where she studied public policy and political science. She was once an Advocate and summer intern in CEF’s Chapel Hill office. Her combined experiences of working with Members and her academic study of systems of oppression have driven her commitment to social justice work. In her free time, Jada enjoys cooking, reading, music, and being creative.

Leah Whitehead, 2018 Chapel Hill Fellow

Leah Whitehead, She/Her

Member Services Coordinator Full-Time

Leah coordinates Member Services in our Durham office. She is passionate about working collectively to support the resiliency of her community and believes wholeheartedly that ALL people are creative, resourceful, and whole. In her free time, Leah enjoys being in nature with her given and chosen family (especially her dog, Sandy), participating in dance parties, being creative, riding motorcycles, and reading books that remind her that the world is full of possibility.

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Marisa Kawabe, She/Her

MSW Intern Part-Time

Marisa joins the CEF team as an MSW intern. She is a first-year Master of Social Work student at North Carolina State and a recent graduate of Converse University, where she studied psychology and music. Marisa is passionate about creating inclusive, informed spaces and connecting people with resources to help them reach their goals. In her spare time, Marisa enjoys singing and playing piano, doing yoga, dancing, and spending time with family, friends, and cats.


Rozina Judkins, She/Her

MSW Intern Part-Time

Rozina is a first-year Social Work student at North Carolina Central University. She received her undergraduate degree from NCCU in 2019. Rozina is interested in meshing her psychology background and her social work degree to create safe spaces for individuals to reach their goals, help them recognize their own strengths to overcome daily struggles, and take full advantage of resources available to them. Rozina’s future goals are to become a clinician and open her own non-profit. She hopes to use the experiences and skills she gains at CEF in these future endeavors. In her spare time, she loves to shop, eat, cook, and watch tv.

Orange County Team


Yvette Mathews, She/Her

Office and Community Organizer Full-Time

Yvette is the captain of the ship in the Chapel Hill office, leading the front of the house including reception, welcoming, and administration. Yvette also leads community advocacy efforts in Chapel Hill and is the creator and director of the CEF Advocacy Choir! Yvette is the first face many Members and Advocates see when they enter the office, and effectively ensures that everyone who walks through the door is cared for and leaves happy (and keeps CEF’s Office Agreements!).

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Kristina Smith, She/Her

Advocate Program Coordinator Full-Time

Kristina supports the Advocate program in our Chapel Hill office where she oversees recruitment, training, and ongoing support for our volunteer Advocates. She also provides training and assistance for the Chapel Hill student leadership team, and works closely with this team to best support Members and Advocates in their work together and ensure our Advocates receive top quality training. Kristina love to dance and watch anything that Shonda Rhimes has created. Just not at the same time. She is in the process of learning to cook and welcomes any and all friendly advice and delicious recipes.

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Imanie Williams, She/Her

Member Services Coordinator Full-Time

Imanie is the Member Services Coordinator in CEF’s Chapel Hill office, stewarding all Orange Community Hub partnerships, resources, and service systems implemented to best serve CEF Members. In her 24 years of living, Imanie has sustained an immense amount of passion as it pertains to community curation. During her time at Delaware State University, she assumed many student leadership roles, and also became the founder of the service initiative, “#EveryBodyEats”. She has spent time as a case manager, providing direct support services to community members in Durham, NC. Imanie believes that the emancipation of one’s community begins with the sovereignty of one’s self. Thus this became the impetus for her passion, which would later translate to her purpose; She is here to serve others. Imanie knew that the first step of overcoming hardship was to obtain a growth mindset. Therefore, it was then that she vowed to seek refuge in her education, experiences, and exposure forever, for she knew that it was her greatest chance of justice to her people. In her free time, Imanie enjoys spending time with her partner and loved ones, cuddles with her fur babies, good music, and even better food!

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Tyler Haugle, He/Him

AmeriCorps VISTA Growing Household Income Fellow Full-Time

Tyler is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied Public Policy and U.S. History. Tyler is a former summer intern and Advocate at CEF and is so grateful to be joining staff full-time. As the AmeriCorps VISTA Growing Household Income Fellow at CEF, Tyler connects Members to workforce-oriented programs and organizations, job opportunities, and financial services throughout Orange County, while working to build capacity for CEF-specific workforce development programs and partnerships. His favorite part of the job has been learning from the wisdom of Members who are willing to share their stories with him. He’s thankful to be a part of this incredibly resourceful, intuitive, powerful, and kind community of Members, Staff, and Advocates. In his free time, he likes to walk in nature, cook, dissect the music theory behind pop songs, and watch (maybe too much) YouTube.

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Grace Mark, She/They

Staff Support Part-Time

Grace is an intern at the UNC School of Social Work. She works part-time engaging with Members, staff, and Advocates as staff support, and assists in facilitating education for CEF Advocates. She also engages with research focused on more equitable access to services and aims to center the voices of members in this work. She loves moments when people in the CEF community put their heads together to solve a problem. Grace received their undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College. They are passionate about social justice, mental health and wellbeing, and hearing people’s stories.  They love live music, dancing, camping, and connecting with their community (especially when there’s food involved!).

Development & Finance Team

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ari rosenberg, She/Her

Director of Development & Finance Full-Time

ari leads CEF’s Development and Finance Team. She is responsible for engaging individual, corporate, and foundation donors; managing internal accounting systems; processing payroll; and overseeing all external communications (e-newsletter, social media, Annual Report, etc.). ari believes deeply in the importance of ending the racial wealth gap, practicing radical financing, and engaging in community wealth building practices (i.e., reparations, cooperative economics, and supporting locally-owned businesses). When she’s living her best life you can find her growing, cooking, or preserving food; biking on country roads; eating ice cream; forest bathing; swimming in the ocean; rowing a canoe; reading a book; squeezing her son; or writing letters to dear ones. [ari’s headshot is by Bethanie Hines Photography.]

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Steven Horton, He/Him

Bookkeeper & Administrative Assistant for Development & Finance Full-Time

Steven was recruited to help out with bookkeeping after a short stint as an Advocate. What he loves most about CEF is the belief that is the foundation of the Member-Advocate relationship: that everyone is creative, resourceful, and whole. Steven has a background in sustainable agriculture and food access. He is passionate about growing the personal and financial freedom of people who are presently or have historically been denied that freedom. In his spare time he enjoys travel, surf fishing, cooking and eating, political and legal podcasts/discussions, and playing video games. He currently lives in Carrboro with his wife, Robin, and daughter, Ada.

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233