We are individuals passionate about helping others and dedicated to the safety and security of Syrian refugees and others affected by conflict.
Lexi Shereshewsky & Demetri Blaisdell: Founders & Executive Directors
Executive Directors Lexi Shereshewsky and Demetri Blaisdell lived in Damascus, Syria throughout 2009 and 2010 and experienced the country's rich history and traditions, warm and hospitable people, and diverse and tolerant culture. Only months after they left Syria, they were horrified to watch the country torn apart by violence and so they began raising money to provide relief to refugees living in Jordan. Through generous donations and a network of dedicated volunteers, they were able to make a tremendous impact. But as the crisis worsened, they looked for ways to magnify their efforts. In 2015, Lexi and Demetri established The Syria Fund as a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to helping Syrian refugees and others affected by this ongoing crisis.
Nora Barre: Donor Relations director
Nora Barre was born and raised in Syria until her parents immigrated to the United States. Growing up, she spent summers volunteering with the International Committees of the Red Cross (ICRC) and fell in love with the country and its people. In 2011, she was horrified by the violence that unfolded and decided that she couldn't standby and do nothing. Immediately, she started working with local organizations and fundraising to provide humanitarian aid, with a focus on women and children. Currently, she's the head of marketing at the Upper Valley Snow Sports Foundation (UVSSF).
OWAIS AL OMARI: PROJECT DIRECTOR - JORDAN
Owais is The Syria Fund's Project Director in Jordan. He is responsible for overseeing all projects, coordinating with local partners and handling day-to-day operations. Owais has worked in the non-profit world for several years, primarily as a music teacher for refugee children. When not working with The Syria Fund, Owais moonlights as a Jordanian rock star, performing in concerts across Jordan. Owais is currently working on his first album.
Anita Subrahmanyam: Director of program development
Anita is The Syria Fund's Director of Program Development. For the past few years, Anita has been the Associate Director of Development at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a NYC-based education non-profit. Prior to joining SEO, Anita has held positions at Weill Cornell Medical and Cornell University, working in development and programming. She was an instructor at Auburn and Cayuga Correctional Facilities, through the Cornell Prison Education Program, and currently volunteers with The Fortune Society and Getting Out, Staying Out, two organizations serving previously incarcerated populations. She is from Fremont, California and obtained her B.S/B.A. from at the University of California, Irvine, where she studied Biology, Political Science, and International Relations, with a minor in African American Studies. She holds a Masters in International Policy, specializing in Arabic, development, security from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. She has also spent significant time abroad, studying at the American University in Cairo and working in the West Bank and India.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Syria Fund has a board of directors that work to drive the organization into the future. All members are passionate about the mission and bring specific skills to the organization.
JERRY SHERESHEWSKY - BOARD member
Jerry Shereshewsky brings over 45 years of experience in marketing and branding and a passion for philanthropy to The Syria Fund. Jerry is the co-founder and Chief Grownup at Grownup Marketing and the recipient of dozens of awards in his field. He uses his extensive experience to help engage a wide network to support the organization's mission. Having spent time traveling in Syria in 2010, Jerry is committed to helping those affected by the conflict.
KEN BERNHARD - board MEMBER
Ken Bernhard is a principal in Cohen and Wolf's Municipal, Business & Corporate, Real Estate, and Family Law Groups, representing municipalities and a wide range of businesses, as well as individuals, in litigation, real estate, matrimonial and commercial matters. Ken is a passionate philanthropist and has volunteered around the world to support impactful projects and promote education and prosperity to those in need.
YASIR DHANNOON - board MEMBEr
Yasir is a New York-based entrepreneur and project manager with expertise in technology and innovative solutions. He has created numerous apps and digital platforms for global companies, including Harpercollins Publishers, Verizon, General Mills and more. Yasir has a personal connection to The Syria Fund's mission because he lived in Syria for over three years as a refugee from Iraq. Yasir has worked for several years with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting refugees in life-or-death circumstances.
MARY MURANO - BOARD MEMBER
Mary Murano is a successful media executive with over 25 years experience in television content distribution, contract negotiations and client relations. She has held leadership positions in several media companies including NBCUniversal, Oxygen Media, Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks) and most recently Al Jazeera America. Throughout her media career, Mary has supported socially relevant industry organizations especially Women in Cable Telecommunications where she served on both the national Board of Directors and local chapter Board for many years. Mary is excited to use her business experience and media industry contacts to help expand funding for The Syria Fund.
MELISSA CARDEN - BOARD MEMBER
Melissa Carden is a creative marketing communications specialist with over 20 years experience in strategic communications and brand building programs in the consumer goods, fashion and hospitality industries. Her areas of expertise include sponsorships, events, video production, cause-related marketing campaigns and corporate charitable giving. Career highlights include spearheading the sponsorship program of The Swarovski Star at Rockefeller Center in New York City, Swarovski at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center and Swarovski’s multi-year cause related marketing campaign with the American Heart Association. Melissa is a native Rhode Islander now living in the Philadelphia suburbs. She is also a volunteer with the Philadelphia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
If you are interested in finding out ways to get involved, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to meet other passionate people who share our desire to make a difference!