When Dishon Mills, Sandy Santana and Henry Wilde met at Harvard College more than 20 years ago, Mills said their connection was immediate. “We were all from really different places but we just clicked from the beginning.”
Now, all three have reunited to serve Jeremiah Program: Santana and Wilde are members of the National Governing Board of Directors; Mills is chairing the Boston Community Trustees.
“We jelled back in 1993 and are closer now than ever,” says Mills. “We are very similar in that we like to have fun but we also like to get things done. And we really care about people.”
Wilde was the first to join Jeremiah. As co-founder and chief executive officer of Acelero Learning, based in Madison, WI, he is an expert on early childhood education whose experience is informing Jeremiah’s work. He formerly served as the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Children and Families for the State of Wisconsin and as Special Assistant to Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund. After completing his undergraduate degree from Harvard, he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Wilde brought Santana to the attention of Jeremiah. He is the executive director of Children’s Rights, based in New York, which uses law to hold governments accountable for foster care systems. His deep understanding of child welfare adds important depth to Jeremiah’s board. After graduating from Harvard, Santana earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He was an associate in the Boston office of Goodwin Procter LLP (2004-2006) and in the New York office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP and managing Director and general counsel of Legal Outreach before he joined Children’s Rights.
Mills said that Wilde and Santana both called him independently when Jeremiah began working in Boston. “That’s how we communicate,” he says. “We are on the same wave length.”
Mills now is a pastor and social entrepreneur. He worked for Boston Public Schools for many years, where he was responsible for raising most of the funding for his budget. As a result, he got to know the philanthropic world of Boston, which is helping Jeremiah with connections.
Mills also was raised by a single mother, so the mission of Jeremiah is close to his heart. “I had a lot of advantages and blessings but I know how close I was to being another negative statistic,” he says. “Serving Jeremiah is an homage to my mother.”
Meredith Moore Crosby, Melissa Goodman and Win Neuger Elected to National Governing Board
Moore Crosby is an award-winning communications strategist, global diversity professional, and community engagement executive. She is Vice President of branding, communications and strategic engagement for Leverette, Weekes & Co. For her work telling the collective story of the Global Women’s Initiative, she won the coveted 2011 Catalyst Award for McDonald’s. She has developed programs to increase employee volunteerism and corporate contributions, expanded the reach of STEM projects in high-need communities, and launched the award-winning 3M Science Sleuth campaign with 92,000 participants that increased interest in science of 60% of the surveyed audience.
Goodman is a trial lawyer and Partner with the firm of Ciresi Conlin LLP, based in Minneapolis, MN. She represents multinational corporations, small businesses, and individuals in complex business, intellectual property, and commercial matters. She specializes in tailored strategies that maximize clients’ return on investment and creative and effective solutions to complex legal problems. Melissa also dedicates part of her practice to serving pro bono clients in need of legal services and serves on the Board of Directors for the Allegro Choral Academy.
Neuger is a founder of the Win and Christie Neuger Foundation and brings with him 30 years of non-profit board experience. After serving as the Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the board of directors of PineBridge Investments and predecessor companies for more than 18 years, Win retired from the firm. He draws on more than 39 years of investment management experience, having directed the PineBridge strategic vision on a worldwide basis and transitional efforts toward becoming an independent asset management firm. Win also serves on the boards of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, GHR Foundation, WisdomTree Investments and the board of overseers at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.