Our Board & Team
Ronald was born in Atlanta and attended Grady High School, then received a BA and MBA in finance from the University of Georgia. He began his career with Ford Motor Company in the Atlanta District Sales Office. His career in Sales and Marketing took him to Detroit (three times), Seattle, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Dallas. He retired in 2000 as Executive Director of Fleet, Lease, and Remarketing. He then went on to work for Manheim Auctions, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Relations. Robbins and his wife Samra launched Backpack Buddies at their synagogue in Savannah in 2011. They moved back to Atlanta in 2017 and started Backpack Buddies at Congregation Beth Shalom. They were eventually able to sign 19 other organizations to join the program. In December 2023, Ronald retired from the organization, with founding Co-Chair Terri Bagen succeeding him in the role of Board Chair.
Terri Feldman Bagen
Terri Bagen is a principal at the F&B Group, a family-owned, real estate, and investment company. She earned her BS degree in Social Welfare at Georgia State University. Over the years, she enjoyed working professionally for several different community organizations including Oakhill Homes, B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, Camp Barney Medintz, and Genesis Shelter. Prior to joining the F&B Group, she helped found and was the Executive Director of Jewish Healthcare International, a humanitarian healthcare organization. Terri has served as an officer and/or member of several nonprofit agency Boards of Directors. This has given her a strong understanding of the needs and best practices responses to many of the most pressing needs and issues faced both nationally and internationally. Terri feels that it is both an honor and an obligation to give back to the organizations that make our community and the world stronger. She says that her involvement with Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta Is one of the most important and meaningful experiences she has had.
Eleanor was born in Atlanta and attended Georgia State University and Mercer University. She is married with 3 adult children and a newly acquired rescue Doberman. Her professional history involved nearly 20 years with investment banking firms before becoming a member and the Treasurer of Skyland Church. A visit from Ron Robbins was the beginning of Eleanor’s involvement with BPBMA and Skyland’s connection as a Community Buddy. Eleanor leads Skyland’s volunteers as they pack and deliver 50 weekly BPB bags to students at John Lewis Elementary during the school year.
Debbie is a native of Pensacola, Florida, and a U. of Florida graduate. A pediatric social worker in her first life, she has been a residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty for over 40 years. Her community involvement includes being a former board member and supporter of the Community Assistance Center, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Coldwell Banker Cares Foundation, Jewish Women's Fund, and board member of Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta. Along with Rose Haber and Bonnie Cook, Debbie started the Backpack Buddies at Congregation B'nai Torah. She enjoys traveling, reading, exercising, and making brownies in her spare time with her granddaughter Hazel.
Laura has been in the marketing field for over 12 years, storytelling for various industries (including state government, retail, and franchise systems) in both customer-facing and business-to-business channels. Shifting to nonprofit work in 2017, she has focused her marketing and communications skills in the north Perimeter area, helping organizations manage communications projects successfully and building relationships within the community. Laura currently chairs the BPBMA Communications Committee and provides hands-on nonprofit experience to help the organization grow. In her spare time, she can be found in the shade at a softball field, cheering loudly, or at one of the area's delicious restaurants.
Kelly Dennis is a Team Chief Operating Officer, Director of Client Experience, Senior Vice President at Southeastern Wealth Management Group of Rockefeller Capital Management. As such, she leverages her extensive experience to provide comprehensive wealth management services and complex trust and estate strategies to the team’s high-net-worth clients. Previously, she had been an Assistant Vice President and Senior Client Relationship Manager at Morgan Stanley. Before that, she spent five years as an Assistant Vice President and Financial Advisor at Barclays Wealth. Kelly graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Marketing and Finance, with a minor in Leadership and Management. She supports a number of charities around Atlanta and currently serves on the Board for Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta. Kelly lives in Dunwoody with her husband (Andrew), their son (Bear), daughter (Hazel), and golden retriever (Murphy).
Mark is a born-and-raised 2nd generation Atlantan who grew up and currently lives in Dunwoody with his wife and three daughters (ages 8, 12, and 15). He enjoys working at start-ups and helping organizations get their ideas launched. Mark spent the last 12 years at PlayOn Sports, the nation's largest broadcaster of high school sports online. Prior to that, he spent 6 years building a new division at Industrial Metals and Surplus, a steel service center that his family started in 1978. Outside of work, Mark currently is on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, where he is also the chair of their Innovation Fund. The Federation Innovation Fund accelerates Jewish innovation by investing in transformative, creative, scalable, and community-driven projects and technologies that reimagine Jewish life in Atlanta. He also serves on the Young Leadership Cabinet for the Jewish Federation of North America. In his “limited” free time, he enjoy spending time outdoors and Georgia football – Go Dawgs!
Chief Operating Officer
Jesse was born and raised in Thomasville, Georgia, where he could usually be found either exploring in the woods or reading in the local library. After completing a bachelor's degree and a law degree at Florida State University, he worked for the Florida Innocence Commission in Tallahassee, then moved to Atlanta in 2013 and practiced law in a variety of concentrations including real estate/foreclosure and corporate law. Jesse's ongoing passion for social justice and improving people's lives eventually pushed him to seek new and more direct ways to have a positive impact in the world. In 2019, he co-founded the Multiverse Convention, an inclusive annual convention highlighting marginalized voices in the creative arts. In 2020, Jesse joined Americorps and Teach for America for a two-year contract teaching in economically underprivileged schools in the Atlanta metro area, an experience he found immensely rewarding. After learning about the Backpack Buddies mission and the scope of childhood food insecurity in the Atlanta metro area, Jesse knew he wanted to help any way he could. He joined Backpack Buddies as Chief Operating Officer in 2023 to help structure and grow the organization to effectively feed the greatest possible number of Atlanta's hungry children. Jesse's favorite things to do are spending time with his daughter Iris, petting his dog Ruby, traveling to new places, cooking new recipes, and adding to his book collection.
Director of Operations
Jonathan has always been around food and drink. As a kid, he'd "help" his wine salesman father at tasting events while expanding his taste buds by dining at his father's upscale restaurant accounts. Meanwhile, his art teacher's mother instilled a flair for the creative. At Syracuse University's Newhouse School, Jonathan honed his communication skills, leading him to launch his career in Marketing and Advertising in New York City. Developing expertise in Sports and Entertainment event marketing, Jonathan and his Atlanta-native wife Rachel made the move South to begin a family, which now includes 9-year-old daughter Hazel and puppy Griffin. For over a decade, Jonathan led events for major brands such as AT&T, Cupcake Vineyards, and ConAgra Foods at major events including NCAA Final Four, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Wrestlemania, and the Tribeca Film Festival. After a mid-career sabbatical, Jonathan returned to his culinary roots to launch JRB's BBQ, Atlanta's personal BBQ chef, and BBQ coach. He joins Backpack Buddies with that same passion for the power that food has to impact lives. When not at the smoker or the Backpack Buddies facility, Jonathan can be found playing tennis in one of several leagues, building legos with his daughter, traveling the world with his wife, or giving belly rubs to his pup.
Vivian grew up in Arlington, VA and moved to Atlanta in 1998 after graduating from The University of Georgia with her Master’s in Marketing Research. She spent 20+ years in the industry before deciding she wanted to pursue another career path that would afford her more time with her family. Vivian always had a passion to work with children so she pursued a second career in Occupational Therapy. She spent several years working at a children's clinic helping children overcome barriers that affect their emotional, social, and physical needs. To help the children overcome barriers, her work with children included using everyday activities, exercises, and other therapies. When Vivian first learned about Backpack Buddies, she immediately knew she wanted to volunteer her time to help. Once the opportunity arose to work at Backpack Buddies part-time, Vivian jumped at the opportunity. Vivian is married to her husband, Brent, a Louisiana native. Together, they enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends. Vivian has a 14-year-old son in eighth grade and a 21-year-old stepson. When not working at Backpack Buddies, Vivian can be found reading a book, exercising at the gym, volunteering at her son's school, or at the baseball park!