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).
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.
The Syria Fund recognizes the unique burdens faced by child refugees. We work to build bridges between children in America and children in Jordan through volunteer work and fundraising to support the organization's youth projects.
Rebecca is a 13 year old girl, currently living in TriBeCa, New York City. She attends Brooklyn Tech High School, and is in the 9th grade. Rebecca enjoys spending her time surfing, making art, bike riding, and spending time with family. Rebecca has a personal connection to The Syria Fund’s ideas because her grandparents are from Syria. This very personal connection made Rebecca feel strongly about helping the innocent families and children who’s lives she recognizes could just as easily be hers save for the accident of birth and location.
Molly is a 17 year old girl, currently living in Medfield, Massachusetts. She is a senior at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. Molly enjoys surfing, swimming, volleyball, softball and singing. She also loves spending time with family and friends and is committed to supporting all of the initiatives of The Syria Fund.
Sarah lives in Cairo, Egypt, where she has been working as a fundraiser for educational institutions. She previously worked as a teacher and is currently Candidate for Master of Arts in International and Comparative Education at The American University in Cairo. Sarah has known the executive directors of The Syria Fund for years, and is proud to have friends whose commitment to this cause is so meaningful and impactful. She believes wholeheartedly in The Syria Fund’s mission to provide access to education for Syrian refugees – quality education that not only ensures students catch up academically, but also provides them with purpose, opportunity, and fun!
Before Robin Bernhard entered the world of IT product management and consulting, he spent several years as a Trip Leader for an active/adventure travel company called Backroads and traveled the world. Just recently back from a trip to Turkey, he saw firsthand how citizens across Syria and other countries are being displaced by violence which is literally landing them on the streets of any country to which they can flee. Joining his brother, Ken, he’s joined The Syria Fund to raise funds and deliver supplies.
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.
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!