Meet the East Lake Foundation Staff
Daniel Shoy, Jr. serves as president of the East Lake Foundation. He is responsible for its strategic plan and goal setting focused on its mission of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty for children and families in the East Lake community. With overall responsibility for the Foundation’s operations and external relations, he is also charged with sustaining strong relationships with the Foundation’s partners. Since joining the Foundation as Program Director in 2010, he has also served as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.
Daniel has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with organizations focused on youth and community development. Prior to joining the East Lake Foundation, Daniel worked for The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation for 10 years and was responsible for awarding $28M in grants.
Daniel has completed several leadership programs including the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Volunteer Involvement Program (2002), Southeast Council of Foundations Hull Fellows Program (2003), LEAD Atlanta (2005), Association of Black Foundation Executives Connecting Leaders Program (2008), and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education’s Education Policy Fellowship Program (2009).
Daniel currently serves on the boards of the East Lake Housing Corporation, Charles R. Drew Charter School, the University of Georgia Board of Visitors and on the Atlanta Public Schools’ Affordable Housing Taskforce. He previously served on Emory University’s Board of Governors. He is a member of Leadership Atlanta (Class of 2017). Daniel has been recognized by Atlanta Tribune as a Man of Distinction (2016) and as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Notable Georgians (2017). He’s been a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. since 1994 and is currently active with its Nu Mu Lambda Chapter.
Daniel is a first generation American from New York City, speaks two other languages and enjoys international travel, sports and photography. He earned a B.A. in History from Emory University in 1995 and in 2013 was named an Emory College Distinguished Alumni.
Rhonda Fischer, Chief Operating Officer. As Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Foundation’s second highest executive role, Rhonda is responsible for the Foundation’s operations, administration, finances, programs and programmatic partnerships. She ensures all programs deliver desired and consistently-improving results, on time and within budget.
Rhonda has deep experience in the non-profit sector, having dedicated over half of her career to mission based organizations. For three years, she was the Director of Development for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC, an organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Rhonda also worked with the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation in Atlanta and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) in Washington, DC. She began her career as a consultant and business development professional with CGI-AMS, a technology consulting firm based in Northern Virginia.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Rhonda earned her Master of Business Administration in 2013 from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business, and was inducted into the business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma.
Rhonda serves St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in several capacities, including Sunday school teacher and in the outreach ministry. She has served on the National Board of Directors for the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and locally on the Parent Advisory Board for the Georgia Charter Schools Association; she is currently on the Advisory Board of the Emmaus House, an Episcopal Community Center serving the Peoplestown and Summerhill neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia. Rhonda is the proud parent of a Charles R. Drew Charter School student and The First Tee® of East Lake participant and is a member of the East Lake Family YMCA.Email Rhonda Fischer
Aaron James serves as the Vice President of Development for the East Lake Foundation. Previously, Aaron served as the Vice President of Development and Education for the Georgia Aquarium. At the Aquarium, Aaron was responsible for securing and stewarding six presenting partners (The Home Depot, Southern Company, AT&T, SunTrust, Georgia-Pacific and Southwest Airlines). Additionally, individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy grew 6% during his tenure, and he secured nearly $650,000 to bring over 50,000 Title I students to Georgia Aquarium, 90% of whom had never seen the ocean firsthand. The annual fundraising budget was $9 million dollars.
Prior to the Georgia Aquarium, Aaron served 14 years in independent/private PK-12th grade schools in a variety of capacities including Director of Admissions, Lower School Principal and Director of Advancement.
Aaron grew up in Wichita, Kansas and attended San Diego State University where he was a 4-year varsity letter winner for its nationally ranked Division I soccer team. While at SDSU, Aaron earned a BA in Psychology and an MA in Sport & Exercise Psychology.
Aaron is the father of four children between the ages of 11 and 5. In his spare time, Aaron participates in golf and tennis.
Joi Jackson is the Special Programs and Partnership Coordinator for the Foundation. In this role, she ensures effective excecution of special projects and assists in the collaboration, coordination and communication of existing Foundation partnerships. She serves as the primary coordinator for Start: ME East Lake, a micro-entrepreneur accelerator program, and several Foundation scholarship programs. In addition, she supports the organizations' development efforts by managing the employee, matching gift and TOUR Tribute programs; serving as liaison to Drew Charter School on the Drew Memorial project; and assisting with recruitment, screening and placement of volunteers. Joi brings a wealth of professional experience and civic involvement to the Foundation. She began her professional career in sales and has owned and operated several businesses. An Atlanta native, she has also been active and vital in Atlanta's business, civic, and spiritual community for most of her life. Joi is a graduate of Howard University and is currently a member of Posse Atlanta Leadership Council, ServeHaiti, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and The Links, Inc.
Sharon Hall-Thomas is Operations and Special Initiatives Manager for the Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 2000 as Executive Assistant, she served as an administrative assistant for the law firm of Rubin, Winter, Rapoport and Hall. She also worked as an administrative assistant for the Child Support Enforcement Agency, acting as liaison between the agency and the court system. She attended Georgia State University and volunteers regularly at Charles R. Drew Charter School in East Lake.Email Sharon Hall-Thomas
Alecia Grimes serves as East Lake Foundation’s Senior Accounting Manager. In her role, Alecia is responsible for ensuring that all financial information for East Lake Foundation is accurate and timely. While Alecia is responsible for reporting financial information to the Foundation’s Board of Directors, she is also the financial liaison between the Foundation and our business partners. Prior to joining the East Lake Foundation, Alecia worked for several years at the Cousins’ Family Office. Alecia also has extensive experience in state government, credit services, residential real estate, and network entertainment.
Alecia is a native Georgian. She holds an accounting degree from Georgia State University and is professionally affiliated with the AICPA & Georgia Society of CPAs. Alecia is also active in her community. She is currently on the board of her homeowner’s association, serves as a volunteer for the College Bound ministry at Berean Christian Church, and has served on the board of the Brookwood Basketball Association.
Alecia is a wife and mother of 3 wonderful teenagers.
Jessie Bond is East Lake Foundation's Grants Manager, responsible for research and development of grant proposals, along with grants reporting for the Foundation. Jessie has served as a consultant to a number of nonprofits and foundations and was formerly Senior Program Officer for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta as well as a Grants Officer for the Appalachian Community Fund. She began her career as a reporter and editor. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Jessie also holds a masters from Georgetown University. She serves on the Grants Committee of the Decatur High School PTSA.Email Jessie Bond
Aisha Harris serves as the Director of Individual Giving at the East Lake Foundation (ELF) where she is responsible for managing the Annual Campaign, stewarding relationships with current partners and engaging those whose passions may intersect with the mission and work of the ELF. Prior to this role she served as the Chief Development Officer for Families First, Inc. in Atlanta, GA where she provided executive leadership to the resource development, fundraising and marketing teams. She has secured well over $21 million dollars for local nonprofit organizations in the past 5 years. Additionally, Aisha is skilled at structuring nonprofit administration and operation teams for fundraising effectiveness, with one of her department restructures resulting in a 10% increase in program funding during the first quarter. Aisha has over eighteen years of experience creating and implementing development plans, managing annual campaigns, securing major gifts, writing award-winning grant proposals, building corporate relationships, casting vision, coaching staff and leveraging boards of directors to increase resources.
Aisha holds a Bachelor of Arts from Duquesne University and a Master of Arts, with a concentration in ministry administration, from Luther Rice University & Seminary. She and her family are residents of the Villages of East Lake and are committed to remaining an integral part of the community.
Sarah Winslow Lavine is the Manager of Fundraising Events and Volunteers for the East Lake Foundation. In this role she oversees all fundraising events including the First Tee® of East Lake Golf-a-Thon, Golf with a Purpose, and the spring gala Party on the Green. She also works on logistics and planning for the East Lake Invitational, TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the East Lake Cup. In addition to events, Sarah oversees the East Lake Women’s Alliance, a philanthropic group of Atlanta women who focus their giving on the East Lake Community. She also works with the East Lake Foundation’s incredible volunteers. Prior to the East Lake Foundation, Sarah worked at Georgia Aquarium and Fernbank Museum as a fundraising event planner in their development department.
Sarah graduated from Florida State University with her bachelor’s degree and received her master’s from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. She lives in East Atlanta with her husband Daniel and their dog Bennie.
Catherine Woodling, Director of Communications and Marketing. Catherine oversees strategic communications and media relations for the East Lake Initiative, working primarily with the East Lake Foundation, Drew Charter School and the East Lake Golf Club. Most recently, Catherine served as Corporate Communications Manager for The Home Depot where she was responsible for crisis/issues and human resources communications. Previously, she served as the Public Relations and Communications Manager for The Home Depot Foundation. Prior to joining The Home Depot, Catherine served as the Media Relations Officer for Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
As a native Atlantan, Catherine enjoys being involved in the community. She serves as a board member of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League, where she serves as President. She is the Vice Chair of the City of Atlanta NPU-N and is a member of the LEAD Atlanta Class of 2010.
She graduated from the University of Arizona Honors College with a degree in Political Science. She is also a graduate of the Arizona Blue Chip Leadership Program, a formal four-year leadership program that emphasizes community involvement.
East Lake Healthy Connections
Angela Franklin, Program Manager. As a licensed social worker, Angela comes to the East Lake Foundation with a wide variety of medical social work experience. Prior to joining the East Lake Foundation, Angela worked as a disease management case manager at Piedmont Hospital where she worked with uninsured and underinsured patients.
Vivian Moore, Family Health Advocate. Vivian joins the East Lake Foundation from the West End Medical Center where she was a Certified Application Assistant Counselor for the Affordable Health Care Act and a recruiter to the State’s Peach Care program. Vivian is a graduate of both Leadership DeKalb and the Atlanta Regional Commission Community Planning Academy.
Sylvia Smith, Family Health Advocate. Sylvia hails from Easter Seals of North Georgia-Atlanta where she served as a Family Support Advocate. In her position, Sylvia worked closely with families to identify nearly education opportunities. In her previous roles, Sylvia’s position included monitoring and reporting on the well-being of children in foster care.
Phillip West, Family Health Advocate. After four years as the Seminary Intern Coordinator with the CF Foundation, Phillip brings his skills to East Lake Healthy Connections. Phillip’s professional resume showcases his vast experience in working with youth programs. As the Seminary Intern Coordinator, Phillip led a team of Seminary students in establishing partnerships and programs of the East Lake Foundation.
The First Tee of East Lake Staff
Nyre Williams is Director of The First Tee® of East Lake. Previously, he was director of The First Tee of Nashville. During his tenure at The First Tee of Nashville, he completed his First Tee Coach Certification, distinguishing him as one of only 44 First Tee coaches nationwide to reach this level of achievement. He received his undergraduate degree in health and physical education from Tennessee State University where he played on the school's golf team.Email Nyre Williams
Jeff Dunovant is the Head Golf Pro at the Charlie Yates Golf Course and the Assistant Director for The First Tee® of East Lake. He became a Professional Golfers Association (PGA) member in 1993, making him and his father the first and only black father and son PGA members. Jeff became a The First Tee Recognized Coach in November 2010. Jeff has been a First Tee National Trainer since 2012. In 2012 Jeff was named the Georgia PGA Section and Chapter Junior Golf Leader of the year. Jeff graduated from Fayetteville State University, where he was the captain of the golf team and MVP. He served on the Southwest Section PGA Board of Directors and has served on the Georgia Section PGA Board of Directors since 2005.
Brittny Lott is a native of Decatur, Georgia and developed an interest in golf at the tender age of 12. Brittny was introduced to the game by her father, the late James E. Bryant II, and he encouraged her to play. She became such an enthusiast, she started the girls golf team at her high school. She played and led the team as captain until she graduated and recieved a scholarship to Southern University A&M College for golf. While there, Brittny was a part of a team that eventually won two SWAC championships. Brittny graduatedwith a Biology degree and eventually came back to Atlanta, got married and landed an amazing job with The First Tee® of East Lake. She is now a very happy mother and is aspiring to become a PGA and LPGA teaching professional. Brittny's hopes are that by accomplishing these goals she can inspire young girls/women to excel in the game of golf.Email Brittny Lott
Resident and Community Support
Jennifer W. McCraryserves as the Director of Outreach and Engagement. Jennifer is an experienced workforce and community engagement professional who is passionate about people who want to improve themselves through personal and professional transformation.Her leadership and commitment has been nurtured through her work experience in higher education and non-profit leadership. She has always been a guiding force in her personal and professional relationships. Her optimistic and encouraging spirit has made her a positive agent of change.
Jennifer has worked and partnered with organizations such as 22nd Century Career Development Associates, The University of Alabama, The University of Georgia, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta Technical College, Griffin Technical College, The Center for Working Families, Inc., The Sullivan Center, JLON Teleservices and Erotser, LLC.
Jennifer’s has over 10 years of workforce development experience, financial coaching training and partner and community engagement through programming. She is also certified in Global Career Development Facilitation and Offender Workforce Development. She is affiliated with the Professional Association of Professional Resume Writers and Career Coaches and the International Association of Coaches.
Jennifer is a native Atlantan, and a proud product of the Atlanta Public School System and University System of Georgia. Her personal motto is to begin with the end in mind and see yourself already there!
Tywonia Orum joined the East Lake Foundation in 2012 as its Resident and Community Support Program Coordinator.
After 11 years of working with State Farm, Tywonia decided to transition into a career that would allow her to work with families and communities in a different way. Although not a stranger to humanitarian work, she decided to leave the corporate sector and follow her passion. She worked for several years with the Atlanta Housing Authority where she worked with special programs such as the family reunification and the disabled. Her service continued with The Housing Authority of DeKalb supporting families with housing stabilization. She served as executive assistant for the International Institute of Deaf Services, Inc. for more than 15 years and also worked with National Alliance of Black Interpreters, Inc. (NAOBI). She commutes to Birmingham weekly; where she has been a staff/contract interpreter for the deaf since 1997. Most recently, Tywonia was a Pathway Coach with The Center for Working Families where she worked with families to connect them with employment, job readiness supports, career coaching and other social supports.
Tywonia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling from Samford University and brings a variety of career development training and housing experience to the families in The Villages of East Lake.