Janis Minton

Founder and President

As Founder and President of JMC Philanthropic Advisors (JMC), a Los Angeles-based boutique firm established in 1995, Janis Minton manages long-term grantmaking for family foundations and individual philanthropists. Her ultimate mission is to translate each funder's passion for giving into an effective strategy for change, according to the donor's values, priorities and style.

Being a thought partner for trustees while creating a solid base for decision-making through strategy development is at the core of Janis's work. She is driven to innovate and make a positive impact in all endeavors, big or small. It does not matter if the firm works with a $5,000 budget for micro-grants to youth, or a $5 million budget for stem cell research - it is Janis's belief that it's not how much you give, but HOW you give that makes the difference.

With highly skilled staff and expert partners in a wide range of areas (from health, to education, arts, environment, sciences, veterans, disaster relief, etc.), Janis works both locally and internationally, advising on a sizable annual grantmaking budget while creating diversified portfolios of social investments that can include traditional grantmaking, focused initiatives, research projects, Next Generation efforts, incentive awards, and special projects.

Ms. Minton holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Human Development and Early Childhood Education. Her contribution to the non-profit community was recognized in several occasions by The City of Los Angeles, the California State Assembly and the California State Senate.

Janis believes that it is through the give-and-take of long-term relationships that mutual transformation occurs. Each day, she is honored to be given the opportunity to make a difference.

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Jeff Schaffer

Vice President of Client Services

Jeff Schaffer, Vice President of Client Services at JMC Philanthropic Advisors, manages engagement with select clients and provides leadership for staff. Jeff draws on a 25-year background in nonprofit management, having worked for both philanthropic and community-based organizations and as a volunteer himself. Jeff is motivated to seek channels for philanthropic engagement that achieve the desired leveraging of donor investment. Much of his experience has involved working across sectors to develop innovative responses to complex social challenges.

Jeff previously worked as Vice President and Southern California market leader at Enterprise Community Partners, where he oversaw programs advancing affordable housing and community development, including partnering with the City of Los Angeles to launch the New Generation Fund, a $50 million lending facility, and Restore Neighborhoods L.A. (RNLA), a nonprofit agency implementing foreclosure response and neighborhood preservation efforts.

Prior to joining Enterprise, Jeff served as Assistant Vice President for grant programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, where he managed a $60 million grant portfolio including initiatives on chronic homelessness in the U.S. and potable water development overseas. Jeff’s background also included roles as an Associate Director at both Beyond Shelter and Shelter Partnership in Los Angeles, a public relations account executive, a congressional field representative, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia.

Jeff earned his undergraduate degree in political science and Spanish literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, where he is an adjunct associate professor at the Price School of Public Policy. He additionally serves on Southern California Grantmakers Family Foundation Advisory Council and the boards of the TK Foundation, Little Tokyo Service Center and Restore Neighborhoods LA.

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Susan Block

Vice President Strategy and Finance

Susan Block, Vice President Strategy and Finance, combines her history of philanthropic experience and passion with over 20 years of former work as an investment banker, strategic consultant and entrepreneur. At JMC, Susan provides philanthropic giving and charitable foundation advisory services, and develops focused client giving strategies to maximize impact. Susan has been involved in philanthropy since college both in direct service roles and, more recently, as a Board member and managing capital campaigns for non-profit organizations including the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, MIT Enterprise Forum and Advocacy Press.

Susan applies her strong business background, and the perspective of working with balanced portfolios, venture investing, financial rigor, extensive due diligence and measured outcomes, to her work developing and managing optimal client giving plans at JMC. Susan's prior business experience includes positions as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Montgomery Securities, interim CEO of a startup that went public and subsequently sold for $250 million, CFO and co-founder of Mercantile Capital Insurance Services, co-founder of Block, Bowman & Associates, LLC, strategic planning positions at Safeway Foods and MGIC (Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation), and other consulting and Board of Director positions. Susan received an MBA and BS from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught investments, portfolio management and finance at both the University of Wisconsin - School of Business Administration and the University of California- Santa Barbara, and business management, marketing and entrepreneurship courses in the MBA program at Cal State Channel Islands.

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Jennifer Lieberstein

Program Advisor

Jen Lieberstein, Program Advisor, has over fourteen years of experience working within the non-profit community, focusing on the areas of philanthropic portfolio management, public policy, systems review, and project-related research.

As part of the JMC team, Jen works as a client manager, developing strategies, managing philanthropic giving portfolios, and maximizing impact and accountability across various focus areas including: early childhood development, breast cancer outreach and care, education, mental health, and community building.

Stemming from a funder's dream to honor hidden angels in the community, in 2011, Jen developed and implemented the pilot of the Halo Award. This is a project of The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation, focused on rewarding 7 of Los Angeles' top volunteers doing exemplary work in their communities and providing support to the agencies where they serve. The award, currently in its 4th year, has invested close to $1 million in financial support and technical assistance to the field of volunteerism.

Prior to joining JMC, Jen was a long-term program officer for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, where she guided grant making activities for a portfolio of 31 domestic and international grants valued at approximately $42 million. Projects focused primarily on trachoma elimination, communities affected by AIDS, early childhood development, and the work of Catholic sisters.

Jen has a BS in Economics from Santa Clara University and earned her Master in Public Policy from USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development. She is passionate about women's empowerment programs and improving the quality of life for vulnerable children.

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Sarah Ali

Program Advisor

Sarah Ali, Program Advisor, has a strong background in education and leadership, with over 15 years of experience as a teacher, school leader, university lecturer, and advisor. In collaboration with the JMC team, Sarah Ali developed and launched Kayne Scholars--a holistic scholarship program designed to support low-income, first-generation college students persist, graduate, and pivot into meaningful STEM or business-related careers. Sarah draws upon her prior experience in diverse school settings and communities to guide partners to merge theory into practice. These experiences coupled with her passion for equity, drawing upon impactful early childhood practices, critical pedagogy, and a desire to increase access to high quality education have allowed Sarah to do what she loves—engage as a thought partner toward strong outcomes for youth and communities.

Sarah is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in School Administration. Throughout her career Sarah has drawn upon the LMU tradition of "men and women for others" and in recent years has shifted her focus from school-based leadership to philanthropic efforts that prioritize transformative social change.

 

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Parker Blackman

Program Advisor

Parker has spent more than 20 years working in philanthropy and non-profit cause-related work. His expertise spans a broad range of issues from early childhood development and education reform to environmental protection and social justice.

Working with family foundations to some of the nation's largest foundations such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Parker has helped shape their strategic plans, giving priorities, and communications strategies. Parker enjoys working with philanthropists and non-profits to help them take their nascent ideas or programs, develop an appropriate plan for growth, and nurture the model into a successful vehicle for positive social change.

Over his career, Parker has served in a variety of capacities, from grassroots organizer and non-profit executive director to business leader and grant maker. All of these experiences have made him comfortable with change and exploring new ideas and strategies to help philanthropists find the right approach to giving.

Parker is a graduate of Stanford University with a B.A. in U.S. History, and currently serves on the board of directors for three non profits: Coaching Corps, Envision Schools, and Great Non-Profits.

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Kaci Patterson

Program Advisor

Kaci Patterson, Program Advisor, manages and implements funding initiatives in specific focus areas including promoting equity for people of color. Kaci began her career in the nonprofit sector while in college, where she experienced firsthand the impact investing in first generation college students can make on the trajectory of one’s life and developed a passion to advance social justice by expanding educational, economic and political opportunity for people of color.

Kaci’s background includes executive level roles leading capacity building, education advocacy and social justice initiatives at the local, state, national and international levels. In these roles, Kaci managed multi-million-dollar grant-making portfolios and pioneered programs initiatives that served networks of over 1,000 civil society leaders and public officials. Kaci is a founding member of Communities for Los Angeles Student Success, co-founded and launched B.L.A.C.C. (Building Leaders and Cultivating Change) and was named a 2016 California Community Foundation Unsung Hero of Los Angeles. Kaci has her Bachelors in Communications from Pepperdine University, a MBA in Organizational Management & Leadership from the University of LaVerne, and is a certified mediator.

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Daniella Wozniak

Administrative Assistant

Daniella Wozniak, Administrative Assistant, brings her office management, fundraising, project development, and project planning experience and expertise to the JMC team. In this key role, Daniella coordinates the client projects and timelines, as well as provides important research, scheduling and coordination support to the entire JMC team.

Prior to joining JMC, Daniella worked as an event coordinator responsible for organizing and implementing non-profit fundraising events at Grant Associates, a fundraising assistant for a large non-profit research project for the William H. Isacoff Research Foundation for Gastrointestinal Cancer, an estate manager for a superior court judge, and an office manager for IBG Inc. Daniella was always interested in philanthropy and helping others, but her passion for the non-profit sector began as a college student when she worked with the American Heart Association. Daniella has spent many years advocating for the elderly and healthcare issues and, although presently involved in many different philanthropic focus areas at JMC, her personal special interest areas remain healthcare, the elderly and animals. Daniella has a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health from California State University Northridge and is personally devoted to health, fitness and caring for others.

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