Team and Board

Team and Board

Photographs: Jeyhoun Allebaugh


Paulette Amadi, Grants Officer, UK Program

Paulette Amadi is Grants Officer for the UK Program at Unbound Philanthropy; she joined in November 2012 as Grants Assistant. Paulette brings to the Foundation administrative experience gained as an Information Officer at Queen Mary University, and as an intern at the Young Foundation and in the Civil Service Fast Stream. Paulette earned a degree in geography from the University of Southampton, where she became a volunteer for Unbound Philanthropy grantee, Student Action for Refugees (STAR). Paulette has continued to be an active volunteer for STAR and volunteers as a governor to a local school and trustee of a drop-in center to provide support for migrants in Haringey, London. Both of Paulette’s parents migrated from Nigeria to London, where Paulette now resides.

Bernadette Crasto, Executive Assistant to Executive Director

Bernadette Crasto joined Unbound Philanthropy early in 2012 as Executive Assistant. Prior to joining Unbound Philanthropy, Bernadette worked for more than a decade as an Executive Assistant to Dr. Olara Otunnu in his capacities as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and as President of the International Peace Institute. She attended Marymount Manhattan College and Milagres College, India. Bernadette volunteers with the movement for Free and Fair Elections in Africa and with the LBL Foundation for Children. She makes her home in Queens Village, New York. Bernadette immigrated to the United States from India in 1985. 

Celeste Dado, Senior Manager, Grants Compliance and Operations

Celeste Dado is Senior Manager, Grants Compliance and Operations at Unbound Philanthropy. She joined Unbound in March 2012 as Grants Manager. Celeste has 17 years of grants management experience in both small and large philanthropic foundations, having worked at the Arcus and Ford foundations.  She has a special expertise on regulatory compliance for global grantmakers and extensive experience in establishing grants management systems in small foundations scaling up their operations. Celeste has lengthy experience in nonprofit financial management, budgeting and long-range planning in her past work with arts and cultural organizations in New York City, including at the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, the New York Public Library, Artists Space, and PS1 Museum. She participated in the Arts Management Fellowship Program of the National Endowment for the Arts, and served on the board of Art in General and the Asian American Arts Alliance. Celeste earned a master of business administration degree in arts administration from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Douglass Women’s College of Rutgers University. She was born in the Philippines and now lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Adey Fisseha, US Program Officer

Adey Fisseha joined Unbound Philanthropy in May 2012 as Program Officer. Adey helps develop, implement, and evaluate Unbound Philanthropy’s grantmaking strategies in the United States. Adey previously worked for 10 years at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), most recently serving as a policy attorney and campaign coordinator. She worked on a wide range of federal policy issues at NILC, including, notably, as lead lawyer on a national advocacy campaign to pass the Dream Act. Adey was a compelling media spokesperson on the effort and led a coalition of more than one hundred national faith, education, labor, and immigrant/civil rights groups on the campaign. She also has served as a legislative aide to Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA). Adey graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in government and a certificate in African studies, and earned her law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was a Cardozo Public Service Scholar. Adey is a refugee and immigrant from Ethiopia.

Taryn Higashi, Executive Director

Taryn Higashi is the Executive Director of Unbound Philanthropy. Taryn's own family history informs her passion for justice for immigrants and migrants: she is a third-generation Japanese American, and her mother's family was interned during World War II. Prior to working at Unbound, from 1997 to 2008, Taryn worked at the Ford Foundation, where she managed the migrant and refugee rights portfolio and served as Deputy Director of the human rights unit from 2001-2008. Prior to that, Taryn was a Program Officer at The New York Community Trust, where she coordinated the Fund for New Citizens. She has also worked as a staff attorney and Program Coordinator for Safe Horizons in New York City, and as an associate at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers. From 1999 to 2008, Taryn served as a Board member of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, where she was Co-Chair from 1999-2005. Taryn's work has been widely recognized in her field. She is a co-recipient, with Geri Mannion of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, of the Robert V. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking from the Council on Foundations. With their cash prize and other funds raised, they created the Freedom From Fear Award. Taryn has received a 40th Anniversary Community Change Champion Award from the Center for Community Change, a Human Rights Visionary Award from the Border Network for Human Rights, an award from the National Immigration Law Center for her work to advance immigrants' rights, and a Standing Up for Justice award from the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC). Taryn currently serves on the advisory board of the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations. Taryn is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at San Diego. She resides in New York City with her husband and son.


Jake Lee, Deputy Director, UK Program

Jake Lee is Deputy Director, UK Program, at Unbound Philanthropy, where he helps develop the Foundation’s strategies in the United Kingdom. He joined Unbound in June 2012 as program officer. Jake has also worked at Allen & Overy, LLP, for eight years, where he currently manages the global pro bono program and the Allen & Overy Foundation. His work there focuses on human rights and access to justice. Jake brings substantial experience working with government and has a strong network of contacts among funders, NGOs, and charities. He is a trustee of the Mary Ward Legal Centre, a social welfare charity in London. Jake holds a first class degree in economics from the University of Warwick and graduated from BPP Law School with distinctions in both the postgraduate diploma in law and the legal practice course. 

Elyse Lightman Samuels, Communications, Learning, and Special Projects Officer

Elyse Lightman Samuels joined Unbound as Communications, Learning, and Special Projects Officer in April 2014. Elyse previously worked in communications, qualitative data analysis, and external relations at EngenderHealth and American Jewish World Service. Elyse has spent extensive time working in Cambodia as a founding member and Trustee of the Harpswell Foundation, whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders. She is also a founder of PEN Cambodia. Elyse earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts, where she told the stories of an ethnic minority in Cambodia seeking to preserve its traditions and survive in a rapidly changing society; and she earned a MPA in International Nonprofit Management and Public Policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, where her Capstone focused on skills training and certification for migrant workers. Elyse received a B.A. from Brown University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter. 

Will Somerville, UK Program Director

Will Somerville is Director, UK Program at Unbound Philanthropy. In addition to his Unbound role, he also works part-time as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a think tank based in Washington DC. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield. Prior to joining MPI in 2006, Will worked at the Commission for Racial Equality, the U.K. Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). He has authored over sixty policy papers, chapters and journal articles, mostly related to migration, and has commented widely in the media, particularly for the Guardian. His most recent book is Immigration under New Labour (2007, Policy Press). Will holds a degree in History (First Class) from Leeds University, a Master’s degree (with distinction) in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Susan Vega, Accounting and Operations Officer

Susan Vega joined Unbound Philanthropy as Accounting and Operations Officer in January 2014. Susan brings to Unbound over eighteen years of experience in finance, having served most recently as the Assistant Director of Finance for Panthera, a New York-based nonprofit, where she managed the accounting functions for the organization. Prior to that, Susan spent fourteen years at the American Museum of Natural History in a number of roles in increasing responsibility in finance and accounting. Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Brooklyn College. She lives in Long Island, New York, with her husband and two cats.

Ted Wang, US Program Director

Ted Wang is the Director of Unbound Philanthropy’s US Program. Before joining the foundation, Ted had a public policy consulting practice, advising a mix of foundations, advocacy organizations, and elected officials. From 1990 to 2004, he worked at two nonprofit organizations, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ted litigated discrimination and voting rights cases and drafted local and state laws promoting immigrant rights, racial justice, and small business development. Among the recognition he received for his community work include the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus' Legislative Hero Award and the Asian American Bar Association of the Bay Area's Outstanding Leadership to the Legal Community Award. Ted received his bachelor's degree from Reed College and his law degree from Yale Law School. Ted is originally from Taipei, Taiwan, and now lives in Berkeley, California.

Julia Yang-Winkenbach, US Program Assistant

Julia Yang-Winkenbach joined Unbound Philanthropy in January 2015 as a program assistant to the US Program. Previously, Julia worked at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she served as a development associate for the Annual and Special Giving Programs in the Office of External Affairs. As a second-generation Taiwanese American raised in Flushing, Queens, Julia is deeply committed to the foundation’s mission of supporting organizations and groups seeking to create transformative changes that make a difference for migrants and refugees alike. She currently serves on the Board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum’s New York City Chapter (NAPAWF*NYC). Julia has also held civic engagement roles (census and voting rights) with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, as well as various fundraising roles with immigrant rights organizations. Julia completed a MSc in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford, and earned her BA in International Studies and Political Science at the City College of New York - CUNY.

Dipty Jain, Director of Finance and Operations

Dipty is currently the Interim Director of Finance and Operations at Unbound Philanthropy. Dipty leads the National Consulting and Advisory Services team at FMA. She brings comprehensive operations experience in the private and nonprofit sectors to her leadership of FMA's consulting team, helping build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to create the infrastructures they need to be sustainable organizations and increase performance. Dipty started her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP with Fortune 500 clients, and spent several years performing domestic and international operations audits at Schering-Plough Corporation and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. She was a Sparer Public Interest Law fellow at the ACLU Women's Rights Project, has worked with the Safe Harbor Asylum Law Clinic, and was with the Urban Justice Center in the areas of community development and domestic violence. Dipty has served on the Board of Directors of the Third Wave Foundation and Manavi, and has been a long time volunteer with Andolan, Organizing Domestic Workers. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Dipty earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. She also holds the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). 

Board of Directors and Advisory Council

Board of Directors
Debbie Berger 
Kiki Fordham 
Bill Reeves
Hilary Weinstein 

Advisory Council 
Shamit Saggar
Tom Wong