Lauren Birchfield Kennedy
Lauren Birchfield Kennedy is the co-founder of Neighborhood Villages. Prior to co-founding Neighborhood Villages, Kennedy was the Director of Health Policy at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, D.C., where she directed the organization’s health policy portfolio and oversaw advocacy strategy for key policy initiatives, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and comprehensive health care payment and delivery system reform. Kennedy has worked extensively on health policy at both the federal and state levels and is an expert on ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid policy.
She has held senior policy positions at Boston Medical Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. From 2014-2017, Kennedy served on the board of Family Medicine for America’s Health.
Kennedy graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a law degree with honors from Harvard Law School. Kennedy resides in Massachusetts with her husband and two children.
Sarah Siegel Muncey
Sarah Siegel Muncey is the co-founder of Neighborhood Villages. Prior to co-founding Neighborhood Villages, Muncey spent 12 years at Boston Collegiate Charter School, one of Boston’s highest-performing public schools. There, she served as 7th grade English teacher, English Department Chair, Director of Operations, and, finally, as the Director of Family and Community Relations. In this role, her work focused on closing the achievement gap by ensuring that all students had all of their basic needs met including food, supplies at home, shoes and clothing, glasses, dental care and more. In addition, she worked to close the opportunity gap by connecting students and families to enrichment and summer programming. Her work with families focused on building an inclusive, equitable school community where diversity is celebrated.
Muncey began her career as a Teach for America corps member where she taught 8th grade English in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and holds a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters.
Emily Haigh Ford
Emily Haigh Ford is a Founding Board Member of Neighborhood Villages and a Detroit-based philanthropist. Ford focuses her philanthropic work on education, with an emphasis on youth and adult literacy and accessibility to high-quality schooling options for Detroit’s children. Prior to co-founding Neighborhood Villages, Ford was a kindergarten and 4th grade teacher and has also provided individualized teaching and tutoring services.
Ford attended the University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She holds a Master's in Education from Loyola Marymount University. Ford is an avid runner and resides in Detroit with her husband and two children.
As the Dorchester Family Support Navigator, Maria McKnight focuses her day on family engagement and she works closely with parents and caregivers in the Dorchester community. In her role at Neighborhood Villages, McKnight connects families with community programs that address key family needs, such as nutrition, access to health care and to mental health services, financial sustainability, housing, and education. McKnight is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of all members of a family and ensuring that the family, as a whole, is set up to thrive.
In addition to her work at Neighborhood Villages, McKnight is currently enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College and is pursuing becoming a licensed early educator. An entrepreneur at heart, McKnight is also enrolled in programs designed to support her desire to provide joy-focused play to children.
McKnight is a native of the Dorchester and Jamaica Plain communities and lives with her two children in Boston. Prior to joining Neighborhood Villages, McKnight worked at a financial services institution for 21 years as a senior administrative professional.