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Hon. R. Benjamin Cohen

President

Judge Cohen served as Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division, General Equity and Probate Part where he oversaw complex general equity and probate litigation. Since retiring from the bench in 2006, Judge Cohen has concentrated on mediation and arbitration, as well as consulting on commercial litigation matters. He served as Of Counsel to Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer from 2006-2012, and since January 2013, he has served as Of Counsel to Parker Ibrahim & Berg.


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Ellen M. Davenport

Treasurer

Ellen and her husband moved to Maplewood as newly-weds in 1968.  They have two children, Donald and Susan, and six grandchildren.  Ellen served as an interim-appointed Essex County Freeholder in 1988.  She served on the Maplewood Township Committee from 1990 – 2001.  She was Mayor of Maplewood from 1994-1997.  Ellen served on the Board of Trustees of Family Connections, having previously served as President. She is a member of the Maplewood Village Alliance and serves as co-director of Dickens Village.  Ellen retired as Secretary of the New Jersey Senate.  She is the Treasurer of the Maplewood Memorial Library Foundation.


Rowland Bennett

Mr. Bennett worked in libraries in high school, college and in the Peace Corps (Malawi, Africa). He holds a professional library degree from Case Western Reserve University and a second master’s degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. After several years as asst. director of Princeton Public Library, Mr. Bennett moved to Maplewood with his young family in 1974 to assume the role of Library Director here. He looks back on the computerization project as the highpoint of his professional career, at which time both libraries were wired for many computer stations, our Innovative Interfaces integrated catalog/circulation system was installed, floorplans of both buildings were improved and, with librarian Barbara Laub, he designed custom furniture that was installed in both Main and Hilton Branch libraries.

He also served the community as a trustee of the CHS Scholarship Fund, a long-time member of the Durand-Hedden House and Garden board, and after retirement was elected to two terms of the SO-M Board of Education.


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Ariele Cohen

Ariele Cohen is an Associate General Counsel and Vice President at AIG Asset Management where she handles all legal matters relating to hedge fund and private equity investments, including direct equity investments. She is also a member of AIG’s Pro Bono Committee and handles various pro bono matters including advising foreign employees of the U.S. Army obtain special immigration visas to the United States. Prior to working at AIG, Ariele was an Associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP where she organized and provided ongoing legal advice relating to domestic and offshore hedge funds and fund-of-funds. Ariele has J.D. from American University and a B.A. from Brandeis University. She grew up in South Orange and graduated from Columbia High School. Ariele currently lives in Maplewood with her two children, Simon and Helen.



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Anita Dennis

Anita Dennis is an award-winning communications professional whose work includes books, annual reports, social media content, brochures, video scriptwriting, blogs, newsletters and magazine and newspaper articles.

As the head of Dennis Communications LLC, she works with clients to create dynamic messages that promote their strategic goals and enhance their images with target audiences. Her work for clients has received 25 awards in numerous prestigious competitions. As a journalist, she has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalFortune Small Business and Wealth Manager, among other publications. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she studied for a year in Paris and has a certificate in appraisal of fine and decorative arts from New York University.

A native New Yorker, Anita grew up in a show business family on the Upper West Side. She and her husband fell in love with Maplewood as soon as they saw it and have now lived here over 25 years. Anita was an active school volunteer when her daughter was growing up and has served on the boards of several community organizations.


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Diane Haase

Born and raised in New York, Diane moved with her husband Mark to Maplewood in 1995 where her son Max and daughter Ali joined the party in 1996 and 1999.  In 2003, Diane retired from Neville, Rodie and Shaw, a long standing NYC investment management firm.  She had worked there since graduating from Barnard in 1983, (the last ten years spent as principal and portfolio manager). The ensuing and current life chapter have been crammed with volunteer work of all kinds, tennis and paddle matches, (mine and the kids), 2 book clubs, travel, and writing.  Diane joined the MMLF board in 2012 and has been working on communications, investments and fundraising ever since.


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Jessica James

Jessica has a vast range of experience and expertise within the non-profit space, having raised funds for Safe Horizon, Inwood House, Young Women’s Leadership Network and Grace Institute, in addition to the Obama for America Tri-State Finance Office. She launched Jessica James Consulting in 2016 to support both corporations and non-profits in their desire to do more good.  Jessica has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California, and moved to Maplewood in 2017.  She and her husband have two sons - Baxter and Pearce - who can often be found in the children's room reading Arthur or Ladybug Girl, two current favorites. 


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REBECCA RITTGERS

Rebecca Rittgers brings to the Foundation Board two decades of experience in progressive philanthropy. As a grant maker with several major foundations, she gained an expertise in using the tools of philanthropy and social investment, strategic communications, and community organizing to advance human rights and social justice campaigns. Currently, her consulting focuses on helping foundations and not for profit organizations design and implement programmatic, learning, and funding agendas that advance disability rights, migrant and refugee rights, and criminal and social justice priorities in both the US and in Europe. Rebecca and her wife, Ellen Chen, moved to Maplewood “between kindergarten and first grade” and are incredibly thankful for the role living here has had in their daughter’s life as they watch her graduate college and face the world.


Advisory Board

Pamela Erens
Ian Grodman
Carmen Lawrence
Leigh Slaton Mumford
Deryck Palmer
Richard Roper
Kevin Sheridan
Ellen Zimiles
Jonah Zimiles