The professional staff at GAR Foundation is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community through charitable giving.
Christine Amer Mayer
Christine Amer Mayer was named president of GAR Foundation in 2012. An Akron native, she practiced commercial litigation and business law for eight years with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs before joining the foundation in 2001 as program officer.
Mayer has a special interest in regional economic competitiveness and has been heavily involved in The Fund for our Economic Future - a philanthropic collaboration focused on improving the economic trajectory of Northeast Ohio. She serves as vice chair of the Fund. She also serves on the boards of United Way of Summit County, Leadership Akron, and the Greater Akron Chamber.
In recent years, Mayer has focused considerable efforts on Summit County’s arts and cultural assets, helping to lead the Summit County Arts and Culture Assessment – a county-wide study of the arts and culture landscape that has led to a sector-strengthening initiative.
Mayer received a Bachelor's degree in English from Duke University and a law degree from The Ohio State University. She lives in Solon with her three children.
Kirstin S. Toth
Senior Vice President
Kirstin Toth joined GAR Foundation in 2007 as senior vice president. She previously 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. Prior to that, she was the director of marketing at Bank One and worked as an aide to the president of the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners.
A public education expert deeply committed to the success for all students, Toth led the strategic re-positioning of the Cradle to Career alliance as the chair of Summit Education Initiative’s board of trustees, setting a new course for community-wide attention to education as an economic development imperative. She also serves on the Summit County's First Things First advisory committee, United Way of Summit County’s Education Allocations Team, the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy Educational Attainment committee, the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs MPA and Nonprofit Degree Programs Advisory Board, and is an active member of the national Grantmakers for Education and Philanthropy Ohio.
She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ohio University, and a Master of Public Administration in economic development from Cleveland State University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in higher education at Kent State University. She lives in Hudson with her husband, their two sons, and three cats.
Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, Esq., MSSA
Senior Program Officer
Brittany Grimes Zaehringer joined GAR Foundation in 2013. A nonprofit, legal, and government sector professional, Zaehringer 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, 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.
Dina Younis joined GAR Foundation in 2014. A communications professional with a diverse background in the nonprofit sector, she previously held the position of grant writer at the Battered Women’s Shelter and served as the marketing and development director at Greenleaf Family Center. Born in Akron but raised in Jordan, she spent several years in the Middle East before moving back to Ohio. Younis also manages a lifestyle blog, Dina’s Days, which has been featured on Fox 8 - New Day Cleveland and the Akron Beacon Journal. She also helped to launch Akron2Akron, a civic leaders group that coordinates neighborhood walking tours in Akron.
Younis earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Akron, where she studied Business and Organizational Communications.
Julie A. Watson
Grants Manager, Program Assistant
Julie Watson joined GAR Foundation in 1998. Previously, she served in several roles with the former Roadway Services Inc. for 20 years, including as administrative assistant to the vice president of corporate planning. Watson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University. She and her partner Dave reside in Cuyahoga Falls with their Shi-Poo, Finnegan.
Lisa M. Yates
Lisa Yates joined GAR Foundation in 2012. A long-time employee of Roadway Express and Yellow Roadway Corporation, she previously served as executive assistant to the deputy general counsel and office manager for the company’s legal department. She attended the University of Akron where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in technical education. Yates is a devoted Walsh Jesuit volunteer and member of the Parish Council at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She and her husband, Brad have one daughter Christina, who attends John Carroll University. Yates travels often with her family to the west coast.
Consulting EIG Program Manager
Lucille Esposito joined GAR Foundation in 2013 and manages the Educator Initiative Grants (EIG) program. As a career educator, Esposito 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. A lifelong Summit County resident, she has also taught throughout the region, including many years at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and is adjunct instructor for Ashland University.
Esposito earned a bachelor's in English and History from The University of Akron, and a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland University.