Mission

In places like City of God in Rio de Janeiro, drug-related violence and frequent shootouts make it unsafe and sometimes impossible for children to play in the streets or even go to school. Similarly, imagining a life without conflict is nearly impossible for a child living in the jungle or remote zones of Colombia, indoctrinated in the ways of irregular warfare by guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

Since 2006, we have created a community of trusted partners with local expertise who have devoted themselves to giving all children the opportunity to have a childhood. Currently, our projects include helping child soldiers reintegrate into a positive role in society in Colombia, creating space for education and a healthy start in the favelas of Brazil and supporting inner city literacy projects in the US.

With a model based on at least 97% of resources allocated directly to projects each year, we support local organizations that provide vulnerable children with the attention, education, skills and psychological support they need. Every organization in the Developing Minds family has proven the know-how and dedication to help the children they serve live happier, better lives.

Board of Directors

Philippe Houdard, Founder and President

Mr. Houdard is the Founder and Chairman of Developing Minds Foundation, where he oversees the strategic direction of the organization. He is also co-Founder of Pipeline, a shared workspace for entrepreneurs, startups and professionals. In 2008 Mr. Houdard started another company, SkyBank Financial, and he remains on the company’s board of directors. Prior to launching these entrepreneurial ventures, he served in executive positions for a number of early-stage and Fortune 500 companies, including Lucent Technologies. Mr. Houdard began his career in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Legislative Aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, and he subsequently served on the campaign staff for U.S. Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. He graduated with a Master of Public Policy from Harvard and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Florida.

Natalie Shoup, Executive Director

Ms. Shoup first worked with Developing Minds as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow. She currently serves as Executive Director focused on evaluating the impact and strategy of the organization. Most recently she was Program Manager at Data-Pop Alliance, a non-profit working to promote a people-centered Data Revolution. She led many projects at the intersection of Big Data and development including trainings on data literacy and an initiative to promote access to private sector data for social good, the Open Algorithms project. Ms. Shoup has previously been involved in volunteer work with UNICEF and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She has professional experience in data analytics, risk management and financial services through work at financial and consulting firms. Additionally, she has worked with the education e-learning startup, EZLearn Educacional, and a social enterprise for market research, Mobile Metrix, both based in Brazil. Ms. Shoup graduated with a BSE in Operations Research and Financial Engineering and certificates in Engineering and Management Systems and Latin American Studies from Princeton University.

Dehdan Miller, Board Member

Mr. Miller joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October of 2008 and manages the Executive Office’s Strategic Planning and Engagement team, in support of the Foundation’s Co-Chairs and CEO. Immediately prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Mr. Miller was in charge of strategic development, and legislative and public policy matters for the Council for Information and Planning Alternatives (CIPA). Mr. Miller previously served in Lehman Brothers’ Global Corporate Strategy Group, as a Legislative Aide to former Congressman Ron de Lugo (VI), and as a Budget Analyst for the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, Mr. Miller has served as a consultant or staff member to multiple Presidential campaigns, the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance, and the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Miller is a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands Bar Association, and holds an A.B. in Government from Harvard College, a Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Chris Mehringer, Board Member

Mr. Mehringer is the President of Park Street, the leading provider of productivity enhancing and cost-saving back-office solutions, advisory services, and working capital solutions for domestic and imported alcoholic beverage brands. Park Street is an importer and national distributor working with hundreds of wine and spirits brands from the U.S. and around the world, including craft and non-craft distillers, vineyard owners, multi-brand global suppliers, celebrity brands, and more. Under Mr. Mehringer’s leadership, Park Street’s financial services practice provides emerging and established brands working capital and trade financing to accelerate growth. Previously, Mr. Mehringer served as President of a national consumer products distribution company where oversaw all aspects of the operations and growth and developed and maintained strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 consumer products companies. In addition to Developing Minds Foundation, Mr. Mehringer serves on the Board of the Harvard Club of Miami. He holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University.

Joseph Mohan, Board Member

Mr. Mohan is President and COO of Viva Airline Group, the leading low-cost airline company in Latin America. Previously he was Commercial and Planning Vice President of Copa Airlines, based in Panama City, Panama. Prior to accepting his position at Copa, Mr. Mohan spent 10 years working with Continental Airlines, where he was part of the upper-management training program, participating in the areas of strategic planning, revenue analysis, sales and marketing. He was an active participant in Continental Airlines’ turnaround from “worst to first.” While at Continental, Mr. Mohan was part of the team that engineered the airline’s equity investment in Copa, which contributed to Copa’s becoming one of the most profitable airlines in the world over the past 10 years. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Mohan began his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he served on the legislative staff of former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, focusing in the areas of intelligence and foreign relations. Mr. Mohan has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Florida and an MBA from Georgetown University.

Seth Zalkin, Board Member

Mr. Zalkin founded the Astor Group, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, private placements and the development of cross border strategies in 2004. The following year, Mr. Zalkin founded Astor Capital, an investor in consumer and technology companies. 

As Managing Partner of Astor Group and Astor Capital, Seth has executed complex transactions, negotiated investments for a wide range of clients and portfolio companies and created a myriad of innovative growth strategies. Mr. Zalkin is recognized for his knowledge of the Brazil market and of the consumer, internet and TMT sectors and is frequently quoted in publications such as the New York Times, Forbes and Private Equity International.

Prior to founding Astor Group, Seth served as CEO of, and successfully exited, venture-backed internet, technology and professional services companies. As CEO, Mr. Zalkin led the sale of businesses to both public and private companies and successfully cultivated relationships with clients such as Time Warner, IBM, Bacardi, Sony Music and Perrier.

Mr. Zalkin currently serves as an Executive Director of Matter Unlimited, a creative agency that creates integrated strategic marketing, branding, and digital campaigns and serves on numerous corporate boards within Brazil, Canada and the United States. Mr. Zalkin received a JD from University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a BA from Duke University.

Alanna Campus, Board Member

Mrs. Campus lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 15 years, where she dedicated most of her time to a community-run women’s organization in Rocinha favela, focused on bettering the lives of children through education. She began working with Developing Minds Foundation in 2006, developing different projects including the building of a 60+ child day center, creating an after-school education program, English and Computer classes and teenage outreach. During her time in Rio, she also founded a favela volun-tourism project to provide a sustainable funding source for the União, where guests make donations and in return are offered nightly accommodation in Rocinha and volunteer at the center by day. During her time at the non-profit, she created many long-term funding relationships for the organization. From her experience with the infants and children in the favelas, she was inspired to explore a career in Nursing and is currently attending Pace University in the Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing program.

Corporate Sponsors