HALIMA LEAK FRANCIS, Ph.D. | Founder & Board Member
Halima is charitable giving professional whose experience includes higher education and grass roots non-profits. She has a proven track record in the development of comprehensive and sustainable fundraising programs focused on donor-centered relationships. She shares her insights through the Write to Bear Alms blog and on the Write to Bear Alms podcast segment.
Her work and expertise have led to significant support for organizations. She has been responsible for more than a 50 percent increase in funding for the Texas Muslim Women's Foundation. Halima also cultivated relationships resulting in multiple leadership gifts for institutions such as New York University and Barnard College of Columbia University. She served as the director of Alumni Relations and Development at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, she worked in alumni relations at NYU's School of Law, and did work at Communities in Schools of Wake County (North Carolina).
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Halima holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development where her dissertation, "Making Bricks Without Straw: The Kresge HBCU Initiative and Fundraising and Historically Black Colleges and Universities", focused on organizational capacity building and fundraising. Also holding a master's in Educational Sociology from NYU, her thesis was "Alumni Giving and Historically Black Colleges and Universities". Halima's earned her bachelor's degree in English from Hampton University.
EDDIE FRANCIS | Board Member
Eddie is a talent acquisition professional, award-winning mass media veteran, and speaker. His expertise is in broadcasting, blogging, public relations, and branding. He is also the founder of the Pledge to Serve initiative.
Eddie made his mark at iHeart Media in New Orleans where he received the 2011 Press Club of New Orleans "Best Radio Entertainment Feature" award for his talk show interview with Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza. He now hosts the podcast For Our Edification, home to the Write to Bear Alms segment. Eddie also served as the public relations director at Southern University at New Orleans where he led the effort to defeat the State of Louisiana's 2011 proposal to potentially close the university.
A native of New Orleans, Eddie holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Loyola University New Orleans and is pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Strategic Leadership from Tennessee State University. He is a former board president of the Dallas-based nonprofit, Inspiring Tomorrow's Leaders.
LESLIE M. BROWN | Board Member
A mental health professional, Leslie is a relational counselor. She has extensive experience working with military veterans, veterans' families, and women/families in substance abuse recovery. Leslie also has an extensive background in fundraising, outreach and programming in the nonprofit and government sectors.
Leslie is a doctoral student in Counseling at Barry University where her research interests include the evolution of families, polyamory families, race/class/gender and cultural competency as well as indigenous and traditional mental health healing modalities. The Winston-Salem native earned her bachelor's degree from Hampton University in Mass Media Arts and her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Thomas University in Florida.