Staff Team

The Brooklyn Community Foundation is led and run by professionals who represent diverse perspectives, expertise, neighborhoods and interests. Our staff and our Board members have a deep knowledge of the borough and of the issues. And, as strong stewards of the funds, our team is committed to an open and fair process.

President & CEO

Cecilia Clarke is President and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. For more than 20 years, she has successfully managed and developed nonprofit organizations in the greater New York City area, with an emphasis on community and cultural advancement.

Cecilia joined the Foundation in September 2013 after more than a decade as Executive Director of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, an innovative educational leadership program she founded in 2001 for low-income young women from New York City and Newark, NJ. Cecilia built Sadie Nash from an inaugural class of 16 girls in 2002 to an annual roster of more than 500 participants. Under her leadership, Sadie Nash was awarded the 2010 New York Times Company Gold Prize for Overall Management Excellence.

Prior to establishing Sadie Nash, Cecilia enjoyed a successful career in arts management. She led the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was Associate Director of The Drawing Center, and was responsible for government fundraising at the Brooklyn Museum. She got her start as a social worker, counseling women at Fountain House, a “clubhouse” program for the mentally ill.

Cecilia has served on the New York State Attorney General’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization, the Board of Directors of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, as an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s School of Education, and as a volunteer for the Park Slope Safe Homes Project.

Cecilia received her B.A. from Georgetown University. She lives in Fort Greene with her husband and three children.

Chief Operating Officer

Michael J. Burke joined the Community Foundation in January 2012. Previously Michael was the Chief Operating Officer of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. He has also served as Chief of Staff for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Budget and Policy Director for former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden; and Vice President in community and housing development matters for Chemical Bank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust. A resident of Brooklyn for almost 25 years, Michael has been very involved in the borough’s arts and civic organizations. He has held positions on the Boards of Directors of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., BRIC Arts/Media/Bklyn and Best of Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Community Pride Center. Michael received his Bachelors in Political Science from Columbia College, and a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Program Director

Toya Williford, Program Director, is a successful and highly skilled leader with over 15 years of experience in philanthropic services, program development and management, organizational development, and community organizing. As Program Director, Toya manages all aspects of the Foundation's grant making and technical assistance program, deploying over $18 million since 2009. Previously, she was a program officer for the Foundation’s predecessor Independence Community Foundation for seven years, playing a key role in the creation and launch of Brooklyn Community Foundation.

A native of Cleveland, Toya is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a M.S. in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University. In addition to serving as the co-chair for the NYC Youth Funders Network, she is an active member of the Education Funders Working Group. Toya serves on the Board of Directors for the Hanson Place Child Development Center, volunteers with her local PTA, and is the president of her block association. She lives in Bedford Stuyvesant with her two children.

Vice President, Development and External Affairs

Alex Villari oversees development and external relations for the Brooklyn Community Foundation. Alex works closely with the Foundation’s leadership, donors, fund holders, giving groups, and charitable partners in maximizing the social impact of their Brooklyn giving while growing charitable assets for the borough. Previously, Alex served as Senior Director of Institutional Advancement and Principal Giving at New York Public Radio. He has also held senior development positions at Columbia University Medical Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, and New York Academy of Sciences. Over his career, he has secured and directed more than $100 million from individual, foundation, and government sources. Alex earned a B.A. in Religion with a minor in Anthropology from Columbia University. Since moving to Brooklyn in 1995, Alex has been actively involved in the borough’s civic and cultural life and serves on the Member's Committee of Philanthropy New York. Alex lives in Park Slope with his wife Amy and their two young sons.

Director of Communications

Liane Stegmaier manages the Foundation's multichannel communications, public relations, and marketing strategies to build awareness, engagement, and partnership for our work throughout the borough. Liane joined the Foundation in 2011; previously she oversaw communications for the Lupus Research Institute and the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation, and was an intern with the NYC2012 Olympic Bid. Liane graduated with honors from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and is a proud decade-long resident of Brooklyn. She lives on Ocean Parkway (the country's first bicycle path!) in Kensington with her boyfriend and their rescue dog.

Development and Marketing Associate

Julia Metro joined the Brooklyn Community Foundation in November of 2012. Previously, she coordinated development and fundraising efforts for Friends of Materials for the Arts, the nonprofit partner of Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Julia is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Art History and French, and currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Brooklyn-based dance group, the A.O. Movement Collective. A Brooklyn resident since 2007 and proud Massachusetts native, she lives in Prospect Heights.


Grants and Administrative Associate

Kavie Barnes joined the Brooklyn Community Foundation in April 2013. Previously, she served as Research Associate on the Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations at the Aspen Institute and as Curatorial Coordinator and Assistant to the Chief Curator at the Rubin Museum of Art. Kavie studied nonprofit arts administration at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. A Chicago native, Kavie also attained a Masters degree in Art History at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. She currently lives in Lefferts Gardens.