Sandra E. Timmons joined the Steve Fund as its Interim Executive Director in March 2020. The Steve Fund is the nation’s only organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color. The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, nonprofits, researchers, mental health experts, families and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color.

Sandra’s experience and interests are closely aligned with the Steve Fund’s mission and values. She has spent most of her career helping young people, many in underserved communities, gain access to opportunities that increase their educational achievement and success.  She joins the Steve Fund following a 16-year tenure as President of A Better Chance, a national nonprofit organization that places talented young people of color into the leadership pipeline through increased access to academically rigorous secondary schools. Under her leadership, A Better Chance significantly expanded its national footprint and improved student outcomes.

Prior to joining A Better Chance, Sandra was Chief Operating Officer of Girls Inc., a national nonprofit organization focused on the empowerment of girls and young women. Before joining Girls Inc., Sandra was Chief of Staff at the College Board and also held management positions at Honeywell.

Sandra earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business/economics with a concentration in accounting from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science degree in public policy analysis and management with a concentration in finance from Carnegie Mellon University.

Sandra’s professional background has been enriched through a broad range of volunteer work with community, professional, and religious organizations. She currently serves on the board of the Enrollment Management Association.

Director of Partnerships, Programs, and Research

Prior to joining The Steve Fund, Laura Sánchez-Parkinson was the Assistant Director at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She has devoted her career to understanding and transforming educational structures to better support and advocate for the success of young people – particularly people of color, first-generation and immigrant college students, those from low-income backgrounds, and young people who have experienced trauma. Laura has served in roles at the Berrien County Career & Technical Education program, YouthBuild, and the Bridge Academy of Benton Harbor, where she supported youth in completing their high school/GED and transitioning to college and the workforce.

At the University of Michigan, she held a number of positions in The Program on Intergroup Relations, the Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs office, and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, where her work focused on supporting positive learning environments for the success of underrepresented students, staff, and faculty. Laura has been involved in producing research and learning from evidence-based practices and policies that can ultimately address and transform education systems and serve our diverse communities.

Laura earned a Masters in higher education management and organization and a dual Bachelors in organizational studies and sociology from the University of Michigan. She has taught courses and published on topics related to access, equity, and justice in higher education.

Director of operations and content

As Director of Operations and Content, Bianca manages daily operations and communications strategy for the Steve Fund. She previously served as Director of Strategic Outreach at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, where she managed communications and special projects for the Office of the Dean. Her portfolio includes work on Talks@Columbia, the Columbia Girls In STEM Initiative, the Columbia HBCU Fellowship, and Columbia/NYPD Executive Forum on race relations and community policing.  

Prior to joining Columbia University, Bianca worked at the Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education where she drove strategic projects and managed stakeholder relations for the Vice Dean.  She started her career in academic publishing, serving publishers including Oxford University Press, Macmillan Online Publishing, and Taylor & Francis.  Through this work, she disseminated research and thought leadership to public, academic, and K-12 libraries.

Bianca earned an M.Sc. in New Media, Information, and Society from the London School of Economics, and holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Barnard College.