Board of Directors

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Eileen Oldag (Chair – 2017, 2018) served more than 25 years in executive management and development for nonprofit organizations. With an advanced degree in Human Relations and Supervision, she directed US community-based and national organizations, bringing expertise in strategic, financial and programmatic adaptation. As director of foundation relations for Heifer International, she worked with development programs in Africa, Central and South America, Asia and the US to generate institutional funding for agricultural development projects. Successes included funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase income and reduce poverty for 179,000 households—one million people—in East Africa through production-to-market dairy development. She and her husband Tom Neale reside in Idaho.

Vance Russell (Vice Chair – 2018) is a Climate Change and Wildlands Consultant and advises multiple programmes at Fauna & Flora International. Before his current work, he was the California Director of Programs for the National Forest Foundation where he manages, leads and funds community forestry projects throughout the state. Prior to joining NFF, he was director of Audubon California’s Landowner Stewardship Program, working with farmers and ranchers throughout California to restore habitat in a manner compatible with existing agricultural operations. He has more than 30 years of experience working in agriculture and natural resources management. Vance is one of the founding members of the Wild Farm Alliance, which promotes agriculture to protect and restore wild nature, and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors as the treasurer. Vance served on the Management Board of the Central Valley Habitat Joint Venture that protects and restore habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds. He co-authored Wild Harvest – Farming for Wildlife and Profitability which details the importance of conservation incentives for landowners and Maximum Yield? Sustainable Agriculture as a Tool for Conservation, which examines the relationship between agriculture and conservation. Vance received his M.S. degree in Forest Science and Natural Resources Management from Cornell University and B.A. in Biology from the College of Wooster.

Ross Mary Borja (Secretary – 2018 and Representative from the International Council) is Executive Director of the Ecuadorian NGO EkoRural. Before taking the helm at EkoRural, Ms. Borja served as the Program Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Specialist for World Neighbors Andes program, where she developed a global PME system that was implemented in Ecuador and Peru. She holds a BA in Economics from the Universidad Catolica del Ecuador in Quito and a Masters of Professional Studies degree from Cornell University’s Community and Rural Development Program in the Rural Sociology Department. In January 2004 she obtained her degree and went back to her native Ecuador. She has authored or contributed to a number of professional works, including “Documenting Farmer Field Schools in the Ecuadorian Highlands: A Case Study of the Province of Carchi”.

Mark Stone (Treasurer – 2018) teaches mindfulness and meditation to the underserved in Washington D.C. Previously, he served as the Deputy Chief Economist and Acting Chief Economist of the United States Department of State and held various positions during a long career at the International Monetary Fund. He holds a BSc and MA from the University of Wisconsin, an MSc in Developmental Economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. He has written many journal articles as well as books on international economics and finance.  He also serves as President of the Board of All Beings Zen Sangha, is an active member of the Insight on the Inside meditation community, and conducts research on mindfulness teaching.

Perry Clutts (Board Member) has nearly 20 years of experience with organic farming, and his family has farmed Pleasantview Farm, located in Circleville, Ohio, for four generations. His great-great grandfather was a German immigrant, who came to Circleville in the mid 1800’s to farm. His Great Grandfather purchased the original tract of land in 1899, and was named “Master Farmer of Ohio” in 1928. Pleasantview Farm is now managed as a  grass-based dairy that was certified organic in 2007, and the milk is sold to Horizon Organic. Perry is also a board member of the Organic Trade Association. 

D. Merrill Ewert (Board Member) is President Emeritus of Fresno Pacific University in California. He holds a B.A. from Tabor College, an M.A. in anthropology and a Ph.D. in adult education from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Merrill’s career has combined relief and development (7 years in Africa) with teaching, research and administration in higher education. He taught at the University of Maryland and served as Director of Continuing Education at Wheaton College (IL) before joining the faculty of adult education at Cornell University. Merrill’s scholarship has focused on learning and the facilitation of community development. While on sabbatical from Cornell, a Fulbright fellowship led to research on the role of farmers’ organizations in building social capital in the Philippines. Cornell appointed Merrill Director of Cooperative Extension and Associate Dean for Outreach for the Colleges of Agriculture and Human Ecology. Following 12 years at Cornell, he served for a decade as President of Fresno Pacific University (CA). Merrill retired to become Senior Consultant to the Assistant Secretary of Education in Washington, DC. He currently lives in the Phoenix area where he continues writing, speaking and consulting on higher education and international relief and development.

Bernard Guri (Board Member and Representative from the International Council) is the founder and Executive Director of the Center For Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) in Ghana. In addition to founding CIKOD, Bernard co-founded the Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture (ECASARD). He is the Regional Coordinator of COMPAS Africa, Chairman of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), and a visiting lecturer at the COADY International Institute of the St Francis Xavier University in Canada. Previosuly, Bernard served as Programmes Director with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of Germany in the Republic of Benin and Ghana. He holds a Masters in Development Studies and a Diploma in Rural Policy and Project Planning from the Institute for Development Studies in The Hague. He received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and a Diploma in Education from the School of Agriculture in the University of Cape Coast. Bernard is currently a doctoral student at the Institute for Development Studies in the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.

Muthusami Kumaran (Board Member) is the Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management & Community Organizations, Department of Family, Youth & Community Sciences, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, University of Florida. He teaches courses on various aspects of nonprofit and NGO management. His areas of research interest include: nonprofit capacity building, roles and impacts of NGOs, community development and civic engagement, and environmental justice. Prior to his academic career, Kumaran worked for a nonprofit organization and a state government agency. He has assisted numerous nonprofits in the USA and NGOs in six countries for their organizational capacity development. He has published articles, book chapters and presented several research papers related to the nonprofit and NGO sectors.

Margaret (Peg) Malloy (Board Member) is an associate broker with a residential real estate firm in Oklahoma City and has been in the residential business for over 25 years.  She has been a member of a number of organizations including the Junior League of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Zoological Society, National Society of Colonial Dames of America – where she currently serves as the Oklahoma President, and was president of the Metropolitan Fair Housing Council and sat on the Board of World Neighbors. Peg is also a trained facilitator and has worked with companies and non-profit boards. She is an avid traveler and has traveled to West Africa, Egypt, Jordan, India, Peru, the Galapagos, Argentina, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Balkans. Long interested in sustainability, she is a founding member of the Environmental, Health and Sustainability Commission in her local incorporated town. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a BA in English. Peg has one daughter, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Edwin Naylor (Honorary Member) was Groundswell’s first Board Chair and he is now an honorary Board Member. Ed has 51 years of organizational management experience, including over 16 years serving as President/CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Washington, DC (1987-1995) and Executive Director/CEO of Lutheran Social Ministry of the Southwest, Phoenix, AZ (1978-1987). In 1995 Mr. Naylor retired from Lutheran Social Services to found The Naylor Group, which offers consultation services to non-profit organizations around the country. He has provided strategic planning, organizational assessments, board development and training and other professional services to dozens of nonprofit clients from 18 states. He also worked as a Senior Consultant for the Child Welfare League of America for 14 years and recently served as Executive Director of the Association of Lutheran Older Adults (ALOA) for 2 years (2003-2004). Currently Mr. Naylor is the founding Coordinator of the Verde Food Council, a collaboration of four food banks in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Naylor holds a master’s degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Gettysburg College.

We are extremely grateful for the service of Kathleen Colverson and Jamie Wimberly who retired from the board this year. They have been excellent champions for Groundswell gifting us with their time, talents and resources. Thank you Kathy and Jamie!

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