Staff & Board


Yvette Barnes, Office Manager,
Yvette Barnes has over 15 years of experience in office administration and providing direct social services to a diverse population of children and adults. Barnes is devoted to working with families and helping women who are dependent on public assistance become self-sufficient. She received her M.A. in Corporate Community Affairs with a focus in Non-Profit Management from Trinity College in Washington, DC.

Linda K. Bowen, Executive Director,
Linda K. Bowen has served as Executive Director of the Institute for Community Peace (ICP), formerly the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention since its formal inception. In this capacity she has developed and managed its programmatic focus, developed and managed its governance structure and actively engaged its work. Bowen has over 30 years of experience in violence prevention, program management and development, policy analysis, research and community building. She previously served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration. Prior to that, Bowen developed programs for a national research and demonstration project to improve child and family outcomes in a major public housing project in Chicago, IL. She has authored or co-authored several reports on adolescent pregnancy and parenting, women’s issues and issues related to poverty, violence prevention and community building. Ms. Bowen holds a Master of Arts degree in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

Mitchell Brown, Ph.D., Director for Research,
Mitchell Brown, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University and Research Director for the Institute for Community Peace (ICP) in Washington, DC. From 2006-2009, she served as co-Principal Investigator of the evaluation of the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program Special Initiative: Faith-based and Community Organization Pilot Program sponsored by the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Dr. Brown received her PhD and an MA from the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland College Park. In addition, she has an MA in Women’s Studies from The George Washington University, and a BA from Meredith College, a women’s college in Raleigh, NC. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including an Outstanding Service Award from the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA for her work in developing a housing fidelity instrument. Mitchell previously served as a Research Associate at Vanderbilt University, with teaching tenures at American University, the University of Maryland, and George Washington University.

Vincenza Kamwendo, Development Associate,
Mrs. Kamwendo comes to ICP with nearly a decade of experience in non-profit management and fundraising. She has particular experience in youth development, using the arts as a tool to teach conflict resolution and empower youth to solve social issues. She spent seven years in Southern Africa, during which time she co-founded City at Peace – Cape Town, bringing diverse youth together to engage in positive social change. Most recently she served as a fundraising consultant for Ghetto Artists, a youth theater initiative in Francistown, Botswana. Mrs. Kamwendo holds a BA in Urban Studies from Pitzer College in California.

Nia Lizanna, Office Manager,
Nia Lizanna joined the Institute for Community Peace in 2011 and lends her versatile skills to the organization’s office and operational management including financial and budget planning, strategic planning and development, website and publications design and other special projects. Prior to joining the Institute for Community Peace, Lizanna spent four years at The Sentencing Project as operations manager. As operations manager at the Mansfield Foundation, she also monitored legislative activities on Capitol Hill involving U.S.-Asia relations. Her experience also includes previous positions with Guizzetti & Associates, Korea Economic Institute, The Carmen Group, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the office of Congressman Norman Sisisky. Lizanna holds an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a certificate from its Leadership Development Program for Minority Managers. She earned a B.A. in Asian Studies and International Relations from Tulane University in her native New Orleans. Lizanna resides in Washington, DC with her husband, Teruo Iwai.

Valerie Taing, Director for Programs,
Valerie Taing joined the Institute for Community Peace as the Director for Programs in 2009. She comes to ICP with valuable experience in community organizing, health policy advocacy, and strategic communications. Prior to ICP, she was based in New York serving as the National Coordinator of the Right to the City Alliance, a newly formed collective of grassroots organizations engaged in efforts to combat gentrification and the resulting displacement of low-income populations in U.S. cities. As coordinator, she played a key role in facilitating organizational development of the Alliance. Taing also served as the Policy Associate and later as the Communications Coordinator at Health Care for All in Boston, Massachusetts. In these capacities, she provided support to the health reform coalition, a partnership that was instrumental in the passage of Massachusetts’ landmark health reform legislation in 2006; as well as coordinated a successful public awareness campaign for children’s oral health. Taing holds a BA in Sociology from Simmons College in Boston.


Billy Buntin, Website Designer and Social Media Manager
Billy Buntin has worked with the Institute for Community Peace as a consultant and design engineer since late 2010. He has four years of experience as a Legislative Aide in the House of Representatives doing policy research, speechwriting and coordinating with various advocacy groups and agencies. He is the cofounder of SleptOn Studios and uses his passion for design to provide marketing and outreach solutions for several clients. Billy holds a BA in Political Science from Stony Brook University and an MA in International Relations/Philosophy from American University.

Joan Merlin Palmer, LCSW, BCD, Clinical and Research Consultant
Joan Palmer currently serves as a clinical consultant to the Institute for Community Peace. She is a clinical social worker who has focused her entire 30-year professional career on intervention with socially vulnerable clients. She has worked with pregnant teens in a hospital-based program, with public housing residents in a family support program, and with pregnant and parenting HIV+ women in an NIH-funded outreach and treatment project. She has also initiated policy-oriented advocacy for change through her work with a special DCFS child welfare research project on reducing barriers to reunification and, later, in a similar role, with the Catholic Charities Continuum of Care. In addition, as part of a multidisciplinary team for the Illinois Department of Human Services focused on long-term TANF recipients, she worked to improve options for clients who faced barriers to employment. Palmer has also been an adjunct faculty member of the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration for the past 20 years.

Alan Sherwin, Web Architect
Alan has a broad background in software and web development, electronics, project management, product development, and technical training. In addition to business-related software, he has developed products requiring expertise in sensors and instrumentation, data acquisition, automation and motion control, imaging systems, and non-destructive materials testing. Sherwin has worked with a software consulting firm, developing websites and desktop applications for a wide assortment of applications and clients, including clients in Europe, Australia and Japan. He is the listed inventor on a US Patent for "Ultrasonic apparatus and method of simultaneously inspecting micro-components for defects." He is also a woodworker/cabinetmaker and an occasionally performing jazz musician.

Board of Directors

Frank Acosta
Acosta & Associates Consulting Services: Professional Services for Social Change

Barbara Cheives
Converge & Associates Consulting

Karen Fulbright-Anderson
The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives

Nancy Gist, Secretary

Ruben Gonzales
Californians for Community Peace

Dinah Keefe, Treasurer

Luba Lynch
A.L. Mailman Family Foundation

Curt McPhail, Vice Chair
Mary Black Foundation

David Nee
William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund

Maria Ochoa
San Jose State University

Susan Notkin
The Center for Community Partnership in Child Welfare

Deborah Roderick Stark, Chair

Greg Taylor
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Anne Whitredge
Boston Plan for Excellence: Boston Public Schools and Simmons College, Graduate School of Education

(Organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)

Institute for Community Peace  •  410 4th Street, NE   •  Washington, DC 20002

Email:  •  202.320.3429  •  Fax 202.756.7323