Our Team

CEF Executive Director

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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.

Durham County Team

Leah Whitehead, 2018 Chapel Hill Fellow

Leah Whitehead, She/Her

Advocate Program Coordinator Full-Time

Leah coordinates the Advocate program in our Durham office, overseeing training and management of volunteers. She supports CEF’s partnerships with Duke University, including the Advocate training house course. 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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Toia Potts, She/Her

Office and Community Organizer Full-Time

Toia is the Office and Community Organizer in CEF’s Durham County office. She is deep-rooted in her work. She has her bachelor’s degree with a background in marketing, accounting, and admin work. At CEF, she handles office duties and organizes around the needs of CEF Members in Durham. She oversees the food pantry, clothing closet, and other community programs that provide necessary resources for Members. In the community, she does volunteer work for those experiencing inequality within the unjust legal and economic system. She uses her personal experience to organize and advocate for those most impacted and has a mission to assist those in any way she can.

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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.

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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

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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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Diiv Sternman, They/Them

Member Services Coordinator Full-Time

Diiv oversees service delivery to all of the Members in the Chapel Hill office, ensuring that Members receive the services they seek working with CEF Advocates. Diiv supports and coordinates with  Advocates to help them find the right resources to assist Members in reaching their goals and to identify helpful strategies for working together and building effective Member-Advocate relationships. Diiv also oversees the OC Hub in the Chapel Hill office, coordinating partner agencies to co-locate services and provide coordinated care across systems countywide. Diiv is passionate about Social Justice (think globally/build locally!), cooperativity and interdependence (food coops, farming coops, housing coops, consensus building, coordinated care, etc.), post-colonial literature, growing edible things, eating edible things (especially sweets), and building strong relationships with their (big, messy, complicated, blended) family, friends, and community.

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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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Maggie Mraz, She/Her

Staff Support Part-Time

Maggie works part-time as Staff Support in CEF’s Chapel Hill office. She engages with Members, Staff, and Advocates during office hours. Maggie has many opportunities to listen, encourage people and offer support. Maggie and her husband, Paul, are empty nesters with 3 amazing kids they miss named Maisie, Colin, & Martin. Maggie & Paul met at the University of Maryland (Go, Terps!) in 1984 and moved to Chapel Hill in 1999. In her free time Maggie loves to travel, visit her kids, go on long walks, try new beers, pray, cook, make food for people she loves, read books, ponder practical theology, and nap with her cat, Kitty, and dog, Jessie.

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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

MSW Intern 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; 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

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