Nonprofit Staff of Standards for Excellence

Heather Iliff, President and CEO

Heather Iliff is President & CEO of the Standards for Excellence Institute and its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits, and is responsible for advancing both organizations’ vision to create a highly effective, ethical and accountable nonprofit sector that drives change through collective action and advocacy. Ms. Iliff previously served as Vice President of Maryland Nonprofits and Director of the Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group, She is an experienced facilitator, trainer and manager with international, national and local nonprofit organizations. Ms. Iliff served a 4-year term as an elected member of the Prince George’s County, Maryland Board of Education, and was appointed to County Executive Rushern Baker’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Prince George’s County. Previously, Ms. Iliff was Deputy Director of Alliance for Nonprofit Management and Assistant Director of the Institute for Educational Policy at Open Society Institute – Budapest. Ms. Iliff has been featured as a speaker at national conferences including Organizational Development Network Annual Conference, The Philanthropy and Non-Profit Performance Conference, Alliance for Nonprofit Management Annual Conference, and the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Ms. Iliff holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from The American University and a Masters in Political Science from the Central European University (University of the State of New York).


Amy Coates Madsen, Director

Amy Coates Madsen is the Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute, a national initiative to promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and to facilitate adherence to standards by all organizations. The Standards for Excellence Institute is a program of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations where Amy has served for more than sixteen years. Amy is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the association’s comprehensive ethics and accountability program and efforts to replicate the program nationally. She serves as a frequent trainer and writer in the areas of board conduct, program evaluation, program replication, fundraising ethics, and nonprofit management. She has taught courses on nonprofit ethics and accountability at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies Certificate Program on Nonprofit Management.

She has held positions at the Trenton lobbying firm of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, and the Public Policy Liaison Unit at the world headquarters of Catholic Relief Services. Amy received her Master of Arts in Policy Studies degree from the Johns Hopkins University – Institute for Policy Studies in Baltimore, Maryland; and her Bachelors degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Amy is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Amy serves on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). Amy is a former member of the Disaster Action Team of the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross and is qualified to provide disaster preparedness training to children and adults. She has also served as the former President of Central Maryland CAN TOO and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the largest United Methodist Church in Baltimore City. She serves on the board of her children’s preschool PTA and is a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Amy is currently leading an effort to establish an endowment for the Virginia Tech University Honors Program.


Melissa Sines, Director of Education and Accreditation

Melissa Sines is the Learning Community Director at Maryland Nonprofits and the Standards for Excellence Institute. Melissa is responsible for developing strategy, curriculum, and content for Maryland Nonprofits’ and the Institute’s learning community in order to promote excellence in nonprofit management and governance and provide substantive opportunities for nonprofit leaders to connect. She previously headed up the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Accreditation and Recognition program, assisting organizations applying for the Seal of Excellence.

Melissa is currently a board member at the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, and has volunteered for multiple event planning committees, including the 2016 Independent Sector Next Gen Conference, the 2008-2016 Frederick County Nonprofit Summit, and the 2010 – 2014 Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers Giving Circle Connectors Conference. She has been an adjunct professor at Hood College teaching Nonprofit Management. Melissa was the founding Chair of the Frederick Giving Project, a next-gen giving circle sponsored by the Community Foundation of Frederick County.

Melissa is a self-professed nonprofit dork and accidental techie. She is passionate about organizing people and projects to create positive social change. She received her MPA from the University of Baltimore and her BA from Hood College.


Kate Scherr-Adams, Accreditation and Recognition Program Manager

Kate Scherr-Adams is the Standards for Excellence Accreditation and Recognition Program Manager. Kate manages all aspects of the Standards for Excellence Accreditation and Recognition programs, offered in Maryland and across the nation.

Kate has a BA in Social Work and a MA in Nonprofit Management. Combined with over 18 years in the nonprofit sector, this experience gives her a unique perspective and a skill set to understand needs of organizations, employees, volunteers and those served.

Kate has served in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector such as a a program director, facilitator, caseworker and grants administrator in organizations in Vermont, Georgia and Maryland. She has provided professional development locally and nationally. Kate is an active community volunteer with Baltimore Women United and Barclay School Advisory Board (a Baltimore City school), a nature-lover and a trained hike leader. She has lived and worked in Baltimore City for the last 17 years and shares her life with her husband, dog-child and a host of nieces and nephews.


Darryus Johnson, Member Relations Manager

Darryus Johnson is the Member Relations Manager at the Standards for Excellence Institute and its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits. He manages all customer retention activities and takes initiative in customer satisfaction via process improvement plans and efficient reporting and flow of information. He acts as a “first-responder” handling feedback from customers, advocating their concerns, resolving and escalating as needed. He develops understanding of member issues, offers suggestions and identifies alternatives and develops unique solutions. He also maintains database information as well as assists members with using fundraising databases.

Darryus previously worked for the MVA, Air Tran Airways and Danya International. Darryus’ work as Communications Coordinator for Danya International and as a flight attendant for Air Tran Airways afforded him the opportunity to support global as well as domestic business operations, and to work with all levels of employees, from frontline staff to executive leadership.


Lydia Alcock, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Lydia Alcock joined the Standards for Excellence Institute in February 2017, and joined its sponsor, Maryland Nonprofits, in March 2016. She is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator.

Born in England and raised in New York, Lydia moved to Baltimore in 2008 to earn her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University. Lydia previously worked at Maryvale Preparatory School, Port Discovery Children’s Museum and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and also has extensive experience volunteering with an animal rescue nonprofit.  Lydia keeps busy exploring the Baltimore region and riding her horse, Ace. She lives in Baltimore City with her cats, dogs, and backyard chickens.


Juliana Thomas, Finance Manager

Juliana Thomas is an accomplished financial and human resources manager with experience in nonprofit and for-profit businesses. She served as accounting and human resources manager for Juele Enterprises, PTC International, and Mid-Atlantic Lifespan and its subsidiaries. She was also tax associate for Reznick, Fedder and Silverman CPAs. Juliana attended Coppin State College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management Science. Outside of work she is stays busy in ministry work with her church and spending time with family and friends, all of which she enjoys. Juliana enjoys traveling with her family and friends also.

Governing Body

The Standards for Excellence Institute is governed by members of the Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors and its Standards for Excellence Committee, and individual volunteers who serve on the Standards for Excellence Ethics Standards Committee.

The Standards for Excellence Board Committee provides oversight and support to the staff of the Standards for Excellence Institute in the implementation of its goals and objectives. The Committee acts as a liaison between the Standards for Excellence Institute and the Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors. The activities of the Committee include: maintaining the Standards for Excellence certification of the Corporation, and ongoing compliance of the Corporation with the Standards for Excellence code; serving as an advocate for the Standards for Excellence program as a whole and helping to inform the Board of Directors of the program’s features.

The National Ethics Standards Committee is charged with overseeing the Accreditation and Recognition Programs of the Standards for Excellence Institute. The Committee’s main roles and responsibilities include: Providing advice and guidance to staff regarding the periodic review and evaluation of the application policies, procedures, and processes; providing advice and guidance to staff regarding the periodic review of content of the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector; and reviewing and approving or denying all Accreditation orStandards Basics Enhanced applications.

Maryland Nonprofits Board of Directors

Michael Mitchell, HIAS

Marla Bobowick, Bobowick Consulting

Grace Lee, Maryland New Directions

Kimberly Corbin, Greater Washington Urban League

Destiny-Simone Ramjohn, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente

Violet Apple, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland
Sheryl Brissett-Chapman, National Center for Children and Families
Kelly Chambers, Calvert County United Way
Melissa Curtin, Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County
Carl DeLorenzo, Howard County, Maryland
Tom Graham, Sheppard Pratt
Janice Liggins, The Clarion Call
Patty O’Malley, Rubino & Associates
Josh Pedersen, Maryland 2-1-1, Inc.
Lisa Sartorius, Boys Hope Girls Hope Baltimore
Philip Symonds, CPA
Allen Tien, MD Logix


Heather Iliff

The Standards for Excellence Board Committee
Mark Muedeking, Chair
Barbara Huston, Consulting Member
Lisa Rusyniak, Consulting Member

The Ethics Standards Committee
Janetta Cravens
Julio Galan
James Gardner
John Geist
William Gorman
Julie Hart
Joyce Hoebing
Karen Ito
Carmen Marshall
Kate McGuire
George Neighbors
Harry Schwarz
Susan Shubin
Ann Skeet
Lise Anne Slatten
Debra Thompson
Rhonda Watson