About The Team

Our Staff

Katie Dean

Senior Nonprofit Programs Associate | kdean@spurlocal.org

Katie joined Spur Local in 2023 where she serves as the Nonprofit Programs Coordinator. In this role, she supports the application process and programming initiatives including webinar and cohort sessions. Before joining Spur Local, Katie worked at a nonprofit focused on advancing public administration initiatives.

She graduated from Butler University where she studied English with an emphasis on Professional Writing. During her time in college, she had the opportunity to focus on social justice initiatives which inspired her to pursue non-profit work.

Originally from Chicago, Katie now lives in D.C. and enjoys finding new activities in the DMV area, reading, exploring museums, and going for runs along the water.

Chiara Frechette

Nonprofit Programs Director | cfrechette@spurlocal.org

Chiara Frechette is the Director of Nonprofit Programs. In this role, she leads and manages Spur Local's partner application process and our capacity building and professional development efforts for our 400+ partners in the DMV. Her work focuses on programming such as our BIPOC Emerging Leader and BIPOC ED Cohorts, Grassroots Accelerator Program, and our consulting efforts. She previously worked as a program manager at a DC-based nonprofit, The Partnership for Public Service, managing and facilitating leadership development programs for federal employees.

Her passion for nonprofit work developed through her time at Ohio State University where she studied nonprofit management and graduated with a B.A. in Public Management, Leadership and Policy and a minor in Leadership Studies from the John Glenn College of Public affairs.

In her spare time, Chiara spends her time reading, testing new recipes or playing pickleball.

Matt Gayer

Executive Director | mgayer@spurlocal.org

Matt joined Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, in 2017, developing and launching the Learning Commons, the training and support we offer our nonprofit partners, as well as expanding our impact beyond our network for the first time. He is passionate about the role nonprofits play in the community, and about building their capacity to grow their impact. He believes in the power of community and that Spur Local is positioned to play a unique role in building community, supporting local changemakers, and prioritizing equity and resiliency.

Before joining Spur Local, Matt worked in healthcare consulting at The Advisory Board Company. He is a Truman Scholar, who has experience in several nonprofit settings, largely in civic engagement and public health prior to Spur Local. Matt is a 2022 Washington Business Journal "40 under 40" local leader and a 2023 recipient of the David Bradt Nonprofit Leadership Award.

He holds a Masters of Public Administration degree with a focus on nonprofit management from Syracuse University, and a B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science from Southern Methodist University. Outside of work, Matt enjoys cooking, talking all things DC, and taking advantage of the great outdoor spaces the city has to offer.

Sarah Hall Aguila

Development Director | saguila@spurlocal.org

Sarah joined Spur Local in the fall of 2019 after 4 years as Director of Operations for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC. Previously, Sarah lived and worked in El Salvador, first as a volunteer with Brethren Volunteer Service, teaching English and conflict resolution skills with youth, then as Grassroots Program Coordinator with the SHARE Foundation, building relationships with Salvadoran communities and faith groups in the United States. A common theme in Sarah's career trajectory is relationship building related to social justice, and has consistently served as a bridge in her many roles in Central America and in the US.

Sarah holds a BA in Peace Studies, Human Rights, Language, and Culture from Manchester University (formerly Manchester College) in North Manchester, Indiana. She is passionate about social justice, human rights, immigrant rights, international law, women's empowerment and food sovereignty..

In her spare time, Sarah serves as treasurer for Hyattsville Mennonite Church and participates in committees and actions related to immigration and empowerment in Latin America. She is an avid home cook and baker, and finds joy in movement, whether walking, dancing, or taking Barre3 exercise classes. She and her husband Mario and their dog Ellie reside in southern Maryland.

Amanda Liaw

Communications & Marketing Director | aliaw@spurlocal.org

Amanda joined the team in 2022, where she engages in communications, marketing, and storytelling for our organization and our nonprofit partners. Prior to joining the team, she held a communications, development, and programs role with PEN/Faulkner, a nonprofit partner organization.

Born and raised in Singapore, Amanda holds a BA in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Southern California, where they discovered their passion for using art and storytelling to spur narrative and cultural change.

Amanda spends their spare time pole dancing, exploring DC, writing in community with others, and learning about gardening. She is also involved with mutual aid work and organizes with a local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Elyse Nelson

Deputy Director | enelson@spurlocalorg

Elyse joined Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, in December 2015, where she manages finance, HR, and operations strategy. She specializes in change management and is committed to helping both our organization and our nonprofit partners to find equitable opportunities to grow and thrive.

Before joining Spur Local, Elyse advocated for more accessible funding practices through her work at the Greater Washington Community Foundation and engaged in coalition building through her community service in the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She holds a BA in economics from Colorado College and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University-Shreveport.

Elyse works remotely, allowing her to spend more time with her husband, son, and a whole menagerie of pets. When she is not working, Elyse enjoys baking and amateur photography, and has been known to play a video game or two.

Nancy Swartz

Senior Director of Signature Programs | nancy@spurlocal.org

Nancy has been with Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, since its beginning in 2003. Nancy oversees two of our signature programs--our spring fundraising event and the production of our annual print catalog. She began her career as Associate Producer for Special Projects at The Good Day Show at ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV/ Channel 5 in Boston, and worked in television production and media for over 20 years. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Mass Communication, Nancy has been a board member of the Needham Education Foundation and the Needham Friends of Music, as well as a longstanding volunteer in her community.

In her dreams, Nancy would be on a stage in New York City singing and dancing. In the real world, she would like someday to work in the theater department of a local college or university. For now, she couldn't be happier collaborating with a wonderful group of people who entertain her daily! When not working at Spur Local Nancy loves to spend time with her kids, listen to music, sing (as long as no one is listening), try to beat her parents at scrabble, read, watch movies, jog, work out, and laugh (which her husband makes her do on a regular basis)!

Our Founder

Barbara Harman


Barbara began her career as an English professor, landing at Wellesley College in 1977 where she taught literature and writing for 25 years. A graduate of Tufts University with a PhD in English from Brandeis University, she is also the author of three books (Harvard University Press, University of Virginia Press, Garland Publishing). After completing a study of women in the public sphere in 19th century British fiction, which she wrote over a ten-year period in a very small room in her house, she decided it was time to step out into the public sphere herself. She became Executive Director of the Harman Family Foundation in 2000 and founded our organization in 2003.

Barbara has received numerous awards and commendations. Under her leadership we won eight Wilmer Shields Rich Awards from the Council on Foundations for Excellence in (web and print) Communications (2005-2010). She also received Latino Student Fund’s Community Builders Award (2007), Young Playwright's Theatre's Giving Voice Award (2018), After-School All-Stars Rising Star Award (2019), and Learn-Serve International’s Civic Champion Award (2020). She shared with Jane Harman the Mayor's Arts Award for Visionary Leadership in the Arts (2013). She was named one of Washington's "most powerful women" by Washingtonian magazine in 2013, 2015, and 2017, and a Washingtonian of the Year in 2016.

Barbara enjoys living half in a bucolic suburb of Boston and half in the busy Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood of DC. She likes to work out, play with her three young grandchildren, discuss TV series with her professor husband, and read long novels. Barbara also likes speaking and writing–these days, about philanthropy.

Board of Directors

  • Brandelyn Anderson, Director of Capital Campaigns and Strategic Planning, Kennedy Center
  • Ethel Badawi, Co-Founder, Principal, Pollock Badawi Group
  • Brandolon Barnett, Founder, Chief Product & Strategy Officer, The Regular
  • Rahsaan Bernard, President, Building Bridges Across the River
  • Jennifer Browning, Nonprofit Consultant
  • Celeste Flores, US Communities Director, GivingTuesday
  • Jade Floyd, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Strategy Group
  • Nadine Gabai-Botero, President, Focus Fundraising LLC
  • Barbara Harman, Founder, Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy; Executive Director, Harman Family Foundation
  • Cari Rudd, Principal, Caribou Strategies
  • Steve Sousa, Senior Vice President, Consulting Services, CGI
  • Kathryn Stephens, Independent Consultant, Interim Executive Services
  • Lora Zuk, Director, CohnReznick
  • Matthew Gayer, Executive Director, Spur Local (ex officio)
  • Advisory Board

    • Brian Argrett, President & CEO, City First Bank
    • Katherine Bradley, Founder & Chair, CityBridge Education
    • Mary Brown, Executive Director, Life Pieces to Masterpieces
    • Eileen Daly, President, Philip L. Graham Fund
    • Hon. Jane Harman, President & CEO, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    • Leon Harris, NBC4 Washington
    • Don Neal, Founder & CEO, 360 Live Media
    • George Schindler, CEO, CGI Global