THE FOUNDATION STAFF
More information on Foundation staff can be found here. To contact a staff member, please complete the Contact Us form below.
Chaya Cassell joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in 2020 first as an intern and then full-time as a Program Associate. In her role, she works closely with the Foundation’s Program staff to develop, refine and execute strategies in support of the Foundation’s funding goals. Chaya completed her Bachelor of Arts in Chinese and the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Chaya also previously interned with Sagamore Institute, an Indianapolis think tank.
Andrea Farmer joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as Chief Communications Officer in 2022. In this role, she works closely with the Foundation’s President & CEO and the Program team to develop and implement communications strategies that articulate the Foundation’s mission and work to stakeholders and other external audiences.
Prior to joining the Foundation, she previously served as Director of External Engagement and Government Affairs at Indiana Donor Network, where she oversaw multiple functions, including marketing communications, community outreach, government affairs and legal affairs. Other previous roles include Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications and Account Services at Indianapolis marketing communications agency Hirons and Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives at the NCAA. Throughout her career, Andrea has been involved with several non-profit organizations and industry associations, including as president of the Hoosier Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Andrea holds an Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America’s Universal Accreditation Board, and she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Ball State University, Magna Cum Laude.
Claire Fiddian-Green joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2015. In this role, she collaborates with the Board of Directors to define the Foundation’s goals and funding strategies and oversees implementation of the Foundation’s mission and operations.
Previously, Fiddian-Green served as Special Assistant for Education Innovation to Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Co-Founder of the Center for Education and Career Innovation. Fiddian-Green also served as the founding Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board, a statewide charter school authorizing agency. Prior roles include President of The Mind Trust, Grants Officer for the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and Senior Analyst within Eli Lilly & Company’s Corporate Finance Investment Banking group. Fiddian-Green holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is a member of Class XXXIV of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.
Fiddian-Green serves on the Board and Executive Committee of BioCrossroads and of the Indy Chamber, where she also chairs the Health Policy Council. She is the Chair of the Board of the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation and serves on the Boards of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and Regenstrief Institute. She served as President of The Economic Club of Indiana for the 2017-2018 season and is a current Board and Executive Committee member. She served as Co-Chair of the Legacy Impact Committee for the 2022 Indy College Football Playoff (CFP) Championship Game and was a member of the Board and Executive Committee from 2018 through 2022. In November 2020, she was appointed co-chair of the Learning and Talent Opportunities Taskforce of the Business Equity for Indy Committee, a joint venture of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and the Indy Chamber, in partnership with the Indianapolis Urban League, focused on addressing racial inequities in Central Indiana.
As Senior Program Officer, Sarah Hawkins works closely with the Foundation’s President & CEO and Program staff to develop, refine, and execute strategies in support of the Foundation’s funding goals, with duties spanning program, policy, and community engagement initiatives. She joined the Foundation in 2017 and previously served in various program and strategy roles at The Mind Trust, Leadership Indianapolis, and ExactTarget. Hawkins is a member of Class XXXVI of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, was named one of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2012, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University.
Ariyan Hines joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in 2020, first as an intern and then full-time as a Program Associate. She assumed the role of Communications Associate in 2022. In her role, she works closely with the Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer and Program staff to implement communications strategies and tactics that articulate the Foundation’s mission and work to stakeholders and other external audiences. Ariyan completed her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, Magna Cum Laude, at her beloved historically Black institution, LeMoyne-Owen College, where she worked in the Office of Institutional Advancement as a communications intern and she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Irene Jackson joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as Administrative and Financial Coordinator in 2010 and holds a B.A. from Anderson University. In her role at the Foundation, she is responsible for maintaining the Foundation’s financial, accounting, and investment records, maintaining strong internal controls, and supporting the Chief Financial Officer.
Traci Johnson joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as Program Administrator in 2022. In this role, she oversees the processes and procedures of grantmaking for the Foundation. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Johnson worked at the Indiana Department of Health within the HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Division. Johnson holds a M.P.S. from the Clinton School of Public Service and a B.A. in French, International Studies, and Political Science from the University of Southern Indiana.
Kevin Kessinger joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in 2016 as Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he has primary responsibility for all financial, investment and operating activities of the Foundation, including human resources and information technology. Most recently, Kessinger served as Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration at DePauw University, where he oversaw finance and accounting functions, including accounts payable, student accounts, accounting, budget, endowment accounting, and insurance and risk management. Kessinger received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Indiana University-Bloomington and his Master of Business Administration, Cum Laude, with a concentration in corporate finance from the University of Notre Dame. Previously, Kessinger served as Controller at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Kami (Spicklemire) Nielsen joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in 2019. In her role with the Foundation, she manages grantee relationships and guides nonprofit organizations through the entire application process, from concept development through presentation of proposals and evaluation of results. Prior to joining the Foundation, Nielsen worked in Washington, DC, at The Education Trust and the Center for American Progress. Nielsen holds a B.S. and an M.P.A. from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
As the Vice President & Chief Grantmaking Officer, Ellen Quigley works closely with the Foundation’s President & CEO to develop and refine the Foundation’s strategies within its focus areas. She also oversees the implementation of these strategies through the Foundation’s grantmaking and learning and evaluation activities.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2010, Ellen was Chief of Staff for the Office of Congressman Andre Carson and Deputy Mayor for Community Affairs with the City of Indianapolis under Mayor Bart Peterson. In these roles, Ellen was heavily involved in policy development and community engagement in the areas of health and education. Other experience includes leadership of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to convening business and community leaders to conduct best practice research and make recommendations to the Mayor to help solve Indianapolis’ most pressing issues. Before entering public service, Ellen practiced law for several years at two law firms and was law clerk for a federal district judge in Indiana. Throughout her career, Ellen has also been an active member of the Indianapolis non-profit community, serving as board member for a variety of non-profit organizations and on the Health and Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees. She currently serves on the IU McKinney School of Law Alumni Association, the Indiana Nonprofits Project Advisory Board, and several philanthropy-related initiatives. Ellen holds a J.D. degree, Summa Cum Laude, from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Abe Roll joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as Program Analyst in 2019. In this role, Abe provides support to Foundation staff in the areas of data management and analysis, research, and information gathering to ensure the Foundation’s grantmaking is grounded in high-quality evidence and data. Abe completed his Master of Public Affairs and B.A. in Philanthropic Studies from IUPUI, where he worked as a research assistant at the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP).
As the Foundation’s Executive Assistant, Scott Semester provides executive support for the President & CEO and coordinates administrative support functions for the Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff. He previously served as Administrative Director/Chief of Staff of Shalom Health Care Center. Semester joined the Foundation in 2016 and holds a B.A. from Indiana University, a certificate in Asset-Based Community Development from the Indianapolis Community Building Institute, and a certificate in fund raising management from The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Sarah Sullivan joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as Program Officer in 2015 after serving as Deputy Director of Applications for the Indiana Charter School Board, the statewide charter school authorizing agency. In her role with the Foundation, she manages grantee relationships and guides nonprofit organizations through the entire application process, from concept development through presentation of proposals and evaluation of results. Sullivan is a member of Class XLII of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series and holds a B.A. from DePauw University.
Emilyn Whitesell joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in 2019. In her role, she collaborates with Foundation staff, grantees, and other stakeholders to ground the Foundation’s work in high-quality research, and data. Whitesell comes to the Foundation from Mathematica, where she directed projects and led research and evaluation tasks for federal, nonprofit, and foundation clients, focusing primarily on education policy and program evaluation. A former Indianapolis Public Schools teacher and Teach For America corps member, Whitesell holds a B.S. in business from Indiana University, an M.A.T. from Marian University, and a Ph.D. in public administration from New York University.