Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech Welcomes New Board Chairs and Trustees as it Begins $600,000 Matching Grant Program

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Industrial designer, lawyer and business executive bring new expertise to Board and help the nonprofit expand its funding base

“Because of Clarke, I am confident my children have futures filled with unlimited possibilities. I am committed to making Clarke’s services and these opportunities available to as many families as possible,” said Michael Straubel, incoming Board Co-Chair.

Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech today announced Megan Cohen and Michael Straubel as Co-Chairs of its Board of Trustees. In addition, the nonprofit organization that teaches children who are deaf or hard of hearing to listen and talk welcomes Julie Biron Maletz, Michael Budner and Andrew DeCastro to the Board.

Megan Cohen joined Clarke’s Board of Trustees in 2018 and works at Harvard Business School in annual and reunion giving. Prior to her career in development, Cohen held roles in marketing and sales at both start-ups and Fortune 100 companies. Her passion for hearing loss comes from her godson who is a former student at Clarke Philadelphia and husband who works for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Cohen has chaired and held volunteer roles for the MEEI Hearing Loss Clinic Annual Carnival and the Sensation Gala and at her children's schools.

“I am eager to take on this leadership role, especially as Clarke begins a three-year, $600,000 matching grant challenge from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation,” said Cohen. “Programs like this give us the opportunity to grow the Clarke network with the aim of serving more children and families in our communities.”

Clarke is working to unlock matching funds from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation by expanding new and increased funding through 2022.

Michael Straubel is the parent of a child in Clarke’s Early Intervention Program and his daughter is a former Clarke student. He joined the Board in 2017 and is Managing Director of the SEI Wealth Platform within SEI’s Global Wealth Management Services division. Straubel brings more than 10 years of experience in the financial services industry, including positions in asset management, technology development and business development in the United States and Europe. His professional experience includes working with a number of national nonprofit organizations on fiduciary best practices and investment stewardship for foundations and endowments. Outside of his professional roles, Straubel has chaired Clarke's Leadership Council in Philadelphia.

“Because of Clarke, I am confident my children have futures filled with unlimited possibilities. I am committed to making Clarke’s services and these opportunities available to as many families as possible,” said Straubel. “Clarke’s five-year strategic plan outlines how we will prepare to serve more families in the coming years, and I am thrilled to be a leader in this work.”

“Clarke has benefitted from Megan’s fundraising expertise and Michael’s background in nonprofit advisement,” said Doug Scott, President and CEO of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. “We’re grateful for their investment in our mission and know their combined Board leadership will help us optimize opportunities like the Johnson Scholarship Foundation matching program and build toward sustainable growth.”

Julie Biron Maletz is a freelance designer in Philadelphia, PA, who specializes in industrial and user experience design. Maletz was previously a Senior Industrial Designer at Comcast where she was the lead designer of the award-winning XR15 and XR11 Voice Remotes. Maletz has earned an Emmy Award, 6 iF Design Awards and 5 Red Dot Awards for her projects. She holds 10 patents for design and technology products. She is the Chair of Clarke Philadelphia’s Leadership Council, and a former Co-Lead of the MyAbilities Network Employee Resource Group. Maletz is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design.

Michael Budner is a trial attorney at Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. in Philadelphia, PA. Budner’s decade of law experience includes acting as lead and co-lead counsel in major jury trials and catastrophic personal injury cases. He is a teacher and judge at Temple University, Beasley School of Law’s LL.M. in Trial Advocacy Program. Budner received his B.A. from Emory University and his J.D. and LL.M. from Temple University. He is a member of Clarke Philadelphia’s Leadership Council and the parent of a child enrolled in Clarke Philadelphia’s Early Intervention Program.

Andrew DeCastro is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Business Development at HomeServe USA in Norwalk, CT. He’s held a variety of roles with the company for more than 11 years including Senior Vice President of Business Development and Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions. He previously worked at UBS Investment Bank and General Electric. He received a B.A. from Hamilton College and will receive his MBA from Babson College this year. DeCastro also is the parent of a Clarke Boston alumna and is an active volunteer with the school.

“Julie, Michael and Andrew are all familiar with the impact Clarke has on the lives of children and families. I am thrilled for them to bring their unique professional expertise to Clarke’s Board of Trustees,” said Doug Scott, president and CEO. “I know their passion will further Clarke’s success.”

About Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech
Since 1867, Clarke has provided children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the education needed to succeed in a hearing world, evolving to best meet the needs of children and families today through Infant-Toddler, virtual tVISIT (teleservice), Preschool, K-8, Mainstream and Summer Programs, as well as through hearing centers, comprehensive educational evaluations and research and professional development. Annually, more than 1,200 children and their families benefit from programs and services at five campuses: Boston, MA; Jacksonville, FL; New York City; Northampton, MA and Philadelphia, PA. Learn more at

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