Surdna Foundation Elects Board Chair, Vice Chair, and Two New Members

Caitlin Boger-Hawkins named Board Chair, Shari Wilson Vice Chair; Amachie K. Ackah and Michelle J. DePass bring private equity, organizing, law, and environmental justice experience to the table.

NEW YORK (December 2023) The Surdna Foundation announced today the election of Caitlin Boger-Hawkins as its Board Chairperson and Shari Wilson as Vice Chairperson, and the re-election of Peter C. Voorhees as Secretary/Treasurer. The Foundation also elected Amachie K. Ackah and Michelle J. DePass as new Board members.

“We welcome Amachie as the newest Andrus family board member and Michelle as our newest community board member,” said Caitlin Boger-Hawkins, Chairperson of Surdna’s Board of Directors. “Both are extraordinary leaders with long track records of making communities more just, prosperous, and sustainable. Their election also marks a milestone for our family foundation and commitment to racial justice: six of our thirteen board members identify as people of color.”

Amachie K. Ackah is co-founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer of Clay Cove Capital. He has more than 24 years of real estate industry experience as a professional in both real estate private equity and development companies.

“I am deeply honored to join the Surdna Foundation as a new board member,” said Amachie K. Ackah. “It is a privilege to contribute to an organization with such a rich history of fostering sustainable communities, promoting social justice, and driving positive change. I look forward to collaborating with fellow board members and the dedicated team at Surdna to continue advancing the Foundation’s impactful mission and making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities.”

Michelle J. DePass, a community member on Surdna’s Board, is the president of DePass Paulson Advisors, where she provides philanthropic services, executive coaching, and support for equity and inclusion initiatives. She is the immediate past president of Meyer Memorial Trust and a nationally recognized leader at the intersection of social, economic, and environmental justice. Her career has spanned law, community organizing, philanthropy, policymaking, and higher education.

“For those of us who are motivated by transparency, inclusivity, and opportunity—regardless of race, gender, and immigration status—uncertain times are ahead,” said Michelle J. DePass. “I’m honored to join Surdna’s board members as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of this moment and work for a more just, sustainable future.” 

Board Chairperson Caitlin Boger-Hawkins, a fifth-generation Andrus family member, joined Surdna’s Board of Directors in 2015 and served as its Vice Chairperson for three years. She has 25 years of experience as a community college administrator and currently serves as Senior Director of Institutional Research at Connecticut State Community College.

Board Vice Chairperson Shari Wilson, a fifth-generation Andrus family member, joined Surdna’s Board in 2019. She consults on public health and environmental issues affecting life in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and previously worked in public service for local, state, and federal government in the public health and environmental field.

Board Secretary/Treasurer Peter C. Voorhees, a fifth-generation Andrus family member, joined the Surdna’s board in 2015 and has served as Secretary/Treasurer since 2016. He is a partner with the international law firm Simmons & Simmons LLP, where he practices corporate finance law.

In keeping with the Board’s term limits, Carra Cote-Ackah and Judy Belk each stepped down after 12 years of service.

“As we interviewed many qualified candidates for Surdna’s Board, we were struck by the deep commitment to social justice and significant leadership experience that Amachie and Michelle each bring to the Board table,” said Don Chen, President of the Surdna Foundation. “I look forward to working with them and the rest of the Board on strengthening Surdna’s impact and helping make racial justice a reality in our foundation and communities across the United States.”

Media Contact: Elizabeth Cahill,, 973-900-3897