The Board acts as fiduciary and oversees the mission of Faith to Action’s work.
Senior Partner, Maestral International
Kelley McCreery Bunkers is an international child protection and social welfare consultant with over twenty years of experience working and living in East Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Kelley has worked with a wide range of actors including international organizations, private foundations, government ministries, USAID, and UNICEF. Her most recent work has been in Moldova, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, and Rwanda focusing on strengthening child protection systems, identifying and promoting linkages between child protection and programing for children and families affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting child care reform, including expansion of family-based alternative care. She has an advanced degree in Children’s Rights and is a regular contributor to peer reviewed articles and books covering international child welfare. Kelley is an advisor for the Better Care Network and Global Health Promise.
Vice President, Child Development and Programme Effectiveness, World Vision International
Mark has worked with World Vision for more than a decade. His first role with WV included leading co-creation of WV’s approach to community-led care for orphans and vulnerable children. A subsequent role focused on leading co-creation of WV’s development approach: working with communities and partners toward the sustained well-being of children within families and communities – especially the most vulnerable. Mark has lived and worked in Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia.
Independent Consultant, Common Root Consulting
Beverly Nyberg has over 40 years’ experience working with vulnerable children and their caregivers in multi-cultural settings both in the United States and abroad, including 10 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo and directing an international volunteer organization. Most recently, Beverly served as Senior Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) at The State Dept/PEPFAR (2005-2011) and Peace Corps/PEPFAR (2011-2016). She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a doctorate from The George Washington University, where Dr. Nyberg has also served as adjunct professor. Bev is also currently on the executive team of World Without Orphans and on the board of Forgotten Voices, International.
The Leadership Council serves as the governing body for the Initiative. Members support the Initiative in their areas of expertise, and member organizations amplify the messaging within their own networks.
PHIL AND JILL ASPEGREN
Philip and Jill Aspegren pioneered caring for children in local families when they co-founded Casa Viva in Costa Rica in 2004. Working in partnership with local churches, Casa Viva places children in local foster families while biological family reunification and adoption possibilities are being pursued. Casa Viva’s team provides professional support to the families and churches. Before founding Casa Viva, the Aspegrens developed children’s homes, day programs and educational facilities for six years in the Dominican Republic. Today, with Casa Viva Costa Rica as their platform, and using their backgrounds in business economics and education, the Aspegrens are developing Casa Viva Solutions and the Casa Viva Greenhouse to equip and inspire solutions for children separated from their families with the goal of seeing local families become the first and primary response.
Senior Technical Advisor for Child Protection and Care, Catholic Relief Services
Severine leads the agency’s global strategy on the prevention of family separation and reintegration of children into safe and nurturing families, provides technical support to country programs and represents CRS within the child protection and care sector. Severine has worked in the field of child protection, care and support and systems strengthening in development, early recovery, and humanitarian settings at country and global levels. Her policy and programming work includes child protection and welfare systems strengthening; family strengthening and alternative care; case management; and prevention and response against violence against children. Severine has worked closely with Governments, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean. Severine led the Better Care Network, a network which facilitates active collaboration on the issue of children without adequate family care and advocates for technically sound policy and programmatic action on global, regional, and national levels. She has also worked with UNICEF, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, Maestral International, 4Children and Watchlist and Children in Armed Conflict. Severine is French-American, bilingual in French and English and currently resides in New York, USA.
President, Orphan Outreach
Michael has managed children’s services domestically and internationally for over 35 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He has developed childcare programs including therapeutic foster care, assessment centers, residential treatment, and international programs including adoption, foster care, baby homes, residential care, and transitional living.
Executive Director, CoMission for Children at Risk
Karmen has led CoMission since 2001, networking, resourcing and equipping Christian leaders, organizations, churches and individuals in Russia and Ukraine to minister more effectively to orphans and children at risk. Since 2007, a major focus has been equipping Russian and Ukrainian Christians for adoption and foster care. As a result, Karmen has been involved in developing the Russia Without Orphans Alliance and supporting Ukraine Without Orphans, movements that are engaging the Church in their own countries for family-based care. He is also on the steering team of World Without Orphans, a movement of Christian organizations and leaders working globally to mobilize national movements like the ones in Russia and Ukraine. As part of his work, Karmen has coordinated numerous conferences and led the development of online directories of orphan care resources and events, in both English and Russian.
Vice President of Global Services, Bethany Christian Services
Leena Hill joined Bethany Christian Services in March 2021 as the Vice President of Global Services. In this role she oversees Bethany’s international programs in family-based care services, including local foster care and adoption, family preservation and reunification, mental health and psycho-social services, and child protection. She has more than 15 years of experience leading global humanitarian responses and international operations involving institutional and private donor engagement, partnership development, project design and delivery, and cross-functional collaboration and accountability. Previously, Leena worked at Food for the Hungry, World Vision, and served as U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa. Leena has a B.A. from Western Washington University and a M.A. in International Development from American University in Washington D.C. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and daughter.
MARY BETH IDUH
Senior Program Manager for Faith Engagement, Changing the Way We Care, CRS
As the Senior Program Manager for Faith Engagement for Changing the Way We Care (CTWWC), Mary Beth Iduh brings over 15 years of Catholic international development experience to the role. Mary Beth is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive global engagement strategy with faith-based audiences and actors, beginning with the U.S. Catholic Church, as well as supporting CTWWC’s faith-based partnerships. Mary Beth joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in 2008, first working in Africa and South America in the areas of orphans and vulnerable children, HIV & AIDS, human trafficking/refugees and economic strengthening, followed by regional and national representational roles focused on deepening global discipleship and solidarity within U.S. Catholic organizations, dioceses, universities, seminaries and other communities. Since 2007, Mary Beth has served on the Board of Directors of the Farm of the Child USA, which supports a Catholic center of protection for children in Honduras where she previously was a lay missionary. She is active in her community and parish and was selected for the inaugural cohort of interfaith Imagining Justice in Baltimore community leaders in 2016. Mary Beth has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and dual-Masters degrees in Pastoral Ministry & Global Macro Social Work from Boston College. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and two young children.
Program Coordinator, ACCI Kinnected
Meg Kroon is the Program Coordinator for ACCI Relief’s care reform program, titled Kinnected. The Kinnected program exists to take a proactive approach to scaling down the use of residential care and assisting children within the context of their families. To this end, ACCIR’s Kinnected program partners with several Projects working in family preservation and strengthening, family-based care and reintegration and reunification. In addition, the Kinnected program is involved with different research and advocacy initiatives. Meg works closely with the Kinnected partners, coordinates the Kinnected Advisory Committee and actions related to the Kinnected strategic plan. She also supports in the development of new tools, resources, campaigns and in Kinnected advocacy strategies. Prior to studying and working in development, Meg spent some time in East Africa where she engaged in orphanage voluntourism. This led her to explore and understand the harms involved in this practice and further spurred her passion to work in the development and care reform field.
President, Christian Alliance for Orphans
Prior to his current role, Jedd served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President, leading the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In this post, he oversaw reform efforts across the government to make community- and faith-based groups central partners in all federal efforts to aid the needy. He has worked, studied, and served in more than thirty countries, with organizations ranging from Price-Waterhouse in Moscow to Christian Life Bangladesh.
Senior Technical Advisor, Better Care Network
Rebecca Nhep is the Senior Technical Advisor for Better Care Network. Rebecca has 18 years of experience in international development and child protection. Her work has included a strong focus on advocacy, deinstitutionalisation, family-based care and community-led development. Rebecca also co-founded and co-chairs ReThink Orphanages Network in Australia. Prior to her role with BCN, Rebecca was the Joint CEO of ACC International (ACCI) where she founded ACCI’s child rights and deinstitutionalisation program, Kinnected. Under Rebecca’s leadership, the Kinnected program supported the transition of over 65 residential care centres and the development of family-based care and community-based child and family welfare services in 12 countries. Rebecca also spent 11 years in Cambodia where she supported the development of the country’s first formal family-based care program. She also established an extensive network of family strengthening projects in rural communities to prevent family separation and child institutionalisation. Rebecca holds a Master’s Degree in International Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Missiology and Anthropology.
Senior Technical Advisory for Child Protection, World Vision U.S.
Matthew Stephens is the Senior Technical Advisor for Child Protection at World Vision United States. For over 16 years, Matthew has worked domestically and internationally to strengthen government and community responses to child abuse, neglect and exploitation. Since 2006, he has provided technical support to World Vision’s child protection programming in over 20 countries, with a personal passion for advancing faith communities’ contributions to sustainably reducing violence against children. Prior to his current role, Matthew spent eight years in living and working in the Republic of Georgia. Matthew holds a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas-Arlington, and is currently based in Washington, DC with his wife and three children.
EVANS BAGGS, Director of Missions, Port City Community Church
GREG BURCH, Ph. D., Chair of Global Studies Dept. Multnomah University
PHIL DARKE, President, Providence World; Host, Think Orphan Podcast
C.H. DYER, CEO/President, Bright Hope
ANITA DEYNEKA, Board Member, A Family For Every Orphan
IAN FORBER-PRATT, Director of Global Advocacy, Children’s Emergency Relief International
TARA GARCIA, CEO, Identity Mission
STEVE GILLIS, Executive Director, Patch Our Planet
KRISTI GLEASON, Vice President of Refugee and Immigrant Family Services, Bethany Christian Services
BRIAN HEERWAGEN, CEO, Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission (SOE)
ASHLEE HEILIGMAN, MSW, Global Director, Global Child Advocates
JULIE HILL, Director for Philanthropy, West, Living Water International
LAURA HORVATH Ed.D., Director of Program Development and Community Engagement, Helping Children Worldwide
GREG ISHMAEL, Senior Trainer, Global Training Network
ELLEN LIVINGOOD, President, Catalyst Services
FLORENCE MARTIN, Director, Better Care Network
PETER K. MUTHUI, Director and Co-Founder, Child in Family Focus
MICK PEASE, Founder and Trainer, SFAC
DR. DELIA POP, Director, Tanya’s Dream Fund
JON SINGLETARY, Dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University
BRANDON STIVER, Senior Director, Global Programs and Partnerships, 1MillionHome
STEPHEN UCEMBE, Coordinator, Transform Alliance Africa
GABRIEL WALDER M.S., Executive Director, Alliance for Children Everywhere
Elli Oswald is the Executive Director of the Faith to Action Initiative. Prior to this role, she served as Director of Mission and Outreach at Bethany Community Church in Seattle, where she guided Bethany Community Church in various ministries to the poor and vulnerable in Seattle and around the world. Elli also served as the Children in Crisis Research and Communications Coordinator for World Vision International’s Child Development and Rights Technical Team, specializing in community-based care for children deprived of parental care. She has a B.A. from Pepperdine University and a M.A. in Cross Cultural Studies and International Development from Fuller Theological Seminary. Elli has worked with a wide variety non-profit organizations, including, Union Station Homeless Services in Los Angeles.
Director of Programs
Allison serves as the Faith to Action Initiative’s Director of Programs. She has over eleven years of experience overseeing family-based care initiatives. Prior to joining the Faith to Action Initiative, Allison served as Senior Director of Programs for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), managing CCAI’s core programs including the Foster Youth Internship program and the annual Angels in Adoption Gala. Additionally, she provided oversight and direct support for their global initiatives in Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Haiti. Her areas of expertise include project management, program development, marketing, and large-scale event management. She previously worked for a U.S. Senator as Deputy Press Secretary, and then as the Associate Director of Marketing for a Washington D.C.-based trade association.
Stephanie Robinson has worked in holistic community development and family preservation for 11 years. Her experience has created several initiatives that offer holistic services to community members in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She is the co-founder of a grassroots organization called Konbit Haiti, which provides localized support to family preservation through supplemental programs. In addition to these programs, Stephanie has also established a social enterprise called Konbit Collective, which helps single parents care for their children though various artisan goods sold through this venture. Stephanie holds a Master’s Degree in International Community Development through Northwest University.