NABU’s Next Gen Leadership Fund

Since launching in Rwanda, NABU has made incredible progress. The app is now providing over 65,000 children and families with access to books, and the team are creating a blueprint for the NABU program to spread into neighboring countries. 

In April 2020 we launched the Next Gen Leadership Fund to safeguard free access to children’s books in Rwanda, by fundraising, building community, learning together, and developing a plan for sustainable growth of the Rwanda program. 10 incredible young professionals join the Next Generation Leaders Fund to provide a sustainable pipeline of $25,000 in funding and strategic support for NABU’s work in Rwanda.

The Next Gen Leadership Fund was started by Isabel Sheinman, who in 2018 spent three months in Kigali laying the foundation for our hugely successful Rwanda program. The Next Gen Leadership Fund is a modern giving-circle- cum-think-tank, with a focus on fundraising, community, learning, and sustainable impact, with the goal to reach 70,000 readers in Rwanda by April 2021. Learn more about the incredible professionals in our inaugural fund below.


Joseph Brennan

Joe is a design technology specialist and project architect, where he focuses on implementing workflow strategies into a variety of project types at a variety of scales. He is a licensed architect with a background in construction, but since graduating he has pushed to find ways to improve the design and construction process through computational design, emerging visualization techniques, and advanced 3D modeling.

Joe is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and has taught several architecture courses at various institutions in NY.


Emma Fishman 

Emma is currently a Business Immigration Analyst at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, the world’s largest immigration law firm, where she works as a paralegal, serving clients across a variety of industries. She started her career as a Development Associate at NABU, and the opportunity to join the Next Gen Leadership Fund felt like an invitation to come home. A lifelong reader, Emma graduated summa cum laude in Politics from Mount Holyoke College.

In addition to NABU’s mission, Emma is passionate about systemic social change, transitional justice in post conflict societies, intersectional feminism, and racial and immigration justice. When she’s not working, you can find her with her nose in a book at the beach (if it’s summer), doing yoga, cooking, bingeing Netflix, seeking out the perfect spicy tuna roll, and spending time with friends and family.


Alexandra Gifford

Alex is a Management Consultant at PwC, in the Skills Reform Unit. Alex works on projects to research and identify key trends impacting the changing nature of jobs and skills, working closely with individuals and businesses to ensure they are able to adapt to the future of work, supported by strong education and training.

Alex is passionate about issues that impact people: particularly gender equality, social policy, education and the environment. Outside of work, Alex is the co-host and co-founder of The Binary Podcast, a podcast series that offers a raw and authentic look at gender issues in the modern world, and is Partnerships Manager at Go25degrees, an independent environmental movement that aims to cool the world through proactive AC action.

Next Gen Leaders (4)

Dane McCarthy

Dane earned his Masters at the University of Sydney, majoring in Finance and Accounting. After working at Macquarie Group for 2 years, he joined Salesforce’s Financial Services practice in New York where he leads a team that is dedicated to expanding corporate relationships with strategic accounts.

Dane is also the founder of The Good Good (TGG), a social enterprise that funds access to education for disadvantaged youth through the sale of tea to large corporates. Dane played Rugby at Sydney University throughout his post-graduate degree and was club captain in 2015, a captaincy some call ‘the recession that had to happen’. He is now the social chair at New York Athletic Club where he plays  #12.


Next Gen Leaders (3)

Naomi Matlow

Naomi Matlow is from Toronto, Canada but can feel equally at home anywhere there is sunshine, coffee, and philosophical conversation. She is a freelance writer focusing on travel, growth, and musical theatre. She is currently the associate editor for Unsettled, a global community of independent professionals.

When she is not writing or teaching, Naomi enjoys listening to podcasts, especially On Being with Krista Tippett, watching comedy specials, practicing yoga and meditation, or planning her next trip to an ocean somewhere. Rwanda has a special place in her heart and Naomi is thrilled to join NABU’s Next Gen Leadership Fund.


Vivian Inya 

Vivian Inya is a citizen of the world, who believes that we all have stake in making the world a better place. She is excited about supporting businesses who are a force for good and has spent time volunteering over the years with organizations like Afikpo Organization Inc., who enable the Afikpo diaspora of Nigerians to raise funds for medical missions; NY+Acumen, a volunteer chapter supporting Acumen global in their fight to eliminate poverty, and of course NABU.

Vivian describes that working with NABU is particularly fulfilling because her family is also close to the cause. In 2015, they launched a library in the Nigerian village where her parents grew up, as there were none in the area. She graduated with a degree in Business Management from RIT and is pursuing a Master’s in Finance from Georgetown. Vivian currently works as a Manager in the Advisory, Program Management practice of Ernst & Young.


Alanna Olken 

Alanna serves as the Chief Operating Officer at The Jain Family Institute (JFI), a social science research organization in NYC. Alanna has had 7 years of experience in operations, strategy and communications at companies such as Bloomberg and CNN. Before working at JFI, she led a task force in the US Virgin Islands through Bloomberg Philanthropies, which was responsible for the design and implementation of priority recovery projects in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricanes.

Alanna holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University, with a minor in writing. In her spare time, she serves on the junior board of The Innocence Project and volunteers at organizations such as Publicolor and Achilles Kids. She is usually game for any outdoor activity and loves to spend time with her friends, family and sweet puppy, Mud. She’s thrilled and grateful to be a part of the NABU team!

Next Gen Leaders (1)

Alexia Sheinman

Alexia Valentina Sheinman is the Director of Branding & Communications at Pembrooke & Ives, an internationally acclaimed New York-based interior design firm, as well as a co-founder of Roadmaps Festival, an annual artistic, humanitarian and cultural event that explores a current crisis through film, music, performance and discussion.

Alexia is a passionate supporter of the arts, cultural exchange and education. She was born and raised in New York to a Greek-Cypriot mother and a British father. She has studied in Greece, the UK and New York, graduating with a BSc in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Bristol and an MFA in Interior Design from Parsons The New School for Design.

Next Gen Leaders (6)

Isabel Sheinman

Isabel Sheinman is currently pursuing her MBA at New York Unviersity. A Co-Creator and Board Member of NABU and for six years she served as the Director of Strategy and Development for the organization.

Isabel is a co-Founder of the Roadmaps Festival, a humanitarian and cultural festival in NYC, and serves on the advisory councils of arts organizations No Longer Empty and BYkids. Her areas of expertise lie in strategic partnership development and community mobilization. Isabel holds a BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Georgetown University.



Christopher Thompson

Christopher brings years of fund development experience to NABU including the development and execution of strategies used for sustainable growth and impact.

Christopher also has international experience and has worked on several projects in the Philippines, Ukraine, Guatemala, and several countries throughout the Caribbean. Christopher holds a BA in Psychology from St John’s University-New York and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Metropolitan College of New York.

Screen Shot 2020-06-30 at 4.45.48 PM
Team (1)

Team NABU Rwanda: Clarisse, Angelo, Odile, Peace and Philippe

Rwanda is the gateway to East and Central Africa and is a symbol of progress and stability in the region. Since the genocide 25 years ago in which over 1M people were killed in 100 days, Rwanda has been on a path to peace and prosperity. Poverty has been reduced by 30% and millions more children are in school. Despite this progress, literacy rates remain low. Next Gen Leaders will invest in the NABU Rwanda program, accelerating local efforts to bring free access to books for all children in the country.

Changing the world should be an adventure. Next Gen Leaders are part of an open, fun and social giving community. Through powerful technology, NABU will provide real-time data on reading impact, host curated social gatherings, and offer hands-on experience in making a sustainable social impact. Check out our live impact in Rwanda here!