Freedom for All Americans Education Fund Team
Acting CEO & President of Strategy • Email
Kasey Suffredini is Acting CEO and President of Strategy at Freedom for All Americans. A transgender attorney with nearly two decades of experience managing nonprofits, developing policy, and leading advocacy campaigns on LGBT issues, he’s participated in efforts to secure over 100 policy reforms in nearly every state and at the federal level and has helped to elect hundreds of pro-LGBT candidates to office, including the nation’s first openly gay state attorney general, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Immediately prior to joining Freedom for All Americans, Kasey was Executive Director of MassEquality, where he developed and led successful campaigns to secure adoption of comprehensive transgender nondiscrimination protections, transgender-inclusive health insurance, LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying protections, and the nation’s first statewide commissions to address LGBTQ youth homelessness and LGBTQ aging. In his current role at FFAA, he serves as co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, the coalition that won statewide public accommodations protections for transgender people in the only state to pass statewide LGBT nondiscrimination protections in 2016. He now co-chairs that campaign’s effort to protect the law at the ballot in 2018.
Acting CEO & President of Operations • Email
Katie Belanger is the Acting CEO and President of Operations at Freedom for All Americans. With over fifteen years of experience working with nonprofits and for profits, boards and staff teams, and coalitions and political and advocacy campaigns, Katie has a passion for aligning groups around their vision, building robust implementation plans, engaging and developing leaders, and delivering real successes to the LGBT community. Prior to joining Freedom for All Americans, Katie was the President & CEO of Fair Wisconsin, the Badger state’s LGBT advocacy organization, where she ran the successful campaign to pass the Wisconsin’s first pro-LGBT legislation in over 30 years and helped pass numerous local relationship and nondiscrimination ordinances. She is a Past Co-Chair of the Equality Federation Board of Directors, as well as former Finance and PAC Director for Senator Tammy Baldwin and Scheduling Director for Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. In her current role, Katie oversees FFAA’s operational and financial management and leads efforts to build a team of advocates and influencers advancing nondiscrimination protections, including LGBT University’s training programs.
Chief Development Officer • Email
Juan Barajas leads the fundraising strategy and operations for Freedom for All Americans. With more than 15 years of fund development and nonprofit leadership experience, he has raised more than $25 million to help advance legal protections and cultural acceptance for LGBT Americans.
Most recently, he led national fundraising efforts for Freedom to Marry, the campaign that helped win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. He also held various senior leadership roles with GLAAD as well as with San Francisco Bay Area LGBT organizations including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Pacific Center for Human Growth, and the Outlet Program.
He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and lives in San Francisco, CA.
Derrick M. Brown
Director of Corporate Engagement • Email
Derrick Brown has over 20 years experience in forging strategic partnerships, directing programing, and securing funding for various nonprofit organizations. He has leveraged his diverse skill set in diversity & inclusion, marketing, advertising, partnership management, and media/event promotion to maximize organizational growth and reach within communities across the country. He has been committed to providing enrichment opportunities and support for diverse populations while liaising with key corporate and other stakeholders. Most recently Derrick spent three years as Executive Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce New York, over ten years as Executive Director for the Kidd Kraddick Foundation, and three years as the Human Resources Director for Clear Channel Radio Dallas. He earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology/Marketing and a graduate degree in Organizational Management/Human Resources. He currently resides in Philadelphia.
Digital Campaign Manager • Email
Claire Caldwell is the Digital Campaigns Manager at Freedom for All Americans, leading digital programs in four states, and contributing expertise in advocacy, social media, and storytelling in nine. Claire’s demonstrated success at growing digital grassroots audiences and mobilizing them to action was elemental to key movement victories including passing transgender-inclusive non-discrimination in Massachusetts, defeating an anti-LGBT bill by governor veto in Georgia, and defeating an anti-transgender ballot initiative in Washington.
Claire brings five years of advocacy experience to her work at FFAA. Prior to joining the team, she worked at ACLU National spearheading the digital state action center with focus on building and activating grassroots support online for wins on issues of LGBT and reproductive rights, and criminal justice in southern, red states.
Director of External Communications • Email
Angela Dallara is the director of external communications at Freedom for All Americans. She previously spent four years at Freedom to Marry, where she managed the day-to-day communications operations of the organization. She worked to increase Freedom to Marry’s national media presence by cultivating relationships with reporters at prestigious outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, NPR, MSNBC, Huffington Post, and more. She provided messaging guidance for organizational spokespeople, same-sex couples and their families, and movement partners. She also directed media strategy across specific programs elevating the voices of young conservatives, southerners, and mayors. She collaborated closely with the digital team to ensure Freedom to Marry became a one-stop shop and resource on marriage for journalists. Prior to that, she served as the National News/Transgender Advocacy fellow at GLAAD and the women’s history associate at Women’s eNews.
Senior Graphic Designer • Email
Jorge Gutierrez is the Senior Graphic Designer at Freedom for All Americans, where he is the lead on all print and web design related projects. At FFAA, he provides design support for over a dozen state campaigns. This includes graphics for all social media platforms, print materials, and web support. Most notably, he was part of the team that secured nondiscrimination protections in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was in charge of conceptualizing and executing graphics that promoted the campaign’s messaging and mobilization of thousands of supporters. In addition, his graphics have been featured by various media outlets, including local state TV stations and Buzzfeed. He brings more than 8 years of experience in the non-profit sector. He believes in empowering communities to form and grow, and strongly believes in using his skills as a way to influence social change in our communities.
Prior to joining FFAA, he provided print and web support for the Freedom to Marry digital action team, which helped secure marriage equality nationwide. There, he worked in over 15 state campaigns, where his designs helped win marriage in more states.
Jorge believes in the importance of community involvement, inspiring others and giving back. When he is not designing, he is volunteering at various AIGA events. He believes in empowering communities to form and grow, and strongly believes in using his skills as a way to influence social change in our communities.
Director of Public Education • Email
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen is an LGBT policy, advocacy, and messaging expert. As a transgender man, his wide-ranging experience in the LGBT movement has covered field organizing, leadership development, fundraising, and media advocacy. He previously worked with GLAAD, the Transgender Law Center, Gender Justice LA, and the National LGBTQ Task Force. In past roles, he trained thousands of volunteers to canvass and phone bank on groundbreaking nondiscrimination and marriage equality campaigns, and organized leadership development programs in transgender communities and LGBT communities of color, honing new strategies for social change.
Over the course of his career, he has conducted international Spanish-language interviews, including on Univision, Telemundo, and MiraTV, as well as English-language interviews with outlets such as The New York Times, MSNBC, Politico, and CNN. In 2015, he was honored as a Champion of Equality by the grassroots advocacy organization SAVE for increasing transgender visibility.
Rodrigo graduated from Brown University and lives in Miami, Florida.
State Communications Director • Email
Owen Loftus is one of the most sought after political communications experts in the American West. Reporters have written that he is an “invaluable resource,” an “ace communications director” and “the single best person handling press in Colorado.” Prior to joining Freedom for All Americans, Owen served as communications director for several high-profile U.S. Senate and congressional races, as well as for the Colorado Republican Party and the Colorado House of Representatives. He is regularly invited to conduct training seminars both at home and abroad. Recently, Owen traveled to Tunisia to teach public relations techniques to political parties in the newly formed democracy.
As FFAA’s state communications director, Owen is passionate about working with broad coalitions of people and organizations across the political spectrum to obtain equal rights for LGBT Americans. Owen is also active in his community. He serves on several nonprofit boards and is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral.
Director of Finance & Administration • Email
Jacob McClain has many years of experience working on campaigns across the country in the areas of field and operations, as well as some finance and fundraising support, to help advance LGBT rights. Jacob has worked to pass inclusive non-discrimination laws and marriage for same-sex couples through state legislatures and city councils, worked to defend victories for both, and to proactively win marriage at the ballot box in Maine. He has a strong history of working with broad coalitions and constituency groups to build supportive communities and achieve success. Jacob brings his years of experience to Freedom for All Americans and support campaigns across the country to win nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans.
Public Engagement Director • Email
Amy Mello is the Public Engagement Director for Freedom for All Americans. Previously, she worked as the Field Director at Freedom to Marry from 2013 through 2015. She has served as Field Director for five statewide campaigns to win marriage for same-sex couples, including three years working to protect Massachusetts’ first-in-the-nation marriage rights from legislative attempts to repeal the law or place it on the ballot for public referendum. In addition to Massachusetts, she has worked on marriage campaigns in Connecticut, California, Rhode Island and Maine, the country’s first-ever popular vote victory for marriage.
Director of Online Programs & Partnerships • Email
As the Director of Online Programs & Partnerships for Freedom for All Americans, Adam Polaski writes and highlights stories of LGBT Americans who need non-discrimination protections, manages national social media outlets, and supports the digital work for FFAA's programs and partnerships across the LGBT movement. Previously, Adam served as the Deputy Digital Director of Freedom to Marry. In his more than three years there, he built a network of hundreds of same-sex couples, developed a powerfully engaged social media audience, and built a national resource tracking marriage litigation.
Adam is originally from Philadelphia. He graduated summa cum laude in May 2012 from Ithaca College, where he studied journalism and Spanish. He has been recognized for Excellence in Online Journalism by the National Gay & Lesbian Journalists Association for his work as a writer and editor for The Bilerico Project. He now lives in Brooklyn, where he volunteers with the Ali Forney Center and consults on digital strategy and graphic design for political and social organizations.
Chief Public Affairs Officer • Email
Dan Rafter is the Chief Public Affairs Officer at Freedom for All Americans, where he manages the organization’s communications efforts and works to implement results-driven media strategies for state campaigns. Dan brings a decade’s worth of experience in political and advocacy communications, and has worked on issues including LGBT equality, health care reform, trade, the environment, government transparency and efforts to improve secondary education.
Prior to joining FFAA, Dan worked as a Communications Director on Capitol Hill and as the Associate Director of Communications at the Human Rights Campaign. While at HRC, Dan supported and led communication campaigns on efforts ranging from repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to successfully passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act through the U.S. Senate; as well as efforts to secure the freedom to marry and call out opponents of LGBT equality. While at strategic consulting firms including Spitfire Strategies and GMMB, Dan supported issue advocacy campaigns and provided strategic counsel to a number of foundations and non-profits.
Dan graduated from Fordham University in New York with degrees in history and political science. While in New York, Dan worked as a political reporter for NPR-affiliate WFUV News. Dan now lives in Washington, D.C.
Chief Digital Engagement Officer • Email
Cameron Tolle is the Chief Digital Engagement Officer for Freedom for All Americans, where he leads the organization’s digital program and strategies for state campaigns across the country. He brings more than eight years of experience building and winning grassroots and digital campaigns. At FFAA, Cameron has led digital programs in more than a dozen states and helped secure many of the LGBT movement's most notable recent victories at the local level, including the passage of a transgender-inclusive non-discrimination bill in Massachusetts, a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance in Jacksonville, FL and the defeat of an anti-transgender ballot initiative in Washington.
Before joining the FFAA team, Cameron spent six years as the Director of Digital Action for Freedom to Marry, where he led the organization’s state-based digital work nationwide. Over five years, he directed digital programs in more than 25 states, including several key marriage victories in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. He was also crucial in shaping and executing the digital programs for the first-ever marriage wins at the ballot box in Maine and Washington in 2012.
Cameron is a native of Kansas City, Missouri and graduated cum laude from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio with an Honors BA in Philosophy, Politics, & the Public and an emphasis in Gender & Diversity studies. He now lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband Alfie.
State Legislative Consultant • Email
Sarah Vaughan is a political operative with extensive experience in campaigns, elections, lobbying, and issue advocacy. Her focus is on legislative strategy and passing state laws that protect everyone under the law from discrimination, regardless of where they live, their sexual orientation or gender identity. Most recently, she was the policy director at Gill Action, an organization dedicated to advancing LGBT equality at the state level. In this role, she managed Gill Action’s legislative strategy to pass pro-LGBT policy in multiple states controlled by both Republicans and Democrats.
Before joining Gill Action, Sarah served as political director at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, working to retain and win democratic majorities in state legislatures throughout the country. Sarah also worked as caucus director in the Colorado senate for the first female president of the Colorado Senate, Joan Fitz-Gerald.
Sarah completed her undergraduate degree and Master’s of Public Administration at the University of Colorado. She is originally from North Carolina and currently resides with her husband, son, and dog in Denver.