President & CEO
Prior to joining the William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation, Leslie was the Vice President of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland where she led the program team in developing targeted, outcomes-based approaches for its grantmaking and non-grantmaking activities. She has also been the project manager for the foundation’s Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood education initiative. Prior to joining the Sisters of Charity Foundation ten years ago, she served in various capacities for the Cleveland office of the Enterprise Foundation where she provided training and technical assistance to community-based organizations in the areas of community planning and program development. Leslie holds a master’s degree from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Indiana University. She is active in community service including as a founding board member of Funders Together to End Homelessness.
Senior Program Officer
Marci Lu is the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation’s first east coast-based senior program officer. She brings to this role experience at the federal, state and local levels, working collaboratively with funders, nonprofit practitioners and civic leaders to strengthen families and communities. Prior to joining the O’Neill Foundation, Marci managed a portfolio of national grantees at the Social Innovation Fund, a federal evidence-based grantmaking initiative devoted to scaling and evaluating what works. Before that, Marci managed her own consulting practice where she advised philanthropies and nonprofits on grantmaking, strategy and organizational development, and was a program officer at the Cleveland Foundation where she focused on strengthening the social safety net and building nonprofit and philanthropic sector capacity. Earlier in her career, Marci worked at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and served in the Washington, DC offices of U.S. Representative Sander Levin (MI) and Governor Thomas H. Kean (NJ). Marci is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and holds a master’s in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University.
Program Officer, Communications & NextGen Engagement
As a Program Officer of the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation and member of the Foundation’s virtual office, Marlene manages the NextGen & Youth Grantmaking programs and applies various approaches to engage a geographically dispersed, multi-gen family. Prior to joining the William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation, Marlene was the Manager of Development & Marketing and Executive Assistant to the President at the National Center for Family Philanthropy. She served as a steering committee member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy's DC Chapter and held programmatic positions at the Hovde Foundation, American Red Cross for Greater Grand Rapids, and the YMCA of the USA. Marlene holds a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit administration and M.P.A. from Grand Valley State University. While in graduate school, she was a research assistant to the Johnson Center for Philanthropy's Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy. In her free time, you’ll likely find her practicing yoga, biking, at a farmers market, in the kitchen, or traveling about. On the side, she translates grant reports (from Spanish to English) for The Resource Foundation, a nonprofit organization that facilitates charitable giving from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to the Americas and the Caribbean.
Kara joined the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation in 2018. She has over 12 years experience in grant administration, most recently at Foundation Management Services, a philanthropic advisory firm, and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. She received her B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing and International Business) from La Salle University in Philadelphia. Kara has served as the Vice Chair for the Ohio Regional Chapter of Grants Managers Network and was appointed by Mayor Frank Jackson as a Commissioner for the City of Cleveland’s Bond Accountability Commission. She has a love for and a strong commitment to the city of Cleveland. She lives in the West Park neighborhood with her school-age daughter and their beloved dog, Bruno.
Office Operations Coordinator
Lisytte joined the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation in 2019 and applies a rich background rooted in business, finance, and administration. As the Office Operations Coordinator, she provides critical administrative and bookkeeping support for the Foundation’s grantmaking and office operations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lisytte worked with a variety of businesses, organizations, and minority-owned financial institutions, including: Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve, and New York Community Bank, among others. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering throughout the Cleveland area, with her church, and with other nonprofit organizations. As a native Clevelander, there is nothing she enjoys more than spending quality time with her family.