Board of Directors

Acton-Boxborough United Way is governed by an all-volunteer board of community members and a part-time Executive Director who provides valuable leadership, expertise and coordination of our efforts to improve lives in Acton and Boxborough.


Kristina Rychlik, President

Joel Friedman, Treasurer

Karen Coll, Secretary


Board of Directors


Marie Altieri

Mark Burak

Amy Cerel

Karen Collins

Prisha Dayal (ABRHS Student Board Member)

Pat Easterly

Krish Gupta

Elizabeth Li (ABRHS Student Board Member)

Ruma Neogy

Jill O'Brien

Martha Papalia
Lisa Pratt

Janis Raguin

Judy Rowland

Cheryl Witty



Griet Dehandschutter

Griet Dehandschutter, Executive Director

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Griet Dehandschutter brings to ABUW over 20 years of management, strategic fundraising and communication experience, working locally and internationally. Griet is founder of Dehandschutter & Associates, a strategic fundraising consultancy, based in Acton.

Throughout her professional and personal life, Griet has loved to build community. She has been eager to bring people together across cultures and borders in meaningful and creative ways. As co-founder and Managing Director of the European-American Business Council, communications consultant for Burson-Marsteller, representative of the Belgian government to attract American companies to locate in Belgium, and for the past 14 years as a strategic fundraising consultant to large and small nonprofits around the world, she has always emphasized impact and innovation.

Griet has been an active volunteer in her faith community, sports and local schools. As Co-chair, she planned and rallied people in support of the ambitious $1.8 million “Open Doors” Capital Campaign of the United Church of Christ in Boxborough to restore the historic meeting house and the Community Center, creating affordable gathering space and fostering community connections.

Griet believes that diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. ABUW is uniquely positioned to offer “one big tent” for all to gather and to take action in our increasingly diverse community. The organization plays a vital role to nimbly identify and respond to critical community needs by securing necessary resources, inspiring volunteers and growing community partnerships.

An Acton resident since 2002, Griet grew up in Antwerp, Belgium, where she studied law. She later married Art Boyd after meeting at the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy while studying for their Master’s degrees in International Relations. Aside from English, Griet speaks (Flemish) Dutch, French and German. She is the proud mom of three young adults, Alexander, Romie and Nicholas Boyd. Griet loves traveling, playing tennis, reading, painting, storytelling and walking with their dog Champ.


 Jill TsakirisJill Tsakiris, Donor Engagement Manager

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 Jill has over 20 years’ experience working with Community   Consulting Teams of Boston, providing pro bono business   management and fundraising strategy consulting to socially   conscious and innovative Boston-area nonprofits.  She has   also worked in high tech marketing for the semiconductor   and electronics industries.  Jill holds a BS from MIT and an   MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College.  An Acton resident since 1991, her sons recently graduated from ABRHS.  Jill enjoys walking the Acton conservation lands with her husband and dog, playing tennis, reading with her book group and spending time with her neighbors.

Heather Whitney, Business Manager

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Heather has worked in higher education for 15 years - specifically focused on building relationships between communities and universities and developing experiential learning opportunities for students. Most recently, she was the Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she engaged first-generation, low-income, and commuter students in co-curricular service learning.   

Originally from Florida, Heather moved to Boston to serve a year in AmeriCorps and developed a passion for community-university work, as well as fell in love with New England. She previously worked at Emerson College and Providence College. Heather has a Bachelor‘s Degree in Journalism with a minor in Women‘s Studies from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and a Master‘s of Education in Administration of Higher Education from Suffolk University. 

Heather recently moved to Boxborough with her husband and two curious boys and is enjoying getting to know the area, including meeting many new wonderful people. 

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