Maisha Simmons, MPA, joined the Foundation in 2008 as a program associate working in the area of childhood obesity. In this role, she focuses on advocacy with communities most afected by childhood obesity. As she describes it, she "keeps communities in the picture" by helping them to promote relevant and grassroots solutions to the problem of childhood obesity and assisting community leaders in monitoring and enforcing effective policies in their communities. Her work, which enables her "to see change on a wide scale and be part of the Foundation’s enormous and exciting mission," includes project research, assisting grantees and applicants on strategies and action plans, helping design new initiatives, evaluating proposals, and monitoring programs and grants. Previously, Simmons was a grant writer and manager with United Way of Essex and West Hudson in Newark, N.J. In addition to managing existing grants, she developed new grant prospects and secured funding for community impact initiatives. She was a National Urban Fellow with the Community Development Law Center (CDLC) and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC), Indianapolis, Ind. She also served in various positions at Cathedral Community Development Corporation, Perth Amboy, N.J., including director of Community Development, director of Human Services, and development coordinator. In addition, to what she calls her first experience in public health, she served as an inspector with the Union County Division of Public Works, Bureau of Mosquito Control, during an outbreak of West Nile virus.
Simmons holds an MPA from CUNY/Baruch College, School of Public Afairs, and master certificate in public administration from Kean University, and a B.A. from Douglass College, Rutgers University. Born in Orange, N.J., she resides in Asbury Park with her husband. She enjoys movies, reading fiction, and participating in the activities of her church.