Our grant-making staff have both business and consulting experience allowing us to provide strategic support to our grantees on an as needed basis.


Alyssa Arens is a Portfolio Associate at the One8 Foundation. She recently completed a dual Masters degree at Brandeis University, in the areas of Public Policy and Jewish Professional Leadership. Prior to completing her degree, Alyssa served as a Goldman Bridge Fellow in the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Washington Regional Office and has worked for Israel Outdoors and the Union for Reform Judaism. In the summer of 2010, she was an AJC Goldman Fellow in Warsaw, Poland, where she worked with Forum for Dialogue Among Nations, a non-profit that fosters Polish-Jewish dialogue and reduces anti-Semitism in Poland.

She received a B.A. with honors in anthropology and religious studies from Wesleyan University in 2011 and a Master of Public Policy and Masters of Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University in 2016.


Karyn joined the One8 Foundation in March 2013. She leads the foundation’s work in Jewish Continuity, Israel, and special projects in the US in the non-Jewish related issues areas.  She’s responsible for identifying great organizations and leaders, developing grants and providing strategic and tactical support to help organizations increase their impact in significant and sustainable ways.

Karyn has significant experience in both the private and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining One8, Karyn was Associate Vice President of Strategy Implementation at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, where she managed strategy and grantmaking for engaging key populations in Jewish life and led measurement efforts and other strategic projects.  Prior to this Karyn spent nine years as a management consultant in Chicago and Boston with Capgemini focused on growth and customer strategy. She started her career working for the New England Holocaust Memorial and in the direct marketing industry.

Karyn received a BA in Art History from The George Washington University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.


Hannah is a Portfolio Analyst for Education at the One8 Foundation. Hannah worked previously as an associate consultant at Parthenon-EY, a management consulting firm, where she worked on strategic projects for a variety of education and private equity clients. She received a BA in Neuroscience from Dartmouth College where she graduated magna cum laude.


John is a Portfolio Analyst for Education at the One8 Foundation, having joined through the Education Pioneers Fellowship. Previously, John worked as an associate consultant at Clarion Healthcare, where he worked with clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors on a variety of strategic projects. He received a BA in Economics and English from Williams College.

He received a BA in Economics and English from Williams College.


Crisandra Gray joined One8 Foundation in June 2016 to provide overall general administrative support. Crisandra’s background includes several years of administrative and customer service experience across various business environments. In the past, Crisandra has provided office support at Boston University, as well as MetLife.

Crisandra earned her Bachelor of Science from Johnson & Wales University with a major in Computer Network Engineering.


Joanna Jacobson is the President of One8 Foundation. She is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Strategic Grant Partners, a venture philanthropy that is both a foundation and a pro-bono consulting firm. Previous to this, Ms. Jacobson’s career was in private industry where she held senior management and marketing positions in turnaround businesses including the President of the Keds Corporation and SVP Marketing and Product Development at Converse Corporation. Earlier in her career, she worked at Colgate-Palmolive in product management and worldwide new product development. She has also taught at the Harvard Business School and was a partner in Core Strategy Group, a marketing strategy consultancy.

Ms. Jacobson earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University. She serves on the advisory board of EdLabs, and the boards of Youth Villages & YV MA, Edward Brooke Charter School, HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and Unlocking Potential Education Network.


Tova Katz joined the One8 Foundation in May 2012 to work on the Foundation’s Israel and Jewish life portfolio. In her role as Portfolio Manager, Tova is responsible for sourcing, supporting and managing the Foundation’s Israel engagement, education and advocacy portfolio, comprised primarily of North American-based grantees. Tova works closely with the leadership teams of her grantees, providing strategic planning and ongoing advisory support. Tova received her MBA from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management in 2012. Prior to that, she spent four years at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Tova earned a BA in history from Columbia University and is a Wexner Graduate Fellow and Davidson Scholar.


Vanessa joined the One8 Foundation in September 2014 as a Portfolio Manager for the foundation’s education work. In this role, she is responsible for identifying potential grantees as well as providing strategic planning and advisory support to current grantees. Prior to joining One8, Vanessa was a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group where she worked with both for-profit and nonprofit clients on projects primarily focused on strategy development. Vanessa also spent three years at TDC, a management consulting firm, working with nonprofit organizations on strategic planning, new business planning, and organization redesign. Vanessa began her career at Rhode Island Kids Count, where she assisted with research and data analysis as well as state-level advocacy efforts on public policy issues affecting children and families.

Vanessa received a BA in Economics and Public Policy from Brown University. She also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Will joined the One8 Foundation in May 2017 as the Director of Education Research. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing rigorous evaluations that help inform and advance the Foundation’s education agenda. Prior to joining One8, Will was the Chief of Learning and Innovation in the Southbridge Public Schools (Southbridge, MA)—the third district taken over by the State of MA. For seven years before that, Will led research partnerships with school districts and state education agencies as the Director of Analytics at the Center for Education Policy Research (Harvard University) and as a Research Associate at New York University’s Research Alliance for New York City Schools. He is the son, brother, and husband of K-12 teachers and a former teacher himself.

Will received a BA in English from Amherst College and holds Ed. M. and Ed. D. degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he studied education policy research.


Faith joined the One8 Foundation in December 2016 as a Program Analyst for the foundation’s PLTW Scaling Initiative, Mass STEM Hub. In this role, Faith is assisting in the implementation of a statewide strategic plan to expand high-quality Project Lead the Way programming, the nation’s premier K-12 STEM initiative, in schools across the Commonwealth. Before joining the Mass STEM Hub team, Faith was a lead classroom teacher at Match Community Day Public Charter School in Boston.

Faith earned a BA in Sociology from Kenyon College.


Mike is a Portfolio Analyst for Education at the One8 Foundation. Prior to joining One8, Mike was a senior associate at Investor Group Services, a Boston-based strategy consulting firm, where he worked on strategic projects for private equity and corporate clients across a variety of industries. He received a BA in Economics from Bowdoin College.


Ashwin joined the One8 Foundation in March 2017 as a Portfolio Manager focusing on the Foundation’s education work. Prior to joining One8, Ashwin was a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office, where he served primarily financial services and nonprofit clients. Prior to McKinsey, Ashwin spent 6 years as a crude oil options trader for Deutsche Bank in both London and New York.

Ashwin received an AB in Economics and a certificate in Finance from Princeton University. He also received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Palmer Scholar.


Anna joined the One8 Foundation in the fall of 2008 through her work with Joanna Jacobson and Strategic Grant Partners.  Anna provides daily operational support to the organization.  Before joining One8, she worked for the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority providing administrative support to the Director of Engineering.  Earlier in her career, she worked at Boston College in the Dean’s Office for the School of Education.

Anna earned her Bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a Master of Education degree from Boston College in the area of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.


Katherine joined the One8 Foundation in September 2016 as the Director of the foundation’s PLTW Scaling Initiative.  In this role, Katherine is leading the implementation of a statewide strategic plan to expand high-quality Project Lead the Way programming, the nation’s premier K-12 STEM initiative, in schools across the Commonwealth. Prior to joining One8, Katherine worked as a teacher and management consultant.  She taught high school math and coached varsity basketball at Boston Prep Charter School in Hyde Park.  On the consulting side, Katherine worked both with Bain & Company and a local firm here in Massachusetts focused exclusively on K-12 education.

Katherine received a BA in American Studies from Amherst College and she also earned a Master of Education from Boston University

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