Whitney Namm Pollack
Whitney joined Project Sunshine as the Executive Director in 2018. She has built her career over the last twenty years at the Robin Hood Foundation, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, University of Pennsylvania and 92nd Street Y. She has consulted with non-profits including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Character Lab, Riverdale Country School and The Center for Jewish History.
Before coming to Project Sunshine, she served as Interim Executive Director for EB Research Partnership, a national medical venture philanthropy. After completing this leadership role she accepted a position on their Board of Directors. She received her BA and MA from Penn and is a member of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women.
In her downtime, she can be found spending time with her husband and two young sons or reading fiction.
CHILDHOOD FACT: According to family lore, for years the only “vegetable” Whitney would eat was olives. Now, she eats all sorts of vegetables.
Director, International Programs
Megan manages our robust International Programs, working with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers in Canada, China, Israel, and Kenya. Prior to joining the Project Sunshine team, she worked in higher education with a focus on leadership development and club activity advisement. Her love of volunteerism runs deep, having taught ESL in Harlem for many years before serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in western China.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Megan has a lifelong obsession with junk food-named animals – from Cookie and Marshmallow, the adorable hamster twins, to her childhood dog Oreo. Today, she is a proud mom to Pasta, the English Bulldog.
Director, Volunteer Engagement
Kaitlin manages Project Sunshine’s volunteer programs, working with a dedicated team of staff and volunteers across the country. Kaitlin has a passion for volunteerism and has spent her career developing sustainable volunteer programs for various organizations.
Prior to joining Project Sunshine in 2019, Kaitlin worked at the Girl Scouts of the USA, where she was responsible for driving strategy to design and implement volunteer delivery models that aligned with girl and volunteer demands, and increased membership and market share. Kaitlin also worked at NYC Service, a division of the New York City Mayor’s Office. During her time at NYC Service, she oversaw all external relationships and managed the recruitment, placement and tracking of volunteers to NYC Service initiatives. Kaitlin received her Executive Master’s in Public Administration from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College and her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. In her free time, you can find Kaitlin spending time with her husband, and traveling to new and interesting places around the world.
CHILDHOOD FACT: In the eighth grade, Kaitlin won first place in physical science at the Connecticut State Science Fair for her project on Buckminsterfullerenes (aka “bucky balls”). This was her first and last serious foray into the world of science.
Director of Development
Samantha joined Project Sunshine in November 2019 after a year of consulting for the development and corporate partnerships teams, as well as with other nonprofit clients. Previously, she served as the Director of Special Events at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Before that, as a Senior Account Manager at Event Associates, Samantha honed her fundraising and event management skills working with organizations including Robin Hood, Jazz at Lincoln Center, iMentor, and the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Samantha is a native New Yorker who loves exploring Central Park with her 2 year old son, cooking, and riding her Peloton.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Samantha was a competitive swimmer when she was younger, making it all the way to the “Junior Olympics” at the age of 11! Unfortunately, her sporty days ended soon after…
Director, Corporate Partnerships
Katy leads the charge with Project Sunshine’s many corporate partnerships. Prior to working at Project Sunshine, Katy led girls’ education programs in the Peace Corps and large-scale volunteer programs for dozens of nonprofits in NYC. When she’s not working, you can find Katy exploring with her husband and dog or eating her way through all the dollar slice joints in the city.
CHILDHOOD FACT: An animal enthusiast from birth, Katy spent her summers as a Junior Zookeeper at the Dallas Zoo while caring for up to 8 pets at home. Her father never recovered from the “home zoo” where he resided.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Tim Lemberger serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications, joining Project Sunshine in June, 2019. He brings over 20 years of marketing and communications experience, with extensive work with nonprofit organizations. He oversees all marketing and communications activities for Project Sunshine, including branding, digital marketing, social media, public relations and strategic planning. Previously, he directed marketing and communications activities at Education Through Music for seven years, where the organization was honored with the New York Non-Profit Excellence Award in the area of Communications in 2018. Tim received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Tim hated peas as a child. He tried to feed them when no one was looking to his dog Charley, but alas, Charley also hated peas.
Toni Millar, MS, CCLS
Director, Program Innovation
Toni is a nationally recognized leader in the Child Life field and oversees programming across the organization. Prior to joining Project Sunshine in 2019, she was Vice President and a member of senior administration at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; there she oversaw a team that guided patient experience improvements for the NYP Regional Hospital Network sites. Toni also previously ran the Child Life Departments at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
Toni holds a M.S. in Child Life and Family Studies from Wheelock College in Boston, MA and a B.A. in Education and American Studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. She also served as President of the national Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP).
When she’s not improving the lives of pediatric patients and their families, Toni enjoys reading, cooking, spending quality time with her family, and walking her dog through Central Park.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Toni grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and has had the same best friend since 3rd grade.
Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships
Claire supports our corporate funding and volunteer efforts as the Corporate Partnerships Coordinator. She began at Project Sunshine as the College Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, but soon found a love for corporate volunteerism. Formerly, Claire was the Assistant Director of Fordham University’s Global Outreach program, advising students preparing for service immersion programs. She’s also worked as a Case Manager in homeless services at Miriam’s Kitchen, a social services agency in Washington, D.C. as part of her post-grad year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Claire has a BA from Fordham University in Communications and Environmental Policy. In her free time, Claire enjoys hanging out in her neighborhood (Astoria, Queens), watching anything HBO has to offer, and vintage shopping.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Claire’s favorite thing to do as a child was play dress-up with her older sister, Lucy. She still loves to dress up and is now experimenting with a new favorite outfit color: yellow!
Coordinator, Project Sunshine Israel
Ariela manages volunteers and operations abroad as the on-site program coordinator for Project Sunshine Israel. Ariela gained her expertise in early childhood development through her work in preschools and early childhood daycare programs. Since 2016, she has been using her wealth of experience managing fun-filled bedside programs at 6 medical facilities throughout Israel. She proudly continues the Project Sunshine tradition of dressing up for our patients- Ariela holds a certification in Medical Clowning from the Simchat Halev Organization. Ariela speaks four languages and loves to travel.
CHILDHOOD FACT: As a 4 year old, Ariela received a yellow Canary, named Olly. Unfortunately, she had to part from Olly about a year later when her family immigrated from Argentina to Israel.
Manager, Corporate Partnerships
Katie manages Project Sunshine’s strategic partnerships across the West Coast and nationwide, including corporate relationships, brand engagement, and other fundraising initiatives. Dedicating 10 years to the nonprofit sector, Katie has found her passion in creating and expanding public-private partnerships, holding corporate relations and development focused positions at The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Orthopaedic Institute for Children. A former NCAA athlete, Katie serves as a volunteer youth lacrosse coach and never turns down the opportunity to play a competitive lawn game.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Katie loved grocery shopping with her mom but was terrified that her habit of sampling a single Swedish Fish or Peanut M&M from the bulk foods section would lead to certain arrest. A law-abiding toddler, Katie would never fail to give the cashier a detailed report of her snacking to be charged at checkout.
China Program Assistant
Mingming assists the Director of International Programs with Project Sunshine China Programming. Prior to joining in the Project Sunshine team, she was studying and working on nutrition science at Columbia University Medical Center two years. Before coming to the United States, she had worked in China’s healthcare system for more than 10 years, working as a hospital pharmacist as well as marketing and sales roles for the pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly and Sanofi.
Leah is Project Sunshine’s Program Coordinator. She grew up in South Africa. As the oldest of four girls her passion for working with children started at a young age. Leah graduated from Duke University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Anthropology and a minor in Psychology. She then went on to get her Master of Science from Georgetown. During her time at Georgetown, Leah worked with the HSC Pediatric Center’s Kids in Action Program and coordinated volunteers to act as in-water aids for children with a variety of diagnoses. She then became a Registered Behavior Technician and worked one-on-one with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. When she’s not working, Leah loves a good Disney or Broadway singalong, traveling and going on expeditions to find the perfect cupcake.
CHILDHOOD FACT: When Leah was two and half years older her baby sister, Alice, was born. She absolutely adored her little sister and when her Gran asked her one day for a hug and a kiss Leah said, “No, cause I got none left”. All her hugs and kisses were saved for Alice.
Mercy Nabwire Maita
Mercy Nabwire Maita is a Chapter Leader, serving in an administrative and program assistant role for the Project Sunshine Kenya team. Her dedication and passion for supporting the youth in her community is commendable; she began volunteering with PS Kenya in 2016 and also volunteers for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children program at Bomu Hospital, in Mombasa. She can often be found not only in the play room leading programs, but conducting home visits where she distributes scholastic materials and farm implements. She is also trained as a facilitator in Evidence Based Interventions and life skills. In her free time, Mercy likes reading, traveling, swimming, dancing and socializing.
Louise St. Rose
Coordinator, Program Operations
Louise coordinates the shipment of craft kits and program boxes for our Sending Sunshine and Direct Service programs nationwide. Before coming to Project Sunshine, Louise worked at after-school programs throughout three boroughs of New York City. In her spare time, Louise enjoys exploring Inwood Hill park with her dog, Shiro, and listening to podcasts.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Growing up, Louise’s parents owned an ice cream store. She even had a sundae on the menu named after her – the LouLou Brownie Sundae! Although her parents sold the business, Louise followed her love of ice cream and worked at a frozen custard shop all four years of high school.
Dennis Ngui Muyanga
Coordinator, Project Sunshine Kenya
Dennis manages a robust, dedicated team of Project Sunshine volunteers in Kenya- a few of his volunteers have been with him since 2006! Prior to his work with Project Sunshine, Dennis was a community health worker at Bomu Hospital and an addiction counselor in an outreach center. Dennis is one of the pioneers of our Kenya program and has seen Project Sunshine through many exciting developments, including the construction of a hospital play area. Dennis’ work with Project Sunshine allows him to combine his diverse skills and experience with his passion for empowering families to have healthy lives. Dennis holds a BA in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In his downtime, he enjoys reading, attending motivational talks, and having quality time with his family. He is the proud father of two daughters, Abigail and Ciela.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Dennis grew up in Kitui County, in a place known as Ikanga. He loved playing football so much at school and in the community that he was nicknamed “Kadenge,” after a famous footballer.
Kennedy Mwachala is a Chapter Leader, serving in an administrative and program assistant role for the Project Sunshine Kenya team. Kennedy began volunteering for Bomu Hospital in Mombasa in 2013 as a Community Health Worker where he gained exposure to volunteering and the value that he could provide to communities through critical health messaging. The following year, he was introduced to Project Sunshine by his sister, who is also a volunteer. He was quickly recognized for his outstanding work, winning the best volunteer of the year award in 2016. He then opened a new volunteer site at one of Bomu Hospital’s locations in Mariakani, where he led the volunteer team in establishing that new partnership.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Kennedy attended kindergarten at the age of 4 where he enjoyed playing football.
Programs and Volunteers Manager, Project Sunshine Canada
Michelle manages Project Sunshine Canada’s programs, volunteers and Corporate Social Responsibility partnerships. Michelle joined Project Sunshine Canada in 2017 as a volunteer in three of our programs. Michelle brings more than 1,600 volunteer hours from several programs in local hospitals and charities in the Toronto area. Michelle spent many years as an Early Childhood Educator, as well as Faculty Supervisor supporting students in the field.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Michelle fondly remembers her first road trip to Walt Disney World when she was five years old. Today she still loves Disney, having been there seven times since. Her wedding song was a Whole New World and two days later they were honeymooning in Walt Disney World. She has been to Disneyland California and hopes to knock both Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris off her bucket list.
Cathy recently joined the Project Sunshine team in the role of Development Manager. She grew up in Surrey in the South East of England, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Studies from Aston University in Birmingham. Following graduation, she worked for Disability Challengers, a non-profit organization that provides exciting and inclusive play and leisure activities for disabled children and young people in Surrey and the South East of England. Cathy moved to New York City in 2001 and continued her career in the non-profit world, first at New York Cares, followed by Girl Scouts of the USA and now she is delighted to be a part of the Project Sunshine family!
In her spare time Cathy loves to spend time with her husband and two children, exploring the city, especially their local neighborhood of Astoria. She enjoys travelling, cooking (and eating!) delicious food, attending shows and concerts and movies. She also relishes any opportunity to cozy up with a good book and a cuppa (tea!), although the opportunities to do so are few and far between with two lively kids at home!
CHILDHOOD FACT: Cathy grew up with two sisters and a twin brother. She doesn’t really look like her twin brother, and people often think she is actually twins with her younger sister, because they look more alike, even though there are four years between them. Cathy absolutely ADORED her baby sister (and still does!), and loved taking care of her, as you can tell from her childhood picture which was taken shortly after her sister was born!