Back Row (Left to Right): Andrea Francis, Frank Martinez Nocito, Holly Irish, Barbara Leonard, Jeb Murphy, Ruta Kadonoff
Front Row (Left to Right): Jake Grindle, Charles Dwyer, Margo Beland, Dani Kalian
Margo Beland (she/her) joined MeHAF as Finance Manager in June 2015. Margo is responsible for the finances, human resource management, contracts and working with the foundation’s investment advisors and the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee. For several years, Margo served as MeHAF’s contract accountant through her former employer, Maine Development Foundation. Through her work, Margo has over 30 years of experience in the non-profit finance and operations administration. Margo is a graduate of Thomas College and a Leadership Maine alumna, Upsilon Class. Margo resides in Augusta with her husband Bob. Margo has a grown son and step-son and two grandchildren. She enjoys traveling in the winter and spending time at her camp in southern Maine in the summer months.
Programs & Focus Area: Systems Improvement and Innovation Grants, Rural Health, Workforce, Healthy Communities
Charles Dwyer (he/him) joined MeHAF as Program Officer in December 2012. He currently oversees MeHAF’s Healthy Community and Rural Health Programs, and provides assistance to the foundation’s Governance Committee. Charles is also an advisor of the Maine Community Foundation’s Equity Fund. He has 16 years of public health experience, most recently serving as the health department liaison in the four county area of the Mid-coast. From 2006 to 2011 he served as the Director of the State Office of Rural Health and Primary Care which began convening the statewide Health Workforce Forum and the Maine Tele-health Collaborative under his leadership.
Other roles at the Maine CDC have included Assistant to the Director of the Division of Infectious Disease; HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Program Manager, Public Health Educator, and Disease Intervention Specialist.
Charles is proud to be a former AmeriCorps National Service Volunteer and a lifelong resident of Maine, Charles graduated from the University of Southern Maine, School of Social Work in 1996. He completed the Northeast Regional Public Health Leadership Institute in 2002, and continues to explore opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
Programs & Focus Areas: Discretionary Grants, Meeting Support Grants, Maternal and Child Health
Andrea Francis (she/her) is a member of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and lives in Portland, Maine with her teenage son and dog. She has lived in Maine since 2016 when she moved from her hometown of Tucson, AZ. Since moving here her goal was to find a community in which she could thrive and create positive change. Since then she has had the privilege of working with the State/Tribal ICWA Workgroup, Maine-Wabanaki REACH and Maine Initiatives.
Some of the issues that Andrea is most interested in are Food Security and Food Sovereignty. She hopes to expand her community partnerships in these areas. In her spare time Andrea loves to cook healthy meals from locally sourced produce for her family and collect records from local record stores.
She loves living in Maine and tries to find time to explore the outdoors and the regional native plants as much as possible. She looks forward to summers when she can travel back to Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, CA and Presque Isle, Maine to see her family.
Programs & Focus Areas: Health Equity Capacity Building, Advocacy
Jake Grindle (he/him) joined the MeHAF staff in September of 2015. He currently oversees MeHAF’s Health Equity Capacity-Building and Advocacy grant programs. Jake also has responsibility for several research and communications functions. Prior to this position, Jake worked at Western Maine Community Action, where he served as the Project Coordinator for the Maine Community Action Health Navigator Project. In this role, Jake spearheaded community outreach and enrollment efforts for the statewide consortium of CAP agencies that have been engaged in health insurance Marketplace enrollment.
Prior to assuming the Coordinator position, Jake served as the Field Director for the Northeast Archaeology Research Center and the University of Maine at Farmington. He has also worked as a Community Organizer for the Maine’s People Alliance and Maine People’s Resource Center, and was a founding member and organizer for Visible Community in Lewiston.
Jake is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington. He currently lives in Pownal with his wife and two dogs, where he spends his free time tending his garden and small fruit tree orchard.
Holly Irish (she/her) is MeHAF’s Grants Manager. She joined MeHAF in December 2011 as the Program Assistant, became Program and Communications Assistant in 2016, Grants Associate in 2019, and began her current role in 2021. Holly is responsible for a range of duties related to the effective and efficient administration of the Foundation’s priorities. She oversees grants management responsibilities to facilitate and ensure the successful implementation, monitoring, and reporting of MeHAF’s various grants programs. Holly works closely with Program Staff to plan the fielding, execution and monitoring of all grants and other program activities, and provides quality control of grantmaking procedures and systems. In addition, she is responsible for coordinating all grantee related meetings and gatherings. She is the staff support for the Grants Committee and Community Advisory Committee. Before joining MeHAF, Holly worked as a Communications Assistant at Kennebec Behavioral Health, where she provided support to the Director of Communications, the CEO and the Executive Assistant. Holly is a native Mainer and a graduate of Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. She resides in Clinton with her husband and two daughters.
Programs & Focus Areas: Aging, Thriving in Place
Ruta Kadonoff (she/her) joined MeHAF as Senior Program Officer in December 2016. In addition to coordinating the work of the program team, she oversees MeHAF’s Healthy Older People strategic focus area and staff’s the foundation’s Grants Committee. Ruta came to this position with over 20 years of experience in fostering and advocating for quality improvement and person-centered approaches in long term services and supports for older people. She has held leadership roles in a diverse set of national organizations focusing on policy, research and practice change. She serves as a volunteer with the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute and Hospice Volunteers of Waldo County. Ruta grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Washington, DC area to attend The Catholic University of America where she received a B.A. in political science. She subsequently completed a Masters of Health Science degree in Health Policy from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Master of Arts degree in the Management of Aging Services from the Erickson School of Aging Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Ruta, her husband, and their cats re-located from the Washington suburbs to Belfast in 2016, realizing a long-standing dream. She spends as much of her spare time outdoors as possible, and particularly enjoys walking and hiking, sailing, kayaking and photography.
Dani Kalian (she/her) provides administrative support and assistance to the President and other staff. She oversees general office operations and facility management as well as provides support to the Board of Trustees, Governance Committee, and Strategic Planning Committee.
Dani joined MeHAF in 2008 as the administrative assistant and has been the Foundation’s Executive Assistant since 2011.
Dani attended St. Bonaventure University in New York before moving to Maine where she graduated from Andover College.
Barbara Leonard (she/her) has been MeHAF’s President and CEO since October 2016. Barbara brings over 25 years of experience and leadership in philanthropic and public health program development, administration, management and evaluation at state and national levels. Ms. Leonard originally joined the MeHAF team as a Senior Program Officer, and then served as Vice President for Programs. At MeHAF, she has played a key role in leading the foundation's efforts to advance equity, developing health reform initiatives such as a comprehensive portfolio of grants focused on payment reform, development of community-focused programs such as Thriving in Place and Healthy Community grants, and the multi-year Integrated Care Initiative. She serves as primary staff for the Board of Trustees, as well as the Strategic Planning, Finance, Governance, and Executive Committees. Barbara is a past president of the boards of the Maine Philanthropy Center and the Maine Women’s Fund. Barbara was raised in Connecticut and first came to Maine as a student at Colby College in Waterville where she received a BA in Psychology. She has an MPH in Health Policy and Resources from Yale University. In her spare moments, she spends time with her husband, Dan, spoils their Labrador retrievers Cooper and Jessie, cooks for friends, sings as a soprano with Reprise Choral Ensemble, grows perennials and vegetables, and is an enthusiastic amateur at the Belfast Curling Club.
Jeb Murphy (he/him) joined MeHAF as Communications Associate in November 2018 and became Communications Manager in November of 2021. Jeb has worked in the communications field across the nonprofit sector in Maine for nearly a decade, beginning in Franklin County doing Outreach and Education work in the field of sexual assault prevention.
Understanding the unique needs of different parts of the state he then moved to larger scale work, advocating for shelter animal rights and awareness with the Maine Federation of Humane Societies and eventually supporting the mission of Community Health Centers at the Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA). While at MPCA, Jeb began working both statewide and nationally on creating best practices for Enrollment Assisters and became a nationally recognized figure in promoting outreach and enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. This work eventually led to him and a number of national colleagues creating the National Association of Health Access Assisters.
Jeb’s most current previous position at Crisis & Counseling Centers, Inc. in Augusta has given him a county level view of the behavioral health needs of Mainers, as well as insight into the challenges that both clients and agencies face in the growing opioid epidemic. In addition to nonprofit work Jeb has been adjunct faculty in the Maine Community College system since 2009, teaching Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, and English. In his free time Jeb is an avid reader and aspiring culinary genius.
Jeb lives in Central Maine with a spirited Himalayan/Flame Point Siamese cat named Bunsen and enjoys weekends on Pocasset Lake, time in Manhattan and San Francisco, and a growing extended family of nieces and nephews.
Programs & Focus Areas: Community Responsive Grants, Health Equity Capacity Building, Oral Health, Behavioral Health, Substance Use Disorder and Addiction Care
Frank Martinez Nocito (he/him) joined MeHAF as a Program Officer in January 2019. Frank is an innovative Public Health Nutrition professional with over two decades of diverse state, national and international experience in program development, management and outcome evaluation, policy initiatives, and public-private collaborations. After earning a Master of Science degree from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, he worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy where he focused on human nutrient requirements and public-private partnerships. For most of the past decade his work has focused on improving government benefit programs, health equity, and access to healthy food for marginalized populations. Prior to MeHAF, Frank worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as the Project Director of the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), pioneering the implementation of three first-in-the-nation, healthy food access pilot programs for low-income families, for which he received both statewide and national accolades. HIP significantly improved SNAP recipients’ health, increased farmer incomes, and decreased food insecurity in Massachusetts. Before turning to public health policy, Frank earned two Bachelor degrees in Nutrition and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Frank and his family relocated from Western Massachusetts to Maine in 2018. He is passionate about family, eating good food, cooking, gardening, running (half-marathons, marathons), hiking, food systems, and social capital.