ABOUT AGF

OUR TEAM

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Meet Anthony Graves

President and Founder of Anthony Graves Foundation Criminal Justice Changemaker

Anthony Graves spent 18 ½ years incarcerated for a murder he knew nothing about. Twelve of those years were spent in hellish conditions on Texas’ Death Row. He was freed and exonerated on October 27, 2010. Today, Anthony brings optimism and his unique perspective to the challenge of reforming our broken criminal justice system.

Through multiple execution dates and the challenges of keeping his soul intact, Anthony saw the worst that Texas had to offer. He was railroaded by police officers and Texas Rangers who fabricated evidence, lied in court, and manipulated witnesses. He endured a prosecutor -now disbarred for what a federal court called “egregious prosecutorial misconduct” - who hid evidence, bent the law, and pursued an unjust death sentence.

In prison, Anthony reflected on a broken system that allows young men and women to languish under harsh sentences. Every night on Death Row, he planned for the day he’d walk out of prison a free man. He planned to bring change to a system so often unfair to those who come before. He planned for the Anthony Graves Foundation and the good work it is doing today.

Please join the Anthony Graves Foundation in fulfilling Anthony’s purpose of creating a criminal justice system that treats people fairly, strives for equality, and respects the humanity of the guilty and innocent alike.

Robert Hoelscher

Executive Director

robert_ED.pngRobert has spent 20 years in the fight against wrongful convictions. Robert began by co-founding and serving as Executive Director of the Innocence Project of New Orleans. He then then served as the Program Director and grant writer for the Texas Innocence Network and Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation in Houston. Robert later joined the Innocence Project of Texas as their Deputy Director, where he conceived the concept for, developed and wrote a successful $250K grant proposal (in partnership with the Harris County District Attorney's Office Conviction Integrity Division and AGF) to the Department of Justice. Since joining AGF in 2018, Robert also conceived, developed and wrote a successful $500K post-conviction DNA testing grant proposal for AGF (in partnership with Texas Southern University) to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

CJ Connelly

Case Manager

cjheadshot.png CJ is a licensed private investigator who has directed the review of actual innocence cases submitted to AGF by inmates and their families since 2016. CJ has also worked as an investigator on Harris County death penalty cases, as well as for the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, and the Regional Public Defender’s Office for Capital Cases here in Texas. CJ also worked as a case reviewer on the Texas DNA Mixture Review Project, and as a child support enforcement investigator in Arkansas.

Board of directors

The Anthony Graves Foundation Board of Directors is in a growth phase, and as we expand the slots on the Board we welcome interested parties to join the BOD for a 2-year term. While a passion for justice is the #1 requirement, we seek a diverse collection of policy skills on our Board including, but not limited to post-conviction law, forensics, government relations, media relations, non-profit management, fundraising and financial management. Contact will@anthonygravesfoundation.org to express your interest.

Antonio Ford

Chairman

Currently serving as the COO for the Anthony Graves Foundation, Mr. Ford is a fiscally conservative public servant with over thirty years of experience. He has established a solid reputation based on his decisive leadership, aptitude to identify challenges, ability to strategically plan, and improve productivity among staff members. Over the course of his career, Mr. Ford has helped establish several small businesses, successfully directed the creation and development of two law enforcement entities, and effectively reengineered a public-school district’s transportation department. Mr. Ford is committed to continuous education and is a stanch proponent of lifelong ...

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Antonio Ford

Chairman

Currently serving as the COO for the Anthony Graves Foundation, Mr. Ford is a fiscally conservative public servant with over thirty years of experience. He has established a solid reputation based on his decisive leadership, aptitude to identify challenges, ability to strategically plan, and improve productivity among staff members. Over the course of his career, Mr. Ford has helped establish several small businesses, successfully directed the creation and development of two law enforcement entities, and effectively reengineered a public-school district’s transportation department. Mr. Ford is committed to continuous education and is a stanch proponent of lifelong learning. In the pursuit of knowledge and experiences, he has attended diverse classes and successfully completed specialized programs designed to enhance supervision, management, and overall leadership. He is currently employed as the Deputy Executive Director for the Moody Early Childhood Center a non-profit in Galveston established to assist children and their families with the strategies and resources they need for success, as well as the CEO/Founder for a new non-profit “BLOCKS: Building Lasting Opportunities through Choice, Knowledge and Skills” which was established to provide job training, job coaching, and mentoring to adults.

Dione Friends

Dione Friends joined Vision First, a project of New Venture Fund, as Senior Digital Campaign Manager in June of 2020. Dione previously worked for Equality Federation as Director of Communications where she oversaw the Equality Federation's branding and messaging. Prior to joining the Equality Federation, Dione spent eight years on the communications team at the ACLU of Texas. During her three years as Communications Director, Dione managed six communications staff members and seven community engagement staff members. In her previous roles with the ACLU of Texas, Dione led the organization's branding and digital engagement efforts.

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Dione Friends

Dione Friends joined Vision First, a project of New Venture Fund, as Senior Digital Campaign Manager in June of 2020. Dione previously worked for Equality Federation as Director of Communications where she oversaw the Equality Federation's branding and messaging. Prior to joining the Equality Federation, Dione spent eight years on the communications team at the ACLU of Texas. During her three years as Communications Director, Dione managed six communications staff members and seven community engagement staff members. In her previous roles with the ACLU of Texas, Dione led the organization's branding and digital engagement efforts.

Advisory Board

Anna Feagan

Advisory Board Member

Anna is a digital and social media strategist consulting the world’s largest advertisers while residing in New York City. Her portfolio includes world-renowned brands, Fortune 500 companies, political campaigns and advocacy organizations. Anna utilizes her mass advertising expertise in raising awareness for Anthony Graves Foundation, a mission she firmly believes in. Hailing from Columbus, NC, a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, Anna is passionate about criminal justice reform and securing equal rights for all. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in History and a ...

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Anna Feagan

Advisory Board Member

Anna is a digital and social media strategist consulting the world’s largest advertisers while residing in New York City. Her portfolio includes world-renowned brands, Fortune 500 companies, political campaigns and advocacy organizations. Anna utilizes her mass advertising expertise in raising awareness for Anthony Graves Foundation, a mission she firmly believes in. Hailing from Columbus, NC, a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, Anna is passionate about criminal justice reform and securing equal rights for all. She graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in History and a Multimedia degree from the School of Media and Journalism.

Saunji Fyffe

Advisory Board Member

Saunji has more than 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Currently, Saunji works at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as the Director of Capacity Building. In her role she is responsible for strategic and high-level planning, management and evaluation of grant funded projects and program activities that advance NAMI’s mission at all levels (national, state and local). Prior to joining NAMI Saunji was a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy where she worked on a number of projects with specific emphasis on strengthening the capacity of nonprofit and ...

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Saunji Fyffe

Advisory Board Member

Saunji has more than 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Currently, Saunji works at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as the Director of Capacity Building. In her role she is responsible for strategic and high-level planning, management and evaluation of grant funded projects and program activities that advance NAMI’s mission at all levels (national, state and local). Prior to joining NAMI Saunji was a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy where she worked on a number of projects with specific emphasis on strengthening the capacity of nonprofit and government organizations to deliver effective and high quality programs and services. Additionally, Saunji was an organizational development leader at several nonprofit trade associations. In this capacity her work involved developing leadership and management development programs; consulting with senior leadership and management on strategic planning and budgeting activities; and advising senior management teams on process improvement efforts. Education: Ph.D. Virginia Tech, M.P.A. George Mason University, B.A. University of Virginia.

Tim Neill

Advisory Board Member

Tim Neill is an entrepreneur and strategist with more than 15 years of experience in developing and executing strategic plans that drive rapid growth and margin and improve business performance, brand awareness and market positioning. He helps brands grow their digital marketing by enhancing user experience, establishing e-commerce platforms, and using SEO to optimize their performance and online rankings. With a wide range of clients, the scope of Tim’s expertise has ranged from technology companies in the retail and consumer product field, health care, global consulting, and hosting and cloud markets. As a principal at ...

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Tim Neill

Advisory Board Member

Tim Neill is an entrepreneur and strategist with more than 15 years of experience in developing and executing strategic plans that drive rapid growth and margin and improve business performance, brand awareness and market positioning. He helps brands grow their digital marketing by enhancing user experience, establishing e-commerce platforms, and using SEO to optimize their performance and online rankings. With a wide range of clients, the scope of Tim’s expertise has ranged from technology companies in the retail and consumer product field, health care, global consulting, and hosting and cloud markets. As a principal at boutique firms and agencies, Tim has developed strategies and programs for brands that include Marriott International, Tata, NewBrandAnalytics, DuPont Fabros, Tyco, BlueCrossBlueShield, Preferred Hotels, Pew, The Washington Post, Nando’s PERi-PERi, Dr.Dünner, Transpar Group of Companies, mindSHIFT, and CuttingEdge CA. Among other things, he also serves as a board member or advisor to a number of Washington, DC based companies.

Bridget Lowell

Advisory Board Member

Bridget Lowell is the chief communications officer and vice president for strategic communications and outreach at Urban. She joined the Urban Institute in 2012, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience across the nonprofit and private sectors, Capitol Hill, and the media industry. Lowell is overseeing an organization-wide effort to boost the visibility and accessibility of Urban’s research with innovative communications strategies, digital platforms and features, and engagement approaches with new audiences.

Before joining Urban, Lowell served as director of strategic communications at Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing digital platform for social change. She ...

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Bridget Lowell

Advisory Board Member

Bridget Lowell is the chief communications officer and vice president for strategic communications and outreach at Urban. She joined the Urban Institute in 2012, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience across the nonprofit and private sectors, Capitol Hill, and the media industry. Lowell is overseeing an organization-wide effort to boost the visibility and accessibility of Urban’s research with innovative communications strategies, digital platforms and features, and engagement approaches with new audiences.

Before joining Urban, Lowell served as director of strategic communications at Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing digital platform for social change. She held the same position at The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization. In this capacity, she was known for her work in media relations, reputation management, and strengthening organizational brand identity.

Lowell also worked for nearly five years on Capitol Hill as communications director for a senior member of Congress from North Carolina; during that time, she completed stints for local and national political campaigns. She began her career as an on-air television news reporter, working first at a cable network in New York’s Hudson Valley and later at the ABC affiliate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Lowell graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s of science degree.

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