Artfuel | The Principals

Communities Foundation of Texas

We will launch Artfuel by establishing a Designated Fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas. Our contact there is Geri Jacobs.

As noted on its website, “With 60+ years of experience and expertise connecting visionary philanthropists with worthy causes, we make giving easy. By creating a fund here, you can accomplish your charitable goals and handle your complex gift situations. As your philanthropic partner, we provide the stewardship, flexibility and guidance to help you support projects most important to you.”

Communities Foundation of Texas has vast experience, and a wealth of helpful resources available to our partners. They genuinely care about philanthropic projects such as ours. Attention to detail and a growing global reach make them an ideal partner. Donors will have confidence in Artfuel’s mission by having the Communities Foundation of Texas on the team. As our first fundraising project focuses on Siena (which falls under the supervision of the Art Ministry, Tuscany Branch), our initial Designated Fund links the two organizations, with no other intermediaries.

Carolyn M. Appleton

With 30 years of hands-on experience working on major gift fundraising and nonprofit communications, Carolyn’s mission is to help nonprofits attain their fundraising, digital media communications and public relations goals in the most efficient, thoughtful and high quality manner possible. Carolyn has raised more than $33 million for nonprofit organizations across Texas and beyond. She does her work by hand from design to implementation.

Among the organizations with which Carolyn has worked are (earliest first): The Contemporary Austin (formerly Laguna Gloria Art Museum); The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts; Texas Nature Conservancy; Dallas Zoological Society; CKWRI and King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management (TAMUK); Art Museum of South Texas (AMST); South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA); Episcopal Diocese of West Texas; EcoRise Youth Innovations; Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR); Austin Free-Net; Port Aransas Art Center; TechSoup; Rock The Street, Wall Street; and Atlanta Grade School Friends. Carolyn has received awards for excellence for her volunteer and professional work from NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, Art Museum of South Texas, Texas Nature Conservancy, BRIT: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, NABA: North American Butterfly Association and more. Carolyn was the primary volunteer organizer of TechSoup Connect Austin Chapter, a local, national and global partnership with NTEN and Capital Factory.

Carolyn holds two degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, one a Master’s Degree in American Art History (Meredith Long Scholarship in American Art). She is an elected member of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, with five documented American Revolutionary War ancestors. Carolyn was elected to The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi during graduate school and remains an active member today. Carolyn served two consecutive four year terms on the Texas Environmental Education Partnership Fund Board (2001-2009), appointed by the Governor of Texas and in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Her commission archives are housed in the Texas State Library and Archives. Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog was launched in 2011, and it has been visited by readers from more than 200 nations. The blog discusses trends, shares insights and personal experiences (including solutions to daunting problems). The blog aims to encourage and support those involved in nonprofit fundraising, including those just starting out. Carolyn has also been a speaker at meetings and conferences hosted by the Association of Donor Relations Professionals, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Crescendo Interactive, NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, Rotary International, and TechSoup. The name Artfuel was devised by Carolyn’s graduate school colleague Natalia Sarkissian (bio below).

Mauro Bartalini

Over the past thirty-one years Mauro has held positions of increasing responsibility that have culminated in key management assignments including (but not limited to) General Manager, COO, and Regional Manager of multinationals. He has worked in Information and Communication Technology at the vendor, consulting and operator levels. More recently, he has worked the in oil and gas industry where he supervised the design, engineering, construction and installation phases of a multimillion-dollar satellite system for the remote management of oil wells. His experience has led him to gain significant knowledge of the aforementioned markets in Italy, Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle East. On the basis of his multicultural experience and bilingual advantages, he creates and leverages strong relationships with senior corporate leaders.

Mauro’s main areas of expertise are:

  • Executive Leadership                              
  • Project Management
  • Business Operations Management       
  • Budget and Forecasting
  • Strategic Business Planning                   
  • Business Development
  • B2B Prospecting and Closing                 
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Team Builder                                            
  • Cross Cultural Communication

Mauro’s significant responsibilities and achievements are :

General Manager, SIAE Microelettronica Egypt:

  • Responsible for achieving sales and profit targets, with an emphasis on cash flow management. During a period of on-going gross civil unrest in Egypt, I grew the revenue by 30% and the margin by 20% and acquired a major new customer.
  • Promoted a culture of high performance and continuous improvement to the local staff, that valued continuous learning, achieving targets and a commitment to quality.

COO, SIAE Microelettronica South Africa:

  • Upgraded and implemented an appropriate system of policies, internal controls and procedures, which solved key issues and led the South African branch to overachieve financial and operational targets (over 1.800 mw links during the first year).
  • Planned, coordinated, and executed the annual budget process, with full responsibility for the P/L of the branch. Both branches achieved stable profit from the first year.
  • Provided analytical reporting to the company’s board including development of internal management reporting capabilities. Responsible for the budget and operational planning.

General Country and Southern Mediterranean Regional Manager, Telsis Srl:

  • Developed and implemented multiple business plans for services and products in the ICT market, devising strategies and tactics to acquire customers in southern Europe.
  • Identified new revenue streams. Monitored relevant markets for trends, opportunities and threats.
  • Grossed 35% of overall company revenue in 2003.

Branch and Project Manager, Saudi Arabian Kentz Co. Ltd.:

  • Responsible for the US branch located in Maryland, managing both the VSAT vendor and the customer’s representatives, interfacing key players in Saudi Arabia to achieve design and testing acceptance.
  • Responsible for implementation in Saudi Arabia. In charge of planning, staffing, supervising the construction teams, selecting subcontractors, establishing kpis, processes and procedures, implementing reporting, corrective actions and remedies. Interface between the engineering department, the customer and the many subcontractors, achieving contractual milestones and overall project success.

Mauro holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering achieved in December 1984 from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA. He graduated with high honors. He received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence and was a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the international electrical and computer engineering honor society of IEEE.

Among the post degree courses followed by Mauro are:

  • Business management: Marketing, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Graduate School of Business, University of Texas, Houston, Texas, USA. 1985-1986.
  • Miller & Heiman Strategic Selling, Southampton, UK. March 2002 and April 2003.
  • Strategic Project Management, Rockville, Maryland, USA. December 2014.

Mauro is fluent in English and Italian. French: scholastic.

Natalia Sarkissian

An American expatriate, for the past thirty years Natalia has lived as an aboveground archaeologist in Italy where she has learned to expect the unexpected.

An award-winning writer and a former business consultant at Accenture, in addition to teaching Creative Writing and English Language courses at the British Council in Milan, Natalia also ran a writing seminar program called Prompt Excursions.

She has a love of language, a passion for books, literature and the Italian Renaissance, an unquenchable thirst for learning, and a talent for dealing with diverse groups of people from different cultures and backgrounds. She is bilingual (Italian and English) and has an excellent knowledge of French, with a smattering of German. She also doesn’t hesitate to use sign language when necessary in order to communicate.

Natalia holds an MFA in Writing (Vermont College of Fine Arts), an MBA in International Finance (University of Texas at Austin), both an MA and BA in Art History (University of Texas at Austin and SUNY Binghamton), and a CELTA (University of Cambridge) qualification. She has worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and at the Huntington Art Gallery in Austin, Texas (now The Blanton Museum of Art).

Her writing and photographs have appeared in the United States and Italy in a variety of publications. A sample of her work, including photo essays about Siena, Italy, can be found here.


Friends and Colleagues

Mauro and Natalia met Carolyn at the University of Texas at Austin where they were studying in the 1980s. Carolyn and Natalia co-authored the exhibition catalog, Henry Farny, 1847-1916, Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, The University of Texas at Austin, November 1983. Later, they also collaborated with Professor Richard H. Saunders on Collecting The West: The CR Smith Collection of Western American Art, The University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 1988.

Mauro and Natalia are married, they have been friends with Carolyn ever since their first meeting. Their decades-long friendship is based not only on genuine liking and respect for each other, but all three share a common interest in art and its preservation.

They would now like to join forces with similarly minded people to save some of Italy’s many incomparable treasures.

Historic Italian Architecture Collage seamless pattern

–cma, mb, ns