Who We Are
The Fund for Peace Initiatives (FFPI) initiates and supports endeavors that promote peacebuilding through art, education and civil advocacy.
The Fund for Peace Initiatives (FFPI) is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a community of innovation and entrepreneurship with vast financial, technological and intellectual resources. As we channel these resources toward initiatives in peace, we will strengthen our community and our world.
|Mr. Leslie S.DeWitt, Managing Partner
Les DeWitt is a well-known figure in community development on the San Francisco Peninsula. Following a 16-year business career in sales, Mr. DeWitt turned his attention to public service, seeking to develop educational partnerships between the public and private sectors and nonprofit organizations.
In 1989 Leslie DeWitt founded the Peninsula Bridge Program. The Peninsula Bridge Program, an enrichment program designed to help under-served middle school students enhance their academic skills and self-confidence and realize their potential for success in high school and college. The Peninsula Bridge Program represents a partnership between four public school districts, (Ravenswood, Sequoia Union, Redwood City and San Mateo) and seven local private schools (Menlo School, Woodside Priory, Castelleja, Sacred Heart Prep, Crystal Springs, St. Mathews and St. Josephs). To date, the Bridge Program has served over 3,000 young people in its twenty years of operation.
In 1997, Mr. DeWitt co-founded the Compass Program. The Compass Program is a high school transition program targeting 400 under-served students annually at Menlo-Atherton, Woodside, Carlmont and Sequoia High Schools. Now in its 13th year of operation, the Compass Program received the 2002 Russell Kent Award for the County of San Mateo as an exemplary service program.
In 2001, at the request of the Packard Foundation and Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, Mr. DeWitt began an innovative fire technology program that partners the Menlo Park Fire District, Sequoia Union High School and San Mateo College in an effort to encourage students of color to pursue careers in fire service.
A 47 year resident of the Peninsula, Mr. DeWitt has twice been honored by the California State Legislature for his public service achievements. He has also been honored as Menlo School’s Alumnus of the Year, has received the Peninsula Community Foundation’s highest award for volunteer public service, and has been recognized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for his contribution to the Board leadership and in 2006 he was honored by the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula as the clubs first “Community Hero” award winner.
In 2002, Mr. DeWitt founded the Fund for Peace Initiatives. A community based non-governmental (NGO) initiative whose mission is to foster peace-building through civil advocacy, education and art. The inaugural effort, Architects of Peace, in collaboration with Michael Collopy continues to this day at several universities in the United States and Mexico. A particular focus has been in the nuclear non-proliferation disarmament and “Global Zero” field where numerous efforts have been made to support non-governmental organizations that are doing important work in civil advocacy and legislative education. On the community level the Fund has focused upon the St. Francis of Assisi Youth Club in East Palo Alto, CA. where a primary and middle school after school program exists along with a development project to create an youth focus athletic field (www.richmayfoundation.org) for the community of East Palo Alto. The Rich May Athletic Field is a $3M project that involves the collaboration of a public school district, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and a private foundation.
Mr. DeWitt is married to Lezlie Geer of Woodland, CA and they have three children. He is a 1970 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science. Mr. DeWitt lives on the San Francisco Peninsula and can be contacted at email@example.com or (650) 327-3053 office.
|Mr. Mark Moulton, Partner
Mark Moulton has extensive experience working with small teams to create new businesses. In 1993, Mark was invited to work as the first employee of Peninsula Habitat for Humanity. Starting with volunteers, Moulton built and then led a professional staff for nine years as Executive Director. He directed teams that acquired building sites, raising over $20M while keeping a wide community network of volunteers focused on building homes with 70 partner families.
Since 2005, Moulton has helped organizations to plan, budget and develop funds to achieve their mission. He is a founding Board Member and Past President of the Board of the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County and current President of the Board of Concentric Media.
|Mrs. Elena Ilina Nicklasson, Partner
Elena Ilina Nicklasson has been collaborating with the Fund for Peace Initiative since January 2009, and was invited to become a Partner. She is passionate about international security and nuclear disarmament, and devotes her time to helping NGOs in Russia and the United States address these critical issues.
Elena’s professional experience includes at least six years of research, analysis and project management in the field of international relations and security, including work at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and Saga Foundation (Redwood City, CA). Some of the past publications include a volume of articles, Islamophobia in Moscow (2003) and an op-ed piece in National Interest online, as well as several publications at the Women’s International Perspective Internet News Service. Elena believes that entrepreneurial approaches and “outside the box” thinking can help find practical solutions to further disarmament and make the world a safer place.
Elena holds a BA in Political Science from Beloit College and Masters degree in International Policy Studies and a Certificate in Nonproliferation from the Monterey Institute for International Studies. She was born and raised in Russia by her father, a military officer, and her mother, a teacher. Elena lives in Berkeley with her husband Eric Nicklasson who is a filmmaker.