Equity in Philanthropy: Meet the Panelists

Tune into our Equity in Philanthropy session at the 2021 Fundraising Conference on 9/14 as we hear five professional perspectives on how our local and national equity conversations translate into philanthropy and giving. We’ll uncover some “whys” and unlock ideas for change. You’ll leave inspired to put new thinking into action! Meet the panelists below:

Matthew Harrell is the executive director of the Lawson Family Foundation. Before returning to his hometown of Knoxville, Harrell’s experiences include roles with the Evangelical Alliance Mission in Southern Africa, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Unbound Global. Harrell has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University and a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University.

Keena Friday Gilbert has over 17 years of experience working with children and families and in various roles of nonprofit management. She is a native Tennessean and received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Oral Roberts University, an MBA from University of Phoenix, and an MSW from the University of Tennessee.

Gilbert served as a CPS investigator in Atlanta, GA; Tulsa, OK; and West Memphis, AR. She then moved into a role as director and forensic interviewer at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Eastern Arkansas. During this time, she also co-facilitated training for the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.

After moving to central TN, Gilbert served as a CPS Investigations supervisor. During this time, she served as an AIMHiTN intern for two years assisting with the Safe Baby Court program and in strategic planning and program development. She also received her Endorsement® as an Infant Family Associate. Prior to returning to AIMHiTN, she served as the program supervisor for Children’s Home Network in Orlando, FL, where she spearheaded the implementation of the Level 1 certification program for relative and non-relative caregivers. In her spare time, Gilbert enjoys spending time with her family and working out.

Josh Loebner, director of strategy at Designsensory, is a blind disability advocate, 20+ year advertising professional, and Ph.D. candidate at Clemson University focusing on advertising and disability. As disability inclusion subject expert and director of strategy for Designsensory, Loebner collaborates on global projects with Airbnb on state-level, regional, and community-based brand initiatives across the country. He serves on boards including the Adweek DEI Council, American Advertising Federation Mosaic Council, TravelAbility, and Dollywood’s disability advisory panel. He lectures at the University of Tennessee and mentors disabled students. Loebner co-created and co-hosts Explorable, a travel podcast centering on disability inclusion and accessible tourism, where guests include Walt Disney World, Alaska Airlines, the National Park Service, I LOVE New York, Expedia, Amazon, and many others. He is fully blind in one eye and legally blind in the other, but clearly sees the best in everyone.

Colber Prosper is the founder and senior consultant for Prosper & Partners, an international consulting firm that specializes in professional and organizational development. He is also the author of the book No Entry: Examining the powers that undermine our full potential. He has done extensive research on issues of inclusion, social justice, organizational change, middle management, and higher education and has facilitated numerous presentations, programs, workshops, and trainings around these topics. Prosper has also provided trainings in coalition building, prevention of substance use or misuse, and organizational development around the world in places such as Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Cape Town, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and several more. His extensive background in strategic planning and implementation has made him an asset to various higher educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Prosper identifies as Haitian African American and was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Prosper attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Maryville College and a master’s degree in college student personnel. While at the University of Tennessee, Mr. Prosper was selected out of a national search to serve as a CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America) Ambassador and graduated from the National Coalition Academy in 2011.

Prosper has had the opportunity to work, study, and present with leading professionals in higher education, immigration policy, political science, and organizational management in institutions such as Harvard University. He has worked with national and international organizations including the United Way, Pre-College Upward Bound, the Children Defense Fund, the National Urban League, NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), and CADCA. Prosper also teaches at the University of the District of Columbia and the College of St. Joseph. Prosper has a passion for people and believes that the spirit of thoughtful collaboration can enhance the lives of individuals and improve organizations.

Clarence L. Vaughn, III is the director of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As director, Vaughn provides strategic leadership in creating an integrated vision and shared responsibility for facilitating the college’s diversity goals and for fostering and supporting a campus culture that respects and appreciates individual differences. Through collaboration with offices across the college and university, he seeks to advance diversity and inclusion in the university’s research and educational missions, creating a welcoming environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Vaughn’s previous professional roles include serving as executive director of the police advisory and review committee for the City of Knoxville, director of diversity and inclusion for US Bank Corporation, and several other management positions in the banking and credit industry. His community involvement includes serving as a board member at large for the National Association of Civilian Oversight for Law Enforcement, board treasurer for the United Way of Greater Knoxville, and chair emeritus of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, along with several other community organization boards.

Vaughn has achieved many honors, including City of Knoxville ambassador and a practitioner of oversight certified by the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, both in 2018. In 2017, he was recognized with inclusion on the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Leaders list. Also in 2017, Vaughn graduated from the Citizens Academies of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Knox County District
Attorney General’s Office, and the Knoxville Police Department.

Vaughn holds an MBA in organizational management from Syracuse University, a bachelor’s degree in business management from Florida A&M, and an associate degree in business management from Tallahassee Community College.