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Seattle Foundation Expands Heart and Science of Philanthropy Team

Our staff possesses diverse expertise, with specialists in community issues, nonprofit effectiveness, civic engagement, family philanthropy, planned giving, research and more.


July 13, 2016

We’re excited to welcome five professionals dedicated to community service and passionate about the power of philanthropy and public/private partnerships.

Seattle Foundation's mission is to ignite powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. Driving this mission is our talented team. Our staff possesses diverse expertise, with specialists in community issues, nonprofit effectiveness, civic engagement, family philanthropy, planned giving, research and more. 

Here are the newest members of Seattle Foundation's heart and science of philanthropy team.

Michele Frix
Chief of Staff

As Chief of Staff, Michele plays a cross-team role that supports organizational and departmental planning, as well as processes that lead to overall organizational excellence. As a member of the Leadership Team, Michele partners with staff to ensure alignment across mission, strategy, and execution at all levels of the organization. She also provides strategic guidance and support to Seattle Foundation’s CEO regarding both internal and external matters to assist the foundation in reaching its goals. She also has a critical role in developing and defining Seattle Foundation’s approach to global philanthropy. Michele has spent the last several years as a senior leader at Seattle International Foundation, where she demonstrated strong teambuilding and management skills, launched new and innovative partnerships with a variety of donors, and worked closely with the CEO and board to guide SIF’s grant-making locally and globally. She is a member of the City of Seattle’s Women’s Commission and serves on the board of directors for Splash. In 2015, Michele was selected to be an American Express NGen Fellow by Independent Sector and Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellow. She is a graduate of the University of Washington where she studied International Studies and Human Rights.

Elaine Chu
Philanthropic Advisor

Elaine brings strong experience in direct service work, community organizing, fund development, and program and volunteer management. Her experience and skills enhance the Foundation’s operational effectiveness, cross-team efforts, development, and our community impact goals.  Prior to joining Seattle Foundation, Elaine served at the Strategy and Partnership Officer at SeaTac United Youth Academy, a STEM-focused youth development organization serving SeaTac’s youngest citizens.  She has worked with many of our strong partners spanning nonprofits and public sectors including: Youthcare, Casey Family Programs, Seattle Housing Authority, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  She actively participates in community and civic empowerment efforts and is a strong advocate for youth development, STEM and education.

Elizabeth Dixon List
Philanthropic Advisor

Elizabeth List has more than twelve years of experience in managing long-term relationships with philanthropists and corporate sponsors. She brings with her extensive experience in soliciting and stewarding major gifts, executing capital campaigns, and cultivating new donors. Prior to Seattle Foundation, Elizabeth was the Major Gifts Officer at NeighborCare Health, successfully completing their $2 million capital campaign for the Meridian Center for Health. Other past experience includes development roles at RoseHedge/MultiFaith Works and Boys & Girls Club of King County. Elizabeth also brings with her experience in family philanthropy.

Alessandra Zielinski
Director, Seattle Region Partnership

We are excited to be a part of the Seattle Region Partnership and to host Alessandra in her role as its Director. The Seattle Region Partnership is a collective impact initiative bringing together public, private and philanthropic institutions to focus on multiple aspects of our region’s middle-income jobs that are essential to ensuring inclusive economic success in our region. Alessandra joins us from Deloitte where she worked as a strategy and operations consultant advising corporate, government and nonprofit clients. During her time at Deloitte she launched several national programs enabling staff to use their business skills to benefit nonprofit organizations and served as the manager of Deloitte Consulting’s national pro bono portfolio.  She has also worked at Ashoka, connecting social entrepreneurs with funding and other needed resources. Alessandra stays involved in the sector as a business coach for start-up social enterprises and as a volunteer with educational organizations.  Alessandra holds a Masters of Business Administration from Cornell University.

Sally Gillis
Senior Officer, Community Programs

Sally brings deep and strong relationships with philanthropists, knowledge of collective approaches, and thoughtful work on equity to Seattle Foundation. Starting August 15, Sally’s role will focus on developing and implementing the Foundation’s strategy around cradle to career education, advancing investments in environmental equity and supporting funder collaboratives in the community. Sally comes to us from Social Ventures Partners (SVP), where she has served as Director of Collective Action, developing and implementing SVP’s Collective Action strategy, facilitating the Education and Environment collective giving efforts, co-chairing the RoadMap Aligned Funder Group, and assisting in the development of the Seattle Region Partnership. Sally has a long history of working with Seattle Foundation, including co-leading the Youth Grantmaking Board for many years, convening the Statewide Capacity Building Collaborative and most recently, co-chairing the Sustainable Communities Funder Collaborative. 

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