We Raise Foundation Adds Four New Members to its Board of Directors

We Raise Foundation Adds Four New Members to its Board of Directors

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Itasca, Ill. – We Raise Foundation recently elected four new members to its board of directors:

Ms. Marcella Brown, Cleveland, Ohio
Rev. Dr. Gerald Mansholt, Appleton, Wis.
Rev. Paul Schult, Redwood City, Calif.
Mr. Michael Wilson, Bloomingdale, Ill.

“We are pleased to welcome these four outstanding individuals to the board of We Raise Foundation,” said Paul Miles, President/CEO of We Raise Foundation. “As an organization deeply invested in improving the lives of people in under-resourced communities, our new directors will add extraordinary life experiences to our work. We Raise is an innovative grant maker, investing in education, workforce development, and criminal justice programs and we are excited about what these new leaders will bring to advance our work to an even higher level.”


Ms. Marcella Brown is the Vice President of Development & Communications for Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, a human services organization that provides innovative solutions to chronic social challenges and advocacy in action, in Cleveland, Ohio. In her role, she leads the agency’s contributed revenue development strategies and external relations agenda. In addition, Brown is the Managing Partner of Brownstone, LLC, a niche management consulting firm that creates solutions for small to mid-size nonprofits in public relations, fundraising campaigns, and special events, as well as DEI/REI relations.

Prior to joining Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Brown served as Executive Director of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation and also worked as a development consultant for OneCommunity, a broadband technology organization. She also spent several years as the Assistant Director of Development for The City Club of Cleveland, known as America’s Citadel of Free Speech. She has raised more than $50 million for local businesses and nonprofit organizations in Greater Cleveland.

Marcella holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Public Affairs Journalism and Spanish from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, as well as a Master of Science degree in Nonprofit Organization from the Mandel Center at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. She currently serves as the Development Chair for the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Co-Chair of Marketing for Bank On Cleveland.


The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Mansholt is a pastor and former bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving, most recently, the East Central Synod of Wisconsin from 2014-2020, including five months as the interim bishop, and the Central States Synod (Missouri and Kansas) for 12 years.

Mansholt recently returned to congregational ministry. His first position was as interim pastor at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mandeville, La., and he is currently serving as interim senior pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Green Bay, Wis.
Earlier in his ministry career, Mansholt was a pastor at four different congregations: First Lutheran Church and Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Chickasha, Okla.; Lutheran Church of the Living Christ, Florissant, Mo.; and Reformation Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kan.

Mansholt graduated from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1970 and from Christ Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, Mo., where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1974. He received his Doctor of Ministry from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1989.

Mansholt has served on the Board of Directors of Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kan., and, as a strong supporter of theological education, he has also served on the boards of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.


The Rev. Paul Schult has served as Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church and School in Redwood City, Calif., since 2016. Prior to Redeemer he served as pastor at Timothy Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa, from 1995-98, and Messiah Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Mo., from 1998-2016.

In addition to parish ministry, Schult is the African Assistant Regional Director for Pastoral Leadership Institute International, teaching and training pastors and their spouses in Africa.

Schult received a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education – English/Physical Education from Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., in 1989. After teacher and coaching for two years at Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park, Ill., he attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., and earned a Master of Divinity.

Schult is the author of “Getting to Know Jesus: Using the Six Core Teachings of the Bible to Grow in a Deeper Relationship with Jesus,” which was published in 2015.


Mr. Michael Wilson is the Director of the Convention & Meeting Planning Division of American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a position he has held since June 2017. He is focused on creating more engaging experiences for attendees of the AVMA Convention and Veterinary Leadership Conference while he and his team also provide quality continuing education opportunities throughout the year.

With over 25 years of experience in hotel hospitality, Wilson has held positions of banquet manager, associate director of sales, director of catering, director of food and beverage, regional sales manager, and director of event planning for hotel brands including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, and Capella Hotels. In 1996, he became a Certified Meeting Planner and maintains memberships with Meeting Professionals International and the Professional Convention Managers Association.

Prior to his career in hospitality and event planning, Wilson briefly played in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns and in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wis.


In other We Raise board news, Mr. Mark Duesenberg, Rocky River, Ohio, was elected as chair, Mrs. Christine Messerschmidt, Tower Lakes, Ill., was elected as vice chair, and Mrs. Monique Nunes, Irvine, Calif., was re-elected as secretary.

“I am honored to be elected as chair of the We Raise Board of Directors,” said Duesenberg. “For over 100 years, We Raise has brought life-changing blessings to people in need. Together with our generous donors and partners, We Raise provides financial resources and related services to lift and strengthen organizations acting as the hands and feet of Christ in our communities. We support the most innovative, effective, and caring community-based organizations bringing health and healing, particularly in the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice. I look forward to the exciting opportunities ahead for the We Raise team, our donors, and partners, to expand our collective legacy of blessings.”


About We Raise Foundation

Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise Foundation partners with Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We have a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice and employ a unique approach to our investing by coupling program funding with a variety of robust value-added services that empower our grantees to grow their solutions. As a result of these value-add services, every $1 that donors invest through We Raise multiplies into more than double the benefit to the organizations we support. To learn more, please visit weraise.org. You can also find We Raise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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