Independent Sector Announces 2016-17 Cohort of American Express NGen Fellows

Twelve young leaders are selected for a year-long fellowship to develop their leadership skills and expand collective knowledge for the charitable sector

(WASHINGTON, November 10, 2016) — Independent Sector is proud to announce the 2016-17 cohort of the American Express NGen Fellows program.

The NGen Fellows, 12 outstanding charitable sector leaders aged 40 or under, are selected each year to participate in a range of activities that deepen their individual capabilities, expand their collective knowledge, and grow their professional networks. This selective fellowship program continues to build the next generation of charitable leaders as part of IS’ NGen: Moving Nonprofit Leaders from Next to Now initiative.

The 2016 NGen Fellows are:

  • Devon Akmon, Director, Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI
  • Ivan Canada, Executive Director, The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad, Greensboro, NC
  • Jane Cheung, Vice President of Programs, The Pablove Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
  • Paul Daugherty, President and CEO, Philanthropy West Virginia, Morgantown, WV
  • Radha Friedman, Director of Programs, World Justice Project, Washington, DC
  • Lisa Fasolo Frishman, Senior Program Officer, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, Buffalo, NY
  • Jeremie Greer, Vice President of Policy & Research, CFED, Washington, DC
  • Abby Laine Sienkiewicz, Interim Executive Director/CEO, Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado Spring, CO
  • Neesha Modi, Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation, Troy, MI
  • Ola Ojewumi, Founder, Project ASCEND, Beltsville, MD
  • Kashif Shaikh, Founder and Executive Director, Pillars Fund, Chicago, IL
  • Jamie Smith, Co-Executive Director, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, New York, NY

“We are thrilled to recognize and work with these 12 talented young professionals,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “The American Express NGen Fellows program fosters collaboration among these leaders and their organizations in order to collectively address our greatest challenges and solve our biggest problems. The charitable sector will benefit from their collective wisdom and action.”

To honor eight years of the NGen Fellows Program, Independent Sector will officially become a partner of the American Express Leadership Academy, an industry-defining program that has developed more than 2,500 global, nonprofit, and social purpose leaders. Current NGen Fellows and alumni will now be able to take full advantage of the Academy’s growing alumni network and development events.

“For nearly a decade, American Express has supported social purpose leaders in developing the skills they need to succeed,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Today, we celebrate a new milestone in our nonprofit leadership strategy – the addition of the NGen Fellows Program to our growing network of Leadership Academy initiatives. We congratulate our 2016-17 Fellows and look forward to advancing their talents and expertise.”

Over the course of their fellowship, they also will work on a group-led project which contributes to the knowledge of the sector. The program runs November 2016 – October 2017, beginning with the Fellows’ appearance at this year’s Independent Sector Conference in Washington, DC.

To read bios for each of the 2016 American Express NGen Fellows, visit:


About Independent Sector

Independent Sector is the leadership forum for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations whose member networks collectively represent tens of thousands of organizations locally, nationally, and globally. Learn more at

About American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow

One of American Express’ three philanthropic platforms is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and social purpose sectors, American Express makes grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. More than 16,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefited from American Express leadership programs, including the American Express Leadership Academy among others. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector by bringing together emerging leaders from a diverse set of nonprofit, social sector and non-governmental organizations. For leadership journey stories and additional resources, visit

Types: Press Release
Global Topics: IS Member, Leadership Development