Meet our enthusiastic team dedicated to bringing joy to pediatric patients...and to anyone who sees our childhood photos.
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, 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 Development
Jon Kornfeld serves as the Director of Development, joining Project Sunshine in May 2019. Jon has over fifteen years of fundraising experience, most recently at Part of the Solution (POTS) where he served as their Director of Development. During his three years at POTS, Jon helped grow overall annual revenue by nearly 50% and successfully led the organization through an $8,000,000 capital campaign – the largest in the organization’s history. Prior to his role at POTS, Jon worked in development at the Nature Conservancy and was the Executive Director of the Washington Inner City Lacrosse Foundation. In his role with Project Sunshine Jon oversees all aspects of individual and foundation giving as well as special events. Jon received his BA in history, political science, and English from Gettysburg College.
CHILDHOOD FACT: For the first five years of Jon’s life, his career aspirations were purely reptilian- he dreamed of being a dinosaur when he grew up.
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.
Programs & Volunteers Manager, Project Sunshine Canada
Sara manages Project Sunshine Canada’s programs, volunteers and corporate social responsibility partnerships. Sara joined Project Sunshine Canada in 2012 as a volunteer member of the Young Patrons Circle. Sara brings more than eight years of professional experience in public relations, event planning, and program management. Her past experience includes organizing a TEDx conference in Toronto for high school students, and planning promotional events for Paramount Home Entertainment Canada. Sara loves working at Project Sunshine because of its approach to child and family-centred care.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Growing up Sara loved listening to her parents’ old records and would come up with alternate lyrics for songs. Her whole family remembers that time fondly.
Coordinator, College Volunteer Engagement
Cynthia coordinates the Project Sunshine college volunteer network, currently extending across 44 campuses nationwide. Prior to joining Project Sunshine in 2019, Cynthia worked at DreamWakers, a non-profit using free and accessible technology to connect students from under-resourced and underserved classrooms with inspiring career role models. At DreamWakers, she had the opportunity to work with and recruit professionals in a variety of fields, including journalists, scientists, and professional athletes. Cynthia also worked at Win as a Recreation Coordinator and later as a Volunteer & Event Coordinator, working with amazing volunteers to brings trips, events and essential in-kind donations to children and families living in NYC shelters. Cynthia received her BA in Urban Studies from Barnard College. In her free time, you can find Cynthia reading her way through Reese Witherspoon’s book club!
CHILDHOOD FACT: Growing up, Cynthia’s birthday was always combined with Christmas celebrations and her older brother’s birthday. As an adult, Cynthia would still rather celebrate Christmas than her birthday.
Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships
Claire supports our corporate partnerships. Claire has a wealth of experience working with college students, mainly advising students preparing for service immersion programs as the Assistant Director of Fordham University’s Global Outreach program. 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), listening to podcasts, and (literally) running around New York City- she’ll be doing the NYC Marathon this November!
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!
Community Partnerships & Development Manager, Project Sunshine Canada
Catherine manages community partnerships and fundraising initiatives with a focus not only in raising funds but bringing awareness to Project Sunshine Canada within her community. Prior to joining Project Sunshine Canada in 2018, Catherine worked both in the corporate and charitable sectors. Her passion for giving back and helping her community cemented her career path in the non-profit world. Working for Project Sunshine Canada she is the happiest she has ever been.
CHILDHOOD FACT:Catherine was an extremely fussy eater as a little child and would only eat ketchup sandwiches. Nowadays, thank goodness her palate has changed for the better, and in fact, she is not fond of ketchup anymore.
Julia works in Project Sunshine’s Development Department, supporting all aspects of non-corporate fundraising activities. Prior to working with Project Sunshine, Julia spent a year serving as a case manager at an emergency homeless shelter in Philadelphia with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Julia has a diverse professional background that highlights her passion for global health. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Science and Technology in International Affairs with a concentration in Global Health and minor in Spanish. In her last fundraising position, she received the superlative, “Most likely to host her own morning talk show.” In her spare time, she enjoys podcasts and adventures.
CHILDHOOD FACT: As a child, Julia believed that she would fulfill her family folklore and someday turn into a mermaid.
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.
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.
Associate, Corporate Partnerships
Shaylah works with Project Sunshine’s diverse corporate partners to offer unique social responsibility opportunities. Her passion for inspiring others to volunteer in their communities is reflected in Shaylah’s personal experience with community service. Prior to working at Project Sunshine, Shaylah interned and volunteered at a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Raising Up Hope for Uganda. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Science with a focus in Youth and Adolescent Development. When she’s not working, Shaylah loves reading, traveling, and boxing.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Shaylah began traveling internationally at 5 years old and traveled solo for the first time at 13 years old.
Manager, Corporate Partnerships
Lauren manages Project Sunshine’s strategic partnerships across the West Coast and nationwide, including corporate relationships, brand engagement, and other fundraising initiatives. She started her career in public relations and marketing, where she honed her client management and planning skills and developed a love of partnership building. Lauren first volunteered with Project Sunshine as a college then community volunteer and was excited to join the team to further a mission she felt closely connected to. She is always eager to collect new passport stamps, recently visiting 10 countries in four months, and will frequently instigate a karaoke night or Scrabble challenge.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Lauren made her theatrical debut as the back hump of a camel in a middle school production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.’
Gaby Marden Stern, MS, CCLS
Gaby is a certified child life specialist with a variety of experience in hospitals in the US and abroad. Prior to joining Project Sunshine in 2019, Gaby spent a year traveling around the world with her husband and volunteering along the way with organizations like Operation Smile in Paraguay and Malawi and Green School in Bali. Prior to her year abroad, Gaby worked as a child life specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore for 3 years before starting and serving as the Director of the Child Life Program at NewYork Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. In this capacity, Gaby built a sustainable child life program and balanced her clinical responsibilities with pediatric patients and families while also serving as a leader of efforts aimed at improving the pediatric patient experience. Gaby also serves private patients and families, offering child life services and interventions in their homes and communities.
Gaby holds a M.S. in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education in New York City and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
When Gaby is not working to help children and families, she can be found cooking with her husband, listening to investigative podcasts or trying to become an expert knitter.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Gaby once spent an entire weekend in 93 degree weather refusing to take off her favorite matching sweatsuit.
Andy has been with Project Sunshine since the summer of 2017 and has worked with Community, College, and Kids for Kids volunteers. In addition to his regular duties, Andy loves wowing kids with the lava lamp program activity and going to Party Time events with volunteer groups. He is a graduate of Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Outside of work, Andy enjoys playing soccer and swing dancing.
CHILDHOOD FACT: Andy used to play with the MTA Subway Map for 1-2 hours a day.