Board of Directors
Download the Playtime Project Annual Report to learn more about how we bring healing through play to homeless youth in DC.
Jamila Larson, LICSW, President, Co-Founder
While a college student in Minnesota, Jamila founded a program similar to Playtime Project at a Minneapolis homeless shelter which earned her the “Social Work Student of the Year” award in 1995. Jamila originally came to Washington to work for the Children’s Defense Fund in 1996 where she researched and wrote about best practices for strengthening low-income families for four years before getting her Master’s degree in Social Work. She then served as a Clinical Social Worker at Bright Beginnings, a Head Start program for homeless families, and then as Regional Director and Consultant for LIFT.
Prior to joining Playtime Project full-time, she served as the Community School Director for the National Center for Children and Families at the JC Nalle Elementary School in southeast DC, where she managed a mental health and after school program. In 2005 she was awarded “Employee of the Year” as a “Voice for Children” by the agency whose 180 staff provides comprehensive child welfare services in the D.C. metropolitan area. Jamila has been running Playtime Project as a volunteer since it was founded in 2003, and she assumed her role as first full-time Executive Director in September 2009. In 2012, she was honored as a Washingtonian of the Year for her work as Executive Director of HCPP.
Jan Piercy, Board Chair, Advisor to Enclude
Jan Piercy is an Advisor to Enclude, an inclusive financial services advisory firm that grew out of ShoreBank, a Chicago-based community development financial institution. She stepped out of full-time work with Enclude in 2016 to devote more time to her community service and other interests. Jan’s career has included management and leadership responsibilities across private sector, non-profit, academic and public sectors. She served for the United States on the Board of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation, where she chaired the Board Committees on Development Effectiveness and Personnel and was on the Audit Committee, receiving the U.S. Treasury Medal of Honor in 2001 for her service at Treasury and the World Bank. Earlier, Jan headed public management programs at Stanford and Cornell Graduate Schools of Business, worked in Bangladesh and Thailand for an international NGO and was Senior Vice President at ShoreBank.
Jan graduated from Wellesley College and did graduate studies at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. She is a member of the Advisory Councils of the Global Philanthropy Forum, Acumen, and the Opportunity Collaboration and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jan is an active member of St. Columba’s Church in D.C. and is a long-time resident of the City. Her daughter, Lissa, is co-founder of Strength of Doves, an agency representing social activist spoken word artists.
Kirsten Lodal, CEO and Co-Founder of LIFT
Kirsten founded LIFT in 1998 while a sophomore at Yale. Her idea was simple: to train talented, driven student volunteers from campuses across the country to serve as relentless advocates for people–especially women and children–living in poverty in the US. Recognizing that poor families have to confront an inordinately complicated maze of bureaucracies to access help, these volunteer advocates would do whatever it took to help families find stable housing, employment, childcare, healthcare, and food to chart a path out of poverty. Years later, Kirsten turned LIFT from a concept into a growing national movement to combat poverty and expand opportunity for all families in the United States.
LIFT currently runs volunteer-staffed service centers across Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and DC, which have helped over 30,000 families find the stability necessary to transform their lives. Kirsten has played a leadership role in numerous poverty policy initiatives, and she actively participates on several boards, including her current role as the Chair of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. She is a frequent and passionate public speaker; Kirsten’s leadership with LIFT has been featured by the NBC Nightly News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and CNN. She is the proud recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Kirsten graduated from Yale University in 2001 and has completed the Executive Management Program at the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.
David Graling, CPA, MBA, President & Partner, Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman
David Graling is the President of Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman CPAs, which he joined in 1982 and has accumulated more than 38 years of experience in all areas of public accounting. His client base includes nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses and individuals. His extensive experience with nonprofit organizations includes auditing, structuring of nonprofit organizations, internal control evaluation and management consulting. Mr. Graling also consults with clients on optimum business structure, tax saving strategies and obtaining financing and provides advice on tax compliance, estate planning and family-owned business.
David received his MBA from George Mason University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs, the Maryland Association of CPAs, and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to overseeing the finances of the Playtime Project, he also serves as Treasurer of the Military Order of the Carabao, and is a Finance Committee Member of the Army and Navy Club.
Elizabeth Voyles, Principal, Brass Ring Communications
Elizabeth Voyles has over a decade of experience in public affairs, political and media strategy at the federal, state and local levels; and in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. She is Principal of Brass Ring Communications, a boutique media relations and marketing firm in the nation’s capital. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s of Political Science from Tufts University.
Voyles started her career in Washington as Deputy Press Secretary to U.S. Senator John F. Kerry. Prior to her position at Fulcrum, Voyles was a Senior Associate of Communications at The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC. Her professional experiences at Morgan Allen Moore, a public relations firm, and as a field organizer for several political campaigns have further diversified her skill set. As a graduate student, Voyles served as a fellow at The Concord Coalition, a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public about America’s fiscal challenges. Prior to that, she served as Communications Manager at the Trust for America’s Health, a public health non-profit that focuses on policy related to chronic disease, infectious disease and emergency preparedness. She supported the group’s successful effort to secure a groundbreaking prevention fund in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Ty and their two children, Emma and Zachary.
Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner, Medical Director and Assistant Fire Chief, District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services
Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner obtained his MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1990 after completing his BS in Mathematics at Hampton University in 1989. Following the completion of his doctorate, Mountvarner attended the Harvard University School of Public Health, where he earned his Masters in Public Health with a special focus on Health Care Management and Finance. After graduating, he obtained an internship in internal medicine at the George Washington University and later went on to become the Chief Resident in emergency medicine at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.
Currently, Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner is an Assistant Professor, attending physician, and Chief and Interim Chairman at Howard University Hospital, where he focuses on emergency medicine. Since January of 2010, Dr. Geoffrey Mountvarner has also served as the Medical Director and Assistant Fire Chief for the Fire and Emergency Services in the District where as one of six executives, he is responsible for overseeing the correct execution and completion of EMS training and protocols for medical treatment for a staff of over 2,500 paramedics and firefighters. Geoffrey has been a strong advocate of the Playtime Project as he rallies his workplace, family, and his children’s school to sponsor events and speak to the teens in our Teen Program.
Patty Mullahy-Fugere, Esq., Executive Director of Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
Patty has been a leader in the movement to create a more just community for people struggling with housing affordability and homelessness in the District of Columbia since 1980. She is one of the co-founders and serves as executive director of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, which advocates with and on behalf of people who are homelessness and living in poverty in our nation’s capital. The Legal Clinic envisions a just and inclusive DC, where housing is a human right and all residents have access to the resources they need to thrive. Patty and her colleagues use the tools of the legal profession to make that vision a reality.
Patty serves on the DC Access to Justice Commission, as well as on the steering committee of the Fair Budget Coalition, and on the Board of Directors of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, in addition to the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project.
Previously, Patty served on the board of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, the management committee of the Campaign for New Community, as well as on the boards of directors of Calvary Women’s Shelter, the Coalition for Financial Accountability, and the Legal Resource Center for Non-Profit Housing Sponsors. She is an alumna of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she co-teaches a course titled “Homelessness, Poverty and Legal Advocacy.”
Renee Stikes – Executive Director for Horizons Greater Washington
Renée Stikes joined Horizons Greater Washington in 2014 bringing a vast amount of experience in development and non-profit management. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Philanthropy for Kaboom! where she successfully created and implemented strategies to raise visibility and secure funds from individuals, foundation, corporate and government sources. Prior to that, she served as Director of Development at CentroNia, a nationally recognized multicultural learning community, where she helped to secure $17 million in funding to support an award-winning early childhood education program, an accredited out-of-school time program and a public charter school for 1,500 low-income children and youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She also worked as director of membership for Council on Foundations where she was responsible for managing the processes that brought in more than $11 million annually. She led a team to develop and launch a stewardship and recruitment program that retained 93% of the Council’s member while attracting 206 new members over two years through rebranding effort and the development of new marketing materials. Her fundraising experience includes work as Interim Director of Development and Director of Corporate Relations and Special Events for the Children’s Defense Fund. She has held development positions with National Minority AIDS Council where she developed the agency’s first donor-recognition program resulting in near 100% retention of corporate and foundation donors and almost 60% increase in corporate contributions. Her resource development work began in earnest at Building Futures, a Washington-DC based housing organization.
She earned the Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fundraising School in Indianapolis, Indiana. And, she holds a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from American University and a Bachelors of Arts in mathematics from the University of Louisville.
Wendy E. Stark – Vice President and General Counsel for Pepco Holdings, Inc.
Wendy Stark is the primary legal advisor to Pepco Holding’s senior management and is responsible for handling all matters before state and federal regulatory commissions in each of the jurisdictions in which the company’s three utilities operate, including the preparation and litigation of base rate cases. Based in Washington, D.C. Pepco Holdings employs more than 4,700 people, owns more than $14.4 billion in assets and generates approximately $4.8 billion in annual revenues. Pepco Holdings serves 2.3 million customers as the parent company of Pepco, an electric utility serving Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland; Delmarva Power, an electric and gas utility serving Delaware and the rest of the Delmarva Peninsula; and Atlantic City Electric, an electric utility serving southern New Jersey. Pepco Holdings is a recently acquired subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s leading energy services companies. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.
Before joining Pepco Holdings, Inc., Ms. Stark practiced law at FirstEnergy Service Company where she was the associate general counsel. In that role, she was responsible for the state regulatory section within the legal department which represented the ten regulated utilities and the competitive affiliate before state regulatory commissions in multiple jurisdictions. At FirstEnergy, Ms. Stark also supervised attorneys who worked on labor and employment, securities and corporate governance matters. Prior to joining FirstEnergy, Ms. Stark was an associate at Baker & Hostetler LLP and at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, both in Cleveland, Ohio. At both firms, her practice focused on labor and employment law. Ms. Stark earned a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.
Statistic – Child Trends
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness estimates that 80 percent of mothers with children experiencing homelessness have previously experienced domestic violence