Our Board Members

Our Mission

Second Nurture's mission is to radically increase the number of families who choose to foster and adopt waiting children and teens, and do so successfully.

We help you explore, pursue and thrive in fostering and adoption by mobilizing your community to support you every step of the way.

Personal, Communal and Social Responsibility:
We are all responsible for one another. The well-being of children, families, communities, and society are mutually reinforcing and must be cultivated toward empathy, love and strength. We partner with courageous, visionary, and open-minded communities that choose to prioritize the needs of children.

Our Values

Learning and Agility:

We seek best professional practices to live our values, and listen to each family and community to understand their unique needs and benefit from their wisdom.

Expertise and Collaboration:

Our work leverages the expertise of existing professionals and organizations as well as the skills of the membership, and the wisdom of our families.



We seek sustainable organizational diversity. And our partnerships support families regardless of parental marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, class or physical abilities.

Rabbi Nehama Benmosche

Nehama holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University, Rabbinic Ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She had been a community rabbi and now serves as an educator and consultant with a focus on non-traditional families. But most important are her four children, who were adopted domestically and internationally: Elie, Eliyashu, Ezra and Sima.

James Cohen

James, a long-time LGBTQ rights activist, is Chief Development and Communications Officer at Keshet, the national organization working for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. James was honored as a 2017 Combined Jewish Philanthropies “Chai in the Hub” Award and is a Senior Fellow of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. He earned his B.S. in communications from the University of Miami. James is Abba to two wonderful young men, and a Finnish Spitz.

April Dinwoodie

April is a trans-racially adopted person and nationally recognized thought leader on adoption and foster care. April created a specialized mentoring program called Adoptment, where adults who were adopted and/or spent time in foster care serve as mentors to youth navigating foster care and adoption. To raise awareness surrounding the many layers of the adoption experience, April candidly shares her experiences at workshops, conferences, schools and via her iTunes podcast “Born in June, Raised in April.” Before she entered the non-profit world, April served as a senior level executive within the marketing and communications departments of some of today’s most recognized brands.

Our Team

Executive Director

Founder and Executive Director, Susan Silverman grew up in a family that fostered older children, and getting to know kids without a permanent, loving family of their own had a big impact on her. Now, she and her spouse have five children, three were born to them and two were adopted. She is the author of a memoir, Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World and has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, BBC, ABC, and more. Susan has a BA from Boston University, an Ed.M. from Harvard University, and an MA  and Rabbinical Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Susan Silverman

Director of Development and Communications

Esther Fuerster-Ashkenazi is a London Metropolitan University graduate; she graduated with a BA in International Relations and Law and an MA in International Security Studies. She is also an internationally accredited interpreter through the CIOL. Based in Israel she is the founder and the owner of the forensic genealogy and probate company. She comes to Second Nurture with much enthusiasm, extensive skills and experience in project management, digital marketing and social presence, data management, public relations planning and integrated approach, brand development and international as well as national government and private liaison. 

Esther Fuerster-Ashkenazi

Chief Operating Officer

Jen is happy to help the team at Second Nurture with all the important functions that keep operations running smoothly. She is dedicated to working for health equity and social justice and is co-founder and director of a non-profit wellness center called Community Well in San Francisco. She is also a healer, holistic massage therapist, birth doula and adoptive mom in an open adoption.

Jen Moran

Regional Director, 2N Columbus

Courtney first joined the Second Nurture team as a volunteer in 2019 and just recently accepted the role of Regional Director of Second Nurture's Columbus affiliate branch. Courtney's background is in volunteer administration, project and nonprofit management, and design. The common denominators throughout her career have always been an interest in community engagement, passion for service, and the joy of connecting people. She is honored and excited to bring the Second Nurture model to her community in Ohio. 

Courtney Keys

Family Support Specialist

Jessica first came to Second Nurture as a cohort member, seeking the support and guidance of other foster and adoptive parents. After seeing the incredible value in being able to share with and learn from other families who have been through the very unique experience of fostering, she was honored to be asked to become the Family Support Specialist for 2N. In this role, she moderates cohort meetings and partners with social service organizations to help cohort families get the support they need in their foster parenting journey. She is a parent through foster care as well as biology and is currently pursuing her Masters in Applied Psychology, with the goal of becoming a therapist who works with members of the foster/adoption constellation.

Jessica Cowley

Jewish Education Advocate

Chaya has always hated school—until she found profound joy in Jewish learning.  As a Jewish Studies teacher at Temple Shalom in Dallas, TX, Chaya shared that passion with her young students. As a cancer survivor, Chaya created the robust Chaya Dance Movement, teaching women to move and flow through life changes. In 2014 Chaya earned a Certificate of Jewish Studies from the Melton School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she was presented the Frankel Zest for Learning Award.

Chaya Lev

Group Facilitator

Te'Asia is a 2017 graduate of Ohio State University and has been working with young adults to help them move toward self-sufficiency. She is passionate about growing the potential in every youth and we are thrilled that she will now lead our bi-monthly meetings between Harmony Project members and residents of Carol Stewart Village.

Te'Asia Tarver

We, the staff, are deeply grateful for the unending generosity of spirit, heart and resources of all our many partners who have risen up for us in so many ways.


Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption

Aviv Foundation

Nehama Benmosche

Private Donors

Social Service Partners

Children’s Bureau

Extraordinary Families



Our History​

Second Nurture was founded in 2017 by Susan Silverman. After meeting hundreds of people in dozens of cities in the US and Canada while touring with her book, a memoir about her family and adoption, she became convinced that many more people would foster and adopt if they had direction, fellowship and support. 

Soon after, Susan met Talia Green and Suki McCoy. The three of them, financed by visionary individual donors, teamed up to actualize the dream.They began with a pilot program in partnership with Rabbi Susan Goldberg, then of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Soon, they cultivated an ever-growing cohort of fostering and adoptive families, with the wider congregational membership providing on-going support in expected and unexpected ways. 

Proof of concept in hand, they acquired initial funding to expand to new communities in LA County. They identified ten communities to approach, hoping to enlist at least two or three. When nine of the ten excitedly joined in partnership to promote and support fostering and adopting among their memberships, the team jumped into action to further professionalize and streamline so that Second Nurture would be readily scalable. Now, with growing cohorts throughout LA County, they plan to expand their staff and resources to continue exponential growth, and get many more kids out of foster care and into loving families who are, in turn, held by their loving communities.

Second Nurture is honored to work alongside individuals and organizations who are creating meaningful change for children and families.

Our Network

Bruce has a BA from Indiana University and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He worked for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), a Jewish social justice organization dedicated to empowering Chicago’s diverse communities and is now a longtime congregational rabbi. He is a leader in the Shut Tornillo Down Coalition, to close the child immigrant prison outside of El Paso. Bruce and his wife, Rona, have three sons.

Bruce Elder

Tiffany is a comedian and actress. While growing up in foster care in South Central Los Angeles, her excessive talking and imaginary friends prompted her flustered social worker to steer her into stand-up comedy by enrolling her in the Laugh Factory’s Comedy Camp, a place for at-risk and underprivileged children to transform negative energy into something positive. The experience was just the beginning of her illustrious comedy career.

Tiffany Haddish

Lakshmi Iyer

Lakshmi is a software engineer and an author. She has an MBA from LeBow College of Business, a Certificate in Creative Writing from Simon Fraser University and completion of the summer intensive Yale Writers Workshop. Lakshmi is the author of a blog on parenting and adoption and of the children's book, "Why Is My Hair Curly?". Her family is the subject of the upcoming documentary, “Our Daughters.” Lakshmi and her husband are parents by adoption and biology.

Michael McCullough

Mike is a technology CFO and Partner in a Venture Capital firm, with a past in auditing. He received his BBA degree from the University of Iowa and the Masters of Management degree from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Michael is a licensed CPA, and a Business Management Professor at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.  Michael and his wife, Beth, have two daughters who joined their family through adoption from South Korea, and one birth son.

Denene Millner

Denene is the NYT best-selling author of 31 books. She is the editorial director of Denene Millner Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint for books featuring African American children and families, which have won Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King honors and the Kirkus Prize for Children’s Literature. In 2008, she founded MyBrownBaby.com which has won numerous awards and worked with many top brands, from Disney to Target. Millner contributes to national publications, including Essence, NPR, Redbook and Glamour. Her extensive television appearances include the Today show, HLN, NPR and MSNBC. She co-hosts “A Seat at the Table'' and hosts “Speakeasy with Denene.”  “The Fresh Princess: Style Rules,” the second in a series inspired by Will Smith’s iconic character, debuted in April 2020. Her upcoming novel, “The Beautiful Blood", preempted by St. Martin’s Press (U.S.) and Borough Press (U.K.,) will debut in eight countries in 2023. She lives in Atlanta with her two daughters.

Danny Stewart

Danny is the Director of Operations & Finance for Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Programs, providing services with homeless and street-involved young people. He has a BBS and an MA from Hardin-Simmons University and an MSW from Hunter College in New York. Danny resides in Manhattan with his husband, Pete. In August 2000, Danny found an abandoned newborn in the subway. That infant became their son, who is now in thriving in college and loves playing ultimate.

Peter Mutabazi

As a child, Peter ran away from an abusive home and was helped by the kindness of strangers. As an adult he helped children as he had been helped, and has fostered sixteen children, including the eventual adoption of his son.  Peter is the founding director of Now I Am Known, which brings a message of hope to children who need it, affirming that they are heard, seen, loved, and known. Peter lives in North Carolina with his son and three foster children.

Josh (“Yoshi”) Zweiback

Yoshi graduated from Princeton University and holds Rabbinic Ordination from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). He is Senior Rabbi at the Stephen Wise Temple in LA, a lecturer at HUC-JIR, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute. He is the volunteer Founding Director of Kavod, a non-profit dedicated to protecting human dignity. He is the first board member of Second Nurture. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have three daughters.

Willie Garson

In Memoriam: We lost a beloved and crucial member of our Second Nurture family. Willie was a renowned actor, powerful activist for kids in the foster system and, most of all, devoted, loving, and awestruck dad of Nathen.