The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Announces New Staff Hires and Promotions

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Paul Riser, Misha Stallworth West, Kari Pardoe, Marissa Rossman and Maria Suchyta join foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced the addition of five new staff members. The new hires include a senior program officer: Paul Riser; two program officers: Misha Stallworth West and Kari Pardoe; a program associate: Marissa Rossman; and an executive assistant: Maria Suchyta. These new hires bring the Foundation’s full-time staff total to 22 employees.

In addition, the Foundation announced the promotion of Senior Program Officer Susan Dundon to the role of Director, Young Adults and Working Families (YAWF). Vice President of Programs Amber Slichta also added the role of “Learning” to her management oversight within the Foundation. 

“The depth of knowledge and experience these new team members bring to our Foundation across several of our focus areas is critical as we continue to both refine and scale our grantmaking,” said David O. Egner, President and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “It was important to bring on new staff, and uplift current staff, who could continue to build on our culture of teamwork and innovation as we work to improve the quality of life in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.” 

As program officers, Riser, Stallworth and Pardoe will support the development and implementation of the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies and subsequent communications to support these strategies. They will be primarily responsible for grant monitoring, grant evaluation and community relations. The officers will work to identify programs, projects and partnerships that will best leverage the Foundation’s resources. 

As senior program officer, Riser will be supporting the Foundation’s entrepreneurship and economic development portfolio, an area that he brings more than 25 years of professional experience to. He most recently served as director at TechTown Detroit, where he led the strategic roadmap development, planning and execution for Detroit Urban Solutions.

Supporting the Foundation’s caregiver and workforce development portfolios, Stallworth has an extensive background in community engagement and strategic planning, particularly with diverse populations, experience that she will bring to her new role as program officer. During her time as Deputy CEO at CitizenDetroit, she oversaw a team of policy researchers and programming specialists, as well as developed and facilitated the organization’s strategic plan. Stallworth also serves as a member of the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education. 

Also hired as a program officer, Pardoe comes to the Foundation from The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. During her time there, she held the role of program officer, supporting the development of the strategic direction for their Advancing Afterschool work. Pardoe has extensive background in youth development, which will be an area of focus for her in her new role, as she supports the Foundation’s afterschool, early childhood and youth sports and recreation portfolios. 

Joining the team as a program associate, Rossman comes from Wayne State University, where she served as an executive assistant to the dean of the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In her new role at the Foundation, she will be responsible for supporting the program team with the Foundation’s grantmaking activities, including analyzing information relevant to grantmaking, assisting in writing team documents, responding to internal and external requests for information about the Foundation’s grantmaking interests, undertaking routine grant processing functions and aiding in planning. 

With more than 20 years’ experience, Suchyta has been hired as an executive assistant to provide operational support to the Foundation’s senior team. She most recently served as an executive assistant in the division of development and alumni affairs at Wayne State University, where she provided support to the vice president of the division of developmental and alumni affairs.

Dundon has been with the Foundation since 2017 supporting the caregiver, entrepreneurship, and economic development, and YAWF portfolios. In her new role as Director, YAWF, Dundon’s duties will include developing and managing grantee and partner relationships, implementing grantmaking strategies, and conducting proposal analysis specifically for the YAWF focus area. 

Slichta joined the Foundation in 2016 as Vice President of Programs. With the addition of Vice President of Learning to her title, Slichta will oversee the Foundation’s learning, evaluation and reporting work, including the development, implementation and evaluation of the Foundation’s program priorities and giving strategies. 

With these promotions and new additions to the team, the Foundation will continue to engage and support the communities of Southeast Michigan and Western New York, while using the latest data to continue to move deeper in growing its grantmaking and program strategies.

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