Theresa Cusimano, J.D.

Corporate Profile

Theresa Cusimano, J.D.

ADC StartUp Operating Officer

Theresa was recognized by the faculty of her graduating law school class at the State University of New York for her outstanding commitment to public interest. Over her thirty year career in advancing the common good, she’s gone on to raise $30 Million for campus and community partnerships that address society’s unmet needs, earning awards for her advocacy advancing sustainable solutions through inclusion.

During her tenure at Bucknell University she was appointed to the President’s Sustainability Council. There she began working with Dr. Victor Udo to reduce the carbon footprint of the university in its efforts to become carbon neutral by 2030 in accordance with their Strategic Plan. Recognizing that the university’s already significant efforts would not be enough to meet that goal, she joined the Afri Decarbonization Corporation to create nature based, regenerative and local sustainable economies to both alleviate poverty and create carbon offsets for universities and others to invest in, globally.

Cusimano has been recognized for her successful community organizing by U.S. federal awards and contracts, taking state demonstration pilots to scale nationally as Principal Investigator, Program Designer and Project Manager. She is grounded in an Asset Based approach to Community Development (ABCD ™) that is based on reciprocity, power mapping™ and shared decision making. In addition to her Masters degree in Leadership and Bachelor’s degree in Business from social justice, values-based institutions, Cardinal Stritch University and Saint Joseph’s University, she is also trained in former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality ™  program. Cusimano develops leaders and facilitates difficult community dialogs to build consensus and reach shared goals through community benchmarking ™. She is certified by Regis University’s Institute on the Common Good, DePaul University’s Values Based Leadership program, Brown University’s Train the Trainer and Campus Compact’s Engaged Practitioner programs.

She is an executive coach, peer mentor and leadership developer. Theresa is internationally known for her commitment to justice and human rights and has been an invited speaker for nearly 100 presentations.   Theresa served as a Global Ambassador under Dr. Appiah-Padi’s program at Bucknell where they worked together to advance public health partnerships with Geisinger Medical School and community partners in Nicaragua, as well as planning an expansion in immersion program opportunities in Ghana to include more farming cooperatives.

At Bucknell, both the regenerative, sustainable agriculture farm and community garden were a part of her community engagement portfolio. While serving as Executive Director at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the community garden, the Detroit Community Based Research Corridor, literacy initiatives, international and domestic immersions were also a part of her engaged portfolio. 

Areas of Strength include:

  • Active Listening, Appreciative Inquiry, Community Asset Mapping, Inclusive Dialog Facilitation
  • Building Consensus, Cost Benefit, S.W.O.T. Analysis, Strategic Planning, Messaging, Branding
  • Compliance, Contracts, Data Analysis, Impact Articulation, Risk Mitigation and Report Writing
  • Equity Advocacy, Fundraising, Grant Writing, Managing Sponsored Awards, Program Evaluation
  • Leadership Development, Needs Assessments, Political Power Mapping, Train the Trainer
  • Program Design and Development, Database Creation, Project Implementation and Management