Our Board & Team
Founder & Chair
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.
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 United Methodist 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 UMC’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.
Heather Durham Nadler is an attorney concentrating her practice in the areas of special needs law, elder law, and estate planning. Born and raised in Atlanta, Heather attended undergrad at Auburn and received her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law, where she was on the editorial board of the Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law. While in law school, she also clerked at the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia for the Honorable Justice Hugh P. Thompson. Heather enjoys volunteer work, serving as a member of the board of directors for Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett. She was recognized by the DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation for her service in 2020 with the Leading the Change Award. She is also on the Board of Directors of Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta, an organization that provides food for the weekend to economically disadvantaged students in the Atlanta area. When she’s not working, Heather spends time with her husband and two children, keeping up with a busy slate of kids’ sports events, Auburn football, and season tickets to the Fox Theatre. As a lifelong Atlantan, she looks forward to eventually retiring out of state—preferably someplace with water!
Elie Engler is passionate about making people’s lives better. Whether educating his clients about their finances, mentoring new associates, or serving the Jewish community in Atlanta, he strives to have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people he meets. The most important thing in Elie’s life is family. He and his wife, Elisheva, were married in 2008, and live in Sandy Springs with their daughters, Bella and Hannah, son, Coby, and loving rescue dog, Badger. In 2015, Elie and Elisheva decided to help start the Jewish Fertility Foundation. After 6 rewarding years serving on the board, it was time for Elie to move on. In 2022, Elie had one meeting with the current Board Chair of Backpack Buddies, Ron Robbins, and was hooked. Once he heard how many children in our community go hungry every weekend, he knew he had to help. Having 3 kids of his own, Elie is extremely empathetic to Backpack Buddies’ cause and is thankful his children have never known hunger. Elie is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM and Financial Advisor at Ashford Advisors in Atlanta. His interactions with his clients are characterized by his determination to bring comfort and clarity to the sometimes-overwhelming area of personal finance. Once his clients are educated and organized, Elie helps them implement strategies to reach their financial goals, recognizing that the decisions his clients make today will have a lasting impact on their financial future.
Originally from Connecticut, Lesli moved to Atlanta in 1983 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Emory University and her master’s degree at Georgia State University. Lesli fell in love with the city of Atlanta and made it her permanent home in 1990. Over the last 30 years, Lesli has held leadership positions in several local and national non-profit organizations. She is currently a consultant helping nonprofit organizations grow, transform, and sustain. Lesli is also a licensed real estate professional with Coldwell Banker. When not working, Lesli can be found playing tennis (ALTA & USTA), reading, volunteering for nonprofit organizations, and spending time with her son, Zachary, and her 4-legged son, Marley.
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.