Annual Report 2020 - We Raise Foundation

Generosity Empowers

2020 Annual Report

Generosity Empowers

2020 Annual Report

We Raise Foundation is honored to present our 2020 Annual Report,
which reflects the impact of your gifts from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

Dear Friends,

2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty, anxiety, conflict, and fear. It is hard to remember a time when so many challenges converged and begged the question, “who is in control?”

As a community of believers, we know that our faith and our trust is in Jesus alone. Despite the challenges that face our communities, our families, and each of us individually, we move ahead in the confidence that He loves us and will not let us be tested beyond our strength. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

So how then, are we to remain hopeful in the face of such challenges? We look no further than to our grantee partners. Despite the obstacles that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial inequity that has impacted so many communities for years, we are energized by the leaders of the organizations we invest in together. They are creating smart solutions and pursuing holistic outcomes that will help their community – their people – thrive and they are doing it because you invested in them. YOU are an empowering force in this country because of the generosity you have shown others through your gifts to We Raise.

You empower others when you give. However, it isn’t just the money that matters. The act of giving sends a message to the recipient of that generosity. It says you care. It says they matter. It says, “keep at it.” It says “I’m with you.” You are the reason others can be hopeful.

As you continue through this report, you will read inspiring stories of four organizations and leaders you helped empower to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community. From Greenville, S.C., to Oakland, Calif., and many places in between, your investment is sending that important message to these dedicated leaders. We join them in thanking you for that message.

Our continued prayers include your health and safety and a big thanks for your generosity and trust in us. Together we are accomplishing important work and we look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come.

Gratefully,

andrew-steele-signature_60

Mr. Andrew Steele
Chair, Board of Directors

Annual Report 2020

Mr. Paul C. Miles
President and CEO

weraise_logo

Dear Friends,

2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty, anxiety, conflict, and fear. It is hard to remember a time when so many challenges converged and begged the question, “who is in control?”

As a community of believers, we know that our faith and our trust is in Jesus alone. Despite the challenges that face our communities, our families, and each of us individually, we move ahead in the confidence that He loves us and will not let us be tested beyond our strength. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

So how then, are we to remain hopeful in the face of such challenges? We look no further than to our grantee partners. Despite the obstacles that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial inequity that has impacted so many communities for years, we are energized by the leaders of the organizations we invest in together. They are creating smart solutions and pursuing holistic outcomes that will help their community – their people – thrive and they are doing it because you invested in them. YOU are an empowering force in this country because of the generosity you have shown others through your gifts to We Raise.

You empower others when you give. However, it isn’t just the money that matters. The act of giving sends a message to the recipient of that generosity. It says you care. It says they matter. It says, “keep at it.” It says “I’m with you.” You are the reason others can be hopeful.

As you continue through this report, you will read inspiring stories of four organizations and leaders you helped empower to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community. From Greenville, S.C., to Oakland, Calif., and many places in between, your investment is sending that important message to these dedicated leaders. We join them in thanking you for that message.

Our continued prayers include your health and safety and a big thanks for your generosity and trust in us. Together we are accomplishing important work and we look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come.

Gratefully,

andrew-steele-signature_60

Mr. Andrew Steele
Chair, Board of Directors

paul-miles
Annual Report 2020

Mr. Paul C. Miles
President and CEO

GENEROSITY EMPOWERS

Called by Christ to serve others, We Raise Foundation partners with Christian organizations to develop and support sustainable programs that transform lives. Your generosity empowers these organizations to serve their communities in their context and give them hope for a brighter future.

Generosity is encouraged throughout the Bible; often we read that generosity is its own reward. Proverbs 11:25 says “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” We read in the New Testament that “A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7b). Your gifts to We Raise are meaningful expressions of your generous hearts. Your generosity addresses real human suffering to help people live healthier, more complete lives – the lives they were meant to live. We are blessed and refreshed through your collaboration with our mission and vision.

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While the act of giving has an immediate reward for the giver and the recipient, it also has implications for the future. Your generosity inspires organizations to keep going! Simply put, the generosity of our donors empowers our partner organizations, the people served by these organizations, and We Raise itself.

Your generosity empowers people struggling to break the cycle of social problems within their community. Beyond its financial impact, generosity is a simple “hand up” that demonstrates that others believe in them; that, in their struggle, they are more than their circumstances. Your generosity empowers people to look beyond previous rejection, personal failure, circumstantial tragedy, and former addiction into a future they may never have imagined possible.

Your generosity empowers organizations to begin, establish, and continue their essential work to address human suffering. Partnering with We Raise means leaders can worry less about capital and focus more on developing relationships with the communities and the people they serve. It empowers organizations to be creative with solutions to its own contextual issues—even during a worldwide pandemic. Your generosity empowers organizations to look into the future and visualize how their programs will reshape their communities and give their program participants a brighter future.

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OUR VISION

People free from poverty, violence, and inequality.

OUR MISSION

Called by Christ to serve others, We Raise Foundation partners with Christian organizations to support and develop sustainable programs that help people thrive.

PEOPLE SERVED IN FY2020

During Fiscal Year 2020, We Raise Foundation grant recipients

served over 51,376 people

through their programs!

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VOLUNTEERS ENGAGED IN FY2020

Volunteers are the lifeblood of so many nonprofit organizations.
During Fiscal Year 2020,

over 31,787 individuals volunteered

their time with We Raise Foundation grantees for a total of

88,106 hours!

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We Raise’s grant programs are about much more than money.

Long-term successful programs and leaders also benefit from expert advice, connections with other inspired leaders, and additional funding opportunities. We Raise grants aim to provide both financial support and expert resources to strengthen the program for sustainable impact.

TOTAL PROGRAM SUPPORT IN FY2020
$807,450

DONOR SUPPORT IN FY2020

Everything We Raise Foundation does is made possible by
our generous, faithful supporters.
We received donations from 6,000 individuals
during fiscal year 2020.

Donors supported the work of We Raise in a variety of ways including planned gifts, IRA charitable rollover gifts, gifts of stock, memoriam/honorariums, Thrivent Choice Dollars, and Amazon Smile. Our volunteers helped us make thousands of thank you calls and write hundreds of thank you notes.

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GRANTEE HIGHLIGHTS

Your generosity empowers We Raise to partner with organizations bringing hope and healing to a world ravaged by the issues stemming from poverty, violence, and inequality. Your financial and prayerful support enables us to support promising creative initiatives that are unique to the context of the communities they address. It empowers We Raise to do the work necessary for healing communities. Most importantly, your generosity enables us to expand our benevolence beyond financial support to provide our partners with capacity building, leadership coaching, and much more!

We’ve highlighted four We Raise partner organizations that inspire us with their commitment to their communities. Read on to learn how your prayerful financial support of innovative ideas, people, and programs empowers us all to make the world a better place for everyone.

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La Semilla After-School Program

New Life Centers of Chicagoland, Chicago, Ill.

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After receiving a We Raise GrantsPlus grant in 2019, New Life Centers of Chicagoland was empowered to revitalize and expand its La Semilla after-school program serving the children and families of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Meeting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from September through May, the program offers homework help and tutoring, snack time, games, Bible lessons, gym, and nutrition education to K-6th grade students.

New Life Centers was created in 2005 to address the needs of neighborhoods surrounding New Life Community Church. As neighbors approached the church with pressing issues–youth and gang violence, under resourced schools, teen pregnancy, justice system involvement, unemployment–New Life created solutions to fit each community’s context.

Spring 2020 saw the addition of two instructors to the tutoring team, which worked in earnest to bring online tutoring to their students after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools. Combining one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, games, and encouragement, the team has strengthened relationships with both parents and students. Many youth expressed how isolated they felt during the shelter-in-place order in Chicago and they were very grateful for this connection with their tutors and fellow students.

In July 2020, Executive Director Matt DeMateo was named to Leadership Greater Chicago’s 2021 Class of Fellows, one of the region’s most prestigious civic leadership programs. “We believe that the answer to the challenges of our neighborhood lies within the community itself,” DeMateo said in a 2018 VoyageChicago article. “So we focus on building local leaders and developing them as we work in our communities.”

Your generosity empowers La Semilla’s tutors and leaders to make sure that no child has to walk alone.

La Semilla After School Program

New Life Centers of Chicagoland, Chicago, Ill.

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After receiving a We Raise GrantsPlus grant in 2019, New Life Centers of Chicagoland was empowered to revitalize and expand its La Semilla after-school program serving the children and families of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Meeting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from September through May, the program offers homework help and tutoring, snack time, games, Bible lessons, gym, and nutrition education to K-6th grade students.

New Life Centers was created in 2005 to address the needs of neighborhoods surrounding New Life Community Church. As neighbors approached the church with pressing issues–youth and gang violence, under resourced schools, teen pregnancy, justice system involvement, unemployment–New Life created solutions to fit each community’s context.

Spring 2020 saw the addition of two instructors to the tutoring team, which worked in earnest to bring online tutoring to their students after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools. Combining one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, games, and encouragement, the team has strengthened relationships with both parents and students. Many youth expressed how isolated they felt during the shelter-in-place order in Chicago and they were very grateful for this connection with their tutors and fellow students.

In July 2020, Executive Director Matt DeMateo was named to Leadership Greater Chicago’s 2021 Class of Fellows, one of the region’s most prestigious civic leadership programs. “We believe that the answer to the challenges of our neighborhood lies within the community itself,” DeMateo said in a 2018 VoyageChicago article. “So we focus on building local leaders and developing them as we work in our communities.”

Your generosity empowers La Semilla’s tutors and leaders to make sure that no child has to walk alone.

Youth Job & Life Skills Training Program

Mill Village Farms, Greenville, SC

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2018 We Raise Emerging Leader Dan Weidenbenner has a heart for Greenville, S.C. When asked about his greatest personal challenges, he pivots to the challenges facing the community: gentrification, suburban sprawl, lack of safe public transportation, limited access to fresh produce, and poor economic mobility.

These challenges led Weidenbenner in 2012 to develop Mill Village Farms, a job and life skills training program for underserved and at-risk youth ages 14-18. Students are engaged in after-school activities such as shared meals of healthy foods and educational programs. Many are hired for their first job experience working on urban farms all around the upstate.

De’Ashia began working at Mill Village when she was 15. “Being a part of Mill Village Farms has changed my life a lot,” she said. “I was able to grow as a person—they helped me build more confidence in myself.”

After graduating, De’Ashia went to work at a downtown restaurant, using all the skills she learned. “I don’t think I would have this job if I hadn’t been a part of Mill Village,” she said.

As of October 2020, Mill Village Farms had delivered more than 300,000 pounds of produce to a community pushed into crisis by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many out of work, unable to pay basic bills, and struggling to feed children out of school, where they normally get meals. Mill Village also continues to pack and distribute thousands of boxes every month through their FoodShare Program.

Thanks to the generosity of We Raise donors, students like De’Ashia are encouraged to follow their dreams, organizations like Mill Village are equipped for emergency response, and leaders like Weidenbrenner are empowered to follow their hearts.

Youth Job & Life Skills Training Program

Mill Village Farms, Greenville, SC

ar2020_gh_mill-village

2018 We Raise Emerging Leader Dan Weidenbenner has a heart for Greenville, S.C. When asked about his greatest personal challenges, he pivots to the challenges facing the community: gentrification, suburban sprawl, lack of safe public transportation, limited access to fresh produce, and poor economic mobility.

Statistics show access to higher education in prison can reduce the rate of recidivism from 65% (national average) to 15% (national average with an associate degree). But that’s not the only benefit.

These challenges led Weidenbenner in 2012 to develop Mill Village Farms, a job and life skills training program for underserved and at-risk youth ages 14-18. Students are engaged in after-school activities such as shared meals of healthy foods and educational programs. Many are hired for their first job experience working on urban farms all around the upstate.

De’Ashia began working at Mill Village when she was 15. “Being a part of Mill Village Farms has changed my life a lot,” she said. “I was able to grow as a person—they helped me build more confidence in myself.”

After graduating, De’Ashia went to work at a downtown restaurant, using all the skills she learned. “I don’t think I would have this job if I hadn’t been a part of Mill Village,” she said.

As of October 2020, Mill Village Farms had delivered more than 300,000 pounds of produce to a community pushed into crisis by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many out of work, unable to pay basic bills, and struggling to feed children out of school, where they normally get meals. Mill Village also continues to pack and distribute thousands of boxes every month through their FoodShare Program.

Thanks to the generosity of We Raise donors, students like De’Ashia are encouraged to follow their dreams, organizations like Mill Village are equipped for emergency response, and leaders like Weidenbrenner are empowered to follow their hearts.

UpStart Kitchen

PRISM Economic Development Corp.,
Milwaukee, Wis.

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On September 15, 2020, UpStart Kitchen held the official ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for their new commercial kitchen facility in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee. It was the culmination of a process made especially challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic—and the realization of PRISM Economic Development Commission’s first initiative.

UpStart Kitchen is an incubator kitchen for food entrepreneurs, providing commercial space, business-building resources, and a network of chefs, food entrepreneurs, and businesspeople.

“We Raise supported us when it was just a brilliant idea,” says Interim Director Leo Ries. “We appreciated that you stepped in early to get this thing started.”

April Bond founded her business ApTreats in summer 2018 while on a tight budget for her daughter’s 7th birthday party, creating a dessert table with strawberries, pretzels, and popcorn dipped in chocolate. After guests raved over the treats and discovered they were Bond’s creations, friends and family encouraged her to start her own business.

With help from Upstart Kitchen Manager Pat Jones, Bond earned her Servsafe certification, gained hands-on experience with the commercial baking equipment, and learned to properly label her treats for retail sales. Bond’s experience and UpStart Kitchen’s support led her to open Bond Foods, a small corner market. Her success is a beacon of hope for her community and a source of inspiration for other Sherman Park food entrepreneurs.

As of November 2020, eight entrepreneurs are using the kitchen, 23 are waiting for their licenses to be approved, and 75 are on the waiting list. And they continue to empower residents even through the pandemic. While training their first food entrepreneurs on their commercial equipment, UpStart began making emergency meals for local senior centers, nonprofits, and churches. Your generous support enables UpStart Kitchen to empower Sherman Park residents to live their dreams while serving their community and building their neighborhood economy.

UpStart Kitchen

PRISM Economic Development Corp., Milwaukee, Wis.

ar2020_gh_upstart-kitchen

On September 15, 2020, UpStart Kitchen held the official ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for their new commercial kitchen facility in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee. It was the culmination of a process made especially challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic—and the realization of PRISM Economic Development Commission’s first initiative.

UpStart Kitchen is an incubator kitchen for food entrepreneurs, providing commercial space, business-building resources, and a network of chefs, food entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

“We Raise supported us when it was just a brilliant idea,” says Interim Director Leo Ries. “We appreciated that you stepped in early to get this thing started.”

April Bond founded her business ApTreats in summer 2018 while on a tight budget for her daughter’s 7th birthday party, creating a dessert table with strawberries, pretzels, and popcorn dipped in chocolate. After guests raved over the treats and discovered they were Bond’s creations, friends and family encouraged her to start her own business.

With help from Upstart Kitchen Manager Pat Jones, Bond earned her Servsafe certification, gained hands-on experience with the commercial baking equipment, and learned to properly label her treats for retail sales. Bond’s experience and UpStart Kitchen’s support led her to open Bond Foods, a small corner market. Her success is a beacon of hope for her community and a source of inspiration for other Sherman Park food entrepreneurs.

As of November 2020, eight entrepreneurs are using the kitchen, 23 are waiting for their licenses to be approved, and 75 are on the waiting list. And they continue to empower residents even through the pandemic. While training their first food entrepreneurs on their commercial equipment, UpStart began making emergency meals for local senior centers, nonprofits, and churches. Your generous support enables UpStart Kitchen to empower Sherman Park residents to live their dreams while serving their community and building their neighborhood economy.

After-school Enrichment + Youth Leadership Programs

Harbor House Ministries, Oakland, Calif.

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“When the shelter-in-place order was implemented, we knew the work we do here in Oakland was not going to stop, because we know that we provide essential services for families in Oakland,” noted Ashly Nation, Director of Leadership Development and Spiritual Formation for Harbor House Ministries.

A recipient of a 2018 GrantsPlus grant, Harbor House Ministries’ After-school Enrichment and Youth Leadership programs aim to fight inequalities in education, give young people opportunities to help lift them out of poverty, provide safe spaces, and foster relationships. Children benefit from early intervention in the area of reading through one-on-one tutoring and through high-quality extracurricular instruction in science, cooking, art, sports, and performing arts. High school students intern as mentors for the elementary school students while being actively involved in their academic development and leading extracurricular activities.

With the pandemic, Harbor House simply pivoted to support youth in a different way. “One of the first things we did was to call all of our families and check in,” Nation said, adding that they would ask families how they were doing, if they had lost jobs, needed food, or had prayer requests. “We also asked if they wanted someone from Harbor House to check in with their child two to three times a week.”

Nin, a high school student and mentor for three years, checks in with students through the phone or Facetime. They do activities together and have a little fun before getting down to business with tutoring. “I really enjoy it and so do the kids,” she said. “It’s a chance to for them to interact with others while they are stuck at home.”

Nin’s grateful for her involvement with the Youth Leadership Program. “Harbor House is a really big part of my life—it’s allowed me to grow as a person and be really confident in myself,” she says.

Through online tutoring and safe, stable in-person leaning pods, Harbor House continues their walk with Oakland families, empowering parents and children and bringing hope to the community. Your generosity empowers Harbor House to offer hope to hundreds of families and high school students from 15 different countries.

After-school Enrichment + Youth Leadership Programs

Harbor House Ministries, Oakland, Calif.

ar2020_gh_harbor-house

“When the shelter-in-place order was implemented, we knew the work we do here in Oakland was not going to stop, because we know that we provide essential services for families in Oakland,” noted Ashly Nation, Director of Leadership Development and Spiritual Formation for Harbor House Ministries.

A recipient of a 2018 GrantsPlus grant, Harbor House Ministries’ After-school Enrichment and Youth Leadership programs aim to fight inequalities in education, give young people opportunities to help lift them out of poverty, provide safe spaces, and foster relationships. Children benefit from early intervention in the area of reading through one-on-one tutoring and through high-quality extracurricular instruction in science, cooking, art, sports, and performing arts. High school students intern as mentors for the elementary school students while being actively involved in their academic development and leading extracurricular activities.

With the pandemic, Harbor House simply pivoted to support youth in a different way. “One of the first things we did was to call all of our families and check in,” Nation said, adding that they would ask families how they were doing, if they had lost jobs, needed food, or had prayer requests. “We also asked if they wanted someone from Harbor House to check in with their child two to three times a week.”

Nin, a high school student and mentor for three years, checks in with students through the phone or Facetime. They do activities together and have a little fun before getting down to business with tutoring. “I really enjoy it and so do the kids,” she said. “It’s a chance to for them to interact with others while they are stuck at home.”

Nin’s grateful for her involvement with the Youth Leadership Program. “Harbor House is a really big part of my life—it’s allowed me to grow as a person and be really confident in myself,” she says.

Through online tutoring and safe, stable in-person leaning pods, Harbor House continues their walk with Oakland families, empowering parents and children and bringing hope to the community. Your generosity empowers Harbor House to offer hope to hundreds of families and high school students from 15 different countries.

2019 RICHARD E. HERMAN LEADERSHIP AWARD

Ms. Nicole (Niki) Wong

The Leadership Award recognizes the commitment and service of one leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer. The Leadership Award was established in honor of Dr. Richard Herman, We Raise Foundation’s fourth president (2006-2015), a passionate supporter and encourager of young adult Christian leaders.

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Nicole (Niki) Wong serves as the Director of Policy and Organizing at Redeemer Community Partnership (RCP), Los Angeles, Calif. RCP is a nonprofit Christian community development corporation that has been working in the Exposition Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles, Calif., since 1992 to create a safe, healthy, opportunity-rich community where children, youth, and their families thrive.

Since 2014, Wong’s efforts as a community organizer, researcher, and policy advocate have advanced community-initiated campaigns, including the closure of an active oil drilling site in South Los Angeles.

Wong is a founding member of the Standing Together Against Neighborhood Drilling – Los Angeles (STAND-LA) coalition, an environmental justice coalition of community-based organizations working to end the toxic and dangerous practice of oil and gas operations near homes, schools, and places of worship.

Receiving the Leadership Award has made me feel affirmed and seen by those who nominated me, the nomination board, and by God. It’s been hard and challenging work at times, but I’m grateful that I have been given the grace to persevere and seen glimpses of God’s faithfulness and hope throughout the process.” -Ms. Niki Wong

THANK YOU!

Your generosity encourages us all.
We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village,” but at We Raise we know that our village of donors empowers us all to envision a future where the issues at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality no longer define personal or collective success.
A future where everyone is empowered to live up to their God-given potential.

Every dollar we are blessed to receive from our generous donors is multiplied as we invest in our programs through capacity building, leadership development, and fundraising assistance.
Because of you, We Raise is stronger, our partners are stronger, and the people they serve are galvanized to live the life that God intended for us all to live: a life of humble service.
Thank you.

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FY2020 FINANCIALS

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pie-chart_breakdown-of-operating-expenses2020

Program Expense is comprised of: Grants and Projects ($814,305), Program Education ($620,268), and Program Support ($439,186).

Total Net Assets at 6/30/20 were $9,883,379.

We Raise Foundation does not accept any government funding.

View our audit report

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Fiscal Year 2020

Rev. Jon Diefenthaler
President Emeritus, Southeastern District, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Columbia, Md.

Mr. Mark Duesenberg
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Ferro Corporation, Rocky River, Ohio

Mr. Gregory Jordan
Senior Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Foundation & Institutional Advisors, Northern Trust, Chicago, Ill.

Dr. Ciuinal Lewis
President and CEO, Specialized Assistance Services, Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Mr. Darron Lowe
Vice President, Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Solutions, O’Fallon, Ill.

Mrs. Christine Messerschmidt
Associate, Thrivent Financial, Barrington, Ill.

Rev. Wayne Miller
Former Bishop, Metropolitan Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Ill.

Mrs. Monique Nunes
Director of Recruitment and University Relations, Martin Luther School, Bronxville, N.Y. (Secretary)

Mr. Andrew Steele
Vice President for Development, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, Md.; Founder, Bloom Africa, Lesotho, Africa (Chair)

Rev. Bruce Strade
Former Executive Director, Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries, Portland, Ore.

Ms. Anne Wenzel
President and Executive Director, Western Colorado Community Foundation, Palisade, Colo.

Mr. Carson Williams
Investment Banker, Croft & Bender, Atlanta, Ga.

CURRENT STAFF

Paul Miles
President and CEO

Meredith Capocci
Senior Accountant

Matt Croll
Director of Finance

Sandi Croll
Director of Finance

Eric Hawley
Assistant Director of Programs

Jennifer Sievers
Manager of Advancement Services

Anne Schoenherr Turner
Director of Development & Communications