Starfinder Foundation forms a supportive family of coach-mentors, teammates, staff and Board Members around each young person. Here are the key players that keep our team together.
At Starfinder, Andrea drives overall strategic vision and fundraising, serves as our public voice and thought-leader and works with our Board of Directors to increase the reach of Starfinder’s internationally recognized, best-in-class model of Soccer for Social Change.
Throughout her career, Andrea has promoted social change through a commitment to innovation and equity. A lover of Philadelphia and sports for youth development, Andrea will continue her focus on improving outcomes for our most vulnerable population.
Before arriving at Starfinder in Fall 2020, Andrea worked with a number of prominent non-profits working to address both human and animal well-being.
“Now, more than ever, it is critical that we strategically invest in the future of our community. I believe that we need to focus on the most vulnerable members of the next generation, in order to make strides toward a more equitable community for all youth and Starfinder has been a tremendous leader in that work. I am eager to build upon the successes and strength of Starfinder’s programs and optimize the potential to impact change.”
Andrea holds a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing Communication from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. She is a certified ZumbaTM instructor and is active in local Philadelphia recreational sports leagues. Andrea serves as a volunteer for Covenant House and ArtWell.
Director of Development & Communications
Amber works with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to identify financial support and increase awareness of Starfinder’s mission. Amber joined the team in Fall of 2016.
Amber bring twenty years of experience in Philadelphia area nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Students Run Philly Style. Most recently, she led a $2.75M Capital Campaign for Providence Animal Center.
Growing up in a family experiencing poverty, having access to youth programs gave Amber opportunities she never would have dreamed of, like touring Europe with American Music Abroad as a teen or becoming a first-generation college student (and graduate!) of an elite liberal arts college. As a nonprofit leader, she dedicates her professional life to ensure others will have the same access to opportunities to help them succeed in life.
Amber holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania where she received the Fels Award for Commitment to Community and Public Service and was a Chair of the Student Advisory Board. She also received a degree in Education and English Literature, a concentration in Women’s Studies, and PA Secondary Teacher’s certification from Swarthmore College. Amber is an active member of AFP-Greater Philadelphia Chapter as a Board Member. A life-long athlete, she embraces the sports-based youth development philosophy of sport for social change.
As Starfinder’s Operations Manager, Kathy tackles a wide array of dynamic issues, often focusing on changes and adjustments to underlying office, business, facility and technology services and expertly communicating the analysis and handling of the challenges. Focusing on business trends, along with expertise in forecasting and budgeting, Kathy brings both quantitative and analytic support to decision-making, enabling the Leadership Team at Starfinder to feel secure that all proper options have been evaluated appropriately and that suitable goals and objectives have been set to maximize the organization’s infrastructure and operations.
Kathy brings 20+ years of corporate experience to the non-profit world. Through a balanced blend of corporate and non-profit experience, she helps non-profits improve their operational effectiveness to more effectively achieve their mission and goals.
Kathy is an alumni of Drexel University (BA) and Chestnut Hill College (MA). Kathy is not only a life-long learner but a life-long athlete as well, currently enjoying hiking and biking as her leisure time activities.
Director of Program Operations & Evaluation
As Director of Program Operations & Evaluation, Kate has responsibility for ensuring the effective administration of Starfinder’s programs. In addition, she manages the recruitment and hiring of program staff and volunteers and oversees the academic support and college guidance elements of the high school program. Kate works in close partnership with Samantha, the Director of Program Development, to strategically develop Starfinder’s programs to achieve maximum impact, according to the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.
Kate is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 16 years of experience in both direct practice and administration. Her clinical practice experience focused on trauma-informed, strength-based approaches. Kate also brings with her extensive knowledge of non-profit administration with skills in fundraising, grant writing and management of private and government funded programs. As a result, Starfinder’s programs benefit from her highly-skilled understanding and balancing of both the clinical and administrative client and program needs.
In her spare time, Kate likes to run (she’s completed 8 marathons) and enjoys making and decorating cakes.
Director of Program Development
Samantha (Coach Sam) has primary responsibility for guiding and overseeing program implementation. This includes developing Starfinder’s coaching philosophy, training and supervising coaches and assistants, designing curriculum, coordinating player development, supervising the mentoring program, and providing direct coaching and mentoring support to program participants. Sam works in close partnership with the Director of Program Operations & Evaluation, Kate Sandy, to strategically develop Starfinder’s programs to achieve maximum impact, according to the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.
Samantha is an experienced coach, teacher, and dedicated youth development professional. Samantha has spent the last 17 years working with young people in California, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She believes in the power of play to change the trajectory of young people’s lives and is deeply committed to the notion that every child deserves the chance to participate in sport. She recognizes the transformative potential of engaged young people in their communities and approaches her time with players as a great opportunity to teach life skills.
As a player, Sam played Division 1 collegiate and semi-professional soccer. She has bachelors degrees in History and American Studies, as well as a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Community Development from Rutgers University. Sam’s academic research focused on urban equity, distributive justice, power dynamics, and participatory planning. She holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma for coaching. She hails from the great state of New Jersey by way of Oakland, California.