Program Staff

Darryl Childers

Darryl Childers comes to the Foundation with extensive experience working with underserved communities in North Carolina and abroad. Most recently, Darryl served as policy advisor for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. During his time with the Governor's Office, he advised on policy issues ranging from prison reform and reentry to developing solutions to the opioid epidemic and gun violence.

Malasia McClendon

Malasia C. McClendon joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation as a Fellow in July 2020. Malasia is a native of North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from North Carolina State University in 2020. During her undergraduate experience, Malasia participated in the North Carolina General Assembly Internship Program, worked as a Research Assistant at the T.E.A.C.H. National Center, and interned with the James B. Hunt Institute. On campus, Malasia worked to create safe spaces for underrepresented populations by reactivating the campus chapter of the NAACP.

Caitlin Burke

Caitlin Burke comes to Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation with environmental research, teaching and nonprofit work experience at the national, state, and local level. Previously, she was associate director at the Conservation Trust for North Carolina where she oversaw the organization’s service programs, managed collaborative programs including sourcewater protection and climate change efforts, supported its community economic development partnerships, and co-led its racial equity efforts.

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.

Shaheen B. Towles

Shaheen B. Towles 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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