William (Bill) Miller

Chief Executive Officer

Bill is passionate about working with nonprofit organizations. He has assisted regional, national, and international organizations with major gift initiatives, annual giving programs, planning and feasibility studies, development audits and philanthropic capability assessments, endowment programs, board training and development, corporate and foundation relations, prospect research, and campaign management. During his career, he has been involved with fund development projects that have raised more than $1 billion.

Bill has received a number of awards for his contributions to philanthropy and fundraising including the coveted Robert J. Smythe Award for Outstanding Professional Fundraiser. He regularly presents at industry conferences, authors articles for leading nonprofit and professional publications, and serves as a guest speaker on radio segments as well as podcasts. Bill has taught at Duquesne University and started an internship program with Carnegie-Mellon University students interested in philanthropic resource development.

Bill also has many years of experience working as a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant with CCS, which is one of the largest and most respected international fundraising firms in the country. During his time with CCS, he served as the Executive Director for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s $125 million capital and endowment campaign, which has received more than $233 million in philanthropic commitments and was, at the time, the most successful Catholic fundraising initiative on record. As a consultant, Bill also managed an international campaign for a nonprofit organization based in Paris, France. This particular campaign, which was conducted in both the United States and Europe, solicited gifts in various currencies and involved the management and training of volunteers on two continents.

Bill lives with his daughter in Rahway, NJ.


Clarinda Joseph-Cumberbatch

Chief Operating Officer

Clarinda Joseph-Cumberbatch leads the company’s operations, with responsibility for business functions, human resource management and fiscal oversight. She also oversees the company’s ongoing restructuring and expansion efforts.

In her previous role with the Community Charter School of Paterson, she served as Chief Operating Officer with direct responsibility for the company’s increasing development and expansion efforts to support a strong foundation in educating the young scholars of Paterson, NJ.

Clarinda has focused her career around public service utilizing her skillsets in the areas of finance and operations to serve in both primary and higher education sectors.

Clarinda holds both a master’s degree and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Centenary University.


James M. Gurland, J.D.

Chief Development Officer

James Gurland currently serves as Chief Development Officer at the Kean University Foundation where his primary focus is oversight of the development and execution of fundraising strategies in alignment with an overarching strategic plan. This includes the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major gifts for the University, as well as managing and leading all aspects of planned giving. Amongst James’ achievements is his intricate role in securing the largest gift in Kean University history.

James previously held the positions of National Director at the Jerusalem Foundation, Inc., and Executive Director of the New Jersey Region at the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science.

James holds a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the world of development, James practiced law as a litigator in New Jersey specializing primarily in employment law.

James recently concluded a 3-year term as President of the Board of Governors of Daughters of Israel, a nursing facility which offers comprehensive services including long-term care, sub-acute rehabilitation, hospice/palliative care, and living with assistance.

In his spare time, James is a proud father to his son and enjoys travelling as often as possible.


Anne Stern

Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Anne is devoted to helping nonprofit organizations realize their dreams. Being a product of a public university system drew her to Kean University Foundation, where she is re-establishing a corporate and foundation relations function.

Prior to coming aboard, Anne raised and stewarded $31,000,000 as development officer at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions – American Red Cross, The Art Institute of Chicago (two years), Boys & Girls Clubs of America (24 years), Phoenix House (three years), and WNET/Thirteen. She taught fundraising at Columbia College Chicago, New York University, Pace University, and Purchase University. She also served as Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s first fundraising consultant to its affiliate as well as a founding member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Diversity Council where she drafted its first nationwide strategic plan.

Anne holds a B.A. with Honors from Harpur College of Binghamton University where she majored in music. She earned her M.B.A. at that institution’s Graduate School of Business, with concentrations in organizational development, marketing, and arts management.

A resident of Chatham, New Jersey, Anne is a life member of the National Council of Jewish Women. As a Craft Yarn Council of America certified instructor, she also teaches crochet.


Alissa DiScala

Director of Annual Giving

Alissa found her love for philanthropy as a freshman in college. While attending Saint Peter’s University she was hired as a phoneathon student. With her early success as a phoneathon student, she continued to work in the field of educational fund development for twelve years. For most of her career she has developed and implemented annual giving programs. For the past eight years Alissa has worked at Kean where she closed major gifts, planned gifts, relaunched the phone program, managed direct mail appeals, campus community campaigns, and in April 2019 launched the University’s first Day of Giving.

Prior to joining the Kean University Foundation, Alissa held positions at Mount Saint Mary Academy and Saint Peter’s University. After graduating from Saint Peter’s, she joined the Advancement team as the Annual Giving Officer. After some time at her alma mater, Alissa decided she wanted to make a change and go into alumni relations, where she managed the alumnae relations office for Mount Saint Mary Academy.

At the Association of Fundraising Professionals 2018 Excellence in Fundraising awards luncheon, Alissa received the award for Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser.

Alissa earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Saint Peter’s University.

Alissa lives in her hometown of North Plainfield with her husband, Mike and their two children, Dominic and Ella.


Ofelia Gomes

Director of Data Management & Analytics

Ofelia has been in the nonprofit space for more than 20 years. Ofelia started working with the Kean University Foundation as a student worker after volunteering with the brick campaign for the class of 2001.

Ofelia is responsible for leading the data management functions and coordinating activities related to the planning, execution, collection, and cleaning of donor and prospect data. In her roles, she oversees activities leading to the final delivery of clean data for the purposes of reports, publications, and Foundation fundraising financials (actual and budget). Ofelia also has a leadership role in defining processes and procedures for maintaining donor and financial prospect information. She coordinates, develops, and maintains all Information systems and technological applications to meet the current as well as the ongoing needs of the Kean University Foundation.

Ofelia’s earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Information Systems and also holds a master’s degree in Graphic Communication. She lives with her children in Newark, NJ.


Celia Israel

Executive Administrator to the CEO & Manager of Board Relations

Celia brings a combination of passion and professionalism to her dual roles at the Kean University Foundation. Having accumulated more than a decade’s-worth of experience supporting executives at a C-Suite level, Celia relies upon a wealth of organizational and time-management skills, as well as expertise in the realm of project coordination and attention to detail, to ensure she fulfills her responsibilities as Executive Administrator to the CEO.

In her role as Manager of Board Relations, Celia calls upon her ability to juggle multiple high-priority assignments while remaining an available, knowledgeable resource to all members of the Kean University Foundation Board of Directors, ensuring all remain well-versed and confident in their respective roles.

Prior to joining the Kean University Foundation, Celia spent more than eight years in the world of community banking where she provided support and project assistance to the various departments which reside beneath the Risk Management umbrella, such as Compliance and Cybersecurity. While there, her responsibilities were varied, much as they are now, and she took great pride in developing her talents – from the succinct manner in which she addresses correspondence, to the consummate presentation of board materials; from building a positive rapport with coworkers and clients, alike, to gaining advanced knowledge in the realm of computer software and technology.

Celia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, a State University of New York, and enjoys flexing her design and editorial skills for both business and personal purposes. She lives in South Amboy, New Jersey, with her husband, daughter, and crazy dog, Binsky.


Edward W. Ahart II

Chief Development Officer

Edward Ahart currently serves as the Chief Development Officer at the Kean University Foundation with responsibility of securing philanthropic resources through foundational grants and bridging relationships between industry and academia.

In his previous role, Edward worked in the Development and Alumni Relations office at the University of Delaware. In addition to various major giving driven responsibilities, he worked to play a key role in building corporate relationships that helped establish a new masters of science program in the Life Sciences. Prior to his time at the University of Delaware, Edward held fundraising positions in various New Jersey non-profit organizations including Junior Achievement, the American Cancer Society and The Arc. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Old Greenwich Cemetery in Stewartsville, NJ since 2016.

Edward holds a masters degree in public administration & non-profit management from Fairleigh Dickinson University as well as a bachelors degree in sociology & cultural anthropology from Stockton University and studied classical archaeology and architecture in Athens, Greece.


Tara McGowan

Director of Special Events & Interim Associate Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations

Tara currently holds the position of Director of Special Events & Interim Associate Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations. Before starting with the Foundation, Tara worked in corporate events for four years. In this role, she had the opportunity to travel to manage conferences, coordinate exciting events, from teambuilding activities to historically accurate dinner parties, and even manage virtual conferences. Tara often had to toggle back-and-forth onto different client projects, granting her the comprehensive experience in special events, meeting management and sponsorship management.

While Tara’s interest in events began at a young age, she developed her knowledge by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies from Stockton University. During her time at Stockton University, Tara was a student worker for the Campus Center’s Office of Event Services. It was in this setting that Tara grew interested in working in events within a university environment.


Molly McGarry

Senior Director of Annual Giving

Molly currently holds the position of Senior Director of Annual Giving. She manages a critical role for the Foundation by seeking funds to increase unrestricted and restricted support. Molly is responsible for the planning, execution and management of the comprehensive annual giving program which includes cultivating, soliciting and stewarding the Kean University community.

Most recently, Molly served as Interim Director of Advancement and Director of Annual Giving for The Elisabeth Morrow School (EMS). Prior to being at EMS, Molly held a principal tenured position at the Holy Name Medical Center Foundation as Manager of Development where she consistently achieved results across all individual giving programs, including Grateful Patient, Employee and the Founders Circle Giving Society.

Molly is a high performing, results-driven, fundraising generalist with experience in annual giving, capital campaigns, grant writing, and special events, as well as volunteer and board partnerships and committees. Molly received a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from York College of Pennsylvania.


Eileen M. Cotter

Philanthropy Officer

A passionate believer in the power of education to change lives, Eileen has built her career in educational fundraising and management. She has assisted many individuals in making impactful contributions that open a world of opportunity for students while advancing the mission of the organizations she is privileged to serve. She is especially inspired by those whose generosity has expanded the reach and continue to build the world-class education available at Kean University.

Eileen began her career at the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, serving private elementary and high schools in New York’s most impoverished neighborhoods. She has served at Saint Peters University, Middlesex County College and the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College. While coordinating campaigns that consistently exceeded expectations, she developed expertise in working with individuals, organizations, corporations, and foundations to increase the reward and deepen the impact of their philanthropy.

A graduate of Fairfield University, Eileen is a member of the National Association of Fundraising Professionals and the New Jersey Council of Charitable Gift Planners. She lives in Fanwood, NJ with her husband and son.


Maglinda Perez

Assistant Director of Development Operations

Maglinda currently holds the position of Assistant Director of Development Operations at Kean University Foundation, serving as the primary processor of gifts and acknowledgments. This position is crucial to the stewardship of the Foundation’s donors and will directly impact the Foundation’s ability to grow its donor base and conduct a capital campaign.

Previously, Maglinda worked at New Jersey City University for 13 years starting as a receptionist in the Health Sciences Department. Six years later she moved into the Advancement Services Department as Database Administrator and Gift Processor, and was eventually promoted to Associate Director of Advancement Services.

Maglinda holds an A.A.S. in Telecom Management and Visual Communication, and a B.S. in Fine Arts and Crafts. She recently retired from the award-winning Narrow Bridge Films where she held the role of Production Designer, Prop Maker, and Special FX makeup artist. In June 2022, she received an award for Best Special Effects Makeup at the New Jersey Film Awards. When not at Kean, she enjoys traveling, wood-working, sculpting, painting and spending time with her family. She lives in Jersey City with her daughter.


Lori Funicello, CFRE

Director of Planned Giving

Lori Funicello, CFRE, is a mission-driven development professional with extensive experience in both higher education and healthcare. She began her career at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) where she served as Director of Development and was responsible for securing significant philanthropic support to advance medical research during a university-wide $1 billion campaign. While working at CUMC, Lori earned a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College. Upon graduating, Lori joined Bank Street College of Education where she was tasked with establishing a major gifts program in anticipation of a multi-million-dollar comprehensive campaign.

In addition to her tenure at CUMC and Bank Street College of Education, Lori has served in leadership roles at New Jersey City University, Caldwell University and Clara Maass Medical Center.

Lori is passionate about raising funds to support first-generation college students from diverse and undeserved backgrounds. She believes that higher education has a lasting and transformative impact and can change the trajectory of both student lives and their families for generations to come.

Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from SUNY New Paltz. She enjoys the outdoors and spends her weekends hiking, biking and practicing yoga when she is not cheering for her children at various sporting events. She lives in Rockaway, NJ with her husband and family.


Michael Russo

Senior Director of Development

Michael Russo is currently serving as the Senior Director of Development for the Kean University Foundation. An experienced fundraiser, Michael is passionate about philanthropy and has a diversified portfolio of development experience. He takes pride in creating educational opportunities and serving as a trusted philanthropic advisor.

Before coming to Kean, Michael served as the Director of Regional Development for the University of Arizona. In that role he worked closely with several units on campus and was responsible for major giving throughout the northeast region. Previously, Michael oversaw the fundraising efforts for two colleges while serving as the Director of Development at William Paterson University. Michael started his career in higher education at Fairleigh Dickinson University where he held several roles, including Director of the Fund for FDU.

He has served on the Little Falls Board of Education for the past 10 years, with six of those years being in leadership positions as the Board President and Vice President. During his tenure, the school district earned many accolades, including being named a Blue Ribbon and Light House District.

He is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a BA in communication, and Fairleigh Dickinson University with a master’s in public administration. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he resides in Little Falls with his wife Cara, and daughters Alyssa, Jillian and Lindsay.


Justin Talavera

Philanthropy Officer

Justin Talavera is a driven development professional serving as a Philanthropy Officer at the Kean University Foundation (KUF). In this role, Justin will serve as an ambassador for the Kean University Foundation securing philanthropic investments toward Kean’s students, faculty, programs and facilities.

Before joining the KUF team, Justin was the Director of Major Gifts and Grand Funding at La Salle Academy, an all-male Catholic college preparatory high school in Manhattan. Justin managed a portfolio of major gift and foundation prospects as well as the planning and execution of key events such as the Annual Spring Gala and Cardinal Classic Golf Outing. More recently, Jusitn led successful campaigns to enhance the Green Team Hydroponics program, Fine Arts program and the opening of the new Fitness Center.

Prior to serving at La Salle Academy, Justin was a Director at Changing Our World Inc., a national philanthropic consulting firm. During his time at Changing Our World Inc., Justin served as a campaign director for the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s $65 million capital campaign, the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation $40 million capital campaign, provided support for the National World War I Memorial’s $50 million capital campaign and conducted feasibility studies with independent secondary schools.

Justin holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and a master’s degree in sports management from St. John’s University. He was a student manager for the Men’s Basketball program for four years, then became a graduate assistant in Athletic Development. In his spare time, Justin enjoys spending time with family and friends maintaining an active lifestyle by hiking, youth basketball training and functional strength training. Additionally, he is a certified instructor in Steel Mace Flow, an innovative fitness regimen renowned for its ability to promote both physical and mental well-being.


Ayana McCall

Assistant Director of Development Operations

Ayana McCall's journey from Harlem, NY to a thriving career in the non-profit sector reflects resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to service. With 16 years of experience, she excels in database management, fundraising and administrative operations. Ayana's passion for philanthropy extends beyond her professional life, as she actively empowers women and fosters a culture of giving in her community. She stands as a beacon of inspiration, dedicated to creating positive change and catalyzing transformative outcomes for society.