Our people

Jonas Philanthropies is led and supported by leaders and experts from the worlds of healthcare, business, philanthropy and education

Our board

Barbara Sattler Professor Emerita and Adjunct Professor, UCSF School of Nursing

Dr. Sattler is a Professor at the University of San Francisco and an international leader in environmental health and nursing. She is a founding and active member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, an international organization that is helping to integrate environmental health into nursing education, practice, research, and policy/advocacy. While at the University of Maryland, she directed the Maryland Hospitals for Healthy Environments, a 10-year statewide initiative that helped hospitals develop sustainable policies and practices to achieve the triple bottom line of employee health, patient health, and ecological health. Supported by grants from the US Department of Agriculture she also helped to bring local, sustainable, healthy foods to Maryland’s hospitals.

Dr. Sattler has worked at the local level in communities facing environmental health risks associated with lead-based paint, pesticides, Superfund sites, and risks associated with gas and oil extraction, including fracking. She has been an advisor to the US EPA’s Office of Child Health Protection and the National Library of Medicine for informational needs of health professionals on environmental health. Dr. Sattler has been the recipient of NIEHS, HUD, and EPA grants, as well as grants from a host of private foundations. She is the author of Environmental Health and Nursing, and a host of peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Sattler is a Registered Nurse with an MPH and DrPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Michael Green CEO, Center for Environmental Health

Michael Green is Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) which he founded in 1996. CEH is a leading advocate for comprehensive chemical policy, and uses both a carrot and stick to change corporate behavior in order to protect people from illnesses related to pollution in our air, water, products and food.  CEH has been hired by both corporations and government agencies to design policies that will protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals.

Prior to founding CEH, Michael designed a solid waste management plan for the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India, and cared for the sick at Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta. He is a recipient of The California Wellness Foundation’s Leadership Award, and has also been awarded the prestigious Compassion in Action Award for his work protecting children from lead by the Dalai Lama Foundation.

Michael Green has worked in government in Washington DC at both the US Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the US EPA. He has an MPP in Public Policy and an MS in Natural Resources, both from the University of Michigan. He reports directly to his two direct supervisors:  Dylan Green, born in 2007 and Juliette Green, born in 2008.

Catherine Dodd Commonweal Board of Directors (Vice Chair)

Catherine has worked in the areas of health policy and politics for more than 25 years. Most recently, Catherine served as the director of the City and County of San Francisco Health Service System, where she negotiated and administered health benefits for more than 112,000 county, school district and community college district active and retired employees and their dependents. Prior to leading the health service system, she worked for Mayor Newsom as deputy chief of staff for Health and Human Services responsible for overseeing key initiatives such as “Shape Up San Francisco,” working to eliminate sex trafficking, identifying ways to reduce alcohol use in the Tenderloin, enhancing opportunities for children, improving access to fresh food throughout the city, planning for services for the elderly, and preventing domestic violence.

Prior to joining Mayor Newsom’s staff, Catherine served on the San Francisco Health Commission overseeing a $1.3 billion budget. During the President Clinton’s second term, she served as a presidential appointee under Health and Human Services Secretary Shalala as Region IX director covering AZ, NV, CA, HI and the United States jurisdictions in the Western Pacific region. She was district chief of staff to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and worked for two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Catherine’s civic and community involvement includes serving on the boards of directors of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; the Breast Cancer Fund, a national environmental health advocacy organization focused on preventing breast cancer; the Glide Foundation, a social service organization serving San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, the Homeless Prenatal Program, a health and social service program helping homeless families establish stability; and the Zen Hospice Project, assisting terminally ill people and their families.

Catherine has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area her entire life passing up career opportunities to stay close to and care for her aging relatives. She has been with her partner Mary Foley RN, PhD, for 20 years and they have two big dogs.

*Independent voting board member

Devra Davis Founder and President of Environmental Health Trust

Dr. Devra Davis is founder and President of Environmental Health Trust, a scientific think tank that publishes research and educates policymakers and the public on environmental health hazards. She is currently Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, and Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School, Samsun, Turkey. Davis was Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology and the  University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.

Davis was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services and appointed to the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board by President Clinton.  She served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. National Toxicology Program  and various advisory committees to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was part of the team of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with the Honorable Al Gore as she was lead author on research assessing climate mitigation policies.

She has also authored more than 200 peer reviewed publications in books and journals ranging from the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association. Her three popular books include When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution,  Disconnect:The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family and the Secret History of the War on Cancer.

Davis testified in the 2009 Senate hearings on cell phone radiation (CSPAN link), has published numerous studies on the health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, and organized numerous national and international scientific conferences on the issue. EHT’s scientific publications were submitted to the FCC record and EHT submitted thousands of pages of evidence to the FCC in the years leading up to the court’s decision

Alison Carlson

For more than three decades, Alison Carlson has worked to turn cutting-edge knowledge—of our biology and our environment—into clear results for the public good. She started in 1979 as a visiting biologist intern at the US Food and Drug Administration. Now, as founder and chair of Forsythia Foundation, she focuses on the intersection between health and the environment.

Alison has always been committed to the accurate translation of scientific understanding into real-world policy. During 20 years as a tennis coach, sports promoter, and sports commentator, she tackled sex discrimination as a leading advocate for reform of gender-based athlete eligibility requirements mandated by the International Olympic Committee and affiliated sports federations. As a co-founder of the International Work Group on Sex/Gender Verification Policy in Sports, she researched and wrote extensively on the topic, educated athlete and physician groups, and coordinated a lobbying effort among international sports governing bodies. These efforts contributed to the adoption of scientifically, medically, and ethically defensible standards and practices.

Alison also co-hosted, reported for, and contributed to National Public Radio’s first all-sports program, Only A Game, “a thinking person’s look at sports and sports issues,” which she helped originate. She subsequently served as an administrator and creative resource for MBA candidates enrolled in the social entrepreneurship and public service program during a four-year tenure as assistant director at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

But it was her five years as an infertility patient—and her growing awareness that society was ignoring toxic chemical risks to health and fertility—that drove Alison to shift her work to that public health issue.

In 2003, she was appointed senior fellow for Commonweal Institute’s Collaborative on Health and the Environment, where she founded and led the Fertility/Pregnancy Compromise Work Group, bringing together scientists, doctors, advocates, and policy experts concerned about the effect of contaminants on reproductive health. The group organized a landmark multidiscipline expert workshop to review the scientific literature, which resulted in the publication of the acclaimed “Vallombrosa Consensus Statement on Environmental Contaminants and Human Fertility Compromise,” a science summary identifying critical research gaps. This effort inspired the launch of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

In concert with the OB/GYN department chair at UCSF, Alison conceived and co-directed the 2007 Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility, convening 400 experts from around the world to define new high-priority research agendas. That same year, she co-founded Passport Foundation, where she developed and chaired grant programs supporting environmental health research, advocacy, and policy reform.

To advance these initiatives to protect health, Alison launched Forsythia Foundation in 2010. The foundation funds leading actors who drive demand for safer materials and deploys investment capital in strategies that scale green chemistry innovation and commercialization—all of which Alison terms “the definition of a value investment proposition.”

Alison is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, where she holds a BA with distinction in human biology.

Gay Browne Environmental Health Advisor

Gay Browne is a Personal Environmental Health Advisor, Author, and Founder of Greenopia: a comprehensive city guide of sustainable businesses to help consumers eat, shop, and live green.

Greenopia was launched in 2005 as a print series for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York and rapidly expanded nationwide through Greenopia.com. Greenopia.com and its accompanying mobile app will re-launch in First Quarter 2020.

Prior to her work with Greenopia, Gay enjoyed a successful 15-year career in advertising and public relations. Gay is a contributing editor to The Huffington Post and Thrive Global. She served on boards and is involved with multiple environmental and humanitarian non-profits and is working on her first book. She has a deep personal commitment to personal environmental health and helping people lead toxic-free lives.

In her spare time, Gay enjoys hiking, yoga, meditation, art restoration, and her three children.

Samantha Anderson Founder, Honeycomb Strategy

Samantha L. Anderson is the founder of Honeycomb Strategy. She is a strategic visionary with decades of experience working with organizations to support the fields of philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and innovation. She is committed to building a more vibrant, meaningful, inclusive, interconnected, creative, and compassionate world.

She is the co-founder of Jewish Women INVEST, an educational platform with the goal to create, build, and educate a network of Jewish women that intentionally invests in ideas, businesses, and organizations that support women, led by women, and that create an investment culture and a culture of action that upholds values of equity and equality.

She is founder & Managing Partner of Ceres Group Advisors, a consulting firm whose mission is to create a better future for women and the organizations they lead by facilitating their growth and power.

She is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, earning her certification from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, and she uses this training in her philanthropic work. As co-creator of ROOTSilience Leadership, she provides practical tools to help women cultivate purpose and vision while connecting to their roots, core, and wiser self.

Previously, Samantha served as Vice President of Philanthropic Engagement and Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Philanthropic Excellence at Jewish Funders Network, where she engaged with the global network of more than 2000 Jewish funders, creating opportunities to cultivate interconnectedness and strengthen the network’s impact on the Jewish philanthropic community.

As Managing Director of Arabella Advisors, the philanthropic advisory firm, Samantha led the New York office and managed a range of engagements for the firm’s institutional foundation and family clients. At the Skoll World Forum at Oxford University, Samantha curated the thematic content for the largest premier convening of social entrepreneurs from around the globe committed to social change and innovation. Samantha was also the co-founder and co-director of the Yale School of Management – The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures, a program that focused on social entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector and is the editor of Generating and Sustaining Nonprofit Earned Income: A Guide to Successful Enterprise Strategies (Jossey-Bass 2004).

Samantha is certified by 21/64 as a philanthropic consultant to multi-generational families and is a member of the 13th National Cohort of the Selah Leadership Program, in partnership with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She graduated from Tufts University and earned her master’s degree in U.S. Women’s History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her family.

In Memoriam: Donald Jonas, FAAN(h), FAANP(h) (1929-2022) Founder, Jonas Philanthropies

Donald Jonas was an Honorary Trustee of the Horace Mann School and a former member of numerous boards, including Cancer Care, Inc.; the American Jewish Congress; the Guggenheim Museum Business Board; and the KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx, New York.

Mr. Jonas was Founder and Chairman of the Barbara Lynn retail stores and its successor company, Belscott Retailers. He was a co-founder of the Lechters Housewares retail chain, serving as its chairman from 1973 until he retired in 2001, and was a board member of the apparel retail chain Dress Barn.

Mr. Jonas was born in New York City, attended the Horace Mann School and subsequently served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Frontier Nursing University. Mr. Jonas and his wife Barbara have two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In Memoriam: Barbara Jonas, MSW, FAAN(h), FAANP(h) (1933-2018) Founder, Jonas Philanthropies

Barbara Jonas was a member of the Columbia Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council, and was previously Vice Chairman of the Community Services Board of the New York City Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services. From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Jonas was a Member of the Institutional Review Board of New York University Medical Center. In 1992, she established the Barbara Jonas Centers for the Study and Treatment of Children at Risk at the Departments of Psychiatry at New York University and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centers.

Ms. Jonas is a Trustee Emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and is a current member of the Guggenheim’s Art and Museum Committee. She is also a former board member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation.

Ms. Jonas graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and Sarah Lawrence College, earned her MSW from Yeshiva University, and was a practicing psychotherapist. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Frontier Nursing University.

John Jonas Founder and CEO, The Jonas Group and Co-President, Jonas Philanthropies

John Jonas is the Founder and CEO of The Jonas Group, a leading retained executive search firm that specializes in retail and wholesale fashion, and is the number-one search firm for the footwear industry.

A prominent and active member of the Advisory Board of Jonas Philanthropies since its inception, John has been a key player in the growth and development of the organization over the last 10 years. In addition, John is actively involved on the Board of Directors of Hands In For Youth / Vacamas Programs for Youth, a non-profit camp for children from inner city areas throughout the Greater New York and New Jersey areas.

John is the son of Barbara and Donald Jonas. He received his BA from Brown University, and is a passionate art collector and tennis player.

Lendri S. Purcell, MA Co-President, Jonas Philanthropies and Founder, FACTS (Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety)

Lendri Purcell uses her skills as a children’s rights advocate, a community organizer and a seasoned funder to drive the work of the Jonas Program for Children’s Environmental Health.

In response to learning through a routine blood test that her baby had an elevated lead level, Ms. Purcell embarked on a quest to find the source of that exposure. In the process, she uncovered numerous common toxic chemicals in her own home — and in the lives of all American children. Ms. Purcell has spent the last six years immersing herself in the latest academic research addressing the damaging physiological ramifications of in-utero and early childhood exposures to toxic chemicals. She has discovered that, as a result of the abundance of toxics they come into contact with daily through food, water air, toys etc., the physical and cognitive health of children in this country and their learning potential is suffering greatly.

Ms. Purcell began formally advocating for children while participating in the renowned teacher training and leadership program, Teach for America. While teaching children with special learning and emotional challenges in an under-resourced school, she earned a Masters’ in Learning and Instruction and advanced certifications in educational therapy and childhood trauma. In addition to teaching, Ms. Purcell created enrichment programs to address obstacles to student learning outside of the classroom, including an outdoor education program.

Ms. Purcell’s desire to impact more children led her to work as a case manager, community schools’ coordinator, community organizer and a foundation program officer for Price Charities. While working in those capacities, she also spearheaded the Jonas Youth Development Initiative. In over 10 years, the program disbursed close to three million dollars through almost 100 grants — supporting mentoring, school-to-career training programs and mental health support for well over eight-thousand highly at-risk San Francisco East Bay youth. This grant-making program was especially unique in that Lendri created a youth advisory board reflective of the community to help recommend grants.

In addition to funding many innovative, award-winning programs that got their start with Jonas seed funding, Ms. Purcell spearheaded initiatives to increase investments in East Bay youth and to strengthen the youth development community by increasing collaboration and coordination. She founded the Oakland Youth-Friendly Business Awards, a model program that has been replicated outside the East Bay to promote business engagement in the youth development sector. She also founded the East Bay Youth Ally Alliance, an active program that coordinates and enhances youth development efforts through trainings, coaching, special events and social media tools.

Adam Purcell Founder and CEO, Esoteric Distribution and PPC Print and Design and Director, Jonas Philanthropies

Adam Purcell is Founder and CEO of Esoteric Distribution and PPC Print and Design. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a major in Political Science.