Our Leadership and Staff

Lynn Margherio | Founder/CEO

A leader in the fields of social justice and children’s issues, Lynn Margherio is the Founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons.  She leads this national non-profit with operations in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia which provides children living in poverty with everyday essentials – including new or gently-used backpacks, school supplies, clothing, shoes and winter coats.  To date, the organization has served more than 3 Million children.

In an effort to address the national crisis of children’s clothing insecurity, Lynn launched Cradles to Crayons in 2002.   Since that time, she has led the organization to not only successfully fulfill the needs of millions of children, but in doing so, offer meaningful volunteer experiences, engaging over 1 million adult and youth volunteers.

In her role as CEO, Lynn directs all aspects of the organization including strategic planning, operations, fundraising, brand/marketing, product acquisition, external relations and ongoing collaboration with both National and local Boards of Directors.  She has led multiple successful capital campaigns raising millions of dollars to fund expansion and has steered the organization through major relocations and organizational restructurings.  She is spearheading a national expansion campaign to serve the more than 20 million children across the U.S. who are clothing insecure. 

As an industry thought leader and advocate, Lynn’s work has been recognized with numerous awards.  With a commitment to community, she has served on a numerous Boards and Advisory roles.  A frequent speaker, Lynn has presented to numerous organizations and in a variety of settings.  She has also appeared in the media including television, radio and print.

Prior to launching Cradles to Crayons, Lynn served as an Executive Vice President of the Clinton Foundation, in public sector roles for the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House Domestic Policy Council as well as corporate roles for SJS, IKEA, Telesis and Towers Perrin.

A graduate of Georgetown University, Lynn completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at Harvard Business School. 

Executive Director, Boston

The Executive Director position of Cradles to Crayons—Boston is currently open. To learn more about the position and apply, click here.

Dawn Melchiorre | Executive Director, Chicago

Dawn Melchiorre is a seasoned entrepreneur and nonprofit executive passionate about driving social change in her local community. Her nonprofit career began at Voices for Illinois Children where she organized advocacy campaigns raising awareness for issues related to early childhood education, mental health, and nutrition. Her success led her to the Greater Chicago Food Depository as Senior Director of Programs where she helped build the Illinois No Kid Hungry Campaign and the Illinois Commission to End Hunger.

Dawn served as Chief Operating Officer of Forefront (Illinois), the regional membership association serving grantmakers, nonprofits, advisors, and public agencies. She directed operations, including member engagement, public policy, education, library services, and research. Most recently, Dawn served as Interim CEO at 360 Youth Services, leading the organization from a governance and asset transfer agency to a larger social service organization that provides stability for staff and the community it serves.

Before her career in the nonprofit sector, Dawn spent ten years in the hospitality field as a small business owner. Dawn holds a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science from Loyola University Chicago, a Master of Arts, Public Service & Public Policy from DePaul University, and a Master of Business Administration, Nonprofit Management from Concordia Unversity Chicago.

Michal Smith | Executive Director, Philadelphia

Michal is a graduate of London University and North London University, and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College. Michal is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Arts, a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce. She is on the boards of Child’s Work USA, Philadelphia and The Teacher’s Place. In 2013, SmartCEO Magazine recognized her with its Brava Award for top female CEOs. Since joining Cradles to Crayons, Michal has doubled its operating revenue, the number of children served, and has grown the service delivery area to include a second state, New Jersey.

Our Staff

National Staff

  • Lynn Margherio, Founder and CEO, National
  • Karen Gallahue, Chief Financial Officer, National
  • Karen Grant, Vice President of Giving Factory Direct, National
  • Yvette McClymont, Vice President of National Philanthropy, National
  • Connie Olson, Vice President of Operations, National; Interim Executive Director, Boston
  • Naomi Schwartz, Senior Director of Human Resources, National
  • Kirsten Sims, Vice President of External Affairs, National
  • Dawn Melchiorre, Executive Director, Chicago
  • Michal Smith, Executive Director, Philadelphia