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Member Highlight: Velma Monteiro-Tribble

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


This Member Highlight is part of a series profiling new members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees elected at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Velma Monteiro-Tribble comes to the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees with a wealth of experience, ranging from the U.S. Department of Education to overseeing philanthropic leadership development initiatives in places like Austria, Latin America and South Africa.

She plans on bringing all she’s learned to the table as a Board member, but says that, despite a lengthy resume, she still sees her first year on the Board as an opportunity to “be quiet and listen, learn and offer my expertise when needed.”

“I appreciate the thought leadership, the people, Board, leadership, staff, convenings and engagement opportunities,” she said about what drew her to accept an invite to join the board. “It fits with my belief about how philanthropy needs to work.”

Velma joins the Board as another representative of corporate philanthropy – she works as senior director for foundation community investments at the Florida Blue Foundation, which is affiliated with Florida Blue, a health insurance provider.

At the foundation, Velma has recently focused more of her work on issues of equity and social justice – areas she was able to think about more intentionally when the pandemic gave her the space to think strategically.

“I have become much more introspective and deepened my passion, commitment and work around equity and social justice,” she said. “While these two issues have always been important to me, I really did not have much ‘alone’ time to think through the strategies to create and execute on long-term programs and initiatives. These past two years have allowed me to move the foundation’s work forward in these areas.”

Velma also draws inspiration for her work from the people she interacts with day-to-day – people who experience what she calls “the rawness of life.”

“I really enjoy being around folks that can see and feel the pain from what I call the ‘rawness of life,’ yet have the ability to rise up and actively work to make life better collectively for the common good of all people,” she said.

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Member Highlight: Christopher Cuevas

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


This Member Highlight is part of a series profiling new members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees elected at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Christopher Cuevas possesses a deeply-held belief in the power of philanthropy – a belief they say played a big part in accepting a nomination to serve on the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees.

“I believe that, together, Southern funders can move mountains, fuel change, and transform our communities and nation for the better,” they said. “I believe that Philanthropy Southeast can offer support to Southern funders in transforming our homes for the better, and it is an honor to be of service to this body of work.”

Christopher, one of four new Trustees approved by Philanthropy Southeast members at last month’s Annual Meeting, has been in their role at the Laughing Gull Foundation for just over a year – they manage a $2 million dollar grant portfolio to support LGBTQ+ organizations working at the intersections of racial, gender, and economic justice throughout the U.S. South.

Beyond this work in the sector, Christopher will also bring a rich mix of professional and life experiences into Board meetings. A child of undocumented immigrants and a queer person of color, Christopher previously founded and led QLatinx, a racial, social, and gender justice movement created in the wake of 2016’s Pulse Nightclub massacre. They’ve also spent time as an organizer working on issues impacting LGBTQ+ communities, immigrants, and communities living with HIV.

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Member Highlight: Mijo Vodopic

Author: Philanthropy Southeast


This Member Highlight is part of a series profiling new members of the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees elected at the 2021 Annual Meeting.

National funders looking to become more involved in the South – and build connections to foundations based in the region – have long turned to Philanthropy Southeast as both a conduit and a source of information and research.

The key role of national foundations as partners in building an equitable South is one reason why Mijo Vodopic, a senior program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, based in Chicago, was nominated to serve on the Philanthropy Southeast Board of Trustees.

Partnership was also a main reason why Mijo said yes when he was asked to serve.

“Philanthropy Southeast has been a helpful partner to the MacArthur Foundation’s grantmaking in the South and to me personally, as I work to be a reliable, helpful funding partner, albeit one from farther away,” he said. “Having an opportunity to serve on the Philanthropy Southeast Board is a tremendous opportunity to learn from and work more closely with colleagues dedicated to the region.”

While he may live and work far outside the Southeast, Mijo already has plenty in common with fellow trustees and others in the region. For example, he sees incredible potential in philanthropy’s convening power.

“From my experiences in the United States and internationally, the wealth and influence we help steward can bring together unusual, powerful, effective, etc. partnerships,” he said. “That ability to convene is something we can share and magnify as a philanthropic sector and where I believe we can learn much from each other.”

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
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Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
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Phone: (404) 524-0911
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Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.