Our Team

Committed to families, community engagement, museum education, and early learning.

Board Members

Mitzi Cohen, McKinsey & Company
Will DuBose, Will DuBose Design
Cathy Elkies, Phillips
Lois Gelernt, Manhattan Country School
Samantha Gilbert, Ford Foundation
Dr. Christopher-John Godfrey, Pace University
Rob Krulak, Acme Projects LLC
Kevin Lee, Treasurer, AIG
Karen C. Liu, Community Leader
Risa Meyer, Style Simple
Edwina Meyers, NYC Administration for Children's Services (Ret.)
Bevy Smith, Host of BEVELATIONS on SiriusXM Radio & Page Six TV Co-host
Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Henry Luce Foundation
Ahmed Yearwood, Y INTERACT

Staff

  • Candice Anderson

    Executive Director

    Executive Director of Cool Culture since 2007, Candice has devoted her career to improving the wellbeing educational opportunities and life outcomes for children and families from historically marginalized communities. Previously, she served as Director of Child Care and Head Start Collaboration at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, and as Senior Policy Associate for Child Care, Education and Youth Development at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, NYC’s premier child advocacy organization. Candice has received the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Extraordinary Women award, has an MS in Urban Planning from the New School for Social Research, received her B.A. from Oberlin College and in 2010 became a graduate of the Executive Level Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. In October of 2015, she was appointed by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio as a member of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and also sits on the NYC Department of Education’s Arts Committee to the Panel of Educational Policy.

  • Jon Diep

    Development Assistant

    Jon Diep is the Development Assistant at Cool Culture. He has a background in grant writing, community engagement and outreach, special events, and administration. Jon comes from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, the nation's largest nonprofit dedicated to ending colorectal cancer. His work has been centered on serving marginalized communities, demonstrated by his roles with the District Office of Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims and the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office. Jon is a Philly suburb native and graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies with a concentration in Economics from Temple University.

  • Meagan Muncy

    Institutional Giving Manager

    Meagan Muncy is the Institutional Giving Manager at Cool Culture. She is a development professional with years of experience writing compelling proposals to a broad range of institutional funders; creating and implementing fundraising plans and the internal systems necessary to ensure their success; establishing collaborative, welcoming, and efficient teams while improving cross-departmental communication; and stewarding relationships both internally and externally. In her most recent role, she served as The Fortune Society's Manager of Grant Development, and has also worked at the Brooklyn Museum, socially-conscious architecture firms, and a small community-based nonprofit in her rural hometown. Arts and culture and their ability to inspire, empower, and spur social and political change have played a transformational role in her life, and she has dedicated much of her work to ensuring others have access to similar experiences. Meagan graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Political Science, and grew up in the foothills of the Adirondacks in New York's North Country.

  • Sandra Nanita

    Assistant Director of Programs

    Sandra Nanita is Assistant Director of Programs at Cool Culture, and has supported the organization since 2011. She plays an instrumental role in developing the organization’s programs and curriculum, and partnership management; and serves as a lead facilitator utilizing an equity and asset-based approach to drive her work. Sandra has a wealth of experience working with nonprofit organizations at the intersections of education, social justice, and arts and culture. She is a passionate advocate in support of opportunities that propel the creativity, agency and wellness of marginalized communities. Sandra graduated from Rutgers University, where she earned a BS in Business Management and Latin American Studies. She is a graduate of the American Express Leadership Academy, participated in the Department of Cultural Affairs' CreateNYC leadership program and has completed training on facilitating conversations that center empathy as a way to foster mental wellbeing.

  • Adriana Herrera Perhamus

    Program Assistant

    Adriana Herrera Perhamus is the Program Assistant at Cool Culture. She has a background in community organizing and arts administration. Her work is driven by a mission to see the world become more equitable for young people. Before joining Cool Culture, she worked as the Community Programs Fellow with NEW INC, an arts and design incubator initiative of the New Museum. Adriana was born and raised in Rochester, New York. She holds a B.A from Eugene Lang College, where she graduated with a degree in Culture & Media and Race & Ethnicity studies.

  • Chaney Sims

    Assistant Director of Individual Giving

    Chaney Sims is the Assistant Director of Individual Giving at Cool Culture. She has over 15 years of experience in development, external affairs, and campaign management for cultural institutions and performing arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she managed their membership programs, and most recently, Willie Mae Rock Camp where she served as the Director of Development and Communications. A Grammy-nominated musician, Chaney is also a founding member of the Heritage Blues Orchestra, and an experienced teaching artist. She has worked for both Lincoln Center Education and Midori & Friends to provide students from grades K-college with interactive performances highlighting African-American roots music, and its history. Chaney holds a B.A. from Vassar College in Women's Studies and Africana Studies, and is passionate about arts and activism.

  • Kanika Srinivasan

    Senior Director of Operations and Strategy

    Kanika Srinivasan is the Senior Director of Operations and Strategy at Cool Culture. She has a diverse professional background in local and international community development, program implementation, partnership management, and operations. Kanika comes to us from Citizen Schools where she served as the Director of External Engagement and led her department to create sustainable partnerships, mobilize volunteers, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, and deliver high-quality programming for students. Prior to Citizen Schools, she served as an Indicorp Fellow in Western India concentrating on agricultural development and public health in tribal communities. She also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in the Corporate Program, as well as in the Executive Office as the Special Assistant to the President. Kanika graduated from Bucknell University with a double major in International Relations and Spanish.

  • Sam Wenc

    Program Manager

    Sam Wenc is Program Manager at Cool Culture. His background has centered around cultural planning, arts and media management, and community outreach. Most recently, he worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston as a member of their Arts and Culture Department, where he promoted creative community development and equity in cultural production. He also has an array of experience working with youth in a variety of educational settings. Sam graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. As a lifelong musician, Sam has toured nationally and operates a record label in his free time.

  • Ayoka Wiles-Abel

    Senior Director of Programs and Innovation

    Ayoka Wiles-Abel is Senior Director of Programs and Innovation at Cool Culture and has over two decades of background experience in the arts, dance, culture, and education. Ayoka has worked with several community-based organizations integrating the arts, literacy, spirituality and cultural education in programming for youth and adults. She is seasoned nonprofit professional with over 20 years of experience in programs, finance, evaluation, and fundraising. She served as the first Associate Director of Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy and then returned to serve as the Associate Executive Director/Interim Director of Finance for 5 years. While at Ifetayo, she also was a dance teacher/coach and managed an award-winning youth ensemble which received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Ayoka most recently served as Grants Director and Director of Programs and Strategies at the Brooklyn Arts Council. She received a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Milano Graduate School of Management and Policy, New School. Additionally, she has a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Columbia Business School, Institute of Nonprofit Management.

Associates

  • Cathleen Wiggins

    Director, Leadership in Technology and the Arts, Bank Street College

    Cathleen Wiggins is Director of the Leadership in Technology and the Arts Program at Bank Street College of Education, which is a collaborative Master's degree program with Parsons New School of Design and Sarah Lawrence College. Cathleen is also a member of the Museum Education faculty at Bank Street. A former public early childhood and elementary school teacher and theater artist, she brings her life long love of the arts and education to her many professional endeavors. She is passionate about museum education, the transformative power of the arts in education, and to minimizing the success and opportunity gap for our nation's children.

  • Susan Wilcox

    Education Consultant

    As principal of SEW Consulting, Susan Wilcox collaborates in cultivating liberatory education initiatives in the United States, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that center dignity and justice and align with the mission at hand. Her clients include community based organizations, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and foundations. She is a co-founder of Free Minds Free People (a bi-annual national conference focused on social justice education), a Fulbright alumnae (with a teaching and research appointment at the University of Ghana), a former Co-Executive Director of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol where she created Sister Sol, and she has held teaching positions at various colleges. Susan is an artist (photography, design, textile arts) and says this practice informs her work as an educator.