The David and Laura Merage Foundation’s management team brings a wide breadth of experience, strategic leadership, and creative problem-solving skills to support our partners’ efforts to create a more equitable society for all.

Sue Renner

Vice President and Executive Director

Sue directs the consortium of Merage Foundations that includes the David & Laura Merage Foundation. With a focus on venture philanthropy, she provides strategic oversight for Early Learning Ventures (ELV), Black Cube, CareForAllChildren, and the many other initiatives that the foundation leads. Sue plays an integral role in advocacy surrounding early childhood policy, including the advancement of access to affordable, high-quality child care. She is a member of Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Education Policy Council and the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission. Additionally, Sue is a founding Board Member of EPIC, and a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network.

Cassie Leyva

Manager of Marketing and Foundation Relations

Cassie coordinates a wide variety of venture philanthropy projects for the David & Laura Merage Foundation. In this role, she manages marketing initiatives, administers grants, and provides project management to many other foundation initiatives. Additionally, Cassie oversees the David & Laura Merage Foundation’s advocacy and policy reform campaign, CareForAllChildren, which aims to amplify the childcare affordability crisis, and unite a movement of parents and their allies who are seeking federal and state childcare financing reform. She carries a B.A as well as a unique background in private and nonprofit project management with more than 12 years experience in development and communications.

Nicole Hod Stroh

Executive Director of Merage Foundation Israel

Nicole is the Executive Director of Merage Foundation Israel and has comprehensive experience in the United States, Latin America and Israel in International Development, nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship.  She is an expert in designing and implementing scalable civic engagement, community building and economic development strategies to bring about growth and high social impact. Nicole is a Wexner Israel Fellow. She has a BA in Political Science from NYU and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, concentrating in Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences.

Judy Williams

CEO of Early Learning Ventures

Judy manages the Early Learning Ventures (ELV) team, leads the overall operations of the Early Learning Ventures Alliance Model in Colorado, as well as oversees the business development, growth expansion and replication of the ELV shared services model throughout the United States. Judy is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and has a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster University. Judy also served as an Officer in the United States Army and has consulted in a variety of settings in the health and early education industry.

Cortney Lane Stell

Executive Director and Chief Curator of Black Cube

Cortney is the Executive Director + Chief Curator of Black Cube, a nonprofit, nomadic art museum. She has held a curatorial practice since 2006, which has included curating numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally for museums, university galleries, biennials and art events. She is currently sitting her second term on the Denver Commission of Cultural Affairs, as appointed by the Mayor. Cortney holds a MA from the European Graduate School in Switzerland where she is also a PhD candidate in Media Communications.

Mireya Garing

Vice President of Human Resources

Mireya oversees the human resources division at the David & Laura Merage Foundation. Mireya and her team provide expert generalist HR support to all of DLMF’s associates. She has more than 30 years of experience in human resource management, is bilingual in both Spanish and English, and holds a B.A degree in psychology. Mireya is also a member of Colorado EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children), SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), and CHRA (Colorado Human Resource Association).

Emily Hemaidan

Senior Controller

Emily oversees the Accounting & Finance division as well as the Information Technology and Legal divisions for the David & Laura Merage Foundation. Her team is dedicated to providing excellent support in the following areas: budgeting, financial reporting, tax preparation and planning, treasury, insurance management, general accounting, IT and legal. Emily graduated with a BS in Accounting & Finance from Indiana University, Bloomington.


Robert Nelson


Rob has more than 30 years of experience leading teams, guiding strategy, and growing businesses, including his roles as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Chef America and then Nestle’s Handheld Food Group, where he provided strategic direction for the development and management of $200 million of core business.

Tim Bertoch


Tim has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate investment industry, including land acquisition, real estate development, construction management, asset management, and financial management responsibilities. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is actively involved in his community through volunteer service in the Boy Scouts of America and other youth leadership programs.


Rebecca O’Hearn


Rebecca has 10 years of experience in public accounting in addition to more than 20 years of experience in managing accounting functions for multiple business units. Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Master’s degree in Taxation, and is a CPA. Rebecca is a member of The Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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