Program Staff

José Oliva

José F. Oliva joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation as a Fellow in July 2017. Prior to coming to the Foundation, José worked with nonprofit organizations and local government agencies on initiatives focused on increasing access to higher education, civic engagement, community economic development, and immigrant and refugee rights. Currently, José serves as a Member at Large in the NC Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.

Sorien Schmidt

Sorien Schmidt came to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation with a broad range of experience in the nonprofit sector, from public policy and data analysis to coalition building on topics ranging from economic security to juvenile justice to health insurance coverage. Most recently, Sorien served as the North Carolina State Director of Enroll America where she managed staff and volunteers working statewide to hold conversations with more than 200,000 North Carolinians in-person and by phone regarding Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage.

Tania Durán

Tania Durán has more than ten 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. Tania comes to the Foundation most recently as the North Carolina Program Manager with Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP). Her statewide work included community-building, funder engagement, grantmaking, technical assistance, and membership activities.

Allie Garrett

Allie Garrett joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in July 2015 and serves as an Associate Program Officer. In this role, Allie manages the Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment priority area within the Foundation's State-Level Systemic Change strategy and leads the Community Progress Fund, within the Foundation's Community-Based Strategy. Allie also co-leads the Foundation's Community Leadership Council. Prior to joining the Foundation, Allie received her undergraduate degree in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University.

Joy Vermillion Heinsohn

Joy Vermillion Heinsohn is the Assistant Director for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. In this position, Joy is responsible for managing All For NC: ZSR's Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. She also leads the Foundation's Exploratory, Visionary Ideas Strategy. A native North Carolinian, and a graduate of a North Carolina public school, Joy joined the Foundation in 1998. In her time at ZSR, she has worked across all aspects of the Foundation and has led ZSR’s strategic planning processes.

Shaheen Syal

Shaheen Syal joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in February 2012 as its first director of communications. Shaheen is responsible for building awareness of ZSR’s mission, grantmaking and programs; providing appropriate information to stakeholders; and furthering the role of ZSR as a leader on issues of current importance to the state. Prior to this position, Shaheen worked as director of communications and outreach for the e-NC Authority, the state’s former broadband authority, established in 2000 by the General Assembly.

Tom Lambeth

Tom Lambeth joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in 1978 as executive director and now continues to serve as director emeritus. Throughout his career, Tom has dedicated himself to the people of North Carolina in a variety of capacities. He has worked on the campaign staff of gubernatorial candidate Terry Stanford, served as assistant to the chair of the NC Democratic Party, and was administrative assistant to Governor Sanford. From 1965 to 1969, Tom was an administrator at the Smith Richardson Foundation in Greensboro, and from 1969 to 1978, he worked as administrative assistant to U.S.

James Gore

James Gore joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in February 2009. Prior to coming to the Foundation, James served as a program director with One Economy Corporation, a Washington, DC based multi-national nonprofit that focused on efforts to bring broadband access, online content, and technology resources to low-income families. James also spent eight years with the Winston-Salem Foundation as a program officer and donor services officer. James has been active with numerous philanthropic efforts throughout his career.

Natalie Blake

Natalie Blake joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in July 2012 and is the program officer who co-leads the Foundation’s Community-Based Strategy and oversees the Advancing Public Education priority area within ZSR’s Statewide Systemic Change Strategy. Through her role at ZSR, Natalie strives to support connections between people, places, organizations and sectors who are working to impact the communities in which they live.

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