Our Board & Staff

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Michael Forman

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

Mr. Forman is the Chairman, CEO and co-founding partner of Franklin Square Capital Partners. Franklin Square is a sponsor and distributor of publicly registered alternative investment products designed for mainstream investors. Franklin Square currently manages more than $7 billion in investor assets held in its three business development companies (BDCs).

Mr. Forman serves as Chairman, President and CEO for FS Investment Corporation (FSIC), FS Investment Corporation II (FSIC II) and FS Energy & Power Fund (FSEP). He also chairs each Fund’s Investment Committee.

Mr. Forman is the Managing General Partner and founder of FB Capital Partners, a private investment partnership, as well as FB Real Estate Fund, a real estate pooled equity fund whose lead investor is Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). Mr. Forman has built a number of other successful businesses in the private equity and debt, financial services and investment management industries.

Mr. Forman was previously a senior partner in the Corporate and Securities Department at the Philadelphia-based law firm of Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg & Ellers LLP where he practiced for over 15 years. He served in a number of leadership positions at Klehr Harrison, including membership on its Executive Committee and as Hiring Partner.

Mr. Forman currently serves as a member of the boards of directors of a number of FB Capital Partners’ portfolio companies. Mr. Forman is also a member of a number of civic and charitable boards including The Franklin Institute (Executive Committee member), the Vetri Foundation for Children (Chairman), The University of the Arts (Executive Committee member), and the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) (Executive Committee member). Mr. Forman serves as the Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for The Philadelphia School and is on the Board of Advisors of Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Mr. Forman received his BA degree from the University of Rhode Island where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He received his JD degree from Rutgers University.

Mr. Forman is married and lives with his wife and three daughters in Center City, Philadelphia.

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Peri Higgins

BOARD MEMBER

Ms. Higgins has been engaged in the financial industry in various capacities including raising private equity and debt financing, managing private equity investments, and investing in real estate. Ms. Higgins is a partner with Austin Allen Advisors, a consulting firm providing strategic, marketing, and brand development services to businesses seeking to enhance the visibility of their products and services. For more than five years, Ms. Higgins has been helping businesses and organizations effectively communicate their core strengths to the media, clients, prospects, business partners and other audiences.

Ms. Higgins received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Masters in Business Administration with a Major in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Higgins currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Episcopal Academy.

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Robert Keddie

BOARD MEMBER

Rob is a practicing attorney and member of the Taylor, Colicchio and Silverman law firm (Princeton, New Jersey and New York City). He is also a principal in Colicchio Consulting, LLC, a hospitality consulting venture. Since the early 90′s, he has primarily represented renowned chefs, developers and hospitality professionals in their business dealings from both a legal and business perspective. His legal practice focuses on the structuring of specialty consulting, partnership and joint venture agreements between chefs and property owners, the negotiation of both short and long-term leases, and financing arrangements for numerous restaurant developments, build outs and re-launches, as well as commercial and corporate litigation, with an emphasis on partnership/shareholder disputes and related matters. His consulting work focuses on advising chefs and developers on restaurant placement, consulting with hotels and casinos on food and beverage strategies, curating the intelligent placement of food and beverage professionals, and functioning as a “turn around” consultant on hospitality projects.

During his career, Rob has also advised and served on the board of directors of various charitable organizations, including the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia. He has been recognized by the New York State Bar Association for his work with the New York State Client Protection Fund and is a member of the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York bars. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.

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Jeff Michaud

BOARD MEMBER

The Executive Chef and co-owner of Osteria Restaurant, Amis Restaurant and Alla Spina, Jeffrey Michaud began his cooking career at the age of 13 in a pizza shop in New Hampshire where he was raised. Inspired by his grandmother’s cooking and beautiful wedding cakes, Jeff attended the Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1998. His culinary path led him from the Caribou Club in Aspen Colorado to Vetri Ristorante in Philadelphia to Bergamo, Italy where he worked his way through the top restaurants in the region. Jeff returned to Philadelphia in 2006 to rejoin the Vetri team with the opening of Osteria.

In 2008, The James Beard Foundation nominated Osteria for “Best New Restaurant” and in 2010, Jeff won the James Beard Award for “Best Mid-Atlantic Chef.” In 2011, Food and Wine Magazine named Osteria one of the top 25 pizza spots in the US and Jeff was named “Best Chef” by Philadelphia Magazine. Jeff extends his culinary expertise to his involvement as a member of the Vetri Foundation for Children’s Board of Directors. Together with Marc Vetri, Jeff developed Eatiquette, the Foundation’s school lunch program. Eatiquette creates a family style dining experience in the lunch room that fosters social interaction, communication and nutritional education. Jeff continues to develop menus for the program and regularly invites school chefs to train with him in the kitchen at Osteria. Jeff lives in Philadelphia with his wife Claudia and their daughter.

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Michael Rouse

BOARD MEMBER

Michael is the President, CEO and co-founder of ESF, Inc. ESF (which stands for Education, Sports, and Fun) has been a pioneering force in summer day camps since its humble beginnings in 1982. Since then, ESF has had a profound impact on thousands of children by developing life skills through a dynamic staff, high-quality programs, premier locations, time-honored traditions, and a commitment to safety, learning and fun. ESF has received numerous awards for quality service, safety, and best places to work from several magazines and newspapers.

Michael and ESF are also deeply committed to helping underserved young people in local communities through its social action initiatives – the ESF Dream Camp Foundation and Acting Without Boundaries. The ESF Dream Camp Foundation serves over 550 at risk children with year round mentoring and summer camp scholarships in both Philadelphia and Hartford, Ct. Acting Without Boundaries is dedicated to providing young adults who have physical disabilities with a year round acting program.

Michael is a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Arts and Communication and was also inducted into the Villanova’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Michael is also a graduate of the Disney Institute’s People Management, Customer Service, and Creative Leadership Programs. He is a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), Board member of ESF Dream Camp Foundation, AWB, Girard College Board of City Managers, Solomon Fellows and the Vetri Foundation for Children.

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Sylvia DiBona

BOARD MEMBER

Sylvia is a certified public accountant. She started her career as a member of the tax department at Price Waterhouse in Philadelphia. She later joined the tax department of Smith Kline, specializing in international tax issues. She co-founded The William Penn Insurance Agency, a commercial insurance brokerage firm, in 1987. After making a career shift to counseling psychology in the 1990s, she worked for several years as a volunteer at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, counseling patients undergoing cancer treatment. Since 2005 Sylvia has been chairman of the board of Fred’s Footsteps, a public charity founded in the memory of her late husband. The mission of Fred’s Footsteps is to support working families who are in a financial crisis due to the costs associated with caring for a critically ill or injured child. Sylvia has previously served on the Boards of the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur and The Wellness Community, and is currently a member of the Leadership Council of the Abramson Cancer Center.

 

Sylvia received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Temple University, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Rosemont College.

Sandy Brown

Sandy Brown

BOARD MEMBER

Sandy has been a leader in the Jewish community of Southern New Jersey. While serving as board chair or committee chair she has developed skills in board governance, strategic planning, funds development and organizational structure. Currently she serves on the Board of Trustees of Moorestown Friends School, the Jewish Community Foundation and Kellman Brown Academy.

Sandy is married and lives with her husband and three children in Voorhees, NJ.

matt photo[2]Matthew Kaness

BOARD MEMBER

Mr. Kanness is a Chief Strategy Officer with Urban Outfitters, Inc., an innovative specialty retailer with global revenues over $3B annually operating a portfolio of multi-channel experiential lifestyle brands – including the eponymous Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN.

Mr. Kaness is a member of the URBN Executive Team reporting directly to the CEO and is accountable for business development, M&A, corporate venturing, international partnerships, strategic planning, marketing analytics and consumer insights across all brands, concepts, geographic markets and consumer channels. He is also an elected member of the Board of Shop.org, the Digital Division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade group, based in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining URBN, Mr. Kaness worked for PRTM, an operations consultancy based out of Waltham, MA, focused on product development, sourcing and supply chain. During his time there, Matt led major projects for Burton Snowboards (Sporting Goods, Apparel & Footwear) in Burlington, VT and Onyx Capital (Private Equity) based in Toronto, ON.

Mr. Kaness holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Matt and his wife Theresa have three children – Isabella (8), Jake (7) and Ryan (7) – and reside in Yardley, PA.

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Kelly Herrenkohl

DIRECTOR

Kelly Herrenkohl joined the Vetri Foundation for Children in 2011 after 4 years of volunteering with Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin as auction coordinator for the Great Chefs Event. Kelly brings 15 years of sales and marketing experience to her role, having worked for 10 years with her family’s executive search firm, Herrenkohl Consulting, and in sales and sales management at Supplies Network, the country’s largest privately-owned IT supply wholesaler. Kelly is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, holds a master’s degree from the University of Missouri and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Kelly moved to Philadelphia in 2005 and found herself simultaneously in love with the resources this storied city has to offer and overwhelmed by the challenges it faces. Her community involvement has involved tutoring kids from city public schools and mentoring teen moms. As mother of and chief cook for four children, Kelly is passionate about the opportunities good food and healthy living can bring to kids, especially those with limited access to nutritious options.

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Tia McDonald

DIRECTOR OF CULINARY OPERATIONS

Since beginning her ‘career’ at the age of 7, learning her Southern family roots and cooking methods, to the age of 14 apprenticing under a German chef, Tia has made every effort to hone her skills in various operations, learning global cuisines, and developing her palate for flavor. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in 1998, she saw the education as part of her growth as a great cook; alongside her education she worked at the Hyatt Grand Central in New York City, created her own catering company, and worked at Troutbeck Inn, a 5-Diamond inn in Amenia, New York.

Tia continued her growth after graduation by working at Oceana restaurant in NYC under the guise of Rick Moonen, gaining extensive knowledge of seafood cooking; then working for Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto fame, expanding her knowledge of rustic regional Italian cuisine. Tia also has invested time in learning Sicilian cuisines, studying from Sicilian chefs who shared their knowledge and palate with her.

Tia joined the Aramark team in 2000, serving in various roles including Executive Chef at the University of Pennsylvania, Senior Executive Chef at the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, China, and Development Chef for Aramark Education K-12. During that time, she developed recipes, performed nutritional analysis, and trained kitchen staff across the country. As part of her employment with Aramark, Tia served as Chef at ESF Foundation’s Dream Camp in 2011 with chefs Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud. Their vision for scratch cooking and family style eating for kids exactly mirrored Tia’s ideas about what school lunch should be and was the impetus for her move to the Vetri Foundation for Children in January, 2012.

Being a member of a family full of arts, Tia has an appreciation of music, performing and visual arts and spends her free time collecting art and music. Tia also serves as an advisory board member to The City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Food Advisory Council, The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, and Universal Audenried Charter High School’s culinary arts program in Philadelphia.

Genevieve LynchGenevieve Lynch

DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT

Genevieve feels like the luckiest girl!  She gets to come to work every morning work with an organization whose mission incorporates so many of her own personal philosophies.  She was fortunate that she grew up in a family who valued the time that they had around the table.  It was their time to catch up and share the successes and the “not-so-successful” attempts at the day’s trials!  It helped to weave what is their close knit family.  Now that she is a mother, and wife it is a highlight of her day to spend time almost every night catching up on the day’s happenings and enjoy a good meal together.  When the opportunity arose to join the Vetri Foundation for Children in December 2013, there was never a second thought!  After being a stay at home mom for 3 years and wanting to return to full time work, there was never a second thought as the mission of VFFC is so closely aligned with her own personal beliefs.

Prior to joining Vetri Foundation for Children, Genevieve spent 4.5 years working as an Advancement Consultant with Catholic School Development Program (CSDP) in Mt. Laurel, NJ.  She worked with schools to implement best practices in Development, Enrollment Management, Constituent Relations and Board Development and Governance.  Through this experience she found that she loved the development world.  As a development professional, it is her job to match a person’s passion with opportunities.

Depending on the season, when Genevieve is not at work, you can find her doing all types of outdoor activities in and around the Philadelphia area with her family, hanging out on the water on their boat or heading to the beach!

elise-faranoElise Farano

FOUNDATION ADMINISTRATOR

Elise joined the Vetri Foundation for Children in September 2013, eager to work for an organization whose passion for real, whole food matched her own.

Before finding the VFFC, Elise worked in architecture and construction firms in the Philadelphia area for three years. Elise is currently pursuing a degree in architecture from Drexel University and will graduate in June 2014.

 

Wadiya GoodenWadiya Gooden

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Wadiya comes to the Foundation with 15 years of catering experience. She operated a small catering company called Delicious Dishes, which boasts clients such as members of the Philadelphia City Council and the NAACP Philadelphia Chapter. She was also an executive chef at Allies Jazz Bistro serving southern cuisine with a fresh approach. In addition, she was a chef at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, helped to initiate a local garden in her own neighborhood and taught a cooking class for children for two years. This is where her passion for providing children with healthy food choices began.

For the last seven years Wadiya has worked for the Lower Merion school district in their nutritional department. Starting out managing an elementary school cafeteria, she found her way to Harriton high school where she had the opportunity to run a from-scratch lunch station. After spending two years at the high school level she was ready to take her knowledge and skill and explore other opportunities, which led her to the Vetri Foundation for Children. Her philosophy on children’s nutrition involves feeding their curiosity, building their palates and instilling healthy eating habits early in life.”

Brandon BarnardBrandon Barnard

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Brandon, a classically trained chef, has spent 11 years working in professional kitchens and managing restaurants throughout the country. From his home state of Michigan to the cities of New York, Providence, Chicago, and Philadelphia, Brandon has worked in an eclectic selection of restaurants ranging from gastro pubs to fine dining.

In addition to his culinary career, Brandon has experience as a branding consultant to new and existing restaurants as well as food stylist/photographer for a host of different websites. He has also taught cooking classes and preformed culinary demonstrations in various venues. Brandon joined the Vetri Foundation team in November 2013 as a Program Coordinator. Brandon is passion about bringing fresh ingredients and new foods to young people.

 

Matthew WhippleMatthew Whipple

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Matthew is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and chef hailing from the bayous of southeast Louisiana. Raised in the heart of Cajun and Creole country, Matthew has experienced a lifetime immersed in a unique culture, that at its core, celebrates food, history and cultural traditions. Matthew has worked in the restaurant industry, both front- and back-of-house operations, for 13+ years. Some of his more interesting experiences include: completing an externship at an occupational training facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh, WWOOFing on a vineyard outside of Lyon, France, and serving as head chef preparing family-style, from-scratch meals at a YMCA farm camp in the Catskills. What brought Matthew to the Philadelphia area originally was working the 2013 season as an organic farm apprentice for Greener Partners’ CSA in Media.
Having grown up as an obese child in the South, consuming processed convenience, junk and fast foods, Matthew is driven to make an impact on the perceptions and behaviors of children today in regards to healthy eating and lifestyles. He prefers to take a preventative approach to his role as a health care provider, so that not only children, but also their families and communities, can absolve the dangerous risk factors for developing easily preventable diseases and increasing their overall quality of life.

Alex McNeilAlex McNeil

COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Alex joined the Vetri Foundation for Children in April of 2014. Originally from Central Pennsylvania, Alex moved to Philadelphia in 2007 to attend Temple University where he received a Bachelors of Social Work and completed minor studies in political science. For the past several years, he has worked tirelessly to establish and grow Common Ground Learning, a nonprofit that connects university students to community organizations and underserved youth through education and mentoring. Alex founded the organization as a student club in 2008. After graduating, he brought together friends and fellow change-makers to initiate the transition of the organization into a nonprofit.

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Alex has been a youth mentor in a variety of enrichment programs and worked with the Education Policy and Leadership Center and the Philadelphia Education Fund. He has a passion for making connections and building relationships in an effort to inspire individual and community change. Aside from work, Alex enjoys cooking, bike riding, adventures with friends, reading and billiards.

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Together with our partners we have served 308,630 healthy, family style meals.