DSCF4681 (2).jpg

CHRISTINE SCHUTZ

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.


ALEXIS MEAD

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.jpg

CONNIE COLVIS

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

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.

 

OFFICERS

 
nancy.jpg

NANCY WILLIGER

PRESIDENT

Dr. Nancy Williger has been with Mitrata since its inception. She has been an active child sponsor, participated in the Fundraising Committee and is now President of the Board along with her role as Chair of the Sponsor Committee. She has visited Nepal twice in the last four years to meet the children and staff who keep the program going in Nepal. She is a psychologist in private practice in St. Louis, MO.


sandra.jpg

SANDRA S. HOFFMANN

VICE PRESIDENT

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.


JAMES CRAIG

SECRETARY

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.


r.michael_reed_photo.jpg

MICHAEL REED

TREASURER

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 at Mitrata-Nepal.

 

 BOARD MEMBERS

 
nina.jpg

NINA BALSAM

Nina Balsam became involved with Mitrata through her association with Christine Schutz's meditation group, Sunday Sangha. Nina learned of Mitrata events through Christine and started regularly attending them. Christine knew Nina was a lawyer with a Master's in Nonprofit Management, and asked her to join Mitrata's Board of Directors. Nina is a member of Executive Committee specializing in board development. 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 about to become a grandmother.


ambrose.JPG

AMBROSE BITTNER

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.


caraffa.jpg

PAMELA CARAFFA    

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 to assist in board development.


DAVID FLOEH

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

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 also a member of the Finance and Sponsorship Committees, and has visited Nepal four times. 


PAM HUGHES

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 KANNAPELL

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 

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.


Matt Plank

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.


Urmilla Panthi

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 Mitrata board in 2017 to assist with board development. 

urmilla.jpg
 

 ADVISORY MEMBERS

 

JIM BRASUNAS

Jim was one of the initial sponsors of Mitrata-Nepal 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.


GIL WILLIAMS

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 is currently completing his degree in law at St. Louis University.


STEPHANIE RECHT

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 now serves as an Advisory Board member and continues her work with the Fundraising Committee.


TONI SCHMIDT

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 and now serves as an Advisory Board member.


bethnew.jpg

BETH BOYD

Beth Boyd CPA owns a tax, accounting and QuickBooks consulting practice in South St. Louis county. She is member of the Fundraising Committee. She has been volunteering her services to Mitrata since 2006.