Allan Oliver is the Executive Director of the Thornburg Foundation. He oversees the Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives in early childhood education, good government reforms and food and agriculture, as well as Community Funding grants for human services and civil rights, opportunities for children and youth, environmental protection and public policy.
Allan served as Cabinet Secretary-Designate and Deputy Secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department. Allan also served as Director of Cabinet Affairs administering monthly cabinet meetings, and as Deputy Communications Director he drafted five State of the State addresses, an inaugural address, as well as major US and foreign policy addresses.
He also established the Partnership for Responsible Business and the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, a business association with over 1100 members supporting renewable energy technology and responsible business practices.
Mr. Oliver earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was named a William Hodson Fellow for International Public Service. He also served as an NGO specialist and initiated the municipal development program for the US Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.
Administrative Director, Community Funding Officer
Leslie Garcia is the Administrative Director and Community Funding Officer at the Thornburg Foundation. She has two decades of experience in management and administration in the investment and legal sectors, and is a native of the City Different. She brings with her a deep understanding of corporate culture, workplace dynamics, project management, marketing and human resources. Ms. Garcia has a proven track record for planning, organizing and executing special events for corporate executives and community outreach. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the College of Santa Fe and holds a SHRM-CP certification.
Policy Officer Food and Agriculture
Bryan Crawford-Garrett is the Food and Agriculture Policy Officer at the Thornburg Foundation. He has spent more than a decade working to strengthen local food and agricultural systems, with experience in New Mexico as well as in numerous countries throughout the world. Prior to working with Thornburg, Bryan consulted for five years with non-profits and foundations to improve linkages among strategy, management, and measurement in food and agricultural systems activities. He has also worked for several years in leadership positions with international NGOs in Washington, DC, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Throughout Bryan’s career, he has designed, managed, researched, and evaluated programs that focus on: sustainable agricultural and livestock production practices; policies that support more resilient food systems; market opportunities for small-scale farmers; and access for food insecure populations to a more affordable and healthier diet. Bryan holds a master’s degree in public policy and lives with his wife and three children in Albuquerque.
Policy Officer Early Childhood Development
Michael Weinberg is the Early Childhood Education Policy Officer at the Thornburg Foundation. Previously, Michael was the program evaluation manager for New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee where he identified opportunities to improve outcomes across the birth to college continuum. Michael spent the first fourteen years of his career in the education trenches, as a teacher, literacy coach, and principal of a PreK-8 school. Michael earned his doctoral degree from the University of New Mexico in educational leadership, his master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. What excites Michael most about his current role is the ability to combine his experiences in policy-making with his passion for improving the lives of children. Michael lives with his wife, two daughters, and lots of pets in Placitas, New Mexico.
Heather W. Balas
Policy Officer Good Government Reforms
Heather W. Balas is the Good Government Reforms Policy Officer at the Thornburg Foundation. She is the previous President and Executive Director of New Mexico First, a nonpartisan public policy organization co-founded by U.S. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman. A fifth-generation New Mexican, Heather worked in Washington, DC, and San Francisco for several years before returning to her home state. She brings over 25 years’ experience in public policy, including policy research, citizen deliberation, legislative advocacy, voter education and coalition-building. Previous employers include the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, California Center for Civic Participation, and the Commission on Presidential Debates. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Communication from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Heather is married and mother to two busy teenagers.
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