Ann Kaner-Roth, Executive Director
Ann Kaner-Roth was appointed executive director of Project 515 and Project 515 Education Campaign in January 2010. She holds a master’s of social work focused in Public Policy from Boston University and a bachelor of arts in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in the public policy and social services arenas for more than 20 years, including as Field Representative for then-Assemblywoman Carole Migden, a state representative to the California State Assembly for the San Francisco area; the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus; the AIDS Legal Referral Panel; Family Support Services of the Bay Area; and the Rock County Department of Social Services in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Prior to her work with Project 515, Ann was associate director of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, which oversees close to $60 million in assets. From 1999-2008, she served as the executive director of Child Care WORKS, a statewide grassroots nonprofit child care and early education advocacy organization, implementing a strong grassroots organizing model as well as substantive legislative efforts.
Ann currently serves on the national board of directors of the Equality Federation and is a past board member of Family Equality Council and Rainbow Families. She is a founding and ex-officio board member of Ready 4 K. Ann is the recipient of the 2013 Community Hero Award from Family Equality Council and the 2008 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children. She was also a 2006-07 University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow. Ann resides in Minneapolis with her husband and three children.
Jake Blumberg, Development Director
Jake comes to Project 515 from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. where he most recently served as an Associate Director of Development. Concurrently, he earned a Master’s in Political Management from The George Washington University with a concentration in strategic communications and fundraising. Prior to that, he raised funds for various nonprofit and higher education entities in Colorado, where he is originally from.
Jake also spent nearly four years as a professional journalist, writing for multiple newspapers and magazines throughout Colorado. In 2006, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation named him one of the top-ten college editorial columnists in the nation. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and political science from Colorado State University.
Jake brings skills in major gift solicitation, institutional relationship-building, volunteer management, communications, public speaking and writing to Project 515. Jake lives in St. Louis Park with his wife, Christina, and two cats, Max and Marshall.
Eric Jensen, Communications Director
Eric Jensen joined Project 515 as communications director in November 2011. He holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in literary studies from Beloit College. Eric has more than 12 years of marketing and communications experience in both corporate and non-profit settings.
Eric comes to Project 515 after eight years at General Mills in the corporation’s promotion marketing organization. At General Mills, he worked with some of the best-known and best-loved consumer brands in the country. These include Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, Green Giant and Yoplait. Eric’s General Mills experience included a sales assignment working with retailers including Target, Dollar General, K-Mart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and CVS. He also worked on several cause-marketing campaigns including Box Tops for Education and the “Pink Together” breast-cancer awareness campaign with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
From 1999 to 2003, Eric worked in the membership department at the Science Museum of Minnesota, including serving as membership director starting in 2001. His additional non-profit experience includes being an event coordinator for Minnesota AIDS Project, the youth program director for the Atwood Community Center in Madison, WI, and the summer program director for Green Bay YMCA Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya.
Eric lives in South Minneapolis with his partner of 17 years, Joel Hoekstra.
Andrea Hanson, Operations Manager
Andrea Hanson joined Project 515 in January 2011. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching from Metropolitan State University in 2009. Prior to joining Project 515, Andrea worked at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, an LGBT welcoming and affirming congregation in Mahtomedi, MN as a Religious Education Assistant and Interim Business Assistant. Her work at the church included working with District 202, Project Home, Heifer International, Pennies for Peace, Fifty Lanterns, and the Twin Cities Pride Festival and Parade. Andrea is also a member of the UUA sponsored public advocacy campaign Standing on the Side of Love, which works to end all identity-based oppression through courageous acts of love.
Andrea is an active volunteer at East Metro Women’s Council, an affordable housing center in White Bear Lake, MN and coordinated their 2010 Resident Holiday Party. In the summer of 2009 she interned at Redleaf Press, a nonprofit early childhood educational press. Andrea lives in White Bear Lake with her dog, Loki.
Bryan Gerber, Special Projects Manager
Bryan Gerber is a long-time Project 515 volunteer and contract employee, and he joined the full-time staff in January 2013. He has served as the creative lead for the 515 Players since they debuted in 2008. His will oversee the re-launch of the 515 Players, a six-person acting troupe that presents theatrical pieces based on the real life challenges faced by same-sex couples in Minnesota based on their inability to legally marry. Bryan is a multi-disciplinary performing artist and is active in the LGBT community. As Artistic Director, Bryan has fulfilled many roles including – producer, director, actor, choreographer, booking manager, stage manager, tour manager, and key decision maker.
Jillia Pessenda Bovino, Development Associate
Jillia Pessenda Bovino joined Project 515 in February 2013. She spent the prior year working as a community organizer with Occupy Homes MN and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change where she worked on events and fundraising efforts. Prior to that, Jillia was the Event and Communications Coordinator with Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Washington State, where she coordinated marketing materials, produced events, and cultivated relationships with the winery’s private investors, as well as managing six Seattle-based farmers’ markets where she coordinated sales, marketing, distribution and tracking. From 2009-2010, Jillia was the Marketing and Communications Director for Washington Ensemble Theatre in Seattle, where she organized fundraising events as well as assisted in grant writing and individual donor cultivation.
Outside of work, Jillia enjoys spending time in her urban garden, California Street Farm in Northeast Minneapolis, and taking in the local performing arts scene. She is thrilled to join the team at Project 515 and excited to apply her skill set and experience to work that serves the ongoing effort to build fairness and equity for all Minnesotans.
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