Ashley Carter, Director (She/Her/Hers)
Ashley Carter joined the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in 2022 and leads as the Director of the Michigan Justice Fund.
Ashley began her career as a public defender in New York City with The Legal Aid Society. For almost five years Ashley represented hundreds of clients with cases ranging from low-level violations to serious felonies. Ashley has been active in community engagement including “know your rights” trainings for young people and adults, voter registration of inmates at Rikers Island, and mentorship development for the children of incarcerated parents in Brooklyn.
After working in New York City, Ashley joined the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission as a Regional Manager where she worked to
restructure the public defender system across the state. Ashley closely advised county administrations and local court systems on how to restructure their indigent defense systems by implementing practice standards for attorneys taking court appointed criminal cases developed by the MIDC. In this capacity Ashley created and presented trainings for attorneys taking court appointed cases, led policy reform discussions with various stakeholders about indigent defense, and helped counties create plans for ensuring that every citizen in the state had access to their constitutional right to counsel, regardless of their ability to pay.
Most recently, Ashley served as a Senior Attorney + Deputy Director in the Justice Project of Advancement Project’s National Office in Washington, DC. Her work focused on addressing oppressive systems of mass incarceration and policing by partnering with grassroots organizations to support their campaigns around these issues in cities across the country. She provided legal and strategy support and helped develop mechanisms for widespread community education and engagement around issues in the criminal legal system. These mechanisms included impact litigation, FOIA, and policy research, development and recommendation.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ashley attended Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Jed Oppenheim, Steering Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Justice Fund, Program Director of Public Welfare Foundation (He/Him/His)
Jed joined the Foundation in 2022 as its Program Director overseeing the foundation’s portfolios in the Midwest and Western part of the United States.
Jed is an advocate with close to 15 years’ experience doing and supporting work in Mississippi and the southeast focused on ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and supporting community-led transformation efforts around education, family economic security and food systems. Before joining the foundation, Jed was a program officer with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s place-based office supporting communities throughout Mississippi and New Orleans. There he managed a portfolio supporting grassroots, racial justice leaders focused on education, family economic security and food systems.
Prior to his work at the Kellogg Foundation, Jed was Director of Community Engagement at the local United Way and a long-time advocate at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Mississippi, focused on education and youth justice. He also served close to four years on the Jackson Public School Districts Board of Trustees, serving over 25,000 students, their families and educators focused on education equity and building authentic youth voice into the decision-making. Prior to coming to Mississippi, Jed spent time working on youth focused and led issues in Indonesia, Rwanda, Ghana, California, and South Africa.
Jed recently completed an education doctorate from the University of Southern California. He also holds a masters from Teachers College in New York and a bachelors from University of California, Santa Cruz.
Andrea Cole, Steering Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Justice Fund, Treasurer of Grantmakers in Health of Ethel & James Flinn Foundation (She/Her/Hers)
Andrea Cole is the Treasurer of Grantmakers in Health of the Detroit based Ethel & James Flinn Foundation. The Flinn Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality, scope, and delivery of mental health services by advancing best practice programs delivered in Michigan. Andrea was previously the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Skillman Foundation.
Andrea is Advisory Board Chair of TRAILS. TRAILS is a $50 million state-funded program that trains and supports the existing workforce in schools to provide evidence-based and culturally responsible mental health programming to students K-12 including prevention, early intervention and crisis mitigation.
She is a Board Member of Mindful Philanthropy which focuses on improving youth mental health supports. Andrea also serves on the Grantmakers in Health Board as Chair of the Finance Committee. She has been on the Governance Committee of the Michigan Justice Fund since inception.
Andrea received both her master’s and Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Wayne State University. Andrea is married to Kelvin and the proud mother of two sons, Brandon and Christopher.
Annie Mendoza, Program Officer (She/Her/Hers)
Annie Mendoza serves as Program Officer for the Michigan Justice Fund.
Annie Mendoza is a Michigan native with a comprehensive background in team leadership, community development, and stakeholder management.
She has spent her career improving, managing, and piloting programs within the City of Detroit and Wayne County, advocating for holistic approaches to community development. Her experience in local government has uniquely positioned her to serve collaboratively across Wayne County, large and small nonprofits throughout the region, elected officials, regional chambers, and most importantly, residents.
Most recently, Annie served as Deputy Director for Wayne County’s Economic Development Department, acting as a lead on strategy and implementation for Wayne County’s $339 million American Rescue Plan allocation. Additionally, Annie served as the executive director for Wayne County’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, issuing grants to local organizations for the assessment of brownfield sites.
Annie obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2014 and her Master of Community Development in 2016 from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Josie Graham, Program Assistant (She/Her/Hers)
Josie comes to our staff with a multidisciplinary background in nonprofit studies, criminal justice reform, and education, with a specific interest in alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice, and utilizing the arts for healing and transformation.
She previously volunteered, interned, and worked at organizations addressing issues of criminal justice, education equity, gender-based violence, early learning, higher education, the arts, youth empowerment, houselessness, and more.
Josie believes in the importance of approaching her work with an intersectional and cross-issue/sector lens. She draws her social justice foundation from the relationships, community organizing, and popular education of historic and present-day social movements.
She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies and minors in Urban Studies and Community Action and Social Change, prioritizing service and applied learning experiences, as well as local community advocacy and organizing.
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