The end of 2020 saw new faces joining the RFC as we welcomed Tori Montemurro and Rachel Harb to the staff.
Tori Montemurro joins the RFC as the new Granting Coordinator. After studying international affairs and Spanish language in 2019, Tori left for El Porvenir, Honduras to serve as the Development Manager for Honduras Child Alliance, an international nonprofit providing after-school programs for children to develop essential skills. When it became clear that COVID-19 was spreading rapidly in early spring, she learned she would be unable to finish her year-long term in Honduras; she returned home disappointed yet eager to find a meaningful new employment opportunity.
“It was really difficult to leave Honduras, but the pandemic gave us the opportunity to transition our leadership roles to more local community members, and it pushed me to find ways of supporting my own community back home.” The granting position at the RFC seemed like a perfect fit for Tori. She looks forward to learning from all of the incredible beneficiaries she’ll be working with, “I’m grateful to all of the individuals in the RFC community who already have welcomed me with open arms and offered words of encouragement.”
The care Tori gives to her work and the RFC is undeniable. One beneficiary shared a note of gratitude after Tori overcame hurdle after hurdle to procure a camera as part of his fall grant: “Thank you again for your persistence day after day with this camera situation. It's the type of integrity I value and look forward to implementing in my life and business as I move and grow in life. You've taught me a valuable lesson this week that I will take with me. Thanks again, Tori!”
Rachel Harb joins the RFC as the new Communications, Online Giving and Database Manager following an eight year career working with institutional food buyers (universities, K-12 schools and prisons) to purchase food from local farmers; serve fresher, healthier and more culturally responsive foods and establish opportunities to link meal service with education, from taste tests to growing gardens. Through this work she became active in collaborative efforts to advocate for food justice and commit to anti-racist practices.
In her community, Rachel joined a successful grassroots effort to advocate for Amherst, MA, her home, to become a Sanctuary Community. She also served on a faith-based, sanctuary-supporting volunteer committee which laid the foundation for her congregation to ultimately offer shelter to a neighbor seeking sanctuary from deportation orders.
Learning of the communications role with the RFC, the organization’s mission resonated deeply with Rachel, “I could never know what these activists were sacrificing, particularly as parents.” She thought it was beautiful that the Meeropol family established the fund in memory of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and in solidarity with today’s targeted progressive activists. She remembers in her interview saying, “Let me stuff envelopes! Anything I can do to help out.” To Rachel, the possibility of joining the RFC felt like a dream, “I wasn’t sure it could come true, but I’m over the moon now to have started in my position here.”
We’re thrilled to have Rachel and Tori on board and look forward to them building connections with RFC beneficiaries, donors and the rest of our community for years to come.