Accelerating Mission and Becoming More Volunteer-Powered


In light of recent organizational changes, we wanted to share news from our chapter.
This year, in the midst of great mission progress came a global pandemic, which disrupted our event-based fundraising model and forced us to reimagine many of our annual fundraisers to keep our community safe. During this time, it became clear that to continue funding critical, life-changing research, we would have to make some significant changes to our organization. JDRF is now fast-tracking new strategies to drive mission momentum in the current challenging fundraising environment.

As part of these efforts, we’ve realigned our chapter footprint to support broader geographies more efficiently and become a more “volunteer-powered” organization.

Moving forward, we will be a leaner organization with fewer staff and chapters sharing resources across larger geographic areas. As a result, the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego Chapters have now joined together as one: Southern California Chapter.

The staff dedicated to the Southern California Chapter are as follows:
Michelle Popoff – Executive Director
Lauren Christ (OC) – Senior Development Manager
Elisabeth Fleshler (LA) – Senior Development Manager
Jane Gagne (OC) – Senior Development Manager
Deanna Kasper (SD) – Development Manager
Angelica Malik (LA) – Development Manager
Robby Mansfield (OC) – Development Manager
Marcela Pallete (LA) – Development Coordinator
Sue Pietrzak (LA) – Development Director
Christine Rhoads (SD) – Senior Development Manager

In the coming weeks, you will see updated website content and social media pages, as well as more details on how the Southern California Chapter plans on accelerating our mission. We invite you to read more about JDRF’s vision for the future and should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to Elisabeth Fleshler at

Thank you for your support of our T1D community and JDRF.