Board of Directors

Renée Acosta

Renée S. Acosta served as the President and CEO of Global Impact from 1993 – 2013 when she retired. During her tenure, Global Impact increased its annual revenue from $12 million to a high point of $142 million, and has raised more than $1.3 billion for charitable organizations, while maintaining overhead under four percent. Global Impact is dedicated to supporting humanitarian relief and development programs for the world's most vulnerable people.

Ms. Acosta also served as President of Global Reach which was incorporated in 2008 - 2014 to address the challenge of maximizing the resources of the private sector, governments and not-for-profits to mitigate suffering in times of crises and disaster. Ms. Acosta served as a key advisor, subject matter expert and lecturer to numerous entities, managed the two largest workplace giving campaigns in the world: CFCNA and CFC-O, was instrumental in the creation of NATO's Civil-Military Fusion Centre. Ms. Acosta has served as a thought leader and innovator, ushering in bold ideas and creating effective partnerships that advance the organizational mission. Under Ms. Acosta's leadership, Global Impact was honored with the Arab American Institute Foundation's 2007 Kahlil Gibran "Spirit of Humanity" Award for International Achievement; the E-philanthropy 2006 award for technology innovations in campaign management software; the National Alliance for Choice in Giving 2004 Excellence Award for distinguished performance, leadership and innovation in the field of workplace giving campaign management; Partnership Award from Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen; numerous awards from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for CFC innovation and leadership for management of the CFC-Overseas and the CFCNCA; and the Humanitarian Service Award, Heifer International.

Upon retirement, Ms. Acosta has engaged in numerous civic and volunteer efforts including serving as campaign consultant to William Dodd, successfully elected to his first term as a member of the California State Assembly and as Chair of the Board of the Global Justice Center.


Robert Bason

Robert Bason retired in 2005 as president of Charitable Funding Services, a fundraising consulting company specializing in capital campaigns, annual funds and planned giving/endowment programs. Over his 40 years in fundraising work, clients included universities and colleges, schools, medical research institutions, museums, symphonies, churches and social service agencies. Mr. Bason is the author of numerous articles on fundraising and has written fundraising solicitation materials and literature for hundreds of clients.

Before founding his own company in 1974, Mr. Bason was Assistant Chancellor for Development and University Relations at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was the architect of the University's $107 million campaign - the first in the University of California system. He also completed a three-year appointment (1993-96) in New York City as Group Vice President for Development and Marketing of the national office of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where he was responsible for raising $111 million over the three-year campaign period.

Mr. Bason is a graduate of Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary.


Janet Benshoof

Janet Benshoof is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer who has established landmark legal precedents onwomen's reproductive and equality rights, the right to free expression, freedom of religion, and gender crimes intransitional justice law. Ms. Benshoof has litigated in courts in over forty states and in the United States Supreme Court. AsPresident of the Global Justice Center, Ms. Benshoof is currently developing new legal tools to implement genderequality, focusing on transitional democracies and enforcing criminal accountability during conflict. Ms. Benshoof has beenselected by the National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America", and is the recipient ofnumerous awards including the prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her singular contributions toadvancing women's legal rights.

Ms. Benshoof graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota and received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. As Director of the American Civil Liberties Reproductive Freedom Project, for fifteen years she spearheaded national litigation focusing on shaping Supreme Court jurisprudence on gender equality and reproductive choice. In 1992 Ms. Benshoof founded the first international human rights organization specializing in reproductive choice and equality, now the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). In the organization's first ten years, under Ms. Benshoof's leadership, CRR obtained consultative status to the UN, established legal projects in over 40 countries, and won major class action constitutional cases in the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Benshoof lectures at law schools and universities globally and has taught human rights law at Bard College and Harvard Law School. Ms. Benshoof is an international law advisor to several Burmese exile groups and is currently working on a project to refer the military in Burma to the International Criminal Court. Since 2005 Ms. Benshoof has conducted three human rights law trainings in Iraq, including a historic three-day training on gender rights and international law for Iraqi women leaders and the Judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal. This training resulted in the first legal decision by a high court in the Middle East according women rights under international law. In the precedential Anfal decision the Iraqi High Tribunal adopted the gender crimes standards of the International Criminal Court and held the officials directing the genocide guilty of rape as an element of genocide, crimes against humanity, and torture. Ms. Benshoof is also advising women from Burma and Kudistan, Iraq, on constitution drafting and writing a book on the exclusion of women in Burma from political leadership from 1886 to the present.

Ms. Benshoof has published numerous articles in the Harvard Law Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New York University Journal of International Law and Policy, the Law Ka Nat, a Journal of The Burma Lawyers' Council, among other respected publications. She has appeared on the BBC, CBS evening news, Good Morning America, ABC evening news, Nightline, and McNeil /Lehr. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served on its Burma Task Force.


Pamela J. Maraldo

Dr. Pamela Maraldo is currently the managing partner of PJM Associates, a strategy consulting firm. She consults across a wide range of health care concerns including pharmaceutical companies, healthcare delivery systems and national membership organizations.

Dr. Maraldo has served as Chief Executive Officer of two national organizations, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National League for Nursing. In that capacity she led financial revitalizations of both organizations, created strong marketing capabilities, and provided strategic direction in the public policy arena. Pam is presently serving as the Interim Executive Director of Girls Inc. of New York City. Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and boldthrough a network of local organizations in the United States and Canada. With local roots dating to 1864 and national status in the U.S. since 1945, Girls Inc. responds to the changing needs of girls and their communities through research-based programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and to understand, value, and assert their rights.

Dr. Maraldo also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She currently resides in New York City.


James W. Minow

James Minow is a fundraising and communications executive in the areas of health care, medical research, and higher education. Since 2005 Jim has served as the Chief Development Officer of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the largest privately-funded research organization to discover treatments to end blindness and vision loss caused by genetic retinal disease. The Columbia, Maryland-based Foundation funds 17 major research centers around the world and more than 150 investigators.

Prior to his work with the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Jim served nine-year tenure as the Vice President of Development at the national office of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York, where he doubled fundraising achievement and created the award-winning internet site, teenwire.com.

Jim was a founder and President of the Pacific Group, an organization managing turnkey annual giving programs at more than 20 colleges and universities, principally in the Western States. He began his career as a communications executive as Associate Publisher of Beverly Hills Magazine before serving in several communications and fundraising roles at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His is vice president and secretary of JWM Corp, a small investment holding company. Jim is a graduate of UCSB.

A private pilot with over 1,600 hours of flying time, Jim’s chief interests include architectural design and restoration, interests he developed when serving on the Coastal Housing Commission in Santa Barbara, California. Jim and his wife, Jan, live in Olney, Md. They have two adult children, Carson, a filmmaker in St. Louis, and Brandon, a political events consultant in Washington, D.C.


John L. Washburn

Mr. Washburn has had an extensive career in diplomacy and international governmental and non-governmental organizations. He was a director in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations between January 1988 and April 1993. Thereafter he was a director in the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations until March 1994. He is currently Convener of the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), co-chair of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC), and a past president of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. In association with the international NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), he attended most of the United Nations Negotiations on the International Criminal Court since 1994 including all of the 1998 diplomatic conference in Rome. He writes and speaks frequently on the United Nations. He has published extensively on relations between the United Nations and the United States on the International Criminal Court.

In the Department of State, Mr. Washburn had a variety of assignments in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. These covered most aspects of the work of international organizations and a variety of multilateral issues. He also conceived, helped to establish and was Deputy Director of an office in that Bureau to further the coordination of American bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. During his service in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, he was a member of United States delegations to various sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and Committee for Programme and Coordination.

Mr. Washburn was also Night Shift Chairman of the Iran Hostage Task Force in 1979. He received a special commendation from the Secretary of State for his service and has also been awarded the State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award and Superior Honor Award. In 1977-1978 he was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association, serving as a senior staff member for Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin and for Congressman John Cavanaugh of Nebraska.

Mr. Washburn is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School. He is a Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and of the bars of the District Court and Circuit Court of Appeals in that jurisdiction. He has worked as a volunteer attorney in an area office of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. He belongs to the American Society of International Law and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a founding member of the Academic Council on the United Nations System.


Laurie Ashton

Laurie has been a litigator for over 25 years.  She has a B.A. in Economics from UCSD (1987), and a J.D. from ASU Law School (1990), Order of the Coif. Her legal practice has included environmental and fiduciary litigation, business reorganizations, international law and constitutional disputes.  She is currently Of Counsel to Keller Rohrback in Seattle and Phoenix. Laurie has been an Adjunct Law Professor, teaching semester courses in Lawyering Theory and Practice, and Advanced Business Reorganizations. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard and Stanford law schools, and at the Peace Palace in The Hague.  During the 90’s, Laurie served a six year term on the Arizona State Bar Ethics Committee. She is the co-author of a text book on limited liability companies and partnerships, and is AV rated by Martindale.

Laurie has had a decades-long passion for justice for those without a voice. She has represented plaintiffs in toxic groundwater contamination cases, as well as employees who lost their retirement savings at the hands of unscrupulous corporate fiduciaries. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation, and a member of the Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara Council.

Laurie is married to Lynn Sarko and has two grown daughters and two grandsons.


Tracy Higgins

Tracey Higgins has been a Professor of Law at Fordham University since 2002. She is the co-director of the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice. Her principle focuses are: Feminist Jurisprudence, International Human Rights, and Constitutional Law. 


Justice Georgina Wood

Justice Georgina Wood is a Ghanaian. She is the Chief Justice of Ghana and the first woman in the history of Ghana to head the Judiciary and also made her the highest ranked female in Ghana’s political history. She assumed office on June 15, 2007.

Justice Wood obtained her LLB (Hons) from the University of Ghana, Legon in 1970. She attended the Ghana Law School after which she was called to the bar. She subsequently went for a six-month Post-Graduate Officers Training Course at the Ghana Police College after which she worked as a deputy superintendent and public prosecutor for three years. She joined the Judicial Service as a District Magistrate Grade II in 1974, and was later promoted to Grade I. She continued her service and rose through the Circuit and High Courts to become the presiding judge of the Appeal Court in 1991.


Board Emeriti

  • Andrea Friedman
  • Anne Firth Murray
  • Michael Sandler
  • Tamara Quinn
  • Steve Toben
  • David Keller
  • Stephen Murdoch