Sheryl Seller

Assistant Director, Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University

Sheryl Seller Sillerman’s Assistant Director, with responsibilities including directing Sillerman’s youth philanthropy project, management of Sillerman Center Fellowships, and coordination of Sillerman events and communications. She also sits on the Steering Committee of the Social Justice Funders Network, where she collaborates with other social justice funders to execute informative events and learnings particularly around racial justice funding. She has a strong background in marketing and communications, and is passionate about leveraging those skills to increase social justice philanthropy. Sheryl also holds a TEFL certificate, has worked as an adult ESOL instructor, and has been nationally recognized for her commitment to volunteerism. She holds an MA in Global Studies with a concentration in Immigration Patterns and Policy, and a BA in Global Studies and Hispanic Studies, both from Brandeis University.


Voices from the Field

Engaging Parents and Guardians in Youth Philanthropy

Posted on December 27, 2021 by Sheryl Seller

Earlier this month we shared the Sillerman Center’s ongoing youth philanthropy research as it relates to COVID-19, based on The State of Youth Philanthropy: 2020-2021, and the success of hybrid youth philanthropy program models. In that blog, we also discussed some of the challenges that young people and their adult supporters have faced throughout the pandemic. An additional area we’d… Read More
Voices from the Field

Youth Philanthropy During COVID-19 and the Success of Hybrid Programming

Posted on December 9, 2021 by Sheryl Seller

At the Sillerman Center, we think about youth philanthropy programs as those that support young people making grants directly to nonprofit organizations and projects, while also mentoring and supporting the youth grantmakers. We view these programs as a form of participatory grantmaking and civic engagement in which young people, who are closest to the problems faced in their own communities,… Read More

Community Foundations Network Topical Call: Youth Philanthropy Engagement and Adaptations

Posted on June 30, 2021 by Katherine Ponce, Sheryl Seller

Join the Sillerman Center’s Youth Philanthropy Project staff to better understand the current landscape of youth philanthropy and youth engagement through insights from their State of Youth Philanthropy (2020-2021) survey, conducted in collaboration with the Foundation for MetroWest. Learn about what their data show about the way programs have adapted throughout of COVID-19, and the social and racial injustices faced across the country, and the… Read More
Voices from the Field

Engaging Youth Voices in Participatory Grantmaking Practice

Posted on November 23, 2020 by Sheryl Seller

Photo courtesy of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation A group of teenage philanthropists sit around a boardroom table at an urban community foundation in Massachusetts. As they explore the needs they see and face in their communities, they begin to understand how different life is only a few miles from their own neighborhoods. A past participant of Youth for Community… Read More

Community-Centric Youth Philanthropy: A Case Study of Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s Youth for Community Improvement Program

Posted on November 9, 2020 by Sheryl Seller, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

This case study aims to demonstrate how youth philanthropy can be an avenue to democratize philanthropy while it simultaneously benefits young people. We invite readers to explore Youth for Community Improvement, a youth grantmaking program at Greater Worcester Community Foundation, from the vantage points of young people who participate in the program and their adult supporters… Read More

From Beneficiary to Active Agent: How Youth-Led Grantmaking Benefits Young People, Their Communities, and the Philanthropic Sector

Posted on November 9, 2020 by Sheryl Seller, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

In this brief, the Sillerman Center explores Youth Philanthropy as a model with the potential to make grantmaking more democratic, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of underserved communities. It is also a model that, if more widely supported and expanded, could contribute significantly to the preparation of sophisticated future grantmakers who share social justice values. This brief explores the… Read More

Social Justice Philanthropy Terminology Guide

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Sheryl Seller, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

This guide focuses on developing a deeper understanding of both general and niche philanthropy-related terms. Some of the terms, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion are more general and applicable outside of the field of philanthropy. Other terms, such as charitable industrial complex, mission creep, and return on investment are very much focused on the field of philanthropy. Although some… Read More

Best Practices for Assessing an Organization’s Wellness

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Sheryl Seller, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

The purpose of this guide is to provide tools to assess the general wellness and well-being of organizations that your foundation funds or seeks to fund. This guide considers financial well-being as well as other factors, such as mission alignment and outcome measurement. Although the guide focuses on financial-related information, we encourage you to look beyond the numbers and ask questions… Read More

Discretionary Grants Guide

Posted on October 20, 2020 by Sheryl Seller, The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

Discretionary grants are those made at the discretion of individual trustees or other authorized individuals, without the standard approval process and/or review by the full board. The purpose of this guide is to detail the benefits and concerns of discretionary grantmaking. We also provide recommendations and key best practices to consider when providing discretionary grants as well as some sample… Read More