The VegFund Team

Board of Directors

Miguel Danielson
Miguel Danielson

President

Miguel is an intellectual property attorney, entrepreneur, and long-time vegan with roots in Boston and the Midwest. Miguel co-founded the gourmet vegan pizzeria, Peace o' Pie, and was president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund while a student at Harvard Law School. Today he represents a multitude of successful technology clients across the country, as well as the occasional vegan food company and non-profit animal sanctuary.

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Ginny MessinaGinny Messina

Vice President

Ginny is a dietitian, animal advocate and long-time vegan. She is the author of Vegan for Life and Vegan for Her, as well as author of the first textbook on vegetarian nutrition for health professionals and students. She writes about vegan nutrition on her blog, The Vegan RD, is a frequent speaker at both vegan events and scientific conferences, and has published papers on vegetarian and soy nutrition in medical journals. Ginny taught nutrition to dietetics students at Central Michigan University, was a dietitian for PCRM, and was director of nutrition services for a large medical center in Washington, DC. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington with her husband and an ever-changing population of rescued cats. When she’s not researching and writing about vegan nutrition, Ginny volunteers for her local animal shelter and spay/neuter group, practices piano, gardens, collects vintage kitchen linens and is learning to knit with plant fibers.

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Jody RaschJody Rasch

Treasurer

Jody heads the Social Performance Group at Moody’s Corporation working on projects including microfinance and social investing. He also serves on various advisory boards including the Global Impact Investing Rating Service (GIIRS), Women’s World Banking’s Gender Performance Initiative, the SMART Campaign’s Certification Task Force and Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Advisory Committee. Prior to this, Jody worked at Moody’s Risk Management Services as part of the training group heading up product training for derivatives and corporate finance and as project manager for RiskCalc a corporate risk modeling product. Prior to joining Moody’s in 2002, Jody owned, for 15 years, a training company that conducted financial training programs for international commercial and investment banks. He also headed the New York derivatives sales desk of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and has worked in the corporate treasury departments of two Fortune 500 companies. Jody has a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and holds an MBA in Finance from New York University. In addition to VegFund, Jody serves on the board of Battery Dance Company. Jody is a long-time vegan and animal advocate.

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Matthew GoodwinMatthew Goodwin

Board Member

Matthew started his professional career as a union carpenter and in 1985 he founded Ver-Tex CSI, a Boston-based construction company. While currently operating as the president and CEO of Ver-Tex, he devotes considerable time advocating on behalf of animals. Matthew has been on the VegFund board since 2009, and he is using his entrepreneurial talents to help create more vegan food options in the Boston area. He was a co-founder of Peace o' Pie, an all vegan gourmet pizzeria. He also toured North America as a member of the documentary film crew for "I'm Vegan." He partnered with Mercy for Animals to launch a successful campaign on Boston's public transit system. Matthew is a proud father and is a regular volunteer at a school in a poor section of Rio de Janerio.

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Claudette Silver - Board MemberClaudette Silver

Board Member

Claudette is Founder and President of Silver Muse Productions. For nearly two decades, Claudette’s professional work has blended progressive causes with pop culture. With a strong emphasis on using events and public performances to deliver the message, Claudette develops communications strategies, campaigns, and events for nonprofits, musicians, and other public figures. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, she is also a consultant with the LightBox Collaborative where she develops communications strategies for some of the top nonprofits in the country. Prior to her foray into event management and communications, Claudette received her BA in design from the American University and taught in the Washington, D.C., public school system. She has also toured with various artists including Moby, Brandi Carlile and Kenny Chesney, and has worked on several film and TV projects, most notably HBO’s “Veep.”back to top


Dave Norris - Board MemberDave Norris

Board Member

Dave runs a company which owns and manages parking, commercial and retail assets and promotes economic development in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. He has served as both City Councilor (2006–2013) and Mayor of Charlottesville (2008–2012). During his time in office, he worked with a diverse array of public, private, and non-profit partners to advance innovative and effective approaches to affordable housing, environmental sustainability, youth development, alternative transportation, and animal welfare. Dave has dedicated his professional life to various civic engagement initiatives, including stints as Director of Community Impact for United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge, and founding Director of the PACEM ministry, which provides shelter and meals to hundreds of homeless individuals in Charlottesville each winter. As a vegan for more than 20 years, Dave has co-founded and led several animal advocacy organizations in his community and was founder of the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival, the second longest-running event of its kind in the country.

Staff

Leslie Barcus - Executive Director
Leslie Barcus

Executive Director

Leslie has extensive governance and senior management leadership experience in nonprofit and private enterprises around the world, having worked with organizations from start-up through transition and growth stages. Her professional exposure spans more than 40 countries and includes work in animal rights and welfare, biodiversity conservation, higher learning and adult education, microfinance, financial education, behavior change, organizational capacity building, international economic development and corporate, retail and small business banking. Informed by her breadth of experience, Leslie’s professional philosophy is that innovative business models, products and services, and creative approaches for appealing to human reason and compassion, can bring into being a kind, healthy and generous world for people, animals and the environment.

Leslie is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio and has a master’s degree in international economic development from American University. She serves on the Investment Committee of Verde Ventures at Conservation International, is a Board Member of Humane Society International and is an annual selection committee panelist for the Fulbright Programs’ Humphrey Fellows.

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Amanda Riley
Amanda Riley

Operations Assistant

Amanda has a B.A. in psychology and has been an animal advocate since 2009. She has tabled, helped out with events, and ran a campus vegetarian group. Most recently, she spent three weeks on Warped Tour helping Action for Animals promote veganism, and she is currently assisting with the Our Hen House website. Amanda lives in the New York City area and enjoys music and reading, in addition to lots of vegan potlucks and events.

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