The Principals

Communities Foundation of Texas

We intend on launching Artfuel by establishing a Designated Fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas. Our contact 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 2018Carolyn M. Appleton

With 30 years of experience working across Texas, Carolyn’s mission is to help nonprofit organizations attain their fundraising, digital media communications and public relations goals in the most efficient, thoughtful and quality manner possible. Carolyn has raised more than $33 million for nonprofit organizations across Texas and beyond.

Among the organizations with which she has worked are The Contemporary Austin (formerly Laguna Gloria Art Museum), The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Nature Conservancy, Dallas Zoological Society, CKWRI and King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, Art Museum of South Texas, South Texas Council, Boy Scouts of America, Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, EcoRise Youth Innovations, Texas Search and Rescue, Austin Free-Net and Port Aransas Art Center. Carolyn has received awards for excellence from several nonprofits and for her volunteer work from NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, Art Museum of South Texas, Texas Nature Conservancy, BRIT: Botanical Research Institute of Texas and NABA: North American Butterfly Association. Carolyn is the lead volunteer organizers of NTEN & NetSquared Nonprofit Tech Club Austin.

Carolyn holds two degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. She is an elected member of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution with three documented American Revolutionary War ancestors. She was elected to The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and received the Meredith Long Scholarship in American Art during graduate school. Carolyn served two consecutive terms on the Texas Environmental Education Partnership Fund Board (2001-2009), appointed by the Governor of Texas, 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 has been visited by many nations since established in 2011. The blog discusses trends, insights, and it provides encouragement and solutions to some of the more daunting challenges of nonprofit fundraising.

Mauro's PhotoMauro 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.

Nat2CastleRhineBurgRheinsteinNatalia 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 runs a writing seminar, 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 all three 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. Each wrote several of the catalog entries for the well-received book:

“A consistently outstanding volume, from the introductory essay by Richard Saunders on patronage and western art, to the engaging and well-researched entries by a number of Saunders’ former students at the University of Texas.” –Western Historical Quarterly.
(source: Nielsen Book Data) 9780292711129 20160527

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