Emily Nielsen Jones
Founding Partner & Trustee
Emily is a donor-activist engaged in promoting human equality, justice, and peace around the world. She is particularly passionate and engaged in the nexus of faith, gender, and development and working to mobilize our faith traditions to more fully and unambiguously embrace gender equality. In her role at the Imago Dei Fund, Emily has helped the foundation adopt a “gender-lens” in its grantmaking with a particular focus on partnering with inspired female change agents, locally and around the world, to build bridges of peace and create a world where girls and women can thrive and achieve their full human potential.
Emily is actively engaged in the women-led philanthropy movement, and is the author of numerous articles. She is the recipient of the Christians for Biblical Equality 2013 Micah Award and was named a 2014 Women’s eNews “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” honoree.
Emily serves on the boards of Women Thrive, New England International Donor Network, Girl Rising, Union Theological Seminary, and Nomi Network Campaign Leaders Council, and is a member of Sojourners Founders’ Circle.
Emily has a BA in Government from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in Educational Policy from Boston University. She also completed the Selah Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction.
Ross M. Jones
Founding Partner & Trustee
Ross is a Managing Director at Berkshire Partners LLC in Boston. He earned a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Ross has worked in private equity for over 25 years. He has represented Berkshire Partners’ interests in a number of portfolio companies, including: Advance Drainage Systems, AVW-TELAV, Inc., Bare Escentuals, Carter’s Inc., Melissa & Doug, Thomas Built Buses, Inc., NEW Asurion Corporation, and Tower Development Corporation.
Before joining Berkshire Partners, Ross worked at Bain & Company and in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. Ross is on the Board of Visitors at Park Street Kids and Park Street School.
Lisa R. Jackson, Ph.D.
Lisa Jackson brings an expansive background and over two decades of working in philanthropy and the social sector to the Imago Dei Fund (IDF). Most recently, she was Co-Founder and Managing Director of the College for Social Innovation, a partnership between social sector organizations and colleges to provide fully-credited, semester-long internships in Boston. Prior to launching this organization, Lisa was the Managing Partner for Portfolio Investments at New Profit, Inc.
As Managing Partner for IDF Lisa works with the Founding Partners to clarify the Fund’s vision and strategy and to build and develop the team. Lisa is responsible for ensuring that IDF’s fiscal, operations, grant management, human resource, technology, and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization.
Lisa serves on the national board of College Advising Corps and is a former elected member of the Brookline School Committee. Lisa has a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University.
Laura joined IDF in 2017 as a Project Manager. She enjoys the opportunity to work closely with all members of the team to help manage and drive various IDF initiatives and special projects to expand and move its mission forward.
Laura earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University. Prior to joining Imago Dei, Laura worked at Berkshire Partners and PwC, where she practiced as a certified public accountant in their audit and assurance group.
Laura lives outside Boston with her husband and two children. Outside IDF, she enjoys exploring new places with her family, diving into role as soccer mom, and enjoying a glass of red wine with friends.
Lina Maria Cañon
Operations and Program Associate
Lina is joining IDF as the Operations and Program Associate. She brings a set of diverse experiences in the nonprofit sector and is committed to creating change, empowering others and contributing to human progress.
Her passion for engaging in social change efforts was born through her work as a Service Scholar at Suffolk University’s Center for Community Engagement, where she was responsible for managing the Alternative Spring Break Program. Since graduating, Lina has managed, enhanced and created programs focused on a variety of topics including homelessness, civic engagement, education, and youth advocacy. Other related experiences include serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Chicago and being a Peer Advisor for the Obama Foundation.
In addition to her work with IDF, Lina works with Students for Cross Cultural Solidarity, bringing college students on service trips to El Salvador. She also sits on the Mauricio Gastón Institute Community Advisory Board.
Lina earned her BA from Suffolk University and currently lives in Boston.
Sonya van der Meer
Data & Communications Coordinator
Sonya joined IDF at the end of 2016 as part of the operations team. She loves tackling spreadsheets and various data systems, communicating with grantees to ensure that IDF data is accurate and working with team members to further IDF’s mission by providing strong underlying administrative support.
Sonya earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from Boston University. Before joining Imago Dei Fund, Sonya worked at Park Street School/Park Street Kids as the Assistant Director of Development.
Sonya spends her time outside of IDF volunteering for a myriad of organizations that touch upon the lives of her family.
Jennifer joined IDF in 2014 and focuses on advancing the fund’s strategic priorities in New England and Haiti. She works closely with current grantee partners, overseeing and managing the granting process, and explores opportunities for new partnerships, collaborations and networking among non-profit organizations.
Jennifer holds a B.A. in Political Science and Classical Piano from the University of New Hampshire, and a J.D. from Syracuse University. Earlier in her career as an attorney, she practiced law at firms in Washington, D.C., Boston and Hong Kong.
Jennifer has a particular interest in promoting educational opportunity, and pursues this interest as a member of the Hestia Fund, while serving on the Board of Advisors at Park Street School and Boston Trinity Academy.
Kristie O'Brien Oberlies
Director of Information Technology
Kristie joined IDF in early 2016 to support the team technically. She loves to simplify things, to integrate, automate and streamline anything she can.
Kristie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University and specializes in systems integration. Prior to IDF, Kristie served as Director of Operations and Technology for non-profit Neighbor Brigade. Before her non-profit work, Kristie worked with a professional services firm, delivering analytical solutions to clients such as EMC, Fidelity and Staples.
She spends much of her free time volunteering in her community, goofing around with her five kids, and enjoying the company of extended family and friends.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”