Common Cents Mission: Common Cents, creator of the Penny Harvest, nurtures a new generation of caring and capable young people between the ages of four and 24 by enabling them to strengthen their communities through philanthropy and service-learning.

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Home > About Us > Common Cents Staff
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COMMON CENTS STAFF


Lashon Allen | Administration and Finance Manager | lallen@CommonCents.org

Lashon, a recent graduate of St. Joseph's College, started at Common Cents as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. She has worked with Penny Harvesting schools and Student Roundtables in Queens and Brooklyn. Currently, she is a part of the administration team and helps with daily office management. She is thrilled to see the continuous growth of the program, while it maintains its mission to empower students to help their community.

Anthony Berthel | Director of Administration and Technology | aberthel@CommonCents.org
Anthony Berthel
Anthony has worked for Common Cents since August 2002. Prior to that, he was an IT assistant for Leadership for Environment and Development International, a program run by the Rockefeller Foundation. His expertise includes Network management, PC repairs, software and hardware installation and upgrades, and many other computer related skills.

Jordan Conan | Administration and Data Associate | jconan@CommonCents.org

Jordan joined Common Cents in the spring of 2011 as a Run for Change intern. Following the event Jordan continued working at the organization as a member of the development team, and he is currently an Administrative Associate.

Teddy Gross | Executive Director | tgross@CommonCents.org

Teddy Gross is the founder and executive director of Common Cents, a national not-for-profit educational organization, which specializes in designing citizenship programs for children and young people, and supporting their work in schools throughout the country and across all demographic divides.

The organization started in 1991, and grew out of the desire of a four-year-old child to help a homeless man in New York City. As the girl’s father, Teddy responded by developing the Penny Harvest, which has continued to evolve over 17 years, and is now a robust year-long program that uses philanthropy service-learning to teach the skills of democratic participation, moral reasoning, and community building to children during their first decade of school. Under his leadership, a lab at Common Cents continues to pilot new models and programs in civic development.

Teddy's interest in innovating social justice programs is the natural outgrowth of a lifetime's work as a journalist, newspaper editor, children's book author, and playwright. He has served as the editor in chief of The Phoenix, a Boston weekly paper. His career as a playwright began at the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwright Conference, where he was a resident for two summers, and continued with many plays and productions, both in regional theatres across the country and off-Broadway. He is also the author of a children’s book, and a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on service-learning and civic engagement.

Under Teddy’s leadership, the Penny Harvest has become the largest child-philanthropy program in the United States, helping to nurture a new generation of caring, informed and capable young people.

Sung-ah Han | NYC Civic Corp/Penny Harvest School Support | shan@commoncents.org

Sung-ah Han is a 2013-2014 fellow with a background in piano performance, music education, and performing arts administration. She is a member of NYC Civic Corps and has joined Common Cents to engage in civic service.  Currently, Sung-ah is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration at Columbia University of International and Public Affairs to explore her various interests in local and international humanitarian causes including education and human rights. 

Keith Hickman | Program Director | khickman@CommonCents.org

Keith joined the Common Cents team in August 2011 as Program Director. Keith has been working with organizations that serve youth and families for the past 15 years, and brings to CC a wealth of knowledge and experience. Prior to joining CC, he worked at the New York City Department of Education, New Leaders for New Schools, and the Center for Court Innovation. Keith began his professional career in the early 90’s as a Gang Intervention Case Manager in Seattle, Washington. He lives his life by the great words of Horace Mann, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” Keith is a graduate of Antioch College.

Gracie Rifino | Associate Director of Educational Programs | grifino@CommonCents.org

Gracie joined Common Cents in August 2007.  She graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and minors in Spanish and International Studies. Drawn to Common Cents by her desire to help youth discover their full potential, much of her work has focused on developing and facilitating youth development programs for students ranging from ages 5 to 21.  During her first 2 years at Common Cents she lead a city-wide high school leadership council and developed a cross-age mentoring program while supporting Penny Harvest schools across the city. She now manages the program support and communications for Penny Harvest schools in NYC, Albany and PH-in-a-Box.  Her hopes for the upcoming Penny Harvest are for students, coaches and fellow staff to have a meaningful and successful year.

Catherine Valdez | NYC Civic Corp/Penny Harvest School Support | cvaldez@CommonCents.org

As a New York City Civic Corps member, Catherine joined the Common Cents team in September 2013. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Psychology. Currently, Catherine is volunteering as a school support fellow for Penny Harvest coaches, as well as a communications and social media coordinator. She is thrilled to join the Common Cents staff in their endeavor to foster civic engagement and volunteerism in schools through service-learning.
 
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