Danielle Brown, Development Director (she/her)

I’ve spent my career working for Massachusetts nonprofits and was delighted to join the Northampton Survival Center in February 2022. Growing up in a low-income family, I know how vital places like the Center are in ensuring that folks can access necessary resources. I’m grateful to work at a place that prioritizes working with clients in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

Outside of work I like making art, poking around flea markets, and watching lots of baseball and theatre!

Contact Danielle

Liv Combest, Program Coordinator (they/them)

Originally from Atlanta, GA, I moved to the Pioneer Valley for college and never left! I’ve been working with the Northampton Survival Center since June 2022, and have been honored to be able to give back to the region that I have come to call home. I love getting to connect with our community during drive-through distribution intake and at Manna on Tuesdays, as well as working with our neighboring social service organizations in the area to offer our community the most comprehensive support possible. Outside of work, I love reading about medieval history, going to live music shows, spending time with my partner and our cat, Mango, and discovering new swimming holes in the Hilltowns.
Contact Liv

Bryan Comer, Development Coordinator (he/him)

Originally from Denver, CO, and Birmingham, AL, I moved to Northampton in 2010 and fell in love with the area. I most recently worked in fundraising development for a national nonprofit that strives towards long-term, systemic reform to our political system, so I’m excited to focus now on serving our local community with immediate impacts. Outside of work, you can find me in the woods of the Holyoke Range, in front of my record player and eclectic collection, reading, writing, collaging, or strolling around town with my wife and dogs, Bebop and Biloxi.
Contact Bryan

Heriberto Cruz, Delivery & Care Coordinator (he/him)

I’m excited to become a part of the team as the Delivery & Care Coordinator here at The Northampton Survival Center. Growing up in the north-end of Springfield, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of non-profit organizations like the Center. This background has shaped my commitment of representing my community, making it my personal mission to provide resources and support to those in need.

Passionate about the human services field, I bring dedication to my role, striving to make a positive impact. Outside of work, I value family time, enjoy an active lifestyle through running and hiking, and share my home with two dogs and two cats. This holistic approach, combined with my deep-rooted connection to community welfare, defines my commitment to fostering positive change both in the professional and personal aspects of my life.
Contact Heriberto

Diane Drohan, Volunteer Manager; Hilltown Pantry Manager (she/her)

I began my journey with the Survival Center in 2011 as a volunteer.  In 2013 I joined the staff of this well respected and established organization. I grew up in Long Island, New York, followed by two decades in Vermont raising a family and eventually settled in the Northampton area.  I enjoy travelling, live local music, and spending time outdoors with friends and canines.  My children and granddaughters are the loves of my life.
Contact Diane


Alexander Léger-Small, Pantry Manager (he/them)

I have spent the last twenty years of my career learning the ins and outs of the food service economy in the Pioneer Valley, Chicago and New York City.  Throughout that time, I have focused on the ways that food and the act of gathering to eat can transform communities and relationships within them. Taking my career from a place of  ‘serving’ to one of ‘service’ through the Northampton Survival Center is an exciting opportunity that I can’t wait to embrace. Outside of work, I am an author of short fiction; a designer; and a creator. You can find me swimming in the Valley’s beautiful lakes and rivers, gardening, playing with my Yellow Labrador, and drinking in the beauty of the natural world. I’m thrilled to be able to join a team that does so much good for the communities we live in.
Contact Alexander

Heidi Nortonsmith, Executive Director (she/her)

I was delighted to join the Survival Center as Executive Director in May 2004, having previously been a program manager at a national non-profit, the director of operations at a fast-paced socially-responsible local business, and a public interest lawyer serving the deaf community in the Washington, DC area. I am a bicycling and bike touring enthusiast, active in my Quaker community, and enjoy a variety of hobbies – most recently learning to play the banjo and playing bluegrass music with my spouse, Gina.
Contact Heidi


Chris Oakley, Office Manager (he/him)

I have been working in the Pioneer Valley for the past 15 years, previously working as Executive Director of SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA and as Old Chapel Manager at UMass Amherst. I currently spend a lot of personal time doing projects around my house and running a local entertainment company with my husband. I consider myself a maker and I love baking, gardening, sewing, and creating for friends and family. I am excited to bring my knowledge and expertise to the Northampton Survival Center, and to be part of an organization that does so much good for the community.
Contact Chris


Sarah Pease, Program Director (she/her)

I began volunteering for the NSC in 2000 when distributing groceries every Thursday evening was the highlight of my week.  So, when the position of Program Director became available in March 2008, I jumped at the chance to work full-time for an organization which I had come to love.  It is always a privilege to help people get what they need, but what regularly inspires me is the warmth and generosity I see among the entire community of the NSC – clients, volunteers, and donors alike.
Contact Sarah


Carlos Rivera, Distribution Manager (he/him)

Over the years I have worked in several non-profits in the Valley one of which was Tapestry. My hobbies include woodworking and cooking for friends and family. I grew up in Hamp in a lower to middle class Latino family of 8. My parents worked hard but sometimes it was difficult for them to feed six kids. During tough times we came to The Northampton Survival Center (NSC) for help. I remember that NSC staff always treated us with love, respect, compassion and empathy. NSC positively impacted me as a child and I am privileged to be part of this amazing organization.
Contact Carlos