The professional staff at GAR Foundation is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community through charitable giving.
Christine Amer Mayer
Born and raised in Akron, Christine Amer Mayer has deep ties to the Foundation's base in Summit County. She received her Bachelor's degree in English from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and her law degree from The Ohio State University.
For eight years after law school, Christine practiced commercial litigation and business law with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs. She has worked with GAR Foundation since 2001. Mayer has a special interest in regional economic development and has been heavily involved in The Fund For Our Economic Future – a philanthropic collaboration focused on improving the economic trajectory of Northeast Ohio, where she presently serves as vice chair. Christine serves on the boards of United Way of Summit County, Leadership Akron, and the Greater Akron Chamber. She also serves on the advisory board of Milestones Autism Organization. Christine lives in Solon with her three children.
Kirstin S. Toth
Senior Vice President
Kirstin Toth joined GAR Foundation in 2007. Previously Kirstin served as the consulting project director for the Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center at Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Kirstin has also worked in the private sector at Bank One and in the public sector as an aide to the president of the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ohio University, and a Master of Public Administration in economic development from Cleveland State University.
Currently, Kirstin serves on the Board of Directors of the Summit Education Initiative as its past chair, and on Summit County's First Things First advisory committee. She is a member of the national Grantmakers for Education, and is active in the education advisory group of Philanthropy Ohio (formerly Ohio Grantmakers Forum.) She lives in Hudson with her husband, David, and their two sons.
Brittany G. Zaehringer
Senior Program Officer
Brittany Grimes Zaehringer joined GAR Foundation in 2013.
A nonprofit, legal, and government sector professional, she works to advance the foundation’s strategic funding priorities through grantmaking and convening in the foundation’s strategic funding priorities.
She previously served as the director of operations for the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) in Washington, D.C., where she restructured the charitable engagement strategy and worked with various national funders including W.K. Kellogg and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations. Prior to joining DREF, she was the chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. She also held several positions creating and implementing EEO and quality control measures in the non-profit and government sectors, and was an associate attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs, LLP.
An Akron native and committed believer in servant leadership, Zaehringer has been active in her community through service in over 30 non-profit boards, committees and affiliations, including her recent appointments to the Summit County Children’s Services and Akron Civic Theater board of directors. She is an active, Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Zaehringer received her Juris Doctorate and Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan.
If she’s not traveling with her husband Peter, you can find her baking, at the billiard table or riding her bike on the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail.
Candace Campbell Jackson
Consulting Program Officer
Candace Campbell Jackson has worked with GAR Foundation since 1998. In recent years, she has served as a Consulting Program Officer for GAR, dedicating the majority of her professional time to her role as Vice President and Chief of Staff at The University of Akron. Currently, Jackson serves as the Vice President of Student Success and Vice Provost for Academic Studies at The University of Akron. Formerly, Jackson was in the public law and corporate departments of law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Howard University in Washington D.C. and a law degree from The University of Akron. She and her husband, Mark, have four children.
Dina Younis joined GAR Foundation in 2014 as the new Communications Manager and brings experience in writing, event management, and nonprofit public relations. Most recently, she held the position of grant writer at the Battered Women’s Shelter and previously served as the marketing and development director at Greenleaf Family Center. Dina received a B.A. in Business and Organizational Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Akron in 2008. She is involved with the Akron2Akron civic leaders group and writes a local lifestyle blog, titled Dina's Days.
Julie A. Watson
Grants Manager, Program Assistant
Julie Watson is GAR Foundation's Grants Manager and Program Assistant. She has been with GAR since 1998. Previously, she served for 20 years in several roles with the former Roadway Services Inc. (now Caliber Systems Inc., a part of FedEx Corp) including as Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Corporate Planning. Ms. Watson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University. She and Dave reside in Cuyahoga Falls.Falls.Falls
Lisa M. Yates
A long-time employee of Roadway Express and YRC, Lisa worked as the Office Manager in YRC’s Akron Legal Department and was Executive Assistant to the Deputy General Counsel. She earned a Master of Arts in Technical Education from the University of Akron. She and her husband, Brad, have one daughter and reside in Cuyahoga Falls.
Consulting EIG Program Manager
Lucille Esposito joined GAR Foundation in 2013 to manage the Educator Initiative Grants (EIG) program. As a career educator, Lucille most recently hails from the Hubbard Exempted Village School District as Assistant Superintendent and Special Assistant to the Superintendent, where she led and managed curriculum and instruction for instructors and students throughout the District. She has taken an active role in supporting teachers' adoption of new learning standards, assessments and innovative teaching platforms.
Also an Adjunct Instructor for Ashland University, Lucille holds a masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland, as well as a bachelor's in English and History from the University of Akron. A lifelong Summit County resident, Lucille has also taught throughout the region, including many years at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.