Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Announces Hiring of Two New Program Officers Tania Durán and Sorien Schmidt to join Foundation staff

Announcements, News

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of two new program officers. Tania Durán and Sorien Schmidt will join the staff of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation on October 31, 2017.

The Foundation has made these new hires to support the strategies set forward in its emerging direction. The roles of the program officer will include developing effective strategies for the Foundation to facilitate positive change, analyzing grant applications, helping develop organizational capacity and evaluating the effectiveness of the Foundation’s past grantees. Their work will also help to inform the final grant decisions made by Foundation’s Trustees.

Tania Durán brings more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working with grassroots organizations in North Carolina as well as 20 years in community organizing, policy advocacy, capacity-building and leadership development work. Durán comes to the Foundation most recently as the North Carolina Program Manager with Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) in Raleigh, NC. Her statewide work included community-building, funder engagement, grantmaking, technical assistance, and membership activities. Durán also coordinated the NC Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities – a network of eleven diverse funders interested in building the capacity of Latinx communities. Prior to HIP, Durán worked as the Director of Youth Programs at El Pueblo in Raleigh, NC, where she was responsible for planning and implementing strategies to develop youth leadership, engaging youth in effective community action, and building the capacity of board, staff and community leaders to engage in intergenerational work. Previously, Durán worked with NC WARN in Durham, NC, as an Outreach Organizer on Environmental, Energy and Climate Justice issues. Durán has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Centroamericana “Jose Simeon Canas” in San Salvador, El Salvador and a Masters of International Development from the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, Netherlands.

Sorien Schmidt brings to the Foundation a broad range of experience in the nonprofit sector focusing on topics such as economic security to juvenile justice to health insurance coverage. Schmidt comes to ZSR most recently as the North Carolina State Director of Enroll America in Raleigh, NC where she managed the start-up and wind-down of North Carolina’s state program of Enroll America, which included hiring and leading a team of 13 full-time staff in three offices across the state to engage and manage more than 1,700 volunteers and 650 partner relationships across the state. She was also responsible for designing and managing data-drive outreach plans for staff, volunteers and partners, which led to conversations with more than 200,000 North Carolinians in-person and by phone regarding Affordable Care Act health insurance. Prior to Enroll America, Schmidt worked as a contract writer and the Director of Community Engagement & Education, for Prevent Child Abuse in Raleigh, NC. She also worked as Senior Vice President for Action for Children North Carolina in Raleigh, NC. Prior to these positions, Schmidt spent 13 years at the North Carolina Justice Center as both a Legislative Director and as a Public Interest Attorney, Lead of NC Public Benefits Task Force. Schmidt received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology and a Juris Doctor, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

“We could not be more excited to have two such highly-qualified individuals join our team,” said Maurice “Mo” Green, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. “Both Tania and Sorien bring with them tremendous knowledge and experience that we know is going to make the Foundation stronger. We look forward to introducing them to all of our partners across the state.”

The Foundation posted the two program officer positions in mid-July. It received more than 160 applicants for both positions.