CJI Staff

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Aleah Bacquie Vaughn

Executive Director

Aleah Bacquie Vaughn, Executive Director of the CJI Fund, was previously Deputy Director at the American Committee on Africa and The Africa Fund, where she championed the release of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, and divestment from companies doing business with South Africa’s apartheid government. In South Africa, Aleah worked for the South African Council of Churches to decrease violence in the East Rand; on the Independent Electoral Commission, to educate communities about voting in the country’s historic first democratic elections; for the World Council on Religion and Peace, which first called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and for the Women’s Development Foundation, which supported electing women to national government. Returning to the US in 1996, Aleah worked on the Jubilee campaign to cancel African debt, and demand HIV/AIDS medication for African countries. As Director of Social Justice Ministries for Riverside Church, she supervised 13 social justice ministries, including The Sharing Fund, and Prison Ministry. She also co-created the Prison Family Support Group and Sojourners, a ministry to support and advocate for releasing people detained in U.S. facilities. She then served as the Director of Grants and Training at the Peace Development Fund. Aleah is the granddaughter of Irene Morgan, of the Morgan v. Virginia Supreme Court decision against segregation in interstate travel. The Freedom Rides supported her case. Aleah is the proud, fierce mother of two black boys.

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Zachary Hendrickson

Manager of Special Projects

Zachary is a graduate of Columbia University’s Political Science and Religion program, where he worked for several years as part of the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life. Since moving to New York from rural Kansas, Zachary has spent considerable time organizing around mass incarceration, state violence, and social justice. Perhaps most impactful were the six months he spent as an English tutor at the Horizon maximum-security juvenile detention center in the South Bronx. He credits his time working with these young people for solidifying his political and moral worldview and solidifying his abolitionist mindset. Zachary remains active, organizing with groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and the Radical People’s Assembly.

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Fanny Bueso

Finance and Operations Manager

A native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn, Fanny received her Associate’s degree in Science for Health Professions in 2007. Fanny has previously held positions in the public and private sectors, most recently as the Executive Assistant to the CFO of St. Joseph College. In her current role, Fanny supports Director of Operations Lizan Highland to help keep the organization running smoothly.

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Elana McGovern

Interim Programs & Grant Manager

Elana’s experience designing grant application software for end users in platforms like Submittable comes from her tenure at the National Science Teaching Association and, most recently, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Both institutions approach education equity from a social justice perspective and prioritize underserved and underrepresented groups. In her last position, Elana made the organization’s grant application process more accessible and inclusive, which she is working to bring to her work at CJI. In addition to education equity, Elana’s advocacy interests include public schools, LGBTQ rights, veterans, and reproductive and environmental justice. As CJI’s technical support point person, Elana works with grant applicants and existing CJI grantees on everything from submitting applications in Submittable to generating reporting data.

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Jordan Moeller

Development and Communications Manager

Jordan is a communications and development specialist with years of experience in grants management, coalition building, and creative storytelling. Jordan works to advance CJI's fundraising and communications efforts and broaden CJI’s capacity to launch new key projects and initiatives. A longtime Seattle resident, Jordan cut his teeth in the nonprofit sector as an organizer and canvasser at Washington Community Action Network, fighting for causes like universal healthcare, eviction reform, and ending punitive criminal sentencing at the state level. Most recently, Jordan served as Assistant Executive Director at The Restorative Center, a small organization doing innovative restorative justice work, after overseeing their Restorative Justice Clemency and Parole pilot program as the Project Manager. Outside of his work in the nonprofit sector, Jordan is an award-winning comedian and active member of two sketch comedy teams in New York City.

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Iliana Perkins

Executive Assistant

Iliana Perkins is an Afro-Latina nonprofit administrator with a dynamic background in HR, account management, and operations coordination. A passionate advocate for mental health and self-care, Iliana founded her own nonprofit called Rooted Seeds, Inc., which works to uplift, impact, and improve the overall quality of life for all people in marginalized communities with an emphasis on mental health awareness. Outside of her advocacy work, Iliana is an avid explorer and frequently finds herself on the beaches of Aruba. She is the mother of an imperturbable cat named Charlie and a brilliant young lady who was just accepted into her second Magnet School.

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Zaynab Ubaid

Development and Communications Associate

Zaynab is a graduate of Stony Brook University with a degree in Psychology and a double minor in Journalism and Business Management. She has a background in marketing, writing, program coordinating, and case management. Most recently, Zaynab served as the head program coordinator at the Nassau County Office of Asian American Affairs, where she worked to empower marginalized communities by connecting them to government and nonprofit resources. As the newest addition to CJI’s Development Department, she assists in furthering CJI’s mission and outreach efforts.

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Veronica Manning

Interim Managing Director

Veronica is an experienced nonprofit executive, consultant and facilitator who has led two organizations centered around empowering and advocating for underserved youth. In her work, she has tackled challenges of overhauling finance and budgeting processes, creating an HR department, developing a new approach to fundraising, and instituting a learning culture of inclusion and leadership that centers equity. Most recently, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Health at the NYU Wagner school, Veronica also consulted for Dual School, a nonprofit that helps students create social change passion projects in their local communities from a design thinking lens. Veronica also provided one-on-one executive coaching to the executive director, as well as helped the organization focus its strategic planning initiative, navigate board transitions, and develop a sustainable succession plan. Veronica has also consulted for The Democracy Collaborative, managing their hiring process for 3 key positions. In her spare time, Veronica is a writer & filmmaker. Her most recent work – a silent micro short film called The Key – was a finalist in the 2021 Micromania Short Film.

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