Staff & Trustees
Laura Aden Packer, Executive Director
Laura was appointed as the Executive Director of the Howard Gilman Foundation in July of 2014. She was entrusted by the Foundation’s Board to “reboot” a Foundation that had been dormant and without a professional staff for nearly a dozen years. The Foundation now provides $20M in grants annually to New York City-based performing arts organizations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura served for thirteen years as the Arts Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the largest private funder of the arts in New Jersey. Before joining the philanthropic field, Laura worked for over two decades in the nonprofit theatre arena, including thirteen years as the first full-time Executive Director of the award-winning New Jersey Theatre Alliance and in senior management positions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Laura was a founding member of ArtPride/NJ, the state’s advocacy organization, where she served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer for twelve years; she also completed a six-year term on the Board of Grantmakers in the Arts. Laura now proudly serves on the Boards of Philanthropy/New York and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Born and raised on the Upper West Side in her family’s art-filled apartment, Laura attended the Preparatory Division of the Juilliard School, studying piano, music theory, and voice, and later received her B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is delighted to once again be living and working in the city that first nurtured her great passion for the arts.
Anna Campbell, Senior Program Officer
Anna joined the Howard Gilman Foundation in 2015. Previously, Anna was the Arts Program Officer at the Educational Foundation of America (EFA), where she developed and managed a portfolio of innovative creative placemaking projects in both urban and rural communities across the country. Prior to EFA, Anna was the Assistant Director at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where she oversaw programming grants for hundreds of cultural organizations across the city and was the Agency's point person for launching the Cultural Data Project in New York State. She also served as Director of Grantmaking Programs at The American Music Center, leading and creating new grant opportunities for music and dance artists to create and perform new work. Anna began her career at the Massachusetts Cultural Council supporting local grantmaking programs throughout that state. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Anna was a professional ballerina.
Conrhonda E. Baker, Grants/Program Associate
Conrhonda’s passion for the performing arts is grounded in her dance background, sparked by taking after-school classes at a county-wide recreational facility in rural northeast Georgia. Having grown up with limited access to the arts, she understands the importance of exposing children to creative outlets and creating opportunities for artistic expression. Before joining the Howard Gilman Foundation, she gained fundraising, government affairs, and program development experience through working with South Arts, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Alabama Dance Council, Vulcan Park and Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art, and Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. In addition to being a member of Women of Color in the Arts, her philanthropic commitments include serving with the Junior League of Montclair-Newark and the inaugural Port Authority Bus Terminal Advisory Committee. She holds a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies with a minor in Dance Education from The University of Georgia.
Emily Sproch, Program Officer
A former working actor, Emily brings her knowledge of the New York City performing arts ecosystem to her role as a Program Officer. She joined the Foundation in 2014 and was the first staff member hired by Laura Aden Packer, helping to shape the Foundation’s mission and strategy and launch its first grantmaking programs. Prior to joining Howard Gilman, she served as a project manager and facilitator at the Clinical Competence Center of New York, an organization that provides communication training and education to medical students and doctors. Emily also taught writing and composition and was a faculty member at both the New York Institute of Art & Design and ASA College. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Syracuse University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the New School. After nearly two decades in New York, she’s now raising her 6-year-old and 2-year-old in Bloomfield, NJ.
James Hirschfeld, Program Officer
James joined the Howard Gilman Foundation in April 2018. Prior to joining the Foundation, James served as the Director of Artistic and Administrative Planning at Miller Theatre at Columbia University, where he was responsible for program planning and development. James is an active freelance classical and jazz trombonist, and has performed and recorded with many New York-based ensembles including Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Ensemble Signal, Alarm Will Sound, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. James holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music. He has lived in Washington Heights since 2004.
Kimberleigh Costanzo, Grants Manager
Kimberleigh is a dance and performance artist whose choreography has been presented at venues throughout New York City and developed in residency centers nationally and internationally. Kimberleigh graduated from Iona College’s Honors program with degrees in philosophy, dance, and sculpture, and has since presented writing and research on contemporary art at colleges and universities throughout the Northeast. Prior to joining the Howard Gilman Foundation in 2015, she worked in operations and development at Gibney Dance, Movement Research, the Martha Graham Dance Company, and for a variety of freelance individual artists. She is currently the Co-Chair of Dance/NYC's Junior Committee, a member of Grantmakers in the Arts, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, and PEAK Grantmaking, an alumna of Philanthropy New York's Young Leaders program, and a former Steering Committee Member of Philanthropy New York's Philanthropic Assistants and Coordinators Network. In addition to formal roles inside of these arts and philanthropic institutions, Kimberleigh is involved in anti-racist organizing efforts within the New York City dance community and work for reproductive justice at the national level. She lives in Brooklyn.
Mary F. Slaughter, Administrative Director
Mary began her career with Gilman Paper Company in 1987 as Benefits Administrator. When the Paper Division was sold in 1999, she stayed on with Building Products-Gilman Investment, LLC. In addition, Mary began working part-time for the Howard Gilman Foundation in January 2015 and moved to full time in September 2018, after the final sale of Gilman Investment, LLC. Mary brings years of experience in Human Resources, Benefits, and Bookkeeping. She will be our office liaison. Mary is happy to remain part of the Howard Gilman legacy and see Mr. Gilman’s generosity and philanthropic efforts in the Arts continue on in such capable hands.
Mary C. Farrell, President
Mary has served on the Board of the Howard Gilman Foundation since 2006 and was appointed President in 2009. Retired in 2005 from UBS, she served as Managing Director, Chief Investment Strategist for UBS Wealth Management USA, as Co-Head of UBS Wealth Management Investment Strategy & Research Group, and was a regular panelist on Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser. In addition to her Howard Gilman Foundation Board leadership, Mary serves as a Trustee of W.R. Berkley, Fidelity Strategic Advisor Funds, the New York University Stern School of Business, and was recently appointed as Chair of the Board of Yale-New Haven Hospital. She also serves on the Board of the Yale-New Haven Health System.
Joseph M. Samulski, Vice President
Joe is Vice President of the Howard Gilman Foundation and has been on the Board since 2006. He is the Chief Fiduciary Officer of BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Prior to joining BNY Mellon in 2004, Joe practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for 15 years and served as the Chief of the Law Department at the New York County Surrogate’s Court for 5 years. He is also a Director of the BNY Mellon Foundation and the George Link, Jr. Foundation.
Daniel L. Kurtz, Secretary
Dan has been on the Board of the Howard Gilman Foundation since 2006 and currently serves as Secretary. Dan is a Partner at Pryor Cashman, where he co-chairs its Nonprofit + Tax-Exempt Organizations Group and is a member of the Corporate, Tax, and Litigation Groups, among others. With his diverse background as a corporate lawyer, civil prosecutor, and leading governance authority, Dan has developed a national reputation in serving the full range of needs of his nonprofit clients. From 1979 to 1985, Dan was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Charities Bureau in the New York State Attorney General’s office. In 2010, he was a Rockefeller Fellow, and in 2014, he was the recipient of the Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York’s Monsignor John T. Fagan Service Award for his charitable work. Dan also serves as the President of The Spingold Foundation, as a Director of the Altschul Foundation, and as an Overseer of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. He is the President of Manhattan Youth Recreation & Resources and has repeatedly been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America.
Marvin S. Rosen, Treasurer
Marvin has been a Trustee at the Howard Gilman Foundation since 2006 and currently serves as Treasurer. He is a shareholder specializing in corporate and securities law at Greenberg Traurig and is the co-founder of Fusion Telecommunications International. From 1995-1997, he served as the Finance Chair for the Democratic National Committee. Marvin is also a Trustee of the Roundabout Theatre Company and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.