We are a team made up of incredible staff, passionate board members, and valuable community advisors.
This summer, we are lucky to welcome five Simterns to our team.
Explore below and learn more about what each of us do for the Foundation.
Susan DeVenny leads the J. Marion Sims Foundation together with trustees, community advisors, and staff. Susan brings over 30 years of experience in public, private, and non-profit sectors to the Foundation, with a focus on public-private partnerships and community development.
Susan serves on the Graduate School Advisory Board for Winthrop University and the Advisory Board of SC Educational Television. She is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum Charlotte Region and a Fellow with the Diversity Leadership Initiative of The Riley Institute at Furman University. Nationally, she has served on the NAEYC early childhood governing board, and currently serves as Public Policy Chair for the Southeastern Council on Foundations.
Originally from Newtown, CT, Susan holds degrees from Furman University and the University of Georgia. She and her husband, Mayor Alston DeVenny, have lived in Lancaster, SC since 1988. They have four adult children: Miller, Sarah Katherine, Emma, and Mary.
Ashley Collins serves as the Foundation’s Community Engagement Specialist, coordinating the Give Local Lancaster initiative and working with non-profit organizations, the business community, and the community at-large to lift the generosity of all residents in building healthier communities together.
With a master’s degree from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support, she previously consulted and trained staff in public schools and home-based programs providing services to children with autism. Outside of her work at the Foundation, Ashley currently serves on the Board of Visitors for University of South Carolina-Lancaster and Board for the Good Samaritan Scholarship Foundation. Prior to these positions, Ashley held leadership positions in school-based communities and chaired a committee advocating arts education in public schools. In her role as chair, she coordinated a community-wide arts event raising more than $75,000 over 4 years for the Lancaster County School District Arts Program. Volunteering is a passion of Ashley’s that she shares with her family. Together they dedicate their time and talents to serving a number of organizations benefitting all residents of Lancaster County.
Ashley aspires to be a bridge-builder for families and communities in her hometown of Lancaster and its neighboring regions to support community-driven feedback about what makes this region special.
Ashley’s desire is to serve as a bridge builder for families and communities in Lancaster and surrounding areas to increase engagement in and ownership of what makes this region special.
Savannah Crosby currently serves as Community Project Assistant for the Foundation, working closely with programs including the Horizon Education Grant, the Summer Simtern Program, and Give Local Lancaster. Savannah’s position allows her to further explore the passion that was ignited for the service area of the Foundation during her time as a Simtern.
A Class of 2019 Simtern, Savannah returned to work with the Foundation following the completion of her B.A. in psychology and social welfare from Winthrop University in 2019, where she graduated summa cum laude and received the president’s award for academic excellence. As a student, Savannah worked with a number of non-profit organizations and youth-focused programs, where she found her passion for philanthropy and service-oriented work. As an intern, she collaborated with many non-profit partners and helped conduct an in-depth analysis of volunteerism in the areas of Fort Lawn, Great Falls, and Lancaster County, South Carolina.
Cynthia Curtis joined the J. Marion Sims Foundation team as a Community Investment Officer in January 2018. She serves as the primary liaison to the Orton Family Foundation and other program actors of the Community Heart & Soul® initiative underway in Lancaster and Chester Counties. In addition to this role, Cynthia serves as the Coach for the Town of Kershaw.
Cynthia develops opportunities with Foundation partners for community investment, resident engagement, capacity building, and shared learning. She lived in El Salvador for 20 years, working in international cooperation in the Central America region. While there, Cynthia facilitated the establishment of an international learning center in El Salvador to train local and global youth volunteers, development practitioners, and activists. Cynthia has substantial experience in research, travel, and reporting including Central America, Cuba, Haiti, and East Africa.
In 2013 she relocated to the U.S., settling in Chester to join with family. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Cynthia worked with a local non- profit for downtown revitalization and the City of Chester. Cynthia speaks fluent Spanish, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education, and Certificates in Non Profit Management and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Elizabeth Howe, a native of Great Falls, graduated cum laude from Columbia College in December of 2016 with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Public Relations. Elizabeth works closely with the President & CEO in addition to the Programs Director and assists with various program initiatives and serves as the Intern Coordinator. In 2018, she joined the Lancaster County Good Samaritan Foundation Scholarship Board and graduated from the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce Leadership program.
While a student, Elizabeth served as an officer on multiple clubs and honor student organizations on campus, worked as a peer leader for incoming students, and served as the student liaison for the Office of Alumnae Relations. In the summer of 2016, she was a member of the inaugural class of Simterns and worked on a variety of communication and outreach projects such as focus groups and events to promote the Give Local Lancaster initiative. More recently, she worked with the City of Chester as a marketing consultant for a traveling Smithsonian Exhibit in 2017.
Karen Ormand, a native of Lancaster, SC joined the J. Marion Sims Foundation in 2004. Ms. Ormand provides executive and coordination support to the Foundation team. She serves as Grants Administrator, working seamlessly with the Foundation’s Program Director to align the Foundation’s entire grantmaking program with the new strategic direction of the organization. She manages all grants-related information, oversees the financial administration duties of the Foundation, and serves the Board of Trustees in an administrative capacity, managing BoardEffect, as well as trustee and community advisor onboarding. Ms. Ormand serves as the lead event planner for the Foundation. She also supports the day-to-day operations of the Foundation and manages all aspects of building maintenance, contracts, and payables.
Donna V.S. Ortega
As one of two Community Investment Officers, Donna V.S. Ortega manages a portion of the grantmaking portfolio and facilitates the Foundation’s work on nonprofit capacity-building, shared learning, and community indicators. Donna’s professional background includes significant experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, developing and managing programs, and leading strategic planning, research and innovation, communications, fundraising, evaluation, and grantmaking efforts for community-based and national organizations in Washington, DC. Her areas of expertise include asset-building, financial capability and inclusion, microbusiness development and entrepreneurship, behavioral science, and human-centered design.
Donna was a Partner in the 2012-2013 class of the American Society on Aging’s New Ventures in Leadership program and has also been a long-time volunteer for free tax preparation programs for low-wage workers and vulnerable older adults.
She holds a BA from Georgetown University and is an enthusiastic backyard vegetable gardener and traveler. A Filipina born and raised on the island of Guam, Donna is pleased to be making a new home in the Lancaster area.
Pam Temple provides leadership for the organization’s grantmaking and program areas. With over 25 years in the health field, she brings expertise and a systems perspective to the Foundation’s broader community work.
A native and current resident of Great Falls, South Carolina, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Employed with Springs Memorial Hospital for 19 years, she worked in various positions, including Director of Home Care and Hospice, and Director of Quality and Risk Management. Recently, she has worked on the administrative team at XL Mediaworks, Inc.
She served on the Lancaster County Health and Wellness Commission from 1993-2001 and Catawba Area Council on Aging’s Advisory Council from 1998-2001. She has actively volunteered for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Chester County School District, and Team 4:12 Youth Group at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Pam served as a trustee of the Foundation from 2005-2016.
Lauren Thomas supports the Foundation’s strategic planning to strengthen health outcomes in Lancaster and Chester County by working with partner organizations to deepen awareness of community health indicators data.
Lauren teaches health promotion courses at USC-Lancaster that emphasize the implementation of collaborative strategies that build a culture of health. She is a Board member with the Lindsay Pettus Greenway.
Lauren holds a bachelors degree in public relations, a masters in public health, and a graduate certificate in health communications from the University of South Carolina. Lauren has strong maternal and paternal family ties to Lancaster County.
As the Communications Coordinator for the Foundation, Macy works to share the values, mission, and vision of the organization and its initiatives in a way that honors the stories of the community. She has spent the majority of her career in the marketing and advertising space, gaining experiences in areas such as e-commerce, network programming, licensing and advertising.
Macy was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, first moving to South Carolina to attend Furman University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish. In 2013, Macy moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to begin her career in communications. Macy became a resident of Lancaster and joined the Foundation in 2019.
Board of Trustees
Simterns Class of 2020
A Pre-Nursing major and rising sophomore, Jasmine will graduate from Winston Salem State University in 2023 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Jasmine graduated from Lancaster High School in 2019.
A 2018 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Emma holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Public Relations. Emma graduated from Lancaster High School in 2014.
A rising senior at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, Ryan studies nursing. He will graduate with his Bachelor of Science degree in 2022. Ryan graduated from Lancaster High School in 2017.
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