Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is comprised of carefully chosen members who are committed to advancing the strategic vision of the Foundation and assuring that fiduciary and legal responsibilities are met.

Edward W. Ahart, JD – Chair

Edward W. Ahart was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2010. He currently serves as Chair of the law firm of Schenk, Price, Smith & King LLP in New Jersey, previously serving as the firm’s Managing Partner and Chair of its Management Committee for nearly twenty years.

Mr. Ahart has extensive experience in business counseling, having represented a wide range of corporate and nonprofit entities, and is a frequent speaker on corporate governance, transactional and financing matters. He has had numerous community leadership positions including his current role as Chair of the Lafayette College Board of Trustees. After graduating with honors from Lafayette College in 1969, Mr. Ahart attended the Cornell Law School, receiving his law degree in 1972 and served as Law Secretary to the Honorable Joseph Halpern, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

Elizabeth G. Christopherson – Secretary

Elizabeth G. Christopherson was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2009. She is President and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation which invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant social problems.

Previously, Ms. Christopherson led NJN Public Television and Radio as Executive Director and President of the NJN Foundation during an historic time for the broadcasting industry. Under her leadership, NJN earned unprecedented regional and national recognition for program excellence, innovation and best practices. She is the recipient of five honorary degrees and numerous awards for public service including the prestigious 2007 Women Who Make a Difference Award from the International Women’s Forum.

Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH

Elliott S. Fisher was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2011. He is Director of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Care Policy and Clinical Practice and a professor at the Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Fisher’s groundbreaking research focuses on the twofold differences in spending observed across U.S. regions and health care systems and the impact on quality, outcomes and costs of care. He is also actively involved in national efforts to improve measures of health system performance and to reform payment systems.

Dr. Fisher has served on major national committees and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington, where he also was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and received his Master’s in Public Health.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2017. He is the Managing Director of PFM Asset Management, where he oversees the firm’s strategic market development efforts. Mr. Harris is a nationally recognized expert in the structuring and procurement of financial products and has advised a number of governmental and not-for-profit entities on the development of investment management strategies for grant funds, tax-exempt bond proceeds, and other operational and reserve funds.

Mr. Harris serves as a Career Coach for the National Urban Fellows Leadership Conference. He has guest lectured at events for Baruch College of the City University of New York and Spelman College. Mr. Harris has served in leadership positions on community and industry boards and interest groups working on educational and career opportunities for underprivileged students and access to healthcare for underserved populations. Mr. Harris is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a dual degree in Economics and Political Science.

Laura K. Landy, MBA – President & CEO

Laura K. Landy was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 1998 and named President and CEO of The Rippel Foundation in 2006. She is also the founder and chair of ReThink Health, the Foundation’s flagship initiative.

Throughout her career, Ms. Landy has brought sound business and strategic thinking to pressing social issues. As President of Applied Concepts, a consulting firm she established in 1983, she helped address changing dynamics in health, higher education, finance, social services, and culture. Her health-related activities include work with Pfizer, the state of New Jersey, AT&T, and various urban health systems.

Ms. Landy’s expertise in entrepreneurship and corporate venturing led to her creation of the Institute for Nonprofit Entrepreneurship at NYU’s Stern School of Business, where she also taught and served as Associate Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. She has been a member of the adjunct faculty of Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon, the New School, and Fairleigh Dickinson. Ms. Landy received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She received her MBA from New York University, and is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

James R. Sonneborn, CFP®, CFA, CDFA, MBA

Jim Sonneborn was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2017. He is a Partner and Wealth Advisor at RegentAtlantic, a financial and wealth management company, where he specializes in providing financial advice to nonprofits. He has previously held financial management positions with the US Trust Company of New York (Florham Park), Wachovia Bank, Chase Manhattan, SLH Asset Management, and Mellon Bank.

Mr. Sonneborn is a past President for the Estate Planning Council of Northern New Jersey, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is also currently on the Investment Committee of Jersey Battered Women’s Service, where he previously was a member of the board. Deeply committed to his community, Sonneborn has been on the boards of a number of organizations in northern New Jersey and provided pro bono financial counseling at area women’s agencies. Mr. Sonneborn holds a BA in Business from Western State College of Colorado and an MBA in Finance from Drexel University.

David S. Surrenda, PhD

David S. Surrenda was elected to The Rippel Foundation Board of Trustees in 2007. He is CEO of The Leadership Edge, a consulting firm that works creatively with leaders to generate sustainable solutions to complex organizational challenges. Dr. Surrenda, a licensed psychologist, has been engaged in executive-level, organizational consultation and coaching with health systems, business, government, and education for 30 years. Dr. Surrenda recently served as the CEO of the Kripalu Center.

He is also the author of three books and a founder of the Graduate School of Holistic Studies at John F. Kennedy University. He served as the co-CEO of a training and research corporation, developing innovations in conflict resolution and crisis intervention. He also served as the Executive Director of The Natural Step, an environmental organization that provides consultation to major industries about the efficient utilization of natural resources as part of a strategy for business development.

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