EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER
Dr. Schutz started supporting children for education and housing in 2002 while visiting friends and trekking in Nepal. She officially established Mitrata Nepal Foundation for Children, Inc as a nonprofit in 2005. Now she travels to Nepal to oversee program development, taking groups of sponsors/donors on cultural tours and serves as the volunteer executive director for Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children, Inc. in the USA. She is a psychologist in private practice.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS
Alexis Mead joined Mitrata in 2010 after holding leadership positions in resource and board development, project management, and event planning. Alexis now serves as part-time Director of Development and Operations. Having met the children Mitrata supports and trekking in the Himalayas, she knows firsthand what an incredible difference Mitrata makes in the lives of Nepali children.
Connie first became involved with Mitrata as a member of the Fundraising Committee and as a child sponsor along with other family members. She is retired from her position as Information Technology Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She lives with her husband, Steve and son, Ken and two elderly cats in South St. Louis. Connie currently serves as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Development and Communications.
Dr. Williger has been involved with Mitrata since its inception. She is retired from a private practice of psychotherapy, divorce mediation and counseling, and child custody evaluations. She has traveled to Nepal four times with Mitrata and actively sponsors two older girls who are in educational programs that will enable them to be financially independent. She has been chair of the Sponsor Committee prior to becoming Board President and is a member of the Finance Committee, Board Development Committee, and the Sponsor Committee as well as the Executive Committee.
SANDRA S. HOFFMANN
Dr. Sandra Hoffmann is a rheumatologist (physician specializing in arthritis and autoimmune disease) practicing in the South County area and lives in Kirkwood, MO. She is Vice President of the Board of Directors and a member of the Sponsor Committee at Mitrata-Nepal. She sponsors five children (two boarding school, two school, one university). In addition to one biologic child, she has adopted three children (from Korea, Russia, and Ukraine). Her role is to facilitate communications with sponsors and the general public.
Jim Craig, his wife Lynn, and twin daughters Danielle and Samantha live in Wildwood with two cats and a dog named Bow. Jim is a practice manager for Phase 5 Consulting and his wife is a technology architect for the Sisters of Mercy. The Craig family have been long-time child sponsors of a girl in our boarding school program. Jim is Secretary of the Board of Directors and a member of the Fundraising and Finance Committees at Mitrata-Nepal.
Mike Reed is a retired senior executive from the food production and agricultural chemical industries, having spent 13 years on the leadership team of Solae (a DuPont/Bunge joint venture) and 18 years at American Cyanamid prior to that. He established a track record of leading successful company mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, both domestically and internationally, in Europe, South America, and Asia, with special emphasis in China. Mike and his wife Connie are long-time child sponsors. Mike is Treasurer of the Board of Directors and a member of the Finance Committee.
Nina Balsam became involved through her association with Christine Schutz's meditation group, Sunday Sangha and started regularly attending events. Nina is a lawyer with a Master's in Nonprofit Management and serves as a member of the Board Development Committee. Nina grew up in Miami, came to St. Louis for law school and never left. Nina has a 32 year old daughter in Fort Collins and is a grandmother.
Ambrose is the founder and CEO of Red Lantern Journeys (www.redlanternjourneys.com), a Seattle-based travel company that arranges cultural tours and adventure travel packages to Asian countries. He has trekked and climbed in Nepal, including an attempt on Mt. Everest in 2005. In many Asian countries, it is disadvantaged women and children that suffer the most from society's inequities and they are the ones that can benefit society the most when given support and education. Towards that end, Ambrose started the Climb for Himalaya Children, a benefit climb of Mt. Rainier to fund the work of the Mitrata Nepal Foundation for Children. He serves on the Executive Committee.
Dr. Pamela Caraffa has been a clinical and organization psychologist for 36 years, specializing in leadership development, building cultures that enable people to thrive, and transformational change for businesses and not-for-profits of all sizes. After 10 years of sponsoring a child with her husband, Pam joined the Mitrata board in 2016 and is the Chair of the Board Development Committee.
David Floeh has enjoyed being in the lives of hundreds of families as a financial planner since 1986, and currently is located in Clayton, Missouri, practicing with two other planners as Floeh, Green & Fichter. David is a member of the Finance Committee. David Floeh and wife, Tracy, love to travel together and are making a difference in the world with numerous charitable interests, particularly with animals and children, specifically, sponsoring two sisters through Mitrata. David has two grown daughters, Natalie and Jessica.
Rick Hendin is the former Director of Human Resources for Boeing Military Aircraft, a business unit within Boeing's Defense, Space, and Security sector, based in St Louis, Mo. He retired from Boeing in July 2017. He was introduced to Mitrata through Christine and was very fortunate to join nine other sponsors on the 2014 trip to Nepal. The highlight among many highlights was meeting and getting to know "our children" and meeting his long-time sponsored child, Bijaya. He is Chair of the Finance Committee, a member of the Sponsorship Committee, and has visited Nepal five times.
Pam Hughes is a life-long teacher and counselor who retired seven years ago. She currently works part-time as a prevention specialist for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. In her spare time, she loves to travel and explore the outdoors. She was introduced to Mitrata-Nepal through her friend, Toni Schmidt. As Pam learned more about the work of Mitrata, she became inspired and excited about the opportuinty to make a real difference in the life of a child. She believes that empowering the children of Nepal will impact generations to come. She sponsors a girl with significant special needs and serves as Chair of the Sponsorship Committee.
Len is a technical writer working for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) in Seattle, WA, where he spends his days desperately pulling information out of recalcitrant Java developers. He has been involved with the Climb for Himalaya Children (CHC) for Mitrata-Nepal for five years, plus two years when the Climb was called Three Summits. He is married to Dr. Vera Trainer, a marine biologist, and they have two children, Roberto and Stephanny, both of whom have been coerced into the great outdoors since they were adopted from Guatemala. Len and Vera sponsor a girl's university education and are very active in supporting Mitrata in the Seattle area.
Jackie Wallach works for a major law firm in the St. Louis area as a specialist in the electronic discovery field. In 2010, Jackie had the fortune to travel with Dr. Schutz to Nepal, where she offered her skills as a portrait photographer for the Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children. During this visit, she became enchanted by the kindness of the Nepalese people and their abundant cultural heritage, as well as the children the organization supports, and became a sponsor and board member as a result of her experience. Jackie serves on the board in various ways utilizing her expertise in technology and multi-media and serves on the Sponsorship Committee.
Matt Plank has been an IT consultant in St. Louis since 2003, recently running Web Development at the local creative agency, Twist. He now runs an independent web development agency, Sophik – Catapult Websites, focused on bringing best practices and high-end user experiences to small businesses and not-for-profits. Matt is eager to use his experience in IT to improve the lives of those in need, in particular the children of Nepal. Matt serves on the Sponsorship Committee.
Urmila Panthi worked in Nepal for the NBA-Legal aid project for nine years. She developed and implemented programs for free legal aid to vulnerable women and children in various parts of Nepal as a advocate and women’s activist. For 18 years, she has worked as a social worker in a domestic violence shelter and with the Missouri Department of Mental Health after receiving the Dalai Lama scholarship to study and obtain and Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Urmila joined the board in 2017 to assist with board development and she serves on the Fundraising Committee.
Cindy Whitney became involved with Mitrata through her association with Karma Thalo Foundation (KTF). Cindy travels to Nepal each year with KTF to help the poor and needy achieve a lasting difference in their lives through better health, ultimately enabling their own self-sufficiency. Recently she had the opportunity to meet some of the Mitrata students and their families during the KTF-Mitrata health clinic. Cindy has worked for more than a decade in Human Resources for the School District of Clayton. She is an avid hiker who loves to ski, bike and swim. Cindy has two daughters and a son, all independent adults who live east of the Mississippi. Cindy serves on the Fundraising Committee.
Jim was one of the initial child sponsors and has supported the organization since its inception. He currently sponsors one child and assists the President in strategic planning and organizational issues. Jim's professional career has been in telecommunications and he has expertise in sales, marketing, company formation, and corporate funding. He hopes to see Mitrata grow into a sustainable institution for the welfare of the Nepali society and specifically for our children who need all the help we can give them.
He is the owner of MacroSun International, a fair trade buisiness that works directly with artisans throughout Nepal and all South Asia. Gil introduced his artisan friends in Nepal to Christine Schutz and this wonderful partnership of the spirit ultimately led to the formation of Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children. Gil states, "It has been a great honor to be involved with such a heartfelt and effective grassroots organization as Mitrata. I have seen with my own eyes the opportunities and healing that Mitrata offers to the heart, mind, and spirit of a child. I can think of no other task or organization more worthy." Gil currently works as a lawyer in a legal firm in Saint Louis.
Stephanie is the Visitor and Member Services Supervisor at the Saint Louis Art Museum. She sponsored a girl from 2003 until her sponsored child graduated from 12th grade and began her career as a dance instructor in 2014. Stephanie generously transfered her sponsorship to a young girl living and studying in our boarding school program. Stephanie served on the Mitrata Board from 2004 to 2014 and continues her work with the Fundraising Committee.
Toni Schmidt is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner with a private practice in Clayton and Webster Groves, MO. She was introduced to Mitrata-Nepal when her friend asked if she would be interested in co-sponsoring a child with her back in 2002. In 2011, she went to Nepal to meet that child, Pawan, who is now a young 20-year-old man attending college. The experience of meeting all of the children changed her forever. Toni served on the Mitrata Board from 2011 to 2016.
Beth Boyd CPA owns a tax, accounting and QuickBooks consulting practice in South St. Louis county. She was previously a board member and now is a member of the Fundraising Committee. She has been volunteering her services since 2006.