Vance Russell, M.S., (Board Chair), Wildlands and Climate Change Consultant. Providing a variety of services including rewilding, biodiversity assessment and habitat forecasting, conservation technology, climate change adaptation strategies, wildlands plans, sustainable fundraising, and approaches to landscape-scale conservation. Vance was California Director of Programs for the National Forest Foundation where he managed, led and funded community forestry projects throughout the state. Prior to joining NFF, Vance 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 28 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 that helps to protect and restore wild nature, and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors.
D. Merrill Ewert, Ph.D., (Board Vice Chair), 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.
Mark Stone, Ph.D., (Board Treasurer): 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.
Ross Mary Borja, (Board Secretary; and Representative of 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 Master 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”.
Afua Bruce, M.B.A., (Board Member) is the Director of Engineering, Public Interest Technology at New America, a non-partisan think tank. She manages a team of technologists developing solutions for state and local governments and non-profits across the U.S. From 2015-17 she was the Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Council, at the White House under President Obama, where she oversaw approximately 100 Federal interagency working groups covering topics in Science, Technology, Security and STEM Education, Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability. From 2011-15 she held a number of positions at the Federal Bureau of Investigation related to science, technology, and security. Afua has a B.S. from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan, and is an ‘MBA’s on the Move’ awardee from the Forte Foundation in 2018. She is an active volunteer who is passionate about sustainable and healthy local food and nutrition.
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.
Muthusami Kumaran, Ph.D., (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, the Balkans and Haiti. 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.
B. Jan Middendorf, Ph.D., (Board Member) serves as the Associate Director for Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) at Kansas State University (KSU). As Associate Director, Dr. Middendorf conducts research and leads SIIL’s impact assessment and monitoring and evaluation efforts. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining effective partnerships with other U.S. and international institutions, industry, USAID Missions and developmental partners. She has developed and implemented capacity building programs for various stakeholders related to project and program evaluation, logic models, and strategic planning for organizational change. Prior to this role, Dr. Middendorf managed a $15.5M diverse portfolio as Program Director of Project and Program Evaluation in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) for the National Science Foundation (NSF). She also served for ten years as director of an evaluation center at KSU. Dr. Middendorf has over 25 years of experience in project development, management, implementation and evaluation of multi-institutional, interdisciplinary programs and projects in national and international settings. Dr. Middendorf earned her Ph.D. from KSU after completing her Master’s and Bachelor’s from Ohio University and University of Rhode Island, respectively.
Eileen Oldag (Board Member; former 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.
Jay Slaughter, M.S., (Board Member) is a Management Consultant and President of JBS and Associates, based in Alexandria, VA. He is an accomplished executive with extensive experience in finance, management, operations, strategic thinking, governance and fiduciary oversight. He held various positions with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Washington, DC, from 1996-2014, most recently as the Executive Director of Business and Plan Operations (2009-14). In that position, he was responsible for Executive Oversight of the Federal Employee Program’s Project Management Office, responsible for five million lives and related medical insurance claims. Jay lives in Arlington, VA, enjoys travel, and is committed to diversity, inclusion and sustainable development.
Jeannette M.E. Tramhel, LL.M, (Board Member) is a Senior Legal Officer of the Department of International Law, Secretary for Legal Affairs, of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Washington, DC (2013 to present). In that role she is responsible for projects that promote the rule of law and law reform in OAS member states; reviews a wide range of multidisciplinary legal matters in international, public, private and development law; provides legal advice to different OAS and Inter-American judicial committees; and manages technical assistance projects and field missions. She is passionate about Food Justice, and has done research and work on the issue as an agricultural economist, international lawyer, and environmental planner working in the field of international development. Prior professional experience includes as an environmental and international development consultant, project coordinator and professor of law in her native Canada and the U.S. She has her Master of Law from Georgetown University, a BS in Agricultural Economics and a Master of Environmental Design. She is a member of the bar in Ontario, Canada, and the State of New York.
In Memoriam: Edwin Naylor, (Honorary Member), was Groundswell’s first Board Chair in 2009, and was instrumental in shaping our founding bylaws and governance structure based on principles of international partnership. He passed away in 2018 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ed brought over 50 years of organizational management experience and passion for social justice and community development to Groundswell. His 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 to found The Naylor Group with his wife Sarah Naylor, offering consultation services to non-profit organizations from 18 states in the U.S. He helped to found the Verde Food Council, a collaboration of four food banks in the Verde Valley of Arizona. We are grateful to Ed for helping to plant the seeds of Groundswell International.