F65 Announces Leadership Transition & Welcomes New Board Members


Foundation 65 is pleased to announce new leadership changes to its board of directors. Effective July 1, 2020, Julie Cutter has taken over the role of Board President from Dr. Keith Robinson, who served as board president starting in July 2018. Additionally, Foundation 65 welcomes three dynamic new board members from the Evanston/Skokie community: Nicole Brownlee, Alison Finkel and Diana Sheehan.

Collectively, their deep professional and community-based backgrounds, paired with a passionate commitment to public education, will greatly enhance the Foundation’s mission of supporting educator-led innovations in literacy and the arts focused on educational equity for District 65 students.

“I am thrilled to work with these amazing women to further Foundation 65’s mission of creating educational equity through literacy and arts,” said Alecia Wartowski, Foundation 65’s Executive Director. “With Julie Cutter’s leadership and the talents our new board members bring, we can really make a difference in the lives of Evanston/Skokie students.”

Information on Julie and the new board members follows.

Julie Cutter
Julie Cutter has been a board member of Foundation 65 since 2017, serving as the Chair of the Fundraising Committee. A D65 and ETHS alumnus, Julie obtained her BA in International Studies from Kenyon College and her MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago.  Julie had a 20-year career in international affairs including 17 years as a Foreign Service Officer.  She served on the board of the Jewish Reconstruction Congregation and GirlForward. Julie was also a PTA co-president at Dewey and worked with the City of Evanston to build Noah’s Playground for Everyone.  She lives in Evanston with her husband, David, and her children attend Nichols and ETHS.

Nicole Brownlee
Nicole Brownlee has a background in educational public policy and community organizing. She has served as the Director of External Affairs for the Atlanta Public Schools and previously served as Legislative Advisor for United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). She is a passionate advocate for racial justice and co-founded a parent group at Lincolnwood Elementary School that leads participants through a year- long journey into strengthening their racial consciousness and dismantling systemic racism. Nicole is also a founding member of the Haven Feeder Schools for Equity and serves on the Lincolnwood PTA Executive Board as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair.  She graduated with Honors from Howard University with a Bachelor’s of Communications. She and her husband live in Evanston with their two sons who attend Lincolnwood elementary and The Cove School. 
Alison Finkel
Alison Finkel is a senior non-profit professional with vast expertise managing multi-faceted and complex fundraising programs. Through her work with Northwestern University and Susan G. Komen, she has raised nearly one billion dollars for non-profit organizations. Her leadership style has led to formal organizational recognition and peer awards – and it underlies her proven record of success. She is passionate about her home town of Evanston, Illinois, photography, and food. She and her husband, Eli, have two children who attend Dewey School. 

Diana Sheehan
Diana Leza Sheehan has nearly twenty years of diverse industry experience, serving in account leadership, category management, syndicated product and marketing strategy, and shopper and consumer insights roles at ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Mintel, and Kantar. Throughout her career, she has worked across retail channels and categories, developing strategic recommendations for in-store execution and brand development for many Fortune 500 companies. Diana has been cited in national and trade press, including The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, CNN, and NPR, and spoken at many industry events including ShopTalk and GroceryShop.   She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Instituto del Progresso Latino, based in the Pilsen neighborhood, and recently appointed to the State of Illinois Lottery Control Board. Diana earned an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.  Diana and her husband have three children who attend Walker and Chute.