NGO PROOF creates exhibitions, publications, and workshops in war-torn and conflict-ridden places. Find staff, annual report, and board members.
Who We Are
PROOF uses visual storytelling to inspire action on human rights.
PROOF: Media for Social Justice is a non-profit organization based in New York City that uses visual storytelling and education to inspire global attitude and policy changes. It was founded in 2006 under the vision of Leora Kahn, a longtime photo editor, documentary producer, and human rights advocate, who sought to unite the skills and experiences of internationally renowned photojournalists for social good.
PROOF brings together photographers, documentarians, journalists, academics, students, and activists to create photo exhibitions, publications, and educational workshops that document social injustices and empower people to act. Our exhibits and workshops aim to engage the broader public in conversations about human rights, peace, and justice through moving firsthand testimonies and powerful photo narratives.
PROOF's Latest Annual Report: 2014
Leora Kahn | Executive Director
Leora Kahn is the founder and Executive Director of PROOF: Media for Social Justice. A photo editor for over 25 years, in 2006, she and a group of internationally known photojournalists decided to combine their skills and experience to make an impact in the world. PROOF was born six months later.
Leora was previously the director of photography at Workman Publishing and at Corbis. She has also worked for Time, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and US News and World Report as well as for the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations. She has curated exhibitions for the Ford Foundation, ABC Television, Amnesty International, Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Holocaust Museum in Houston.
Leora’s film credits include "Rene and I," an award-winning documentary about the life of an extraordinary woman who, as a child, was experimented on by Josef Mengele during the Holocaust. She also co-produced "Original Intent," a documentary exploring the judicial philosophy promoted by Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Leora was previously a fellow at the Genocide Studies Center at Yale University where she conducted research on rescuers and rescuing behavior. She was the Cathy Cohen Lasry Visiting Lecturer at Clark University’s Holocaust and Genocide Center. She is a recipient of The Adriane de Rothschild Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship and is a Fulbright Senior Specialist.
Willhemina Wahlin | Creative Director
Willhemina (Willie) Wahlin has worked as a journalist, editor, copywriter and graphic designer in Australia and Japan, and has been the Creative Director of PROOF since 2009. She is a Lecturer in Graphic Design at Charles Sturt University in Australia, where she is also a doctoral candidate. Her practice-led research focuses on the design of exhibitions that deal with ‘difficult knowledge’ topics, such as genocide, gender violence and contested histories.
Debra Driscoll |Associate Director
Debra is an arts and education engagement specialist who successfully bridges the two worlds of social justice education and arts based practice, and has developed a strong framework for social dialogue and education. Her areas of expertise are youth at risk, youth development, peace building, and cultural and linguistically diverse communities. Her core methodologies include Applied Theater Practice, Playback Theater, Theater of the Oppressed, Psychodrama, and Process Drama. Debra is an expert project and program manager with successful projects in Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States.
Jonathan Alter | Bloomberg Review
Olivia Drier | Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
Adrian Edwards | Panos Pictures
Alex Gibney | Jigsaw Productions
Ed Kashi | V11 Photo Agency
Ben Kiernan | Yale University
Peter Mantello | Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Erik Parens | Hastings Center
Tali Nates | Johannesburg Holocaust Centre
Mark O’Brien | Pro Bono Net
Marc Skvirsky | Facing History and Ourselves
John Withers II | Former U.S. Ambassador
Leora Kahn | Executive Director
Willhemina Wahlin | Creative Director
Debra Driscoll | Associate Director
Abby MacPhail | Human Rights Educator
Smita Sharma | Program Officer and Photographer (India)
Samyukta Lakshmi | Program Associate (India)
Sid Mishra | Graphic Design Associate
Shelby Quackenbush | Marketing & Development Associate
Tara Law |Communications Associate
Board of Directors
David Garrison | Chair
David is Associate Principal and Director of Marketing at Edelman Consulting, the management strategy arm of Edelman, the premier global PR agency. Prior to joining Edelman Consulting, he held roles as CMO of Indaba Music, the leading collaboration tool for musicians, and Director of Strategic Initiatives at SS+K, a strategic marketing agency. He also spent several years consulting with Katzenbach Partners, a McKinsey & Co. off-shoot, and co-founded Remède Naturopathics, a clinic for integrative medicine in NYC.
David has long been involved with non-profits and in the Arts and has consulted for and advised a wide range of organizations, including the Ontario Arts Council, the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.
A lifelong New Yorker, Fran Kaufman was a partner in Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art for 17 years, a contemporary gallery known for its commitment to an international roster of artists and a dedicated center for dialogue between visual art, literature, criticism and music. After closing the gallery in 2006, she went on to run palmbeach3 contemporary art fair for three seasons while maintaining her active practice as an art advisor to private and corporate collections, and as a consultant to institutions such as Magnum Photo and The Open Society.
She has curated projects in the US, Italy and Germany as well as "Lucio Boschi: Una Argentina," the first solo photography exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. In 2011 she launched the premier international Houston Fine Art Fair, developing a full VIP program and lecture series, as well as marketing strategy. Her most recent consultancy, Art + Banking, founded in 2009, was geared to working with high net worth clients at private banks and insurance companies. Fran is a frequent lecturer and panelist, and an occasional art writer. She is also on the Leadership Council of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
F. Robert Stein
Bob Stein is an attorney who counsels and represents authors, literary agents, book publishers and others in all aspects of book publishing. He also represents film producers in the pre-release review of screenplays and films (including Academy Award winners The Cove and Taxi to the Dark Side and Academy Award-nominated The Betrayal-Nerakhoon, No End in Sight and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), and assists insurers of film and television productions in determining the insurability of various productions.
Bob has been “Of Counsel” to the law firm of Pryor Cashman LLP since 1987. He previously served as Vice President and General Counsel of Warner Publishing, Inc. (including its subsidiaries, Warner Books and DC Comics), as Deputy General Counsel of Simon & Schuster, Inc., and as an attorney at both Random House, Inc., and CBS, Inc.
Bob is a graduate of Cornell University and of Columbia Law School. He is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability.
Leslie Thurman | Secretary
Leslie Thurman is Director of Outreach Initiatives at Warner Bros. Entertainment. Her experience encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, strategic partnerships and international development. Leslie has worked extensively in both public and private sector environments, with significant experience leading corporate partnerships and community development activities on a global basis. She has technical expertise in community development, disaster relief, education, health and sustainability.
Leslie is a passionate supporter of issues of environmental, social, health and cultural import, engaging stakeholders across a wide spectrum of industries and including corporations, high profile clients, entertainment and media executives, philanthropists, legislators and journalists.
Sherri North Cohen
For the past decade, Sherri has focused her legal practice on due diligence in art market transactions. She is currently the Chief Underwriting Counsel of ARIS Title Insurance, a company which provides title insurance for art. Sherri manages a team that assesses the ownership risk of high-valued fine art and important collectibles.
Previously, Sherri helped victims and their families recover their lost, looted or sold under duress Nazi-era artworks at the New York State Banking Department. She started her legal career at Jones Day, where she represented Fortune 500 companies in international litigation, arbitration, antitrust and corporate matters.
Sherri earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from American University, and her B.A. from Emory University, Phi Beta Kappa. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association Art Law Committee; International Bar Association Art Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee; Museum of Modern Art Friends of Education; and Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Sherri has published and often speaks about the art ownership risk.
Lee T Bycel
Lee T. Bycel is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa, California and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. The focus of his teaching and research is Holocaust and Genocide. Lee has an extensive background in leadership positions. He has served as Senior Advisor, Global Strategy for the International Medical Corps, Executive Director of the Redford Center and dean of the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. He is a Senior Moderator of Leadership Seminars at The Aspen Institute.
Lee is a social justice advocate deeply committed to humanitarian issues. He has made several trips to East Africa including four humanitarian trips to Darfur and Chad where he visited several refugee camps; as well as trips to South Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Haiti where he has raised significant funds for humanitarian relief.
In March of 2014 he was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council and subsequently appointed to serve on the Committee on Conscience.