Meet your JDRF staff partners

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Get to know your JDRF Greater Delaware Valley Chapter! Read below as your staff partners talk about their roles and responsibilities at JDRF and what makes them passionate about their work.

Patrick K. Delaney

Executive Director

I am a well-rounded professional with over 30 years of experience in management, strategic planning, sales, change management, government relations, fundraising and constituent care. In my role, I am responsible for supporting our amazing volunteer and staff team, ensuring they are successful in all of their efforts to support the JDRF mission.

A native of New Jersey, I attended Albright College in Reading, PA, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Following college, I worked in the financial services industry in retail banking and trust and asset management. Since 2000, I have worked in the nonprofit sector.

I was with the American Cancer Society for ten years as a Regional Vice President and then Director of Donor Development for the Pennsylvania Division. From 2010 to 2015, I was with the American Red Cross as Executive Director of the Delmarva Chapter. In December of 2015, I joined JDRF as Executive Director of the Eastern PA Chapter and assumed the role of Executive Director for the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter when it was created in 2019.

I have been a volunteer for over 35 years. My volunteer roles have included board member, board officer, committee member, committee chair, and adult leader.

My wife, Cathy, and I have two children and reside in West Chester, PA.

pdelaney@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0362

 

Lindsay Fortese

Associate Executive Director

I have been with JDRF for almost 11 years, and I have had the opportunity to hold various roles within the organization over the years. As the Associate Executive Director, I am responsible for overseeing the One Walk and Outreach program within the Eastern PA market; overseeing chapter One Walk and Outreach strategy; and supporting corporate development and engagement, the Board of Directors, and our leadership giving program.

Prior to joining JDRF, I was a Store Manager for Starbucks Coffee Company in Dallas, Texas for four years. I earned a B.S. in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. I live in West Chester with my husband, Jimmy, and our two sons, Jake and Zach.

I am motivated by those living with T1D and the opportunity to help make a difference in the T1D community.

lfortese@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0357

 

Nanette Forte-Gerst

Market Director

I am the Market Director for the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter, based in the South Jersey office. There are several things that motive me as a member of JDRF, but what makes me want to continue the fight every day are the T1D families, the medical professionals, and the researchers that we have the privilege of partnering with all working together to achieve the same vision of a world without type 1.

ngerst@jdrf.org   |   856-470-2481

 

Melissa DeFreece

Development Director

I came to JDRF with more than 17 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. My love for helping people and being a voice for others has been the driving force behind an effective fundraiser. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. In 2017, I received my MBA from Temple University.

As Development Director, I am responsible for overseeing corporate development and engagement, support leadership giving, and overall planning for the One Promise Gala for the chapter. I am motivated by the desire to help make sure that those who need support with living with type 1 diabetes find it in their local communities.

I enjoy being a Philadelphian, and I love going home to the Bronx, where I spend time with my family and friends.

mdefreece@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0365

 

Lesley Snyder

Office Manager

As the Office Manager, I am the chapter lead for office operations and chapter communications. I began my academic career at Emerson College, completing my B.A. in English at the University of Vermont. In 2016, I relocated from the Green Mountain State to the Philadelphia suburbs with my husband, Matt, and our dogs, Louis and Henry the Schipperkes.

Before joining JDRF, I was an SEO Copywriter at Dealer.com, a leading automotive marketing company, as well as the Associate Editor of Wind Ridge Publishing in Shelburne, Vermont. When I’m not coffee-shop hopping, I dabble in yoga, running, calligraphy, cross stitch, and piano.

I was involved with JDRF in various volunteer and participant roles for many years, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 11. I am motivated by this wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the Greater Delaware Valley T1D community.

lsnyder@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0367

 

Julie McKeever

Outreach Manager

As Outreach Manager, I coordinate the T1D Connections program and assist families and the community with the resources that JDRF provides! Prior to joining JDRF, I was an Events Manager for 16 years at The ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. I spent a short time in the veterinary industry before getting back to her roots in the nonprofit sector. My father, Ted, had type 1 diabetes, so the JDRF mission is near and dear to my heart.

I earned my B.S. in Health and Human Development from The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. WE ARE… !!!!

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, I live in Plymouth Meeting with my husband, Andrew; our son, Nicholas; and a house full of furry friends! I am passionate about anything DOG, animal rescue and special needs dogs. In my free time, I enjoy doing therapy dog work with two of my boys, Prime and Dutch, and spending time with family and friends.

jmckeever@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0361

 

Renee Bersani

Sr. Development Manager

 

I oversee all aspects of the JDRF One Walks for the South Jersey market. There are two walks annually—a walk in the fall in Gloucester Township and a spring walk in Wildwood. I also coordinate volunteers for other South Jersey events including walk, gala, and golf. The thing I love most about JDRF is the families that we meet every day, and I’m motivated by their stories. It’s amazing to see how research advances have made a difference in the way our T1Ds are living their lives and managing their diabetes.

 

rbersani@jdrf.org   |   856-470-2484

 

Allison Tropea

Sr. Development Manager

I am the main lead overseeing the South Jersey Gala, our South Jersey Ride Team, and our new annual local bike ride called the South Jersey Ride to Type None. I have always been drawn to working in a field that helps people and where I can give back to my community. After spending seven years at another nonprofit, I decided to join JDRF. My motivation every day is my husband, Anthony, who was diagnosed with T1D 8 years ago.

atropea@jdrf.org   |   856-470-2482

 

Deirdre Tripodi

Development Manager

I am the staff lead for One Walk Philadelphia. I fundraise with family, corporate and school teams as well as secure walk day sponsorship. Learning about the experiences those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have faced has had a great impact on my work. I am amazed at the dedication in the type 1 community to find a cure and create better the quality of life for all those with T1D. This keeps me motivated every day as we raise money for critical research.

dtripodi@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0360

 

Matt Point

Development Manager

I’m a member of the Signature Events team in the King of Prussia office, and I work on the Philadelphia One Promise Gala. I’m in charge of the silent and live auctions, gala logistics, gala communications (save the date, website, invitations, etc.) and the children’s art project.

I’m excited to be here at JDRF because my fiancé has type 1. I like knowing that I can support him, as well as all our friends living with type 1! I enjoy giving back to an organization that has done a lot for the T1D community.

mpoint@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0371

 

Sara Smith

Development Manager

I am the Development Manager for One Walk Bucks County, One Walk Lehigh Valley, and One Walk Northeast PA. I came to JDRF after graduating from Penn State and working at two other nonprofits. I have always loved having a career that allows me to give back to the community, and I am particularly thrilled to be working at JDRF because two of my loved ones suffered from type 2 diabetes. Knowing firsthand what they went through, I hope to help advance treatments until type 1 diabetes is no longer a threat.

sasmith@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0369

 

Kat Weldon

Sr. Development Coordinator

I have been a Senior Development Coordinator in the Delaware JDRF office for over two years. While I cover the administration and operations roles at the office and help with all year-round events, my main focus is my favorite: managing the One Walks and the T1D Connections Program. To work with our families each day and to be able to connect them to the resources they need—whether that is a Bag of Hope or other families in our area who understand what it’s like to live with T1D—while raising money and awareness really drives the importance of what we are all working towards: a day when their dream of a world without T1D can be a reality.

kweldon@jdrf.org   |   302-256-5894

 

Mikaila Ryan

Sr. Development Coordinator

I came to JDRF with a vast volunteer background, most actively with the JDRF Delaware Office starting in 2012! I am an award-winning competitor in the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization, where I made JDRF my platform, advocating at both local and state levels for the cause.

I started with JDRF in 2016 as an Outreach Manager for the South Jersey office. In 2017, I moved to the Sr. Development Coordinator position, managing the school walk program, TypeOneNation Summit, and South Jersey golf tournament. As of September 2019, I moved back “home” to the Delaware Office in September 2019, where I now manage the gala and ride program.

I earned my Bachelors in Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 2015, continuing my studies by finishing a business credential program with Harvard Business School Online.

mryan@jdrf.org   |   302-256-5896

 

Madison Heck

Development Coordinator

As Development Coordinator, I lead outreach and office operations at the South Jersey office, as well as provide support for South Jersey events. JDRF has always been near and dear to my heart. Since middle school, I have participated in school events and helped friends fundraise money for their walk teams. I interned with the Raleigh chapter of JDRF at the beginning of this year, and I knew that this organization is where I am meant to be. I am excited to start new relationships with this staff, our supporters and families in our efforts to find a cure!

 

mheck@jdrf.org   |   856-429-1101

 

Stephanie Reaves

Development Assistant

I have been with JDRF as the Development Assistant in the King of Prussia office since January 2019. I work on the Philadelphia One Promise Gala and Rockin’ Docs for Diabetes Cure events, as well as oversee the JDRF Your Way program and provide support to our Board of Directors and Leadership Giving program. JDRF—including all of the donors, volunteers, researchers, staff, etc.—gives the T1D community hope for the future and the support to succeed. It is amazing and motivating to be a part of an organization like this, and I am looking forward to the future and a world where type one becomes type none.

sreaves@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0364

 

Stevi Lukacz

Development Assistant

As Development Assistant, I assist with office operations, support our Walk team, and lead office volunteer management for our King of Prussia location. I graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in with a B.S in Sport Management and a minor in Marketing. Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 20 first lead me to become a JDRF office volunteer—and now a Development Assistant! JDRF was there for me when I was first diagnosed, and I am forever grateful for everything that we do here for the T1D community, their families and friends.

slukacz@jdrf.org   |   610-227-0359

 

For more information about your JDRF Greater Delaware Valley Chapter, please contact greaterdelawarevalley@jdrf.org or 610-664-9255.