Staff

Executive Office

Gene D’Adamo,
President and CEO

Gene D’Adamo joined the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust in January 2014. He previously was the vice president of community relations for Republic Media, which includes The Arizona Republic, 12 News and azcentral.com. In that role he has become a leader in Arizona philanthropy, creating and directing Phoenix’s Season for Sharing Program, which has distributed grants to Arizona nonprofits for 20 years. He also advised Indianapolis Star news executives on establishing a similar grants program in Indianapolis.

Mr. D’Adamo has served on 20 nonprofit boards and received numerous awards for his philanthropic activities. He is a former chair of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, and the Arizona Education Foundation.

A resident of Phoenix for more than 40 years, Mr. D’Adamo graduated from Arizona State University in 1984, earning a degree in communications. He also completed certification programs from the Kellogg School of Graduate Management at Northwestern University and the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

Mr. D’Adamo has worked closely with the staff of the Trust since its inception. One of his mentors was the late Frank Russell, who helped launch the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust in 1998 and served as its founding chairman.

Mr. D’Adamo and his wife Debbie have three adult daughters: Danielle, Lauren and Brooke.

Lorie Stringer,
Executive Assistant to the President/CEO and Chief Financial Officer

Lorie Stringer joined the Trust in July 2014 after a 31-year career with Republic Media, which includes The Arizona Republic, 12 News and azcentral.com. She previously worked in community relations, assisting and managing the Phoenix Season for Sharing program, the Child Abuse License Plate grant program, the Republic Media Volunteer group and the Media In Education Tech grants. She also worked in the marketing department at The Republic planning, managing and executing between 100-150 events a year.

In her current position, Ms. Stringer provides executive support to the president and CEO, and vice-president and CFO. She also serves as office manager for the Trust in Arizona, and assists with event planning.

Finance and Operations

Robert Lowry,
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer – Indiana

Robert Lowry joined the Trust in 1998 following a distinguished career with Central Newspapers Inc., where he served as director of corporate accounting and controller. Prior to that affiliation, he was a senior manager with Price Waterhouse, where he specialized in auditing large publicly traded organizations and taxes. Mr. Lowry graduated from Indiana University with distinction, is a Certified Public Accountant, is a CFA charterholder, and is a member of the Foundation Financial Officer’s Group. He has served on numerous nonprofit organization boards in Indiana.

Ryan Hammons,
Controller – Indiana

Ryan Hammons joined the Trust in 2013 following seven years at BKD, LLP, where he specialized in auditing nonprofit organizations. Mr. Hammons graduated with honors from Ball State University and received a Master of Science in Accountancy degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Indiana CPA Society.

Debbie Cramer,
Accounting and Administration Manager – Indiana

Debbie Cramer joined the Trust in 1998 as one of the first employees, but her connection dates back to 1986 when she began her newspaper career in the Human Resource Department of Indianapolis Newspapers. In 1992 she transferred to Central Newspapers, Inc. where she worked in administration as well as accounting.

In her current position, Ms. Cramer assists with financial and operational functions including payroll, accounting, budgeting, auditing and computer system maintenance, and also as human resources manager.

Teri Walker,
Manager of Communications and External Relations

Teri Walker joined the Trust in 2017. Previously, she was vice president of DRA Collective, a public relations and marketing firm. Ms. Walker has more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning and communication. She began her diverse career as public affairs specialist for the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona, and continued her work in conservation as communications director for the Grand Canyon Trust. As a consultant, Ms. Walker provided public relations, economic development and marketing consultant services for Navajo County and municipalities in northern Arizona. She earned a bachelor of science degree in public relations from Northern Arizona University.

In her position at the Trust, Ms. Walker manages internal and external communications and serves as brand steward for the organization. She provides expertise in writing, media relations, community relations and special event management. Additionally, Ms. Walker plays a role in helping the Trust continue to develop and refine grant programs, and provide valuable opportunities for grantees to convene around community concerns and common interests.

Ms. Walker volunteers for the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and First Place AZ.

Ivett Cuen,
Communications Associate and Grants Program Administrative Assistant – Arizona

Ivett Cuen joined the Trust in February following 12 years of service to Arizona Public Service (APS). In her last five years at APS, Ms. Cuen served as a Support Technician for the Community Affairs department, where she supported Corporate Giving, Strategic Partnerships and Volunteerism. Ms. Cuen provided project management support to the APS Foundation and technical support for their internal grants program system. She has a degree in internet programming and software design.

In her current position, Ms. Cuen provides communications support, implementing strategies and projects, developing digital communications and managing website content. She also provides administrative support to the grants program staff, and assists in the planning and execution of Trust events.

Grants Program

Jeff Small,
Vice President of Programs – Indiana

Jeff Small joined the Trust in September 2014 after working with nonprofit groups in Indianapolis for more than a decade. Mr. Small served as a writer and project manager at Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA), a philanthropic consulting firm in Indianapolis specializing in strategic planning, development planning, feasibility studies and capital campaign counsel. Prior to his time with JGA, he held positions in the Research Department of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.

In his current position, Mr. Small oversees the Trust’s giving areas, sets grantmaking standards, designs grantmaking infrastructure, directs the program staff and evaluates the impact of various Trust programs on grantees, beneficiaries and the communities of metropolitan Phoenix and Indianapolis.

Robert Berger,
Senior Program Officer – Arizona

Robert Berger joined the Trust in 2000. With a diverse background in public and private business, he began his nonprofit career with the American Cancer Society, and continued through his work with The Nature Conservancy and the City of Scottsdale. Mr. Berger also worked in the private sector as the director of the Management Development Center at the University of Phoenix and through his private partnership in the Center for Legal Education. In addition, he has held positions in manufacturing industries. Mr. Berger received a bachelor of science degree in journalism with a special emphasis in business marketing from Northern Arizona University. Prior to his role as senior program officer at the Trust, Mr. Berger served as vice president of programs, where he directed the Trust’s grantmaking in Arizona and Indiana.

In his current position, Mr. Berger will manage Arizona’s environmental programs, workings closely with organizations on statewide conservation issues, and other special projects.

Laura McBride,
Senior Program Officer – Arizona

Laura McBride joined the Trust in 2017, bringing extensive experience developing partnerships and relationships within Arizona’s nonprofit community. Most recently, she was the senior corporate giving specialist for Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s largest utility, where she managed the annual philanthropic budget for Maricopa County and handled all aspects of the grantmaking process. Prior to APS, Ms. McBride had a 32-year career as a reporter, editor, community relations manager and editorial writer for The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette. In her community role, she represented the newspaper on nonprofit boards, oversaw the annual Season for Sharing giving program and Gannett Foundation grants, and administered funding for the Arizona Child Abuse Prevention License Plate program and Walk to End Domestic Violence. A native Phoenician, Ms. McBride earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication from Arizona State University. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership Class XXV and Leadership West Class III, and serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Grantmakers Forum.

In her position at the Trust, Ms. McBride is responsible for reviewing grant proposals, meeting with potential grantees, conducting site visits and monitoring and evaluating proposals.

Michael Mendel,
Program Officer – Arizona

Michael Mendel joined the Trust in August 2014 after interning in the Phoenix office and earning his Master of Social Work degree from Arizona State University. Previously, Mr. Mendel spent 14 years as a senior project manager with URS Corporation in Arizona and California, managing teams of military planners for several Navy and Marine Corps asset requirements studies throughout the Southwest. Mr. Mendel also holds a master’s degree in English from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in English from Kent State University.

In his current position, Mr. Mendel works in conjunction with the program directors reviewing grant proposals, meeting with potential grantees, conducting site visits, and monitoring and evaluating proposals. Additional responsibilities include working with the Nina Mason Pulliam Legacy Scholars program and Summer Youth Program Fund.

Mr. Mendel volunteers regularly at the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control shelter in east Mesa.

David Hillman, O.D.,
Program Director – Indiana

David Hillman joined the Trust in 2000 after serving as the executive director and deputy director/financial manager of the Indiana Equal Justice Fund. He was the first full-time development director for what is now Indiana Legal Services. Dr. Hillman’s career in the nonprofit sector began with his appointment as the first executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Indiana. In addition, he has held positions in the healthcare and biomedical research industries. Dr. Hillman earned two degrees from Indiana University, a bachelor of arts in biological sciences and a doctorate in optometry. He has volunteered and served on the boards of directors for several nonprofits, and presently serves on many committees for various community initiatives.

In his current position, he is responsible for reviewing grant proposals, meeting with potential grantees, conducting site visits and monitoring and evaluating proposals.

Lee Ann Hoy,
Program Director – Indiana

Lee Ann Hoy joined the Trust in 2000 after a long affiliation with Ameritech (now AT&T) initially as media relations and external communications manager and later as director of corporate contributions, managing more than $5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Indiana. Additionally, she previously held marketing and community relations positions with GTE and the Indiana Department of Commerce. Ms. Hoy graduated with honors from Franklin College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and secondary education, and earned a master’s in public relations from Ball State University. She is also a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership program.

In her current position, she is responsible for reviewing grant proposals, meeting with potential grantees, conducting site visits and monitoring and evaluating proposals. Additionally, she serves on the Nina Scholars Advisory Councils for IUPUI and Ivy Tech.

Ms. Hoy is currently a member of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance Board of Directors and the United Way of Central Indiana’s Human Services Committee. She also serves on the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana Advisory Committee.

Grants Administration

Josh Abel,
Director of Grants Administration, Legal Counsel and Secretary to Board of Trustees – Indiana

Josh Abel joined the Trust in June 2018 after working as an attorney with Faegre Baker Daniels in Indianapolis, where he advised nonprofit organizations on legal matters related to their tax exemption as well as board governance and general corporate issues. Previously, Mr. Abel was the executive director and managing attorney for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services for low-income individuals. He has served on a number of boards of directors for Indianapolis-area nonprofit organizations, among them including Near East Area Renewal, Indianapolis Bar Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana. Mr. Abel earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Butler University and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University/Maurer School of Law.

In his position at the Trust, Mr. Abel manages all aspects of grant administration, recordkeeping and tax compliance processes. He serves as in-house legal counsel, secretary to the board and member of the Trust’s Leadership Team.

Dayna D. Brady,
Grants Administration Associate – Indiana

Dayna Brady joined the Trust in 1998 as one of the first employees, but her connection with the newspaper dates back to 1986 when she began her career in the Circulation Department of Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc. In 1993 Ms. Brady transferred to Central Newspapers, Inc. where she remained until the Trust’s inception in 1998.

In her current position, Ms. Brady is responsible for the grant proposal process, from initial intake to grant completion. She also provides support to the director of grants administration and secretary to the board of trustees.

Bensu Kollath,
Grants Administration and Program Assistant – Indiana

Bensu Kollath joined the Trust in 1999 following seven years of service to First Indiana Bank as a customer sales representative. She moved to Indiana in 1991 from her native country, Turkey. Ms. Kollath studied business and economics at Anadolu University for two years.

In addition to working with the public, Ms. Kollath provides administrative support to all departments, with special emphasis on grants administration.