- Board Members -
The Three Rivers Community Foundation is committed to maintaining the most inclusive governing board in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Our work is governed, guided, and supported by a talented and diverse volunteer board of directors. The board is organized around six standing committees, with at least one board member serving on, or co-chairing each committee. The members of TRCF’s Board of Directors are listed below.
2014-15 Board Members
Deno De Ciantis, Immediate Past President
Alice Del Vecchio, Treasurer
Lee Marcuzzi, President
Chris Maury, Vice President
Sarah Ferry Nicholas
Kurt is a native of Greensburg, PA, and a Physics graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. He comes to TRCF with a long history of involvement in the progressive, pro-feminist men’s movement. Locally, this was as a leader in the Pittsburgh Men’s Collective, and as a board member of the Second Step Program; a counseling program for men who batter. Kurt also served on the Council of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), and was its Treasurer for several years. He was very active in the collaboration of the Men’s Collective and NOMAS to host two national Men and Masculinity Conferences; Pittsburgh in 1989 and Johnstown 1995. Kurt has returned to Pittsburgh after a 10-year hiatus in Ashtabula Ohio, where he was a crisis hotline volunteer. Professionally, Kurt works to shepherd and properly dispose of hazardous and nuclear waste. He lives in Swisshelm Park with his husband Marvin.
Laura Custer is a Corporate Banking Associate at PNC Financial Services Group rotating through the Public Finance group. She is originally from Cleveland and currently lives in Mount Washington. She graduated from Ohio University in 2012, where she developed her true passion for equipping and developing leaders of integrity and character. Utilizing her passion for community service, she has been involved with non-profits as the Treasurer for the Center for Student Legal Services and a volunteer with Junior Achievement. She also worked with a small non-profit in Athens, Ohio called Passion Works, which offered art making opportunities, education, and employment to people with developmental disabilities, practicing artists, and volunteers. She serves on the board of the Three Rivers Community Foundation on the Finance Committee.
Deno De Ciantis
Dr. De Ciantis is the first Director of the Penn State Center: Engaging Pittsburgh. His focus is to connect and engage the entire Pennsylvania State University system with local partners. This initiative pursues active solicitation of stakeholders to identify regional needs and helps to develops key strategic relationships to connect Penn State research and programming with Pittsburgh area corporations, communities, academic institutions, non-profits, and other organizations. Resources of University Park and commonwealth campuses are used to help provide appropriate solutions to real problems in the areas of sustainability, alternative fuels, community and economic development, corporate research and development, professional development, and more.
He previously, served 15 years as County Extension Director for Penn State Extension of Allegheny County. Local affiliations include: past president of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, current president of The Pittsburgh Green Innovators Board, chair of Allegheny County’s Green Team, Duquesne University Century Club of Distinguished Alumni, Autumn House Press Board, Three Rivers Community Foundation Board, numerous Penn State committees, and various other local community initiatives.
He holds an Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Duquesne University.
Linda Dickerson is Principal of 501(c)(3)2, a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. In previous jobs, she has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Pittsburgh Aviary, Principal of Dickerson & Mangus, Inc., an issues management and communications strategy consulting firm specializing in crisis communications and community affairs, and President of Riverview Publications. She is the Mayoral Appointee to the City of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Joint Task Force on Disabilities, and serves as the Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees. Amongst the many Boards that she sits on are the Homeless Children Education Fund, Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau, Zoological Society of Pittsburgh, and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Cashmere L. Gore completed his baccalaureate degree in Corporate Communications from Robert Morris University. Cashmere is also a graduate of Bidwell Training Center’s Pharmacy Tech program. Before working for TRCF Cashmere worked to attain his GED and pharmacy technician diploma all while conquering homeless at the age of 18 coming from Florida to Pittsburgh to get to know his family. Now at the age of 26, Cashmere plans to pursue a career in sustainability development and business communications. Cashmere comes to TRCF with a background in community were he served as the liaison to the mayors office for three diverse communities working with businesses, and civic organizations in the Pittsburgh area.Throughout his educational career and through his personal achievements Cashmere has gained insights in the areas of advocacy, community-building, and civic leadership. If you were to ask him what his most vital skill is he might say professionally and personally being able to identifying and create opportunities. He strongly believes that effective collaboration occurs as a result of engaging a variety of community groups, and individuals.
Lee Marcuzzi started out in the corporate sector, and she has spent the last 15 years working to help those seeking or in recovery, and the LGBTQ community. She has served on numerous board, including the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, and of a national organization dedicated to helping recovering alcoholics. She was chair of the Performance Committee for Pittsburgh’s PrideFest in 2005 and 2006. She worked as a consultant for GLSEN Pittsburgh from 2008-2011, helping to train thousands of students, parents, and teachers on how to make schools safe for all. Now, she is working with the Center for Spirituality, helping those with drug and alcohol addictions. She is the first to volunteer if any organizations needs help in any area, adding her vibrant energy to causes she believes in.
Katelyn Haas is a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School for Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). She is originally from Erie, PA and currently lives in Squirrel Hill. She will complete her masters in Public Administration with a focus in Public and Nonprofit Management in April 2015. At GSPIA, Katelyn is a member of the Leadership Portfolio Program, a leadership development program led by the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership. She also serves on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences Campaign, Inc. Prior to graduate school, Katelyn served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone as a science and math educator. She serves on the board of the Three Rivers Community Foundation on the Events Committee.
- Staff -
Nick J. Palazzetti, Ph.D., CFRE
Contact Nick at email@example.com
Nick J. Palazzetti has 25 years of diverse executive and fund development experience, as well as more than 15 years of work in adult education and social services.
As executive director of the Three Rivers Community Foundation in Pittsburgh, Dr. Palazzetti is responsible for oversight of all aspects of the Foundation’s operations including administration and staff supervision, grantmaking, fundraising, outreach, and public relations and marketing. Dr. Palazzetti works closely with the working committees of the Board of Directors to ensure effective operation of the foundation and strategic, planned organizational growth. He also serves as the Foundation’s designated board representative of The Funding Exchange, of which the Three Rivers Community Foundation is a member fund.
In his role with The Bentz Group, a national Fund Counsel Firm, Dr. Palazzetti served as resident campaign director for multi-million dollar capital campaigns throughout the United States. He also has performed development audits and pre-campaign leadership planning studies for other institutional clients.
Dr. Palazzetti has also served as Director of Development and Planned Giving for PennFuture in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a statewide public policy research and advocacy organization devoted to improving Pennsylvania’s environment and economy. In Pittsburgh, he was formerly:
• Vice President of Institutional Development for The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
• Executive Director for The Bayer Foundation
• Senior Development Officer for the Pittsburgh Zoo and Zoological Society
In addition, he has provided consulting services to various state and Federal agencies, institutions of higher education, organizations for individuals with disabilities, and other smaller nonprofit agencies. He also served as a fundraising trainer for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Dr. Palazzetti holds Certified Fund Raising Executive status, a distinction awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He earned his Ph.D. in education from the University of Pittsburgh, a master of arts in English literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a bachelor of arts in English and political science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Prior to beginning his development career, he served as founder and Executive Director of the Tri-County Community Education Agency, Executive Director of New Tradition Senior Citizen Center, and program director at La Roche College. In addition, he has authored and edited publications on adult education and financial development and served as a consultant to numerous government agencies and not-for-profit organizations.
A resident of southwestern Pennsylvania, Dr. Palazzetti has served on the boards of directors of several nonprofit organizations and participates in the Team Pennsylvania Ambassador Program.
Anne Lynch started out as the Office Manager for Three Rivers Community Foundation in September, 2001, after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Anthropology (with a History minor). Now the Manager of Operations, she has helped TRCF become a true force in the activist communities in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Having moved here from Slidell, Louisiana, in 1997, she’s adopted Pittsburgh as her home. In addition to her work at TRCF, she runs her own catering business (The Vegan Goddess), and was the co-founder of the Three Rivers Vegan Society. She was previously the Local Coordinator of Greater Pittsburgh Pagan Pride Day. She is unapologetic about her beliefs in equality for all – including non-human animals. She has served on the boards of several local animal rights organizations, helped to organize dozens of animal rights and environmental events, and has spoken about animal rights at local high schools, colleges and universities, and even at a conference at American University in Washington, DC. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys reading (primarily nonfiction) and cooking.
Youth Program Coordinator
Contact Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney Olberg graduated from Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, in December 2012 with a M.A. in Community Development and Planning, focusing in Youth Work and Program Evaluation. She holds a B.A. in both Spanish and International Development and has lived abroad in both China and Chile. Past positions include Academic Coordinator at Dynamy Youth Academy, Reading Program Director at a summer youth camp and working on the Department of Education Promise Neighborhood grant in Worcester, M.A. She loves working with youth and is passionate about their ability to contribute to social justice in Pittsburgh.
- Interns -
Michaela is a junior at Washington & Jefferson College double majoring in Spanish and International Business. She loves to learn about people and believes that everyone has a story to tell. The past semester she studied abroad in Ecuador where she was able to learn an immense amount about the culture and history of the country through the stories of those she met as well as her own experiences. This semester she continues being an active member in the W&J Theatre and Improv club as well as the Student Activities Board.
Channing McNeal is a senior studying Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. His interests include literature, sports, poetry, philosophy and cooking. Upon graduation he plans to pursue a career in education, specifically working with either the Department of Education or an education focused non-profit. He is the Outreach Coordinator for Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate, a mentoring program geared towards increasing the graduation rate of Black men on campus. He is responsible for all marketing and communication initiatives for the organization. He is also a Brother of the Iota Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
After graduating from Mt. Lebanon High School, Paul spent six months backpacking and working in Southeast Asia and New Zealand as part of his gap year. Currently, he works as a tutor in the Pittsburgh area for Goldstein Test Prep. Paul will be starting school this fall at Brown University, where he still has absolutely no idea what he wants to study.
Teens 4 Change Blog and Social Media Intern
Beginning in the summer of 2014, as the social media and blogging intern, Gabrielle Moran will successfully endorse youth-led social justice work, in southwestern Pennsylvania. The recognition will derive from blog posts written from interviews and intensive research conducted by Gabrielle. She aims to earn a position working with the Teens 4 Change board. In addition to her goals and work to promote social change, Gabrielle enjoys nothing more than planning a party, perusing artwork, and a good cappuccino.
Originally from the Bronx, Tyler graduated from Allegheny College in 2013. While there, he studied rhetoric, political science, and Mandarin. Through his studies, his time as Student Body President, and working on his senior thesis (about Batman comics and neoliberal hegemony,) Tyler became interested in cultural theory, social change, and learning about the ways in which institutions reinforce the status quo. Tyler works as a social media coordinator in Pittsburgh, and aspires to find meaningful ways to help affect change in the community at large. On the side, Tyler is really into coffee, craft beer, comedy, and discussing current events with anyone who might like to.
Michelle is junior at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in social work and sociology. As the Outreach, Partnerships, & Liaison Intern here at the Three Rivers Community Foundation, she will be helping to further social change throughout the region by researching, identifying, contacting, and connecting activists, human service professionals, and other organizations and galvanizing them around the TRCF issue areas of: Disability Rights; Economic Justice; the Environment; Racial Justice; Women, Youth, and Families; and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues She previously interned at the Mental Health Clinic of Passaic, NJ and is also the president of PEACHS (Panthers Educating and Advocating for Children in Homeless Situations). Michelle is extremely happy to be involved with TRCF and hopes to one day open her own nonprofit organization.
Pittsburgh Student Activist Coalition Intern
My name is Ronnell and I am a senior at Slippery Rock University working towards a B.S. in Human Services. I am originally from Pittsburgh, specifically the Homewood-Brushton area. I have interned and worked with Amachi Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University’s CreateLAB and their Hear-ME project, just to name a few. I am passionate about rebuilding the city of Pittsburgh and using youth’s voices to do so!
- Founders and Early Board Members -
In 1989, a group of concerned activists got together to create a new type of grantmaking for our region. Using their own personal resources, they established the Three Rivers Community Fund (now Foundation) as an alternative to more traditional avenues of support, such as United Way and larger foundations that frequently could not fund grassroots efforts. This visionary group included:
Founders (signed on 1989/1990):
Cynthia Vanda (founding President)
Early Board Members (signed on 1991/1992):
Nancy Bernstein (past President)
Frances “Penna” Drew