About Our Work

Meet the Advocacy Committee

The members of MANP’s Advocacy Committee represent the diversity of the nonprofit sector.

Chair – Linda Nelson, Deputy Director for Portland Ovations, was the founding Executive Director of Opera House Arts (OHA) at the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to her twenty years of nonprofit management and theater production, Linda has more than thirty years of experience in the media industry as reporter, writer, editor, and new media pioneer and designer; and in the new media sector as a Chief Information Officer and CEO. Her business experience as both a CEO and nonprofit consultant includes: strategic planning; facilities management; budgeting; organizational and fund development; strategic communications; public speaking preparation; and operational start-ups. She is currently working on a book, Incite Art/Create Community, focused on the intersection between rural community development and arts and culture, based on her stories and experiences.

Richard Brown recently retired as the Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte White Center, a comprehensive social service agency serving adults and children facing life challenges such as intellectual disabilities, mental illness, acquired brain injuries, physical handicaps, and elder age-related issues, since it opened in Dover-Foxcroft in 1979. He holds a Master’s Degree in the Education of the Severely Handicapped from the University of Maine, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Registered Maine Whitewater Guide, and has been affiliated with Mayo Regional Hospital for over thirty-five years as an EMT-Paramedic. Dick has five grown children and five grandchildren.

Jason Parent, Aroostook County Action Program
Jason Parent is a resident of Caribou and an Aroostook County native. Prior to joining ACAP as Executive Director/CEO in 2015, Jason was the Director of Advancement at the Aroostook Medical Center. He was also Director of Development and College Relations and Executive Director of the NMCC Foundation and Alumni Association at Northern Maine Community College; and Director of University Relations, University of Maine at Fort Kent. Jason earned a Master of Science in Business Degree from Husson University in 2008. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1996. In addition, he is a 2013 graduate of the Advisory Board Healthcare Leadership Academy, and a 2010 graduate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Leadership Maine Program. He is also a part-time instructor for Husson University, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in communication, management and organizational policy and strategy. He currently serves on the boards of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative; Aroostook Partnership; Presque Isle Rotary Club; and University of Maine at Presque Isle Board of Visitors.

Brenda Peluso started her own business in the fall of 2019 to provide supports to nonprofits seeking to increase their effectiveness and lighten their loads.  Prior to starting her business, Brenda served as the Operations Director for Dietel & Partners, a private philanthropic advisory firm, after a twenty-year career with the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP).  At both MANP and Dietel & Partners, she honed her skills in operations, finance, business analysis, public policy, nonprofit management, and compliance. She currently also serves as the board president of the Locker Project and the treasurer of the Genesis Community Loan Fund.  Prior to joining MANP, Brenda taught high school math and science, and when she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, and walking.

Jeff Romano has been the Public Policy Coordinator with Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) since 2004. His work at MCHT includes advocating in support of beneficial land conservation policies in Augusta and Washington D.C. Over the past dozen years, Jeff has also worked on a variety of political campaigns in Maine and New Hampshire, most recently helping to pass the 2010 Land for Maine’s Future Bond initiative. In addition to his work at MCHT, he is an outdoor writer and correspondent to the Boston Globe. Jeff has written two hiking guidebooks: 100 Classic Hikes in New England (2010) and Best Loop Hikes: From New Hampshire’s White Mountains to the Maine Coast (2006).

Betsy Sawyer-Manter, LMSW, is the Executive Director of Seniors Plus, the Area Agency on Aging for Western Maine. SeniorsPlus administers Older Americans Act programming for Western Maine, along with EIM Care Coordination for older adults and adults with disabilities across the state. Prior to joining SeniorsPlus in May 2009, she worked for PROP, the Community Action Agency for Cumberland County. During her 20 years at PROP as a senior manager, Betsy was responsible for the oversight of all programming and was also responsible for the development of 5 affordable housing projects. Betsy holds a BA in Social Work from USM and a MSW from UConn.

Marcia Sharp moved year-round to Maine in 2015, after a lengthy national consulting career focused on strategy and growth issues for foundations and nonprofits.  She brings to MANP a deep belief in the vital role of nonprofit organizations, and extensive working experience with the membership and advocacy organizations that support and represent the sector, from local to national levels. A graduate of Harvard University, she was Chair of the Board of Lift360 in 2017-18 and helped to lead the smooth transition of Lift360’s Emerging Leaders and Springboard programs to MANP. She and her husband made the move to Maine as a lifestyle choice, attracted by the opportunity to contribute to greater Portland’s civic culture, and by Portland’s proximity to the islands of Casco Bay.

Malory Shaughnessy, MPPM, is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, Maine. She has over 35 years of advocacy and public policy experience. Malory has worked at all levels of government from legislative staff in the office of Congressman Tom Andrews in the early 1990s, to working on projects for the Maine Legislature’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, and serving as a Cumberland County Commissioner.  As a Commissioner, she served as President of the Maine County Commissioners Association and represented Maine Counties on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties. She was a long term member of the Public Health Work Group and State Coordinating Committee working to create a system for Public Health in Maine, and was a founding member of the Cumberland Public Health District. Nominated to Chair the Maine State Sentencing & Corrections Practices Commission by Governor Baldacci, she worked to make positive changes to Maine’s sentencing and bail practices. Malory received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Muskie School of Public Service, and her BA in political science and economics from the University of Missouri. She is an alumni of the Institute for Civic Leadership (Pi class), and a County Leadership Institute Fellow through the National Association of Counties’ partnership with NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Malory serves on the Board of Visitors for the Muskie School of Pubic Service and the Board of Directors for the Maine Women’s Lobby.