2024 Ambassadors Conference

In June 2024, we will offer students who have participated in a course affiliated with The Philanthropy Lab in the 2023-2024 academic year a chance to participate in our annual three-day Ambassadors Conference held in Fort Worth, Texas. Each of our university partners will have the opportunity to send two student Ambassadors to represent their university at the conference.

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What will Ambassadors do?

Chosen ambassadors will be able to:

  • Represent their classes at a three-day conference in Fort Worth
  • Network with like-minded peers
  • Pitch one of the class’s chosen grantees for further funding
  • Debate with other Ambassadors to decide how to award $150,000 in grants

How will Ambassadors be chosen?

Since Ambassadors are representing their classes, it will be up to professors to decide how students will choose their representatives from among those who are interested. Students will choose which one of their grantees they would like their Ambassadors to pitch at the conference.

If chosen, what would I be committing to?

  1. Attend a weekend conference June 20-23, 2024, in Dallas, all expenses paid, with representatives from other Philanthropy Lab classes across the country!
  2. Be prepared to present and advocate for one of your class’s grantees to receive further funding.
  3. Submit information on your grantee by June 1st. You may use information prepared for your current class and supplement it if you wish.
  4. Review information on all grantees the week prior to the conference to prepare for presentations and debates.

What other universities may be represented
at the Ambassadors conference?

Abilene Christian University
American University
Baylor University
Boston University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Emory University
Northwestern University
Stanford University
Texas A&M University
New York University

Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
University of Arkansas
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas – Austin
Univeristy of Texas McCombs School of Business
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Vanderbilt University
Washington University in St. Louis

Past participants also include: Dartmouth College, Duke University, Harvard University, Rice University, Texas Christian University, Tulane University, University of California- Irvine, University of California – Los Angeles, , University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and University of Virginia

2022 Expert Panel

About The Expert Panel

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Kevin Crouch

The Bridgespan Group / Former Hewlett Foundation

Kevin Crouch is a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders, organizations, and philanthropists to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need.

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Prior to joining Bridgespan, Kevin completed a three-year term at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. At the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kevin led grant-making initiatives focused on equity-centered organizational development with grantees working in education policy, research, and practice.

Before joining the foundation, Kevin served as a fellow with the XQ Institute, a collaboration with the Emerson Collective, supporting the development of new models of learning with the Super School Project. He also worked for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office as a site coordinator with its Gang Reduction and Youth Development initiative, directing programming in Watts, California. Prior to that, he served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Los Angeles, providing academic intervention and socioemotional instruction to fourth grade students in South Los Angeles. Kevin has a BA in education, Spanish and applied linguistics from Washington University in St. Louis, and a master’s degree in policy, organization, and leadership studies from Stanford University. Kevin is a recent transplant to Oakland, where he enjoys exploring the best spots to eat, hike, and people watch.

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Abdulrazakh “Razakh” Abdirahman

The Robinhood Foundation

As a Program Manager with Co-Impact, Razakh works closely with the office of the Vice President to support strategy development, program coordination, and external engagement.

Razakh has spent the last decade working at the intersections of impact investment and socio-economic justice. He boasts experience working in international and domestic economic development, strategic planning and engagement, grantmaking, and research consulting. He holds an MPA in Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

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Prior to joining Co-Impact, Razakh worked as a Program Officer with the Mobility L.A.B.s initiative at the Robin Hood Foundation, based in New York City. He supported program partners to create measurable and sustainable paths to building power & autonomy, economic success, and a sense of belonging in historically under-invested in communities.

Before moving to New York City, Razakh worked as a Community Development and Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Comoros Islands, where he facilitated and managed the building of a public library, set up small business development grant streams for women-owned businesses, and received funding to build the first children’s playground made from re-purposed materials in Comoros.

Along with channeling resources into low-income communities, he is interested in how narrative can be used as a tool to work with communities to alleviate poverty, gender inequity, and institutionalized racism. Razakh was born in Somalia and raised in Ethiopia. In his personal life, Razakh is a community organizer, aspiring baker, sci-fi/fantasy book worm, and outdoors aficionado. He and his family moved to the United States in the mid 90’s, through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement programs.

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Meredith Bergstrom

Walton Family Foundation

As a program officer for the Home Region Program of the Walton Family Foundation, Meredith Bergstrom works directly with non-profits and municipalities on issues of housing affordability, mobility and inclusive public spaces in Northwest Arkansas.

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She co-manages the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence program, which strengthens public life through the highest quality design of parks and public buildings. Prior to joining the foundation, Meredith worked in urban planning and design for Dover, Kohl & Partners in Miami, Florida. During this time, she managed teams of consultants working on downtown master planning and complete street design across the country from Missoula, MT to West Palm Beach, FL. Meredith has also served as the Executive Director of the Main Street program in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.


An AICP-certified planner with a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, Meredith started out in social work and non-profit administration. She became interested in city planning only after discovering its impact on her own daily life and work. She is passionate about civic education, equitable public engagement and city planning that betters our communities and natural environment. In her spare time, Meredith is out birding, volunteering with a local refugee resettlement agency, or with a food pantry that she helped launch during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tawa Mitchell

MacArthur Foundation

Tawa has responsibility for grantmaking in the Chicago Commitment program, a portfolio aimed at investing in people, places, and partnerships to advance racial equity and build a more inclusive Chicago.

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Prior to joining MacArthur, Tawa served as the Director of Education Policy and Partnerships in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In this role, Tawa focused on supporting educational opportunities across the K-16 spectrum. Tawa also served as the inaugural Interim Director for Thrive Chicago, a multi-sector collective that aims to increase equitable outcomes for Chicago’s youth. Previously, Tawa served as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at the City Colleges of Chicago. Prior to that, Tawa also served as Assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley for Education and worked at the Chicago Public Schools as Senior Manager of the Community Schools Initiative.

Tawa holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College, and she is a Class of 2018 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, the region’s premier civic leadership development program.

A native Chicagoan, Tawa dedicates much of her extracurricular time to community service. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Illinois, and the Parks Foundation of Oak Park. Tawa is also a member of the Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Lake Shore Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, organizations dedicated to community service.