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.


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.


Mariesa Samba, Program and External Relations Assistant

Mariesa Samba is the Program and External Relations Assistant at The Durfee Foundation. She received her B.A. in urban studies from Vassar College. Prior to joining Durfee, she worked as an employment specialist with Chrysalis, then as the programs coordinator for the Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing.

Mariesa is a volunteer at Peace Over Violence, a crisis center dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from violence.

Mariesa is passionate about womanism and community-oriented planning. She plans to one day pursue a Masters in Public Health.