Shanell grew up in South Carolina, where she regularly encountered and witnessed injustice. This forged in her a path of service and a commitment to justice and equity. Equipped with an undergraduate degree in sociology and a minor in crime, law & society, Shanell went on to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and carried her passion for service to communities across the globe. While working toward a master of public service, Shanell relocated to Philadelphia for an internship with the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to work with the neighborhood revitalization grants program. Shanell joined the Fels Fund in 2015 as an office manager then grants and operations manager and now serves as a Program Officer for the Social, Racial & Economic Justice portfolio. Highlights from her work include: streamlining the application process and eliminating written grant reports, moving the grant application and grants management system online, and redesigning the website. Beyond improving the efficiency of systems within the organization, she is a critical voice in the work towards equity and fight for justice.
She also serves on the steering committee for the Philadelphia Chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle. She also serves on the board for Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse and the Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial fund. In her personal time, Shanell indulges in the five F’s and one T: Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Food and Travel.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
— James Baldwin