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Staff and Board
Aspiration is led by a team of committed individuals who are passionate about improving nonprofit software capacity, and we benefit from the expertise of an active and involved board of directors.
Executive Director Allen Gunn
Gunner works to help NGOs, activists, foundations and software developers make more effective use of technology for social change. He has worked in numerous technology environments from NGO to Silicon Valley start-up to college faculty to large corporation, serving in senior management, engineering, teaching and volunteer roles. He is an experienced facilitator with a passion for designing collaborative open learning processes, and currently sits on the boards of The Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, and Idealware, as well as the eIFL-FOSS and Rosetta Foundation Advisory Boards. He believes in melding hard work with serious fun.
The common thread that connects all facets of Gunner's work is a focus on open approaches to capacity building and knowledge sharing in social change efforts. Aspiration prioritizes work that supports and contributes to open communities of practice who create technology and content that benefits nonprofit and foundation efforts. The organization has designed and facilitated over 130 extremely open learning and knowledge sharing events, in over 30 countries across the globe, predicated on a philosophy of active participation that puts each participant “in control of their own destiny”, in contrast to approaches that place audiences in passive listening roles. Aspiration publishes all licensed work products, including software tools, books, papers and training materials, under open licenses; for published documents and media, the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, and for software the GNU General Public License whenever possible.
Director of Communications and Training Misty Avila
Misty coordinates the expansion of the eAdvocacy Capacity Building Program to nonprofit organizations, especially in the Central Valley of California. In 2009-2010, she participated in Aspiration's eAdvocacy mentoring cohort to build skills in online communications, email newsletters and social media campaigns. During her time in the cohort, she managed the web presence for CANFIT, a statewide nonprofit that improves food and fitness environments for youth in low income communities and communities of color.
Misty has experience training diverse audiences from urban and rural areas throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and San Diego. With her background in both social justice groundwork and online advocacy, she is excited to be at Aspiration to help bridge barriers that are present between nonprofits and online technology.
Training and Support Manager Jessica Steimer
Jessica comes to Aspiration from South Western Pennsylvania with a background in community and economic development. There she worked on local economy, environment and food system issues in rural communities. She has also worked in economic development and community revitalization related to eco-tourism.
Jessica originally joined Aspiration Tech as part of the Americorps VISTA HandsOn Tech Corps program. She is passionate about creating healthy happy communities full of healthy, happy people.
Operations Manager Joshua Black
Josh handles the day-to-day operations of Aspiration and assists with the planning and administration of our events. He is especially passionate about Aspiration's Manifesto, having worked in a performing arts nonprofit where he saw firsthand many of the technology challenges and hurdles that nonprofits face.
Originally from Salt Lake City, Josh received a degree in vocal music performance from the University of Oklahoma before moving to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked for the Kansas City Symphony for three years. In the intervening years, he has worked in the financial services industry while continuing to pick up gigs as a singer. He is thrilled to be back in the nonprofit world and proud to be a member of the Aspiration team.
Information Technology Coordinator Jordan Ramos
Originally from Encinitas, California, Jordan came to Aspiration after graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and minor in Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies. At UCSC, he was a Fellow and co-organizer of the Global Information Internship Program, and had co-taught for-credit courses in web design for social enterprises and nonprofits. Additionally, he has led technology workshops for public outreach events in Santa Cruz.
Jordan has a strong background of independent learning in information technology. His set of skills, and attitude of learning gives Jordan a pragmatic approach to technology to pursue his interest in addressing social issues in agriculture, food systems, and economic development through practical, sustainable means.
Training Coordinator JC Sanchez
JC comes to us from the Global Information Internship Program (GIIP). He is currently a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) majoring in cognitive science and global information and social enterprise studies (GISES). His work at GIIP has focused on immigrant education in the Santa Cruz county, specifically to take on the digital divide that exists within the immigrant community. With GIIP he was also a lead instructor for their tech labs that help prepare current GIIP students for their future projects. He is thrilled and thankful for having the opportunity to work as intern at Aspiration.
Aspiration's Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with a long history of engagement in the nonprofit technology assistance sector, and deep knowledge and experience in innovative work within the field of nonprofit technology.
Jonathan Peizer, Board Chair and Founder of Aspiration, was the developer and director of the Open Society Institute's Internet Program as well as the original CIO for its systems operations. Jonathan has been in the technology industry throughout his career in both the profit and non-profit sectors and on technology-related projects in 75 countries. Recently he's written a number of articles on the IT deployment in the NGO environment and philanthropic support of IT. Jonathan has held management positions in this area at Citicorp, AFS, Cheyenne Software and OSI.
Gavin Clabaugh is Vice President of Information Services for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Gavin oversees the administrative, developmental, and operational aspects of technology, and has overall responsibility for the Foundation's worldwide information, library, and technical services. Gavin developed a keen interest in philanthropy and technology and an expertise in technology for non-profit organizations over the past 15 years of working with scores of non-profits and foundations. Before joining the Mott Foundation, he was vice president of the Telecommunications Cooperative (TCN), a not-for-profit information technology cooperative serving thousands of NGOs and non-profit organizations worldwide. Prior to joining TCN, in 1987, Gavin was director of research for the Washington-based Present/Futures Group (formerly TRAC, Inc.), a think-tank specializing in social trend analysis and issues management. He was also senior research associate with the Naisbitt Group in Washington, D.C., and associate editor of John Naisbitt's Trend Letter. Before his formal association with the Naisbitt Group, Clabaugh was a personal consultant to John Naisbitt, and designed and managed the research process culminating in Naisbitt's best-selling book, Megatrends.
Steve Wright is Vice President, Poverty Insights at the Grameen Foundation. Steve has worked for more than 15 years at the intersection of technology and education. Before joining Grameen Foundation in August 2010, he served for a number of years as the Director of Innovation and Technology at Salesforce.com Foundation. While there, he established himself as a thought leader in the social metrics space through extensive experience working with organizations such as the Acumen Fund, GIIN (Global Impact Investing Network) and members of ANDE (Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs). Steve also a long background as a high school administrator and classroom teacher, and started his career in the Peace Corps. In 1990, while teaching at Pasadena High School, he became interested in the role that electronic communications could play to promote and facilitate interactions between students in underserved communities and the rest of the world. Today, Steve’s work concentrates on helping microfinance institutions and other development organizations measure and manage their social performance using the Progress out of Poverty Index.
William Lester is the Executive Director of NonProfit Organizations Knowledge Initiative (NPOKI). A visionary in use of Information and Communications Technologies (particularly in low-resource settings), Bill is well-known in the nonprofit knowledge management and technology communities, and is a popular speaker at many industry gatherings. As Chief Information Officer for EngenderHealth for 15 years, Bill has been instrumental in capturing and sharing the organization’s operational and programmatic best practices and lessons learned. In 2007, he was honored with NTEN’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill was elected to the Board of InsideNGO (formerly APVOFM) in 2008. He was an NTEN board member from 2000 - 2007, participates on the advisory committees for NPOWER and KABISSA, and is a NPOKI founding member. A strong proponent of social entrepreneurship, Bill works worldwide to promote and encourage problem-solvers. His personal mission is “Imagine-Build-Connect”.
Jack Aponte is a worker-owner at Palante Technology Cooperative, a NYC-based coop that helps progressive community organizations and other nonprofits move forward with the help of technology. Jack specializes in planning and building Drupal websites, open source software, social media and other Internet communications, and training and documentation. Jack is an erstwhile blogger, formerly at AngryBrownButch and Feministe and currently at jackalop.es. Jack is involved in organizing & movements around social, digital and media justice and in queer, trans, and people of color communities.
We are grateful for the service of past board members and include them here to acknowledge their service and contributions to Aspiration.
Michelle Murrain has been involved in developing content and applications for the web, specifically for organizational, research, and educational purposes, since 1994. In 1995, Michelle started a consulting practice that served the nonprofit and educational sectors, primarily in the areas of developing database-driven web sites, the implementation of open source software, and strategic technology planning. Michelle is currently principal of MetaCentric Technology Advising, a technology consulting practice focused on helping nonprofits implement open source software, and helping technology providers and vendors who serve the sector add open source software and support to their product and service mixes. She does this work through consulting, planning, training, evaluation and technical writing. Michelle is a nationally recognized leader in the nonprofit technology field. She blogs on the nonprofit technology field at Zen and the art of Nonprofit Technology. She is on the steering committee of the Non Profit Open Source Initiative (NOSI), and was previously a member of the Aspiration board from 2003 to 2005.