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Daily News

AMHERST — Paul Haible, executive director of the Peace Development Fund (PDF) for the past 20 years, announced his plans to retire on April 30.

Under Haible’s leadership, PDF amplified its focus to include a broad range of social-justice issues and movements; expanded its footprint to include a regional office in San Francisco, where he was based; and increased its international scope to include funding to Haiti, Mexico, and the Middle East.

He collaborated with the board to launch several initiatives engaging a range of issue constituencies, including a national environmental-justice initiative that spanned a decade, a cross-border initiative, and a national criminal-justice-reform movement. He was instrumental in creating PDF’s capacity-building program to fiscally sponsor more than 40 organizations. Building on his decades of work with the Indigenous community, he led PDF’s recent Indigenous Land Back work.

“While I may be giving up my seat at this table, I will still be serving elsewhere in the struggle for peace and justice in this world,” Haible said. “Transitions are never easy, but I know that I leave PDF in really good hands.”

Founded and still based in Amherst, the Peace Development Fund is a donor-supported national social-justice funder that has been resourcing grassroots movements for peace and human rights since 1981. It provides grants, training, donor services, and capacity-building resources to organizations around the country and around the world.

“Paul’s dedication and vision have been instrumental in shaping the Peace Development Fund into the impactful philanthropic organization it is today,” said Teresa Juarez, board president. “He has been a leader in the publicly funded philanthropic movement for many years. He is leaving big shoes to fill.”

The board has appointed Lora Wondolowski, PDF’s director of Advancement and Communications, as interim executive director until a permanent executive director is found. Haible and board are working with staff and stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition for their grantees, fiscally sponsored partners, and supporters. A succession committee drawn from board and staff membership is charged with searching for the new executive director. Information on the search can be found at peacedevelopmentfund.org.

Daily News

AMHERST — The Peace Development Fund announced the addition of two new foundation associates, Sophia Trifone and Sonya Epstein, in its Amherst office. Trifone will oversee the organization’s communication work, including social media, newsletters, press outreach, and annual publications. Epstein will be focused on donor data management, ensuring accurate accounting of donations, grant requests, and support for fiscally sponsored organizations.

After earning her associate degree from Holyoke Community College, Trifone began her career with a prominent local nonprofit focusing on arts and culture in Holyoke’s Puerto Rican cultural district. In her time there, she notably fundraised for signature events and projects, hosted walking tours of the city’s artwork, collaborated with other community organizations, and aided in weekly food distribution.

Epstein is a community organizer who has been deeply involved with student activism around restorative justice, free public higher education, and LGBTQ liberation for many years. They are an immigrant from Belarus and studied social thought & political economy and sociology at UMass Amherst.

Daily News


AMHERST — Lora Wondolowski has joined the Peace Development Fund’s (PDF) Amherst-based staff as the new director of Advancement & Communication.   

Wondolowski comes to PDF with an extensive background in leadership training, environmental advocacy, fundraising, organization building, and voter education, throughout her career working for the National Audubon Society, League of Conservation Voters, the Mass. League of Environmental Voters, and most recently leading Leadership Pioneer Valley in Springfield.   

As the founding executive director of Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) since 2011, she managed all aspects of LPV’s training programs and development, while growing LPV from a start-up to an established, successful, and productive regional leadership development organization.   

Wondolowski brings more than 20 years of experience with grassroots organizing and community outreach work to lead PDF’s development operations and capacity-building training program, the Sustainability Project.   

“Over the course of my career, I have designed, implemented, and managed advocacy and outreach programs at regional, statewide, and national levels,” she said. “A recent volunteer campaign working to cure rejected ballots in GA and IA reminded me how much I love grassroots organizing and social justice work. I am thrilled to be joining PDF to help strengthen social justice movements across the country.”   

She is also involved locally serving on the boards of directors of the Connecticut River Conservancy, Public Health Institute of Western MA, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley   

The Peace Development Fund’s mission is to build the capacity of community-based organizations through grants, training, and other resources as partners in human rights and social-justice movements.