Michele has worked in the philanthropic sector since 1993. During the past 16 years, she has led NEO Philanthropy through a period of dramatic growth in its program offerings and reach.
Today, NEO has over 32 staff and an operating budget of $42 million. She has helped create and manage NEO’s twelve signature collaborative and partner funds that together have raised more than $222 million in revenue since 2010 and engaged more than 130 national, state and local foundations, family foundations and individual donors. Michele has deep experience managing and advising family foundations and individual donors. She currently serves as the Director of the Ottinger Foundation, a small New York-based family foundation that supports work in the areas of economic justice, civic participation and environmental justice.
Prior to joining NEO Philanthropy, Michele served as Director of the Norman Foundation, from 1993 to 1999, and has served as Chair of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. She is sought out as a consultant by national funders and has overseen program evaluations on behalf of the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Open Society Institute. Prior to entering the philanthropic sector, Michele worked in city and national government. From 1990 to 1993, she was Deputy Director of Health and Human Services in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations under Mayor David Dinkins.
Michele served in the U.S. Congress from 1984 to 1988 as Director of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
Michele began her career as a legal services lawyer in Houston, specializing in immigration and welfare law. She holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Florida.