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The Black Feather Foundation (TBFF) is a 501c(3) charitable tax exempt non-profit organization founded in 2021. TBFF works to collaborate with other Veteran groups and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) to design, build and implement programs to assist with transition and acclimation of refugee children.


To expand our reach to support refugee and displaced children from war torn countries and natural disasters globally through sports and related activities.

Our Team

Joseph Robert III 2.jpg

Joseph E. Robert III

Founder & Chairman of the Board

Joseph is a former Reconnaissance Marine and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. Expanding on his service overseas, he earned a Bachelor’s in International Studies from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C.  


Joseph’s international acumen and relationships were the lynchpin of the Afghanistan evacuation effort through the United Arab Emirate (U.A.E.), in August 2021, colloquially called Task Force 6:8 (TF 6:8). TF 6:8 was a group of military veterans that came together to evacuate approximately 12,000 refugees from Afghanistan in the final weeks of U.S. military withdrawal. Following the U.S. withdrawal, and recognizing the continued need, Joseph, along with several other members of that Task Force, founded The Black Feather Foundation. He was an integral member of the continued rescue operations and the resettlement of more than 15,000 Afghan refugees to countries around the world.  He is a former Board Member of both the Youth Leadership Foundation (2007-2011), and Fight for Children, Inc. (2009-2018)

Patti Katter

Chief Executive Officer

Patti brings over 30 years of comprehensive experience in the nonprofit sector to her role, with significant contributions both in the United States and internationally. Her diverse efforts have assisted numerous nonprofits and encompassed a wide array of philanthropic opportunities.


Over the past 16 years, she has deliberately focused on advocating for and assisting U.S. military veterans, their families, and caregivers. This commitment extends into her personal life, as she provides care for her husband, a military veteran who was wounded in war. Patti's broad experience in the nonprofit sector and her personal dedication to caring for military families, including her own, continue to shape her unique and impactful approach to leadership.

Michael Bassett

Chief of Staff

With nearly a decade of U.S. Army service, Michael served with distinction in various Armor and Cavalry units. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C.


Michael brings extensive international experience from a combined 13 years spent serving overseas as a Soldier, Department of Defense Civilian and contractor. He continues serving his community by supporting animal shelters, and mentoring veterans struggling with addiction.

Candace Cieslo

Chief Programs Officer

In keeping with family tradition, Candace enlisted in the military, attending Officer Candidate School to earn her commission in the U.S. Army.  Her assignments include service with the Joint Special Operations Command and 18th Airborne Corps. She is a combat veteran and was part of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  Candace is a graduate of the Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She holds a master's degree and was working on her Doctorate when she felt the call to volunteer to help with evacuating Afghan Allies from Afghanistan in August 2021.


Candace continues to serve communities both on the local and international levels through mission trips and service projects. Most recently, Candace was The Black Feather Foundation’s Site Manager for the Emirates Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. – serving approximately 18,000 Afghans.

Sonise Lumbaca

Chief Communications Officer

Sonise served as a communications officer and later as a public affairs officer for over twenty years in the U.S. Army. Her assignments included service with the 18th Airborne Corps and the Asymmetric Warfare Group. She is a combat veteran with multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Sonise is a graduate of Norwich University (MCV) with a Bachelor’s in English and Art and a Master’s in Diplomacy with a concentration in Terrorism.

The Black Feather Foundation is a 501c(3) charitable tax exempt organization est. 2021.


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