Board of Trustees

  • Caroline Avery, President
  • Christopher Avery, Trustee
  • Halina Avery, Trustee
  • Sara Avery, Trustee
  • Diana McKee, Secretary
  • Michael Newkirk, Vice President
  • Jonathan Newkirk, Treasurer
  • Bruce Saito, Trustee
  • Belen Vargas, Trustee





Caroline Avery, President

Carrie Avery is President of the Durfee Foundation in Los Angeles, California, which focuses on individuals by providing fellowships, grants to new grassroots organizations with dynamic leadership and sabbaticals to long-time nonprofit leaders.

Prior to working for the Durfee Foundation, Carrie practiced law, first with the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., and later with a private firm in San Francisco.

Carrie received her B.A. from Stanford University, her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and was a Georgetown University Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow.  She is a current board member and past chair of the National Center for Family Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. and serves on the boards of the RGK Foundation in Austin, Texas, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations in Washington, D.C. and the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California.  She has also served as board chair of Northern California Grantmakers, where she founded and for several years chaired the Family Philanthropy Exchange, co-chair of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, California, and co-chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.


Claire Peeps, Executive Director

Claire Peeps is the executive director of the Durfee Foundation.  A graduate of Stanford University and the University of New Mexico, she served as the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Festival, a large-scale, international arts festival.  She also served as executive director/publisher of the national High Performance Magazine, and as director of education for Ansel Adams’ The Friends of Photography in Carmel. Other organizational affiliations include current or past board membership for: Southern California Grantmakers, Grantmakers in the Arts, California Council for the Humanities, ARTS Inc., and the UCLA Center for Civil Society.  She has been a consultant to the J. Paul Getty Center, the San Francisco Art Institute and The Music Center of Los Angeles.  She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the USC Price School of Public Policy, and the founder of Culver City Gives, a website that connects residents to nonprofits in Culver City.  Her book Activists Speak Out: Reflections on the Pursuit of Change in America, was published by St. Martins/ Palgrave in March 2001.


Esther Kang, Manager, Program and Organizational Development

Esther Y. Kang is the Manager of Program and Organizational Development at The Durfee Foundation.

Prior to the foundation, Esther spent a gap year in South Africa assisting homeless HIV+ teens find appropriate healthcare and shelter. Afterwards, she worked in arts management, first with The Art Institute of Chicago, and later with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Esther is the Founding Chair of a mentorship program for Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy’s Los Angeles Chapter, and served as Co-Chair of the chapter for several years. She has also served as an Advisory Council Member at Youth Speak Collective, and Advisor to Art Center College of Design where she was Adjunct Faculty.

Esther received her BFA in photography and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and will be pursuing an MA in Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) fall 2015.


Kevin Duong, Operations and Logistics Assistant

Kevin Duong is the Operations and Logistics Assistant at The Durfee Foundation. He graduated from Cal State University, Fullerton with a B.S. in health sciences. Prior to The Durfee Foundation, Kevin was a specimen analyst at LabCorp.

Kevin is a volunteer at STOKED, a nonprofit organization that uses sports as an avenue to mentor young adults in high school. He is also a member of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Kevin is passionate about advocacy and direct services focused on behavioral and mental health, and hopes to pursue a Masters in Social Work in the near future.