NPT's Best Nonprofits to Work For 2023

Gulf Coast Recognized Among “Best Nonprofits” in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2020, 2021, and 2023. Learn more here.

Phillip P. Lanham, CAP®

President | CEO

Phillip P. Lanham, CAP® is responsible for the leadership of Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) as president and CEO, including organizational strategy and programs, operations, and investments.

Phillip has been leading Gulf Coast since June 2023, working with the Board of Directors and staff on advancing Gulf Coast’s three priority areas - mental health, affordable housing, and green space + water quality. He has joined the Community Foundations Leading Change’s (CF Lead’s) Executive Leadership Institute for CEOs where he will support Gulf Coast’s community leadership priorities. During his tenure at Gulf Coast, construction is underway for ten rental units in the City of Sarasota for low-income veterans.

Sitting on the boards of the Florida Chamber Foundation, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, and Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Phillip shares that working towards the greater good has been the hallmark of his career.

Phillip has built a reputation as an accomplished executive leader with a strong background in creating results-driven strategies. He has a 20-plus year career dedicated to philanthropy. Before joining Gulf Coast, Phillip served as chief philanthropy officer at Greater Cincinnati Foundation, where he successfully led the philanthropic partnerships team in providing strategic guidance for relationships with donors, nonprofits, businesses, and private foundations.

At the University of Cincinnati, Phillip earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees and began his career at the university. He worked at the university for over 11 years, advancing their widespread philanthropic impact.

As a Charted Advisor in Philanthropy® and a member of the 21/64 Network, a cutting-edge nonprofit specializing in understanding and engaging the next generation within family philanthropy, Phillip is a seasoned executive in the philanthropic arena. He sat on the board of the Advancement Network for community foundations where he served as president. He also served as the vice chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Board. Phillip also enjoys the arts sector and has served on the Music Hall Revitalization Company board, which is responsible for maintaining the iconic performance home of Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony/Pops Orchestra, and May Festival.

Phillip and his wife Tami are proud parents to two boys who share a love of football and the beach. His hobbies include traveling, watching football, and downhill skiing.

Alyssa Barnsley

Brand Strategy Coordinator

Alyssa joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation as the Brand Strategy Coordinator in October 2022 after having served the business community with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. As a member of our Brand Strategy and Experience Team, Alyssa works closely on Gulf Coast’s visual identity both internally and externally. She is passionate about mission-driven work and strongly believes in the power of communication to share impactful pieces that will help build a better future. Alyssa holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Florida. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys reading, listening to historical and film podcasts, watching movies, and spending time outdoors with her goldendoodle, Eliza. 

Kelly Borgia

Strategic Engagement Manager

Kelly joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in 2018 after working as the Production Stage Manager at Asolo Repertory Theatre for 10 years. As a member of our Brand Strategy and Experience Team, she works closely with all of our functional teams to create and execute impactful and meaningful experiences. She is also responsible for managing Gulf Coast’s Arts Appreciation and Sponsorship Grant programs. Kelly is most fulfilled when she is working to better our community in an efficient, effective, and collaborative workspace. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in stage management from the University of Central Florida. She enjoys cooking, bike rides, the Florida sunshine, and—most of all—spending time with family.

Priscilla Boward

Philanthropic Administrator

Priscilla joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in May 2022. She has spent much of her career in donor development, having worked with several not-for-profit organizations in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Using her development and coordination skills, Priscilla works with our Philanthropy Team to connect with our donors, enhancing their experience and helping to answer questions about their funds. Priscilla holds a Bachelor of Arts in strategic communication from Cornerstone University and was a member of the Venice Leadership Class of 2023. Her favorite leisure activities include traveling, exploring nature, and having game nights with friends.

Kelly Carlstein

Vice President Brand Strategy

Kelly joined Gulf Coast in 2018 and oversees Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s marketing and public relations strategies. As Vice President of Gulf Coast’s Brand Strategy and Experience Team, she leads digital and traditional marketing strategies and innovative storytelling in partnership with donors and community partners. Kelly is a graduate of the GCLI class of 2018. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, she worked in marketing and public relations for the private club and healthcare industries. Kelly enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and their two children.

Joe Carter, CAP®

Vice President of Philanthropy

Joe has over 30 years of experience in higher education and nonprofit fundraising for organizations in the areas of major gifts and planned giving. Joe joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation as the Vice President of Philanthropy in June 2024 after working with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for twenty plus years, the last sixteen spent in the role of assisting donors and organizations with planned giving. 

He is a current board member of the Advancement Network, member of the OKC Estate Planning Council, and member and past president of the Oklahoma Association of Charitable Gift Planners. He is a graduate of the American College’s Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) program and currently serves as the moderator for the OKC CAP cohorts.  Prior to Gulf Coast, he held positions as the Chief Development Officer for Children’s Hospital Foundation, Associate Director of Development for St. Gregory’s University, Director of Admissions for St. Gregory’s University and Associate Athletic Director at Oklahoma City University. Joe received his undergraduate degrees in Finance, Marketing and Economics from Oklahoma City University where he attended on a baseball scholarship.  He and his wife, Lori, have an eighteen-year-old son, Jaxon who will be attending CO School of Mines in the fall.

Rachel Denton

Marketing | PR Associate

Rachel joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in October 2021 after working for nearly four years as Communications Manager and Voter Outreach Coordinator at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office. As a member of Gulf Coast’s Brand Strategy and Experience Team, Rachel brings years of experience specializing in communications. She is honored to help execute the marketing and public relations efforts for Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Rachel is a Sarasota native with roots and experience planted deeply in the community. She is a former board member and longstanding member of the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. Rachel was honored as Young Professional of the Year in 2018 by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and received an Award of Appreciation in 2019 from the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association for her work on their board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities with an emphasis in communication from Florida State University.

Shelly Espich

Director of Information Technology

Shelly Espich joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s as Director of Information Technology within the Finance Team in May 2024. She has over 25 years of technology experience in the Northern Kentucky Greater Cincinnati region and she served the last 12 years at Greater Cincinnati Foundation.  Shelly oversees Gulf Coast’s IT infrastructure, technology stack, cybersecurity and risk. Her responsibilities include technology strategic planning and ensuring implementation aligns with Gulf Coast’s strategy and goals.

Shelly earned her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Northern Kentucky University and is a Certified Salesforce Administrator. She has been married for 30 years, has four children and five grandchildren, and is planting new roots in the Venice area. Shelly is passionate about opportunities for women and individuals dealing with substance abuse. She loves sitting at the Jetty to watch the sunset, and finding local, family-owned coffee shops. 

Kate Ferguson

Office Coordinator

Kate joined Gulf Coast in 2022, bringing with her more than 20 years of professional experience in the communications, training and education, and administrative fields. Together with fellow Office Coordinator Hillary Newton, Kate supports internal and external Gulf Coast operations across both the Venice Headquarters and the Sarasota Philanthropy Center. A proud member of our Brand Strategy and Experience Team, she is a point of contact for nonprofit partners utilizing our facilities, where she consistently strives to elevate the Gulf Coast experience for visitors and staff alike.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Art in English and a Master of Science in education. She has worked as a writer and editor for the Syracuse University Office of Publications, a middle school English teacher, and a college adjunct. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Kate served as the Membership and Communications Director of The Venice Golf and Country Club. Kate enjoys reading, rollerblading, listening to podcasts, playing the piano, and above all, spending time with her husband and their two children.

Martha Goodwill, CPA


Martha joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in October 2023. As Controller, Martha collaborates with all teams to ensure Gulf Coast operates at peak efficiency on all financial aspects while maintaining the highest level on internal controls. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Martha spent most of her career in non-profit accounting. Martha holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Information Systems from the University of West Florida. Overcoming food insecurity and environmental issues are Martha’s passions. When not working, she enjoys farming and tending the chickens at Benison Farm, the urban farm she founded in 2018.

Lauren Hersh

Philanthropic Advisor

Lauren joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in 2022. A seasoned philanthropic steward with over 20 years in the nonprofit industry, Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in music business and flute performance from DePauw University. In her role as a Philanthropic Advisor at Gulf Coast, Lauren works directly with donors to maximize their philanthropic impact in our region. Prior to joining Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Lauren served as Director of Donor Engagement, Individual and Corporate Giving with Sarasota Orchestra. Lauren has also held development positions at The Out-of-Door Academy, Girls Inc. of Sarasota, Young Concert Artists, and the New York Philharmonic. 

Lauren enjoys walking the beach, gluten-free baking, and spending time with her husband, two teenagers, and mini-dachshund. She is a former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southwest Florida Chapter and a 2016 graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute.

Kameron Hodgens, Ph.D.

Director of Community Leadership

Kameron joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in spring 2022 after 15 years working locally in senior level administration for two human service organizations. As a member of our Community Leadership Team, she works closely with our nonprofit, civic, and governmental organizations to administer grants, sustain initiatives, and leverage funds from multiple sources. Kameron is passionate about using data to guide decision making in efficient and effective ways, with the goal of maximizing collective impact. Kameron earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Florida State University and a master’s and doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a Sarasota native, Kameron is happiest when her days are spent living out Jimmy Buffet songs.

Jennifer Johnston

Director of Community Leadership

As Director of Community Leadership, Jennifer collaborates with nonprofit partners and diverse leaders to create opportunities for all to thrive. She plays a lead role in mission-driven grant making on behalf of donors and Gulf Coast’s Board of Directors. Jennifer develops and sustains initiatives to address regional priorities.

Jennifer’s prior experience includes serving as a Director for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, creating healthier school environments for students and staff across the country. Jennifer completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, promoting health education campaigns nationwide after earning a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jennifer was honored as an SRQ Women Who Roar awardee by SRQ Media in 2022. Hailing from New Hampshire, Jennifer loves hiking in the mountains and the wonders of domestic and international travel.

Jacintha Knox

Philanthropic Accounting Administrator

As a Philanthropic Accounting Administrator, Jacintha Knox assists Gulf Coast’s Finance Team with processing gifts, accounts payable, and grants. With over 20 years of nonprofit experience, Jacintha is passionate about working with organizations that support community initiatives. She has a personal interest in animal welfare, the environment, the arts, and food security initiatives. Prior to joining Gulf Coast in 2019, Jacintha spent 13 years working in museum education and tourism and several years volunteering and working with animal shelters.

Jacintha earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master of Arts from the University of Denver.

Hollie Mowry

Community Leadership Associate

Hollie Mowry has been with Gulf Coast Community Foundation since 2019. Her work on our Community Leadership Team allows her to steward Gulf Coast’s vision of creating “thriving communities with opportunities for all.” She oversees the distribution of all of Gulf Coast’s Community, Leveraged, and Initiative grants and enjoys finding innovative ways to support local non-profit partners. The best part of her job, aside from her teammates, is hearing success stories from non-profits and knowing that she helped create positive change. An actress in a previous life, Hollie loves being at the theatre, both on and off stage. While not working or at a show, you can find her spending time with her family, learning Italian, or planning her next trip.

Hillary Newton

Office Coordinator

Hillary serves as Office Coordinator on our Brand Strategy and Experience Team alongside Kate Ferguson. She joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in June 2022 after working as an intern on our Community Leadership and Brand Strategy Teams. A point of contact for nonprofit partners utilizing our Venice Headquarters and Sarasota Philanthropy Center, Hillary consistently strives to elevate the Gulf Coast experience for visitors and staff alike. Hillary graduated from University of South Florida in winter 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. One year later, she was honored as one of SRQ Magazine's esteemed "35 under 35," an award which recognizes dynamic young professionals who have distinguished themselves as leaders in their field. Hillary is passionate about our community, sustainability, leadership, and making a difference in our region. 

Kristin Prince

Executive Assistant | Corporate Secretary

With a career spanning over three decades in the not-for-profit sector, Kristin Prince brings a wealth of experience to Gulf Coast. After more than 10 years with Oxfam, a renowned international humanitarian and economic justice organization, Kristin joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in 2021.

At Gulf Coast, Kristin is the Executive Assistant to the President | CEO and serves as Corporate Secretary for the Board of Directors. She supports our President | CEO and all Board members, ensuring they have the necessary resources to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to the Foundation. Additionally, Kristin maintains compliance and oversees document management for the organization.

Kristin holds a master's degree in political science from The CUNY Grad Center, complemented by a bachelor's degree in art from Northeastern University. Beyond her professional achievements, Kristin finds joy in flower gardening, beach outings, historical fiction and memoirs, and cherishing moments with her family.

Sasha Pyatte, CFRE

Director of Philanthropic Partnerships

Sasha joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in May 2022. Sasha is an experienced and accomplished Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), who has spent her career inspiring transformational philanthropy and engaging communities for meaningful impact. Sasha feels fortunate to work with generous donors to help realize their philanthropic goals.

Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Sasha served as Director of Advancement and Strategic Partnerships at the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation, Executive Director of AdventHealth Zephyrhills Foundation, and Director of Philanthropy at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Sasha enjoys live music, shopping locally, cooking, and spending time on the water with her husband, baby boy, and their two pups.

Anthony Riskalla

Senior Accounting Associate

Anthony joined the Gulf Coast team in fall 2018 after relocating from Connecticut to Venice. Prior to his move to Florida, Anthony served as an executive in the financial services sector for over 25 years. He has brought his extensive knowledge of finance and financial systems to his current role as a Senior Accounting Associate, assisting our Gulf Coast Finance Team in ensuring the integrity of the Foundation’s accounting information. Anthony’s primary responsibilities include managing data associated with individual investment accounts held with various custodians and developing efficient accounting processes by leveraging Gulf Coast’s financial system capabilities.  

Chris Stobaugh

Chief Financial Officer

Chris has been Gulf Coast’s CFO since August 2018. In her role, Chris works with the Board and staff to create and monitor policies that strengthen Gulf Coast, its investment portfolio, its spending, and its internal controls. Chris and her team provide key information to management and the Board to allow them to make informed decisions to guide Gulf Coast’s future. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Chris spent most of her 35-plus-year career in the accounting and finance arena, including positions with global accounting firms, public and private companies, her own consulting business, and private equity management. Chris made a conscious decision to join the not-for-profit world and is passionate about ensuring that Gulf Coast will be here for our community for many, many years to come. Chris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Youngstown State University and completed graduate coursework at the University of North Florida. Children and animal causes are close to Chris’ heart. She is a former foster mom and loves her “secondhand dogs.” Chris enjoys cooking and baking for her family and friends, adventure vacations with her husband and sons, never-ending remodeling projects in her home, and she is a second-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Michelle Stout

Grant Accounting Administrator

Michelle joined Gulf Coast in March 2020 and has extensive experience in accounting and office management. As a member of our Finance Team, she manages grants administration and works closely with our Philanthropy and Community Leadership Teams and our generous donors. Michelle is most fulfilled when granting to non-profit organizations who embrace our “Better Together” culture, along with education and children services. Michelle holds a BA in economics/business administration/accounting and an MBA. She enjoys spending time with her adult children, family and friends, attending cultural events, volunteering, cooking, swimming, visiting beaches, and biking.

Kristin Taylor

Philanthropic Administrator

As a member of our Philanthropy Team, Kristin engages with our donors, allowing them to realize their philanthropic potential. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing Gulf Coast’s scholarship program, which provides greater access to postsecondary education for local area students. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2011, Kristin worked in the fast-paced world of television news as a video editor for WWSB ABC7 in Sarasota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunication production from the University of Florida. (Go Gators!) Her claim to fame is representing the country as a member of Team USA at the Bally Total Fitness World Aerobics Championship in 1999. She did not help lead the team to victory. For exercise these days, she and her husband can be found chasing around their two children.

Jon Thaxton

Senior Vice President for Community Leadership

Jon Thaxton creates and implements Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s key strategies for transforming our nonprofit community while providing leadership on emerging issues. Jon joined Gulf Coast in 2012 after serving 12 years as a Sarasota County Commissioner. At Gulf Coast, Jon works with community partners on initiatives that will transform our region and improve public policies.

Jon has provided leadership in the creation of a system of care for the homeless, a food distribution system focusing on healthy and nutritious foods, and the improvement of affordable housing policies. Jon led a multidisciplinary team of experts who created the Water Quality Playbook and is working on other transformative projects, including extensions of the Legacy Trail and creation of the Sarasota downtown bayfront park, The Bay.

Jon is also recognized as a leader for protecting the natural environment. A fifth generation Sarasotan, he was raised on a family farm near Osprey.  He began his environmental advocacy at Venice High School in 1974, and in 1996 he was featured in National Geographic for his efforts to protect endangered species.

Harriet Thompson

Community Leadership Administrator

Since joining Gulf Coast 20 years ago, Harriet Thompson has worked in a variety of administrative positions: assistant to the CEO, helping our donors in Philanthropy, and currently providing support to the Community Leadership Team. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Harriet worked in a supervisory capacity for CNA Insurance, located outside of Washington, D.C. When she is not at the office, Harriet can be found on the golf course, playing a friendly game of bridge, or trying to keep up with her “Little Sister” Amanda.

Stacy Van Buren, SHRM-SCP

Human Resources Business Partner

Stacy is a Society for Human Resources Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SPC) with over 15 years of Human Resources experience in small to large multi-location and hybrid work organizations. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis on Human Resources.

Stacy's passion for human resources includes the key aspects of enhancing a company's core values and a healthy culture. Her goal is to ensure that every employee feels valued and appreciated. Today's HR professionals must understand finance, IT, marketing, legal, social media, big data, and project management. Stacy's previous experience in these areas helps to build her passion for the profession.

In her free time, Stacy enjoys spending time with her three children and granddaughter, reading, traveling, and photography.