Staff and Associates

 From left to right, Nancy Harding, Bel DeBarros, Gabrielle Simmons, Lara Stone, Craig Dutra, Kate Fentress, and Jeannette Doyle


Craig J. Dutra, President, has held leadership positions in non profit organization for over 30 years. In 2004 he was appointed President of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, From 2000 to 2004, Craig served as Vice President of Marketing and Development for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Boston. His prior positions include: Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Marketing, Orange County’s United Way, Irvine, CA; Chief Professional Officer, United Ways of New England, Boston; President , United Way of Greater New Bedford; Mayor’s Senior Policy Adviser for Health and Human Services, City of Boston; Executive Director, PACE, Inc., New Bedford; and Regional Manager, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office for Children. He serves on a number of advisory boards and professional committees and is active in the Town of Westport, where he currently holds the office of Selectman.

Megan Boyle, formerly the SEEAL Coordinator, has also joined the Community Foundation staff and is in charge of gifts and deposits, some aspects of the scholarship program, and office management responsibilities. She will continue to be the contact for SEEAL as well.

Pamela Evans, CPA, has joined the Community Foundation as Director of Finance and Administration. Pam most recently has been an associate with ML Nunes and Associates. From 2010-2014 she was Director of Finance for the Schwartz Center for Children. Her previous non-profit work included the YWCA of York PA and the Audubon Society. She currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee for the Women’s Fund.

Nancy Harding joined the Community Foundation in 2005 as Communications Director.  She brings to this position nearly 15 years of experience in nonprofit communications and development, along with seven years as a daily newspaper reporter. Nancy worked for The New Bedford Standard-Times from 1983-89, then made the switch to the nonprofit world. She spent nearly 10 years as Communications Director for the United Way of Greater New Bedford. followed by four years as regional Development Manager for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Lauren MaherLauren Maher Patrick joined the Community Foundation in March 2012 as Program Officer. Lauren brings more than 10 years of experience in grantmaking and program management, along with scholarship administration, to the position. She was most recently employed as a Program Officer for the Northern California Grantmakers in San Francisco, where she managed the collaborative philanthropy of over 30 private, community and corporate foundations, including two nonprofit loan funds and a network of corporate grantmakers. Prior to working for NCG, Lauren worked for the Rockefeller Foundation for eight years.  She then commenced her Masters of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University while working for the Firelight Foundation in Santa Cruz.  Her focus on global health, in particular reproductive health and water, has brought her on a dozen trips for field work throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  Lauren's most recent field work was in October / November of 2012 when she managed a water, sanitation, and hygiene education and data collection campaign in Kenya.  With the completion of her MPH from Hopkins last August, Lauren looks to further her contributions locally and globally.

Womens Fund Exec Director Valerie Bassett

Valerie Bassett joined the Women's Fund in February 2014 as Executive Director. She has spent most of her career in public health policy, with a special interest in leadership development. Valerie began her career as a day care teacher and working for a battered women’s sheltering organization. She went on to lead Intergovernmental Relations for the Boston Public Health Commission, was Director of Policy and Research at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, and served as executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, an education and advocacy organization. For the past two years she’s consulted, including locally with the South Coast Healthy Housing and Workplace Initiative, a project of Voices for a Healthy South Coast.

  Traci CalabreseTraci Calabrese recently joined the Women's Fund as Development Officer. Growing up in New Bedford and Dartmouth, Traci graduated from University of Rhode Island Summa Cum Laude in 2000, and began working at the Development Office while still in school. Upon graduation, she decided that she would pursue non-profit development work as a career.  Traci left our region for development positions at Lake Forest College in Illinois, and Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota, Minnesota.  She then returned to the Boston area where she worked with several non-profit organizations in annual giving, major gifts and outreach.

Dez Savoy, Administrative & Marketing Officer for the Women’s Fund, joined the Women’s Fund in June 2014. Dez is instrumental in leading the Women's Fund to communicate with high impact to multiple audiences across platforms, including print, Facebook, Twitter, the website, and more. Dez is currently in school for pre-med studies with the ultimate goal to be a physician and assist the underserved communities of the Southcoast.


AHA! Director Lee HealdCandace Lee Heald has been Director of AHA! - New Bedford’s 2nd Thursday FREE Art and Culture Night since 2007. Lee previously worked as Vice-President of Programs, Education and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where she oversaw educational and public programs, exhibitions and library functions as well as visitor services and volunteers. She received her Ph.D. from Lesley University, an MA in American History from the University of Delaware, and BA in American History from Brown University. Lee was one of the authors for the original AHA! grant, and served as Program and Steering Committee Chairs from 1999 until joining the staff.


Jess Weaver became the Community Organizing Manager for the SouthCoast Energy Challenge in February 2015. Jess received a B.S. in political science and psychology from Florida State University before working as a political and community organizer. Having relocated to New England to join the Challenge, Jess aims to help the great state of Massachusetts further its impressive record of environmentalism.