As a co-founder of Down For Dance, Annie Griffith is so excited to combine two of her biggest passions in this organization: dancing and working with individuals with Down syndrome. Growing up with a brother with Down syndrome, Annie always felt drawn to work with these individuals and she has always had a passion for dance. She took her first dance class at age 5 and continued through high school. She stepped away from dancing during college, double majoring in international business and marketing from George Washington University in Washington, DC and pursued a career on the corporate side of the apparel business for 8 years. She found herself back in the studio in 2013, when she started teaching adult dance fitness classes. She is thrilled that she is able to bring her love of dance to these amazing individuals.
Sari Anna Thomas is delighted to be working alongside Annie Griffith in their mission to offer Down For Dance to individuals with Down syndrome. Providing high quality dance programming to populations that don’t normally get exposed to these sorts of opportunities is where her passion truly lies, and of all the projects on her plate, she finds her work with DFD to be the most rewarding. A native of Seattle, Sari Anna moved to Los Angeles on a scholarship to EDGE Performing Arts Center in the summer of 2000. After working professionally for 5 years, she decided to turn her focus to teaching, choreographing and directing. She joined the faculty at Los Angeles Ballet in 2010 and has since also become involved with Elevation Studios where she now currently directs and teaches. Sari Anna started teaching dance to the Down syndrome community in 2013, and brings her expertise to DFD both inside and outside of the classroom, while also serving as the Artistic Director.
Matthew Griffith is excited to be a part of the Down For Dance mission to bring dance to individuals with Down syndrome. With a background in growing businesses and driving initiatives at startups and Fortune 500 companies, Matthew brings expertise in organization, strategy, and growth. Matthew holds an engineering degree from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Alissa Mattei has always been passionate about helping others from her various philanthropic efforts in college, to her involvement with the American cancer society, and most recently the Tim Tebow Night to Shine Foundation, which is focused on creating a special "prom" like event for individuals with special needs. Professionally for the last ten years Alissa has held leadership positions within the apparel industry in sales and marketing. She is excited to bring her knowledge and expertise to help Down For Dance develop their programs and expand its reach.
Drew Schwartz has an impressive background in project and financial management for multiple start-ups in the entertainment, sustainability and technology industries. He holds a bachelor's degree in Music and Business Administration from Northeastern University, and has worked alongside some of the biggest musical acts in the world. His efforts in advocacy and fundraising have helped to progress discoveries in brain cancer vaccine research and development at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the delivery of supplies and legal defense funds to the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, ND, as well as the development of a music business program for underprivileged musicians just outside of Cape Town, South Africa. With a passion for the arts and social reform, Drew's dedication to fundraising takes center stage in his role as Treasurer at Down For Dance.