About us

Philanthropy & Building Community

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Our Belief

We believe that amplifying underrepresented voices creates a vital space for empathy, in which we can recognize our shared humanity and build pathways toward understanding.

Our Mission

We shift power and resources to our partners and nurture a dynamic network for people to learn together, bridge differences, and work towards equity.

Our Impact

$ 4.3M

$4.3M dispersed
to date  (since 2001)

$ 1M

Over $1 million dedicated to
education and storytelling

$ 900k

Nearly $900k towards organizations improving conditions for forced migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless individuals


95,000 people from 50 countries directly impacted in the last 5 years

Long story, short.

In 1958, Eugene M. Adler established a 501(c)(3) private foundation in his namesake. The foundation contributed to a handful of well-known charities, but otherwise kept a low profile before entering a period of inactivity. Years later, Connie Adler discovered the family fund upon her mother’s passing in 2001. Driven by her background in nonprofit work, she revitalized the foundation with funding from her own inheritance, a new name, and a fresh philosophy.

Under Connie’s leadership, the EMA Foundation adopted a practice now known as trust-based philanthropy. This approach emphasizes relationships with partner organizations, unrestricted funding, and shifting power to stakeholders at the community level. Over the next 18 years, EMA Foundation disbursed over $3M in unrestricted financial support to 40+ nonprofit organizations involved in human rights, arts, education, and environmental conservation.

Connie’s son Bill Meyer took over operations in 2018, bringing with him 30 years of experience working in education and a deep understanding of the foundation’s ethos. When the summer of 2020 raised global conversations about the need for systemic change, Bill reflected on the foundation’s potential. He saw a unique opportunity to bridge education and philanthropy, in an effort to transform both.

Our Team


Erika Cao

Senior Project Manager

Erika comes from a family of refugees and immigrants and is invested in working with Refugee Led Organizations to recenter and humanize displaced individuals. With strong management capabilities and a passion for increasing access to education, Erika brings together our education, rhizōma, and partner relations teams.


Zack Cohen

Director of Administration

Zack is a pre-law student with an interest in the intersection of human rights and financial inclusion. With a detail-oriented approach and strong research skills, he capably manages EMA’s back-end to allow us to fulfill our mission and support our partners.


Devon Davey

Director of Partner and Organizational Thriving

Devon creates conditions for deeper impact through optimizing organizational thriving at EMA and in her consulting work with leaders of color and leadership teams. She is a strategist and coaching partner, bringing extensive experience to EMA partners, helping them thrive.


Nathan Doughty

Partner Relations Associate

Nathan is a talented cross-country skier and passionate student with interests spanning social justice, science, and poetry writing. Nathan rounds out our Partner Relations cohort, taking charge of our relationship with BYkids and plugging holes with other partners.


Rachel Grace

Partner Relations Associate

Rachel joins EMA as a sociology student who cares deeply about respect, equity and the acknowledgement of all stories. Bringing these values to EMA, she works alongside HTL Coalition, supporting them in their work and bringing their stories to rhizōma.


David Grace

Director of Educational Programs

Dave is an accomplished educator with almost 22 years of experience and a keen eye for helping students learn how to succeed. Having seen what works for students, he comes to EMA with a vision for revolutionizing education through storytelling and connecting to lived experiences.


Cedrick Gustave

Communications Director

Cedrick is an experienced graphic designer passionate about media studies and cross-cultural communication. With a background in social media and brand design, he brings his creativity to EMA as he showcases our mission and global impact.


Bill Meyer

Executive Director

Bill is a seasoned educator with over 28 years of experience working with young people and 5 years in the nonprofit sector. From his experience, he brings an emphasis on shifting power and resources to stakeholders to his role as our executive director.


Julia Minassian

Partner Relations Associate

Julia is a community action driven individual with experience in projects relating to healthcare access, sustainability, and media representation. Taking her experience in these endeavors, Julia works in our Partner Relations cohort, supporting multiple of our partners in their initiatives of equity and sustainable change.


Joanne Parsont

Director of rhizōma

Joanne is a film and media education specialist with nearly three decades of experience harnessing the power of storytelling for impact and education. She brings her deep enthusiasm for amplifying youth voices and underrepresented communities to shape the future of rhizōma.


Olivia Reibel

Development Associate

Olivia is a passionate Art History student with experience working in galleries and curating exhibits. With exposure to generating and maintaining support, she ably supports EMA in maintaining our relationships with donors and partners.


Samantha Silveira

Director of Development

Sam is an interdisciplinary professional passionate about climate justice and social change. She comes to EMA with a background in business development and marketing that enables her to build strong relationships and eye-catching campaigns.


Tracy Tran

Partner Relations Associate

Tracy is a driven public health student who seeks to ameliorate barriers to healthcare access and basic needs, having dealt with these issues as a part of marginalized groups. In their work with EMA, they work primarily with Children of the Forest, merging their passion for public health with the needs of our partners.


Jalen Walker

Director of Operations

Jalen is a current student with prospects of making an impact through ESG and internal operations work. Leveraging his prior consulting experience, he is responsible for streamlining our practices and promoting a strong and efficient workplace culture.

Wallace and Gromit

Co-Directors of the Unconditional Affection Department

Wallace and Gromit join our team as integral parts of our organization’s support structure. Although they got off to a rough start in life, they’re now living the dream in Alaska and enjoying watching EMA deliver on its mission.

Our Partners

Impact a global network with a single contribution