We are a small but mighty private foundation.

Founded in 1998, when Ruth Ann Harnisch left her career in media for a life centered in giving. Since then, theHF has been at the forefront of creative, progressive, spirited philanthropy; always (always!) putting our money where our values are. When you're done perusing our history and team below, learn more about the how and the why of what we do.

We are a small but mighty private foundation.

Founded in 1998, when Ruth Ann Harnisch left her career in media for a life centered in giving. Since then, theHF has been at the forefront of creative, progressive, spirited philanthropy; always (always!) putting our money where our values are. When you're done perusing our history and team below, learn more about the how and the why of what we do.

The world I’m working for will support people being fully themselves, developing whatever capacities they care to, identifying and expressing their gender and their roles as feels natural to them.
Ruth Ann Harnisch
The world I’m working for will support people being fully themselves, developing whatever capacities they care to, identifying and expressing their gender and their roles as feels natural to them.
Ruth Ann Harnisch

Our History

Ruth Ann Harnisch has always been a pioneer. Her ceiling-shattering career as a media personality in Nashville, TN was, in many ways, the catalyst for nearly 5 decades of patronage. Two of those decades are encapsulated in the Harnisch Foundation which she created with her husband Bill Harnisch in 1998. Below we’ve provided a snapshot of landmark moments along her journey, though you can find a complete history of our grantmaking here. Enjoy!

1970s

Shattering Glass Ceilings:
Ruth Ann broke through the norms of a MadMen era and became the first woman in Nashville to appear on the evening news set, a privilege only granted to men until then. (She was followed a few months later by newcomer Oprah Winfrey.) In addition to her role as a reporter/anchor, she was a talk show host at WLAC-AM, and a columnist for the Nashville Banner.

1998

A Foundation is Born:
Ruth Ann’s years of reporting on social justice issues and working as a woman in the field inspired her to fund agencies working to empower girls and women, the poor, and others at a disadvantage. In 1998, The Harnisch Foundation was born. It began awarding grants to nonprofits in Tennessee where Ruth Ann resided at the time.

1999

Bold Champion For Equal Rights:
When the local chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) needed a partner who wasn’t afraid to shock Conservative Nashville with a billboard proclaiming “Someone You Know And Love Is Gay,” they knew who to call.

1999

Investing in Vulnerable Populations:
Who speaks for the people with no political power? Nobody was fighting harder for the rights of the poor than Tennessee Justice Center founder and former Legal Aid lawyer Gordon Bonnyman. Ruth Ann, impressed by his leadership, funded his efforts to hold the state accountable for broken promises to its least powerful citizens.

2000

First Million Dollar Grant:
At a time when it wasn’t common for philanthropists to speak openly about giving, More than Money (MtM) was groundbreaking for “opening the green closet.” This grant allowed them to develop a public platform where the top 5% of wealthholders could connect and learn how to be better stewards of their affluence. The MtM founders also created the 50% League (now Bolder Giving) that inspired the Billionaires Giving Pledge.

2001

Empowering Women With IDAs:
Magdalene, a residential program for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction, is an excellent example of the transformation that can happen when philanthropists invest early in powerful ideas. By establishing matching funds for Individual Development Accounts, women had the financial means to rebuild their lives. What began as a small organization in Nashville, TN became an international movement to empower survivors.

 

2002

Promoting Microfinance for Women:
The success of IDAs led us to consider how access to independent income could impact women internationally.  By partnering with leading development organization Pro Mujer, we were able to support their efforts to connect women in South America with small microloans. The women business owners were each mutually responsible for paying back the loan, creating a level of accountability and commitment.

2003

Power of the Purse®:
The Women’s Fund was established within The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in 1994 by a committee of community leaders who wanted to invest in long-term solutions for transforming the lives of women and girls, subsequently improving the well-being of the entire community. An early supporter, Ruth Ann helped to launch The Power of the Purse®, now the major fundraiser of the fund.

2003

Women Moving Millions:
Ruth Ann’s gifts to the Women’s Fund qualified her for membership in Women Moving Millions, an organization of women (and a few good men) each of whom have given one million dollars or more to the advancement of girls and women. Ruth Ann has served on several of the group’s committees and is co-chairing the newly created WMM Film Circle alongside Jacki Zehner. Above, Ruth Ann shares a moment with fellow member and friend, Helen LaKelly Hunt, at a WMM event.

 

2004

Women Donors Network:
 A community of progressive women who multiply their energy, strategic savvy, and philanthropic dollars to build a more just and fair world, WDN addresses many of theHF’s focus areas. Ruth Ann joined in 2002 and recently joined the WDN Media Circle — another place she explores the ways in which storytelling can advance the status of girls and women.

2008

Baruch College Harnisch Scholars:
When one of the most diverse educational institutions in the country created the “Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions,” it was the perfect opportunity for Ruth Ann, a “recovering journalist” and her husband Bill, a Baruch alum, to collaborate. The result: we underwrote StudioH, a new media lab, and provided annual scholarships aimed at empowering new voices in journalism. To date, 75 Harnisch Family Scholars have graduated from the NYC College.

2008

         The Institute of Coaching:             Experiencing the value of professional coaching herself, Ruth Ann recognized a need to invest in academic research for the coaching field. This lead to a 2 million dollar gift to establish the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate where Carol Kauffman, PhD serves as Executive Director and Margaret Moore and Susan David as Co-Directors. The mission of the Institute is to build scientific foundation and best practices of leadership, wellness and personal coaching.

2011

EDGE Certified Foundation (formerly The Gender Equality Project):
To be honest, we couldn’t have dreamed when we gave a grant to create systemic change globally that we would see results so soon. Closing the gender pay gap in corporations worldwide isn’t exactly a small feat. Launched as The Global Business Certification Standard for Gender Equality, the first companies — including banking and retail institutions  — have already been certified.

2011

Center for Sustainable Journalism:
Old media was dying as ad spending evaporated. So when Len Witt presented us with the opportunity to give founding funding to the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University, we were thrilled. The center’s comprehensive reporting on juvenile justice — shared through the online Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and the printed publication YouthToday — has been its most successful enterprise to date.

2011

Founding Partner of SupportTED:
Soon after Ruth Ann (a TED patron since 2006) began supporting the TED Fellows program, she saw an opportunity to embolden it through coaching. Alongside cofounder Renee Freedman, they developed SupporTED, a pro bono coaching initiative. Later, SupporTED spawned the SupporTED Collaboratorium, a four-day intensive where teams of coaches and other professionals offer their knowledge, talents, and ideas to Fellows. And did we mention it was free!

2013

Exploring Disruptive Philanthropy: 
When we found out there was an organization with chapters that distributed a series of monthly no-strings-attached $1,000 grants to projects and their creators, we knew we had to be involved! Our chapter, Awesome Without Borders, has a number of unique attributes and buckets full of wacky grantees. We wanted to explore the relationship between microgiving, diverse portfolios, and impact. So far, so awesome.

2014

Sundance Women
Filmmakers Initiative:

Our belief that media by and about women is one of the most effective ways to shift cultural norms and raise awareness made our partnership with the Sundance Institute a natural fit. A longtime patron, Ruth Ann has given grants to the Sundance Women Filmmakers Initiative and recently established a program of professional coaching for each of the female filmmakers selected for the SWFI program.

2015

The Future of theHF:
As you can tell, it’s an exciting time for us! Our renewed commitment to girls and women has revived the excitement and passion we feel for our philanthropy. Curious what we’re up to? Start by checking out the films we’re supporting, our sponsorship of Chicken & Egg Pictures’ new Diversity Initiative, the upcoming BinderCon Conference and our Founder’s Blog. We also recommend signing up for our newsletter and joining us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Our Team

Ruth Ann Harnisch

A “recovering journalist,” Ruth Ann started out as a teen deejay in her native Buffalo, NY. Her media career spanned three decades and includes Emmy-nominated television reporting, becoming the first woman to anchor Nashville, TN’s CBS-TV affiliate, hosting a daily talk-radio program on WLAC-AM, and 17 years as a columnist for the Nashville Banner.

After retiring from journalism, Ruth Ann chaired the board of More Than Money, a national nonprofit assisting top wealth-holders in “putting their money where their values are”. The organization’s coaching program piqued her interest in the emerging field and, before long, she had joined the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching. Ruth Ann went on to serve on IAC’s Board of Governors, the board of the Thomas J. Leonard Foundation, and to co-found both The Foundation of Coaching and The Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Her deep belief in the power of professional coaching also drove her to become an IAC Master Certified professional coach herself.

Ruth Ann’s other philanthropic endeavors include serving on Sigma Delta Chi Foundation’s Board of Trustees and joining a myriad organizations including: the International Women’s Forum, Rachel’s Network, the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, American Women in Radio and Television, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, Women Donors Network and Women Moving Millions. She is a lifetime member of the Broadcasters Foundation and an enthusiastic patron of TED.

Recently described as the “the punk rock fairy godmother of feminism,” Ruth Ann splits her time between her pro bono practice and her work with the Harnisch Foundation. While you may have a tough time grabbing ahold of her Awesome Cape, which flies along the coast between the Hamptons and the Bahamas, the shimmer of her philanthropy can be seen far and wide. She is married to William F. Harnisch, President and CEO of Peconic Partners, an investment management firm with offices in New York City and Long Island, and co-founder of the Harnisch Foundation.

I work every day to apply my money and my moxie to the biggest problem in the world – untapped capacity. In my coaching, my grant-making, and my donor activities and organizations, I want to help people discover how much they’ve got and how to make the most of it for themselves and for others.
Ruth Ann Harnisch

Bill Harnisch

William F. Harnisch is the Chief Investment Strategist at Peconic Partners, managing all aspects of the firm’s investment process. Bill began his career at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1968 (later known as Chase Investors Management), where he was Vice-President responsible for Special Equity Investments.  He joined Forstmann-Leff Associates (FLA) in 1978 when the business managed $300 million.  He began managing FLA in 1984, eventually managing assets of over $5 billion, and became the majority shareholder in 1989. With a strong history in absolute return, FLA entered the hedge fund business in 1986.  The long-only business was sold in 1997, and Mr. Harnisch left FLA at the end of 2004 to form Peconic Partners and concentrate on the hedged product.

Bill has a B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York and took M.B.A. courses at New York University.  He was awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1977.  He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, the CFA Institute, the National Association of Petroleum Analysts, the New York Academy of Sciences, the World Presidents Organization, and the Chief Executive Organization.  His opinions on markets and stock selection have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The New York Times, Business Week, Bloomberg News, and among many other international publications.

Bill, an active philanthropist, founded the Harnisch Foundation in 1998 with his wife Ruth Ann. He also manages the William F. Harnisch Foundation and is a member of the Baruch College Fund board.

My goal in philanthropy is to help bring about change. I enjoy investing time and money in people and ideas, and it’s rewarding when the impact is greater than the gift itself.
Bill Harnisch

Jennifer Raymond

Jenny Raymond is the Executive Director of the New York City based Harnisch Foundation, and for over two decades has been driving the foundation’s mission to advance gender equity. She has administered more than $10 million dollars to support bold ideas, effective leaders, and creative communities. From investigating sustainable new models in journalism to supporting courageous storytelling to championing innovative solutions for the leadership development of women and girls, Jenny is on the forefront of truly creative philanthropy. In 2013, she founded the HF’s “Funny Girls,” a ground-breaking program that teaches leadership skills through improv to middle school girls, and continues to lead the program as it flourishes. She has spoken at TEDWomenNational Coalition of Girls Schools, and the Girl Scouts National Convention, and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, in Glamour, and in a video produced by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

Our HF mojo is fueled by energy and acumen. We think of money as energy, and that energy helps make concrete things happen out of worthy ideas. And, we’re using our acumen to detonate the narrative boxes that have held girls and women captive for far too long. Looking forward to the day when we look back and see that our mojo towed icebergs!
Jennifer Raymond

Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Ondine is the Communications Specialist at The Harnisch Foundation. Her mission is to elevate and share the films, initiatives, projects, and people who have historically been underfunded and underrepresented; increase our visibility as a resource for women, girls, and non-binary individuals to seek leadership and confidence-building strategies through our various programs, and build a visible and strong community on our various social media channels.

Ondine has piloted social media initiatives in her time at the Brooklyn Historical Society after working in influencer marketing at a female founded and female-run tech startup. She has also written about sexism at work, reproductive health, and body image for various women’s publications, websites, and magazines. She graduated from Hamilton College in 2017 with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature. When she is not glued to her phone, she is most likely to be spotted at the duck pond in Prospect Park, sipping a glass of natural wine, or crafting brownies that are just the right amount of fudgy on the inside yet crumbly on the out.

Ondine graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature from Hamilton College, but she would argue that she's been a valiant warrior for gender equality long before then. The CliffsNotes version is that as a child of immigrants, Ondine's parents emboldened her 1) to stretch as far as her arms could go when it came to reaching for her dreams, and 2) be ever so vigilant of the systems that function to oppress and subdue. Well little did they know she grew up to be someone who dreamt about dismantling systems that oppress and subdue! As an avid reader and writer growing up, Ondine developed a predilection for language that spurred a likeness for finding different ways to communicate.
Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Sara Ach

Sara Ach is the Program Manager for the Funny Girls Program at the Harnisch Foundation.  Sara is an experienced improvisor, starting at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and performing at venues around Los Angeles with her troop.  She played collegiate soccer and is an avid champion of women in sports.  Sara has also spent time in the classroom working with students in underserved communities around the San Francisco Bay Area through Breakthrough Collaborative.  Having spent significant time working in sales & marketing, Sara is excited to have pivoted to combine her passion for education, equality, and female empowerment with her love of improv.

 

I found improv at an important juncture in my life, and it helped me to grow in ways that have had lasting impacts on me. Being able to provide something similar to young girls at such an important stage in their life is heart-warming. I’m honored that I get to work with such an incredible team to work to effect change in the fight for equality.
Sara Ach

Jill Frutkin

Jill Frutkin is the Field Manager for the Funny Girls Program. She’s an innovative educator with an extensive background in the performing arts. Jill received her BFA from NYU Tisch and is a founding member and Board member of The TEAM, a Brooklyn based theatre company dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. With The TEAM, she has written and performed award winning new plays to critical acclaim domestically and abroad since 2004. Jill received her MST from Pace as an NYC Teaching Fellow and worked for many years as a special education teacher in NYC’s District 75. She went on to work for NYCTF in training and supporting new Special Education Fellows.

Jill has worked as a Teaching Artist in both public and private NYC schools, and is the Director of Special Education for Stages On The Sound. In a partnership with QSAC, she created and ran a Drama Education program specifically for students on the autism spectrum, which was recognized at the 2019 Broadway Arts for Autism benefit.  In addition, Jill has worked as an applied improv instructor with The Engaging Educator, and an audiobook narrator with Recorded Books.

 

Working as the Field Manager for Funny Girls I get to combine my backgrounds in performance, applied improv and education – it is a unicorn of a dream job for me! Witnessing girls discover leadership within themselves in rooms filled with laughter and trust is a highlight of what I get to do here at the HF.
Jill Frutkin

Ruth Ann Harnisch

A “recovering journalist,” Ruth Ann started out as a teen deejay in her native Buffalo, NY. Her media career spanned three decades and includes Emmy-nominated television reporting, becoming the first woman to anchor Nashville, TN’s CBS-TV affiliate, hosting a daily talk-radio program on WLAC-AM, and 17 years as a columnist for the Nashville Banner.

After retiring from journalism, Ruth Ann chaired the board of More Than Money, a national nonprofit assisting top wealth-holders in “putting their money where their values are”. The organization’s coaching program piqued her interest in the emerging field and, before long, she had joined the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching. Ruth Ann went on to serve on IAC’s Board of Governors, the board of the Thomas J. Leonard Foundation, and to co-found both The Foundation of Coaching and The Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Her deep belief in the power of professional coaching also drove her to become an IAC Master Certified professional coach herself.

Ruth Ann’s other philanthropic endeavors include serving on Sigma Delta Chi Foundation’s Board of Trustees and joining a myriad organizations including: the International Women’s Forum, Rachel’s Network, the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, American Women in Radio and Television, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, Women Donors Network and Women Moving Millions. She is a lifetime member of the Broadcasters Foundation and an enthusiastic patron of TED.

Recently described as the “the punk rock fairy godmother of feminism,” Ruth Ann splits her time between her pro bono practice and her work with the Harnisch Foundation. While you may have a tough time grabbing ahold of her Awesome Cape, which flies along the coast between the Hamptons and the Bahamas, the shimmer of her philanthropy can be seen far and wide. She is married to William F. Harnisch, President and CEO of Peconic Partners, an investment management firm with offices in New York City and Long Island, and co-founder of the Harnisch Foundation.

I work every day to apply my money and my moxie to the biggest problem in the world – untapped capacity. In my coaching, my grant-making, and my donor activities and organizations, I want to help people discover how much they’ve got and how to make the most of it for themselves and for others.
Ruth Ann Harnisch

Bill Harnisch

William F. Harnisch is the Chief Investment Strategist at Peconic Partners, managing all aspects of the firm’s investment process. Bill began his career at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1968 (later known as Chase Investors Management), where he was Vice-President responsible for Special Equity Investments.  He joined Forstmann-Leff Associates (FLA) in 1978 when the business managed $300 million.  He began managing FLA in 1984, eventually managing assets of over $5 billion, and became the majority shareholder in 1989. With a strong history in absolute return, FLA entered the hedge fund business in 1986.  The long-only business was sold in 1997, and Mr. Harnisch left FLA at the end of 2004 to form Peconic Partners and concentrate on the hedged product.

Bill has a B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York and took M.B.A. courses at New York University.  He was awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1977.  He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, the CFA Institute, the National Association of Petroleum Analysts, the New York Academy of Sciences, the World Presidents Organization, and the Chief Executive Organization.  His opinions on markets and stock selection have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The New York Times, Business Week, Bloomberg News, and among many other international publications.

Bill, an active philanthropist, founded the Harnisch Foundation in 1998 with his wife Ruth Ann. He also manages the William F. Harnisch Foundation and is a member of the Baruch College Fund board.

My goal in philanthropy is to help bring about change. I enjoy investing time and money in people and ideas, and it’s rewarding when the impact is greater than the gift itself.
Bill Harnisch

Ruth Ann Harnisch

A “recovering journalist,” Ruth Ann started out as a teen deejay in her native Buffalo, NY. Her media career spanned three decades and includes Emmy-nominated television reporting, becoming the first woman to anchor Nashville, TN’s CBS-TV affiliate, hosting a daily talk-radio program on WLAC-AM, and 17 years as a columnist for the Nashville Banner.

After retiring from journalism, Ruth Ann chaired the board of More Than Money, a national nonprofit assisting top wealth-holders in “putting their money where their values are”. The organization’s coaching program piqued her interest in the emerging field and, before long, she had joined the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaching. Ruth Ann went on to serve on IAC’s Board of Governors, the board of the Thomas J. Leonard Foundation, and to co-found both The Foundation of Coaching and The Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Her deep belief in the power of professional coaching also drove her to become an IAC Master Certified professional coach herself.

Ruth Ann’s other philanthropic endeavors include serving on Sigma Delta Chi Foundation’s Board of Trustees and joining a myriad organizations including: the International Women’s Forum, Rachel’s Network, the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, American Women in Radio and Television, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association, Women Donors Network and Women Moving Millions. She is a lifetime member of the Broadcasters Foundation and an enthusiastic patron of TED.

Recently described as the “the punk rock fairy godmother of feminism,” Ruth Ann splits her time between her pro bono practice and her work with the Harnisch Foundation. While you may have a tough time grabbing ahold of her Awesome Cape, which flies along the coast between the Hamptons and the Bahamas, the shimmer of her philanthropy can be seen far and wide. She is married to William F. Harnisch, President and CEO of Peconic Partners, an investment management firm with offices in New York City and Long Island, and co-founder of the Harnisch Foundation.

I work every day to apply my money and my moxie to the biggest problem in the world – untapped capacity. In my coaching, my grant-making, and my donor activities and organizations, I want to help people discover how much they’ve got and how to make the most of it for themselves and for others.
Ruth Ann Harnisch

Bill Harnisch

William F. Harnisch is the Chief Investment Strategist at Peconic Partners, managing all aspects of the firm’s investment process. Bill began his career at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1968 (later known as Chase Investors Management), where he was Vice-President responsible for Special Equity Investments.  He joined Forstmann-Leff Associates (FLA) in 1978 when the business managed $300 million.  He began managing FLA in 1984, eventually managing assets of over $5 billion, and became the majority shareholder in 1989. With a strong history in absolute return, FLA entered the hedge fund business in 1986.  The long-only business was sold in 1997, and Mr. Harnisch left FLA at the end of 2004 to form Peconic Partners and concentrate on the hedged product.

Bill has a B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York and took M.B.A. courses at New York University.  He was awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1977.  He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, the CFA Institute, the National Association of Petroleum Analysts, the New York Academy of Sciences, the World Presidents Organization, and the Chief Executive Organization.  His opinions on markets and stock selection have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The New York Times, Business Week, Bloomberg News, and among many other international publications.

Bill, an active philanthropist, founded the Harnisch Foundation in 1998 with his wife Ruth Ann. He also manages the William F. Harnisch Foundation and is a member of the Baruch College Fund board.

My goal in philanthropy is to help bring about change. I enjoy investing time and money in people and ideas, and it’s rewarding when the impact is greater than the gift itself.
Bill Harnisch

Jennifer Raymond

Jenny Raymond is the Executive Director of the New York City based Harnisch Foundation, and for over two decades has been driving the foundation’s mission to advance gender equity. She has administered more than $10 million dollars to support bold ideas, effective leaders, and creative communities. From investigating sustainable new models in journalism to supporting courageous storytelling to championing innovative solutions for the leadership development of women and girls, Jenny is on the forefront of truly creative philanthropy. In 2013, she founded the HF’s “Funny Girls,” a ground-breaking program that teaches leadership skills through improv to middle school girls, and continues to lead the program as it flourishes. She has spoken at TEDWomenNational Coalition of Girls Schools, and the Girl Scouts National Convention, and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, in Glamour, and in a video produced by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

Our HF mojo is fueled by energy and acumen. We think of money as energy, and that energy helps make concrete things happen out of worthy ideas. And, we’re using our acumen to detonate the narrative boxes that have held girls and women captive for far too long. Looking forward to the day when we look back and see that our mojo towed icebergs!
Jennifer Raymond

Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Ondine is the Communications Specialist at The Harnisch Foundation. Her mission is to elevate and share the films, initiatives, projects, and people who have historically been underfunded and underrepresented; increase our visibility as a resource for women, girls, and non-binary individuals to seek leadership and confidence-building strategies through our various programs, and build a visible and strong community on our various social media channels.

Ondine has piloted social media initiatives in her time at the Brooklyn Historical Society after working in influencer marketing at a female founded and female-run tech startup. She has also written about sexism at work, reproductive health, and body image for various women’s publications, websites, and magazines. She graduated from Hamilton College in 2017 with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature. When she is not glued to her phone, she is most likely to be spotted at the duck pond in Prospect Park, sipping a glass of natural wine, or crafting brownies that are just the right amount of fudgy on the inside yet crumbly on the out.

Ondine graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature from Hamilton College, but she would argue that she's been a valiant warrior for gender equality long before then. The CliffsNotes version is that as a child of immigrants, Ondine's parents emboldened her 1) to stretch as far as her arms could go when it came to reaching for her dreams, and 2) be ever so vigilant of the systems that function to oppress and subdue. Well little did they know she grew up to be someone who dreamt about dismantling systems that oppress and subdue! As an avid reader and writer growing up, Ondine developed a predilection for language that spurred a likeness for finding different ways to communicate.
Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Ondine is the Communications Specialist at The Harnisch Foundation. Her mission is to elevate and share the films, initiatives, projects, and people who have historically been underfunded and underrepresented; increase our visibility as a resource for women, girls, and non-binary individuals to seek leadership and confidence-building strategies through our various programs, and build a visible and strong community on our various social media channels.

Ondine has piloted social media initiatives in her time at the Brooklyn Historical Society after working in influencer marketing at a female founded and female-run tech startup. She has also written about sexism at work, reproductive health, and body image for various women’s publications, websites, and magazines. She graduated from Hamilton College in 2017 with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature. When she is not glued to her phone, she is most likely to be spotted at the duck pond in Prospect Park, sipping a glass of natural wine, or crafting brownies that are just the right amount of fudgy on the inside yet crumbly on the out.

Ondine graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Women’s Studies and Comparative Literature from Hamilton College, but she would argue that she's been a valiant warrior for gender equality long before then. The CliffsNotes version is that as a child of immigrants, Ondine's parents emboldened her 1) to stretch as far as her arms could go when it came to reaching for her dreams, and 2) be ever so vigilant of the systems that function to oppress and subdue. Well little did they know she grew up to be someone who dreamt about dismantling systems that oppress and subdue! As an avid reader and writer growing up, Ondine developed a predilection for language that spurred a likeness for finding different ways to communicate.
Ondine Jean-Baptiste

Jill Frutkin

Jill Frutkin is the Field Manager for the Funny Girls Program. She’s an innovative educator with an extensive background in the performing arts. Jill received her BFA from NYU Tisch and is a founding member and Board member of The TEAM, a Brooklyn based theatre company dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. With The TEAM, she has written and performed award winning new plays to critical acclaim domestically and abroad since 2004. Jill received her MST from Pace as an NYC Teaching Fellow and worked for many years as a special education teacher in NYC’s District 75. She went on to work for NYCTF in training and supporting new Special Education Fellows.

Jill has worked as a Teaching Artist in both public and private NYC schools, and is the Director of Special Education for Stages On The Sound. In a partnership with QSAC, she created and ran a Drama Education program specifically for students on the autism spectrum, which was recognized at the 2019 Broadway Arts for Autism benefit.  In addition, Jill has worked as an applied improv instructor with The Engaging Educator, and an audiobook narrator with Recorded Books.

 

Working as the Field Manager for Funny Girls I get to combine my backgrounds in performance, applied improv and education – it is a unicorn of a dream job for me! Witnessing girls discover leadership within themselves in rooms filled with laughter and trust is a highlight of what I get to do here at the HF.
Jill Frutkin

Sara Ach

Sara Ach is the Program Manager for the Funny Girls Program at the Harnisch Foundation.  Sara is an experienced improvisor, starting at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and performing at venues around Los Angeles with her troop.  She played collegiate soccer and is an avid champion of women in sports.  Sara has also spent time in the classroom working with students in underserved communities around the San Francisco Bay Area through Breakthrough Collaborative.  Having spent significant time working in sales & marketing, Sara is excited to have pivoted to combine her passion for education, equality, and female empowerment with her love of improv.

 

I found improv at an important juncture in my life, and it helped me to grow in ways that have had lasting impacts on me. Being able to provide something similar to young girls at such an important stage in their life is heart-warming. I’m honored that I get to work with such an incredible team to work to effect change in the fight for equality.
Sara Ach

Jill Frutkin

Jill Frutkin is the Field Manager for the Funny Girls Program. She’s an innovative educator with an extensive background in the performing arts. Jill received her BFA from NYU Tisch and is a founding member and Board member of The TEAM, a Brooklyn based theatre company dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. With The TEAM, she has written and performed award winning new plays to critical acclaim domestically and abroad since 2004. Jill received her MST from Pace as an NYC Teaching Fellow and worked for many years as a special education teacher in NYC’s District 75. She went on to work for NYCTF in training and supporting new Special Education Fellows.

Jill has worked as a Teaching Artist in both public and private NYC schools, and is the Director of Special Education for Stages On The Sound. In a partnership with QSAC, she created and ran a Drama Education program specifically for students on the autism spectrum, which was recognized at the 2019 Broadway Arts for Autism benefit.  In addition, Jill has worked as an applied improv instructor with The Engaging Educator, and an audiobook narrator with Recorded Books.

 

Working as the Field Manager for Funny Girls I get to combine my backgrounds in performance, applied improv and education – it is a unicorn of a dream job for me! Witnessing girls discover leadership within themselves in rooms filled with laughter and trust is a highlight of what I get to do here at the HF.
Jill Frutkin