Committees & Councils

Our committees and councils work with staff to provide an expansion of opportunities and resources and magnify the work of the organization. The committees engage diverse stakeholders including board members, Affiliate leaders, volunteers, and graduates.


The Family Promise Affiliate Council is comprised of a diverse and talented group of Affiliate leaders. These Executive Directors will assist in developing the programs, policies, and procedures that enable Affiliates to best empower families and mobilize volunteers, both now and in the years to come. As with the Guest Advisory Council, we believe this constituent engagement is critical to our aspirations to be the leader on the issue of family homelessness.

Family Promise Spokane
Spokane, WA

Family Promise of the Coastal Empire
Savannah, GA

Family Promise MetroWest
Natick, MA

Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley
Billings, MT

Family Promise of Montco, PA
Ambler, PA



Family Promise of South Sarasota County
Venice, FL

Family Promise of Davie County
Mocksville, NC

Family Promise North Shore Boston
Beverly, MA

Family Promise of Lycoming County
Williamsport, PA


Family Promise of Blount County
Maryville, TN

Family Promise of Gainesville
Gainesville, FL

Family Promise of Waukesha County
Wales, WI

Family Promise of the South Bay
Torrance, CA

Family Promise of Lawrence
Lawrence, KS


Family Promise of Brevard
Rockledge, FL

Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley
Salem, OR

Family Promise of Hendricks County
Plainfield, IN

Family Promise of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI



The Family Promise Guest Advisory Council (GAC) is comprised of graduate guests of Affiliates across the country. The GAC is drawn upon for advocacy efforts, public relations, the development of initiatives, and the formation of policy for Affiliates.

Rebecca Esparza

Rebecca Esparza

As a former graduate of Family Promise of Lawrence (KS), homelessness became a defining moment in the restoration process of her life. Since her time with Family Promise, Rebecca has received her social work degree from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing her MSW. Her goal is to use her experience and education to move forward the cause of social justice for at-risk people.

“I want to help others with whom I have shared experiences. I believe that the most valuable asset given to me by Family Promise is the relationships that continue to exist, the mentorship that still takes place, and the help I have received in many areas of my life when I have needed it. I want to pay it forward.”

Syri Gerstner

Syri Gerstner

Syri leads the Graduate program at Family Promise of Greater Phoenix (AZ). She is a member of the Board of Directors and the CQI committee for Save the Family.

She and her two young daughters were previous guests in 2012, when she and her girls lost their apartment. With the grace of God and the helping hand up from Family Promise, she was able to grab a foothold on normalcy, complete her college degree, and purchase a home her children could call their own. Topping it all off, by joining the team that called her and her children “family” in 2014, they have come full circle.

“By becoming a Family Promise employee, volunteering at other organizations throughout the Valley, and stepping into the Guest Advisory Council, I’ve had the chance to give back to the community. Family Promise was the next logical step in my life evolving for the better and for my hopes of changing other lives in the process.”

Sarah Jackson <br />(In Memorium)

Sarah Jackson <br />(In Memorium)

Sarah was a 2011 graduate of Family Promise of Gwinnett County (GA). She was the mother of four wonderful girls ages 5, 7, 8, and 16. Sarah was a career advisor for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Program.

She recently served on the board for Family Promise of Gwinnett as treasurer. Sarah frequently spoke at congregations throughout Gwinnett County about the impact of Family Promise.

Sarah Jackson died on September 7, 2020. She had profound impact as a member of the GAC and we miss her and cherish her memory.

“Family Promise was life-changing for me and my daughters, as it gave me the time to regain stability for my family and reminded me daily that God is ALWAYS there. As a GAC member, I hope to give back to the program which means so much to me and to have a platform to share my experiences in a way that will help other families and Affiliates.”

Hope Johnson

Hope Johnson

Hope is a 2010 graduate of Family Promise Hunterdon County (NJ). She was forced to stop working due to a health issue and, as a result, she and Olivia, her one-year-old daughter found themselves without a home.

Through hard work and perseverance, Hope is now a solutions manager at a Verizon wireless corporate store. She has welcomed a new baby, James, to the family. She volunteers both with the national office as well as her local Affiliate. Hope currently lives in Alexandria, New Jersey.

“I believe that Family Promise has given me an opportunity to make a better life for myself and children. I believe giving back to others is the sincerest way of thanking them. Becoming a part of the Advisory Council is a chance to give back to others the way Family Promise gave to me.”

Yusuf Kalule

Yusuf Kalule

Yusuf is a graduate of Family Promise Metrowest (MA), and currently sits on two board committees for the Affiliate. He works for McKesson Technologies as a credentialing specialist and also works part time as a caregiver.

An immigrant from Uganda, Yusuf and his family found themselves homeless when they arrived in the United States. They found Family Promise through some new friends who were members of a host congregation, asked for help and Metrowest took them in.

“When we joined Family Promise, we saw hope and transformation coming our way immediately. We are successful today because Family Promise gave us a new start in this great country! I am a GAC member because I strongly believe that my experience and the lessons I have learned from Family Promise could change another family’s life that might be in a place where I have been before.”

Theresa Pinger

Theresa Pinger

Theresa continues to give back to her Affiliate in different ways. She volunteers, creates affirmation posters for Affiliate coordinators, and fundraises for Christmas gifts and opportunities for other guest families.

“Family Promise has changed my life continuously over the past three years. Thanks to this organization, I have grown to be an advocate for youth and families facing homelessness, but I have also grown to be a more open-minded and understanding individual overall. As a GAC member, I hope that I am able to give back to Family Promise, as well as help others understand the reality and urgency of the problem of homelessness in the United States.”


It is impossible to separate systemic and structural racism from the reality that people of color, and Black people in particular, are disproportionately affected by homelessness and poverty.The Family Promise Racial Justice Council was formed to ensure we address racial equity issues in our work at all levels. The Council is comprised of Family Promise community members from across the country.

Nora Ali

Former Board Vice-Chair, Family Promise of Greater Denver

Nora Ali

“I joined the Racial Justice Council to provide tools and strategies for the Family Promise community to engage in issues involving racial and ethnic diversity so that we can provide the best care for our families and make them feel at home.”

Jeff Armstrong

Executive Director, Family Promise of the Midlands

Jeff Armstrong

“The Racial Justice Council provides a platform to have real discussions, and take the necessary actions in Family Promise’s fight for equitable opportunities for all. It has been a personal mission to use my voice to be a cultural broker. As someone who experienced poverty and racism at a young age, I am thankful that the RJC exists to improve outcomes for the families we serve, and to educate all of our stakeholders on the importance of racial justice.”

Marissa Commey

Manager of Community Engagement, Family Promise of Hawaii

Marissa Commey

“I joined the Racial Justice Council because I saw that Family Promise was committed to continuing the work of truly being an anti-racist organization. I hope to contribute and learn from the RJC and our community at large so we can all be more compassionate, connected, and impactful in our service.”

E’tienne Easley

Director of Development, Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga

E’tienne Easley

“It is my hope in working with the Racial Justice Council that I help to create an equitable community among Family Promise Affiliates that will extend into the communities we serve. To do this work, I want to disseminate relative information that will heighten awareness, increase knowledge, and address structural racism living within the attitudes, institutions, and structures built to dehumanize and permanently silence African Americans and people of color.”

Claas Ehlers

Chief Executive Officer, Family Promise

Claas Ehlers

“Structural racism underlies homelessness in the United States. We have to address it in every initiative we take, in the way we work, in the messages we give. The RJC is a foundational step toward Family Promise orienting anti-racism in its work.”

Carolyn Gordon

Director of Affiliate Expansion, Family Promise

Carolyn Gordon

“Our work of serving families experiencing homelessness is inextricably linked with racial justice. I look forward to elevating the racial equity work of Family Promise and providing guidance, resources, and tools to Affiliates. We will create space in which Black families, staff, and volunteers have power that improves the outcomes for all families served.”

Nakeshia Hedrick

Northeast Regional Director, Family Promise

Nakeshia Hedrick

“I am committed to helping Family Promise hold true to its community-based approach in addressing difficult but important topics like, poverty, homelessness, and racial injustice. As a part of the RJC, I hope to offer insight, voice, fact, and action to address the ugly truths of injustice and inequity that disproportionately and adversely affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color.”

Vera Johnson

Executive Director, Fort Bend Family Promise

Vera Johnson

“With my work commitment on the Racial Justice Council, I hope to equip and engage members, leaders, staff, partners and myself with the skills, tools, strategies, resources and relationships to be effective leaders and advocates in the fight for racial justice. I want to collaborate and learn from the wisdom of racial justice pioneers and learn from scholar grass root programs that have the common goal towards a solution of nondiscriminatory conduct of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.”

Armilla Moore

Executive Director, Family Promise of Pickens County

Armilla Moore

“So many people are afraid to talk about race in the workplace. This can impact relationships between leadership and employees. No matter how difficult the conversation is, we have to talk. When we have the conversations, we can identify the issues and begin to make change. Family Promise’s Racial Justice Committee takes on the tough issues. By sharing experiences and views, we can find ways to help people be brave, have the tough conversations, and positively influence our future as a diverse organization.”

Gwen Papenfuse

Client Engagement Associate, Family Promise

Gwen Papenfuse

“As a member of the Racial Justice Council, I hope to contribute to an equitable workplace for all of our affiliate staff. I hope to encourage changes in Family Promise in all areas of the country to support our staff, board members, and guests of Color. I hope to encourage affiliates to continue their DEIA journeys as a constant journey and not just as a start and end assignment. I am looking forward to the inspiring and hopeful conversations that the RJC can have to amend the changes needed.”

Mitchell Petit-Frere

Creative Content Manager, Family Promise

Mitchell Petit-Frere

“Black Americans only make up 13% of the U.S. population but account for nearly 40% of the country’s homeless population. This is the result of centuries of racism. I hope my work on the Racial Justice Council helps educate Family Promise community members nationwide on the role systemic racism plays in the lives of the non-white families we serve.”

Amber Young

Director of Volunteer Engagement, Family Promise

Amber Young

“As a member of the Racial Justice Council, I hope to support the Black families we serve by openly discussing racial inequality and actively taking steps towards combating systemic racism. The RJC is committed to providing guidance and support to Family Promise as they continue on their DEIA journey.”

It is my hope in working with the Racial Justice Council that I help to create an equitable community among Family Promise Affiliates that will extend into the communities we serve.

-E'tienne Easley


Millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest adult generation, and Generation Z is the largest generation overall in the country. Often characterized as social and passionate about values with a need for their voices to be heard, today’s youth are vital to the future of the nonprofit world. Recognizing their potential impact in the battle against family homelessness, Family Promise’s Next Generation Task Force is raising awareness of this crisis within its peer group and beyond and engaging younger audiences with Family Promise.

Zoë Barnswell

Greenwich, CT

Software Engineer, JP Morgan Chase & Co.

B.A. Princeton University

Maureen Cooke

New York, NY

Communications Professional

B.A. Boston College

Julia Dowling

New York, NY

Brand and Growth Strategy Consultant

B.A. University of Richmond

Lisa Foster

Davie County, NC

Executive Director, Family Promise of Davie County

B.A. North Carolina State University; M.S.W. & M.P.H. University of Georgia

Hannah Isenhart

Boston, MA

Student and Volunteer

Tufts University, Class of 2021

Brett Rojas

Madison, NJ

Investment Banking Analyst B.S.

Tufts University

From the Family Promise National Board:

Joshua Barer

Mendham, NJ

Managing Director, Barer & Son Capital

B.S. Harvard University

Dan Tinkoff

Summit, NJ

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co.

B.A. Rutgers University, M.A. Drew University

Young people want creative, enduring ways to give back. The NextGen Committee will help sustain Family Promise and make its work even more meaningful.

—Nora Ali

From the Family Promise National Staff:

Cassidy O'Lear

Towaco, NJ

Brand and Marketing Associate

B.A. University of Connecticut

Mitchell Petit-Frere

Parsippany, NJ

Creative Content Manager, Family Promise

B.A. & M.A. Saint John’s University

Amber Young

New York, NY

Director of Volunteer Engagement

B.A. Hofstra University; M.S. Eastern University


Do you have expertise in one of the above areas and a passion for ending family homelessness. Reach out to us for more info on joining our committees and councils.

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