- WHO WE ARE
- WHAT WE DO
- GET INVOLVED
Founder and Executive Director
In 2005, Ashley Holmer moved from Portland, Oregon, to Tanzania to work as an English teacher and soccer coach in a Maasai village. Toward the end of her year-long post, the leaders of a nearby village offered 20 acres of donated land on which to build the community’s first secondary school. Ten years later, Ashley has opened two secondary schools in rural areas of the country and serves as an advocate for girl’s education in Tanzania and around the world.
As Co-founder and Executive Director of the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT) from 2005 to 2011, Ashley oversaw the fundraising and construction of The Orkeeswa School, which opened in 2008 and today educates over 180 students each year. In 2011, she partnered with community members in Mungere Village, who donated 15 acres of land to build Mungere School. In 2012 Mungere School opened with its first 40 students and today serves over 125 students and families.
Ashley received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Willamette University in 2002, where she served as the Chapter Advisor of her philanthropic sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. She received the university’s “You’re Doing WHAT With Your Degree?” Award and was recently inducted into Willamette’s Athletic Hall of Fame for Women’s Soccer. Read more about Ashley's story.
Programs Director, Volunteer
Ada Banasik manages the organization's volunteer and sponsorship programs. She also serves on the Board of Directors. An environmental engineer with over nine years of experience in stormwater treatment, remedial design, low-impact development, construction management, and field investigations, Banasik oversees the design and implementation of all water and sanitation projects.
As member of the Portland professionals chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Ada was involved in the design and implementation of composting toilets and rainwater harvesting projects in both Ecuador and Tanzania and currently serves as a liason between EWB and Red Sweater Project.
Ada received her bachelor of science in civil engineering from Southern Illinois University in 2001 and is a licensed engineer in the State of Oregon.
Entrepreneurship & Sustainability Coordinator, Volunteer
With over six years of experience in program administration and management, Lindsay Pour is responsible for spearheading the creation of developmental models focused on sustainability and entrepreneurial concepts. This includes financial sustainability planning as well as revenue-generating program development.
Lindsay currently works as a Business Operations Specialist for the American Red Cross, where she is responsible for the development of financial trend analysis, management of financial controls and operations management. She has also served as a Research and Pricing Specialist, where she conducted market assessments of potential program expansions within 13 states. As Project Manager and Operations Supervisor, she managed staff while overseeing operational strategy, metrics development and process improvement.
Lindsay received her bachelor of arts from Reed College in 2004, and her master's in globalization and development from the Institute of Development Policy and Management in Manchester, UK, in 2009. She also received her certificate of nonprofit management from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2013.
Creative Director, Volunteer
Julia Dickey has worked with some of the most prominent designers and firms in the industry including Charles Schwab, Nike, Reebok, Laika, and Wieden+Kennedy. She handles design and web development for Red Sweater Project, and spearheaded rewriting, redesigning and rebuilding the new site.
Julia received her bachelor of arts in multimedia from the University of Oregon in 2008, and her bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from the Art Institute of Portland in 2009. She also compeleted a certificate in web development from Epicodus, and a certificate in user experience design from CareerFoundry in 2016.
Communications and Media Manager, Volunteer
Before joining Red Sweater Project, Kelsey Friedman served as communications director at the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT) from 2009—2011. In this role, she grew passionate about education in Tanzania and the important work being done there by organizations like Red Sweater Project. She also worked as media account manager and mobile product manager at Winning Mark, where she developed social media strategies and managed project launches of major client applications.
As content and product manager, Kelsey executed content product strategies and improvements for the startup website Journalsim Accelerator. Most recently, she served as senior project manager for Squishymedia, managing project executions as well as personnel, training, and mentoring team members.
Kelsey graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oregon in 2007 with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and a minor in film studies.
Office and Accounts Manager, Volunteer
Faye Pitcher served previously as a finance intern for Cause Premiere, based in Senegal, as well as in positions in accounting and as a support analyst.
Faye has served in public accounting positions as a purchase clerk at Nisbets PLC, as well as both a technician and income assistant for the Cornwall County Council. As supply chain and logistics coordinator at Motivation Direct, she managed all aspects of product delivery and program development, including forecasting, schedule modeling, and demand reports. For Motability Operations, Faye worked with budget holders to manage costs and funding while analyzing internal management information.
Faye graduated with honors with a bachelor of arts in business economics from Keele University in 2011, received her master of science degree in logistics and supply chain management from Lancaster University in 2012, and is a certified accounting technician.
IT Director, Volunteer
With over 17 years of experience in various technology roles, Tim Sexton oversees and consults on the technological direction of Red Sweater Project. In addition to this role, he serves Mungere Secondary School as a hands-on health professional to both students and local community members. Tim currently manages his technology consulting business, Databridge Solutions, which has been operating for the past 10 years.
Tim received his bachelor of arts in applied physics from Rutgers University in 1995 and is currently finishing his clinical work for medical assisting in Portland, Oregon.
Ada Banasik is an environmental engineer with over nine years of experience in stormwater treatment, remedial design, low-impact development, construction management, and field investigations.
In addition to being a board member, Ada serves as Red Sweater Project's programs director, managing the volunteer and sponsorship programs, and she also oversees the design and implementation of Mungere's water and sanitation projects. As a member of the Portland Professionals Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Ada was involved in the design and implementation of composting toilets and rainwater harvesting projects in both Ecuador and Tanzania and currently serves as a liaison between EWB and Red Sweater Project.
Ada received her bachelor of science in civil engineering from Southern Illinois University in 2001 and is a licensed engineer in the State of Oregon.
Sarah Ford is attracted to the hands-on mission of the Red Sweater Project and its powerful fundraising potential to ultimately change and impact the lives of children in Tanzania. She has traveled extensively to developing countries and brings fundraising and programming knowledge to the board, with over 13 years of experience in fundraising and network consulting at both the national and international level. Sarah's passion for serving the underprivileged started at a young age and developed through her studies and work experience, including her most recent work with Operation Smile, Inc., and ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Sarah graduated from Princeton University in 2004, where she received the Community Service Scholarship Award. She received her masters in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009.
Ambassador Alan F. Holmer has served as a member of the board since 2011. He has over 40 years experience in government and the private sector and has been involved with building secondary schools in rural Tanzania for over seven years. Previously, he served as co-chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as well as president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), where he led efforts to improve protection of intellectual property around the world.
Ambassador Holmer has served as a director of multiple for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises in the U.S. and overseas, and has deep experience in strategic planning, organizational direction, and risk management. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and a director of Breakthrough Partners, which operates in strategic regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America to identify and build indigenous leaders.
He has significant expertise in handling legal, international trade, and governmental issues, having held various positions within the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Commerce Department, and the White House, including serving as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative with rank of Ambassador. He also served as a partner at the international law firm, Sidley & Austin (now Sidley Austin LLP), as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and as chief of staff to Senator Bob Packwood.
Ambassador Holmer earned his juris doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1978 and graduated cum laude with an AB from Princeton University in 1971. He is the recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award from the U.S. Treasury and the Yetta Rosenburg Humanitarian Award.
Erika is the executive director of the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, DC. A former Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Guinea, where she served as a volunteer teacher with TEFL certification, Erika has extensive experience working in international education with a focus in Africa.
Erika's diverse professional career includes serving as policy associate with the National Youth Employment Coalition and project associate for the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, DC; program officer for Africare in Mali; and consultant to International Education and Training in Chad, working with clients such as UNICEF and the International Finance Corporation. She also served as interim school director at Mungere Secondary School in 2014.
Erika received her bachelor of arts degree in English from Spelman College in 1990 and her masters in education from Harvard University in 1996 with a concentration in International Education.
Beginning his career in finance at LaSalle Bank, John worked for the treasury department supporting cash management services for LaSalle’s clientele.
John is currently the vice president of diversified assets for PVS Chemicals, Inc. Prior to his role at PVS Corporate, he served as president of PVS Transportation and deputy managing director based in Bangkok, Thailand. He also serves on the PVS Board of Directors.
John received his bachelor of arts degree from DePaul University in 2005 and his master’s in business administration with a focus in family business from Kennesaw State University in 2012.
With years of experience managing programs in education and public health in Tanzania, Jenny Barker brings key skills to the advisory board in international development, specifically finance and operations management related to projects targeting education for girls, HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, and water programs throughout Africa.
Jenny has held multiple positions at FHI360, first as a program and finance associate for the Ambassador Girls Scholarship Program in Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and Tanzania. As a program officer for the Tanzania Marketing and Communications for AIDS (T-MARC) program, she managed and coordinated GIS/GPS monitoring and evaluation efforts to identify and map high-risk locations for HIV transmission and led field pilot visits as well as development of curriculum.
Jenny also worked with Procter & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Fund on a PUR clean water program in northern Tanzania. Currently, she serves as director of the Global FISH Alliance, a USAID-funded program working on sustainable fisheries with the communities who depend on them globally.
Jenny received her masters in public administration in international development management at George Washington University in 2006 and her bachelor of arts in communication studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1998.
With over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Dede has served both large and emerging nonprofits in the areas of management, operations, and development.
Based in Washington, D.C., Dede currently serves as director of operations and development for the School for Ethics and Global Leadership and as principal at Thoughtful Operations, her own startup providing support to local and international nonprofit enterprises.
Previously, Dede served as director of business and development for the Elsie Whitlow Public Charter School and executive director of the Greater Washington Hospitality Foundation, focusing on public relations, grant writing, and staff recruitment. She also assisted in the founding of Sightline Marketing as the vice president of operations, where she grew the marketing and communications firm revenue and net profit during her eight-year tenure. She has also spent time volunteering in Tanzania with Rift Valley Children's Center in Oldeani.
Dede graduated with her Diplôme d'études de la civilisation française from the University of Paris in Sorbonne in 1977.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Christine Bwayo is the daughter of a renowned HIV/AIDS vaccine researcher. After receiving her diploma in hotel operations from the Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management in South Africa in 1997, she moved to the United States and founded her own business consulting firm, guiding new businesses in the areas of health and hospitality, as well as nonprofit management.
Currently the office manager of both a family-owned acupuncture clinic in Portland, Oregon, and a hotel in Karen, Kenya, Christine also serves on the Marylhurst University Alumni Board of Directors.
Christine earned her master's in business administration from Marylhurst University in 2009 and a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Southern Oregon University in 2003.
Gary Edson is a distinguished former government official and entrepreneur. He currently serves as president of Conservation International. Previously, he was the Global Health Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, where he focused on the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, the leading public-private partnership aimed at reducing deaths from cervical and breast cancer in Africa and Latin America. Before that, he was CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, working to rebuild the country of Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. From 2001—2004, he served as Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy National Security Advisor. During that time, he was also chief negotiator for the presidential summits of G8, APEC, US-EU, and the Summits of the Americas.
Gary co-led the development of the $45 billion President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment ever by any nation for an international health initiative. He is credited with launching the organization Malaria No More as well as establishing the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent foreign aid agency reinforcing good governance, economic freedom, and investment in people.
Gary received his bachelor of arts in anthropology from Stanford University in 1977 and his master's in business administration and juris doctor from the University of Chicago in 1982.
Haley Holmer lends her talents in the health care field in areas of program performance and outcome evaluation. She has served as principal investigator for systematic reviews and health technology assessments while working for Oregon Health & Science University's Evidence-Based Practice Center and Spectrum Research, Inc. As a research fellow with Grassroot Soccer in Cape Town, South Africa, she supported the monitoring and evaluation team of the PEPFAR-funded HIV and life skills education interventions. In Tanzania, Haley served as a biology, chemistry and physics teacher, and designed and implemented curriculum at a rural secondary school. She also developed culturally relevant health curricula for secondary school students, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, reproductive health, sanitation, and nutrition education.
Haley received her bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience from Middlebury College in 2002 and her master's in public health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2009, focusing on epidemiology and international health. She also studied biology and health psychology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and is currently a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University.
Michele is a seasoned corporate manager with 20 years in advertising and marketing agency roles. As director of engagement services, client operations and client services, Michele has worked with companies such as WebMD, R2C Group, and CIBT, managing brands such as Boeing, Vonage, AOL, P&G, Philips Medical, Home Depot, and Wells Fargo.
Michele’s experience in marketing includes strategic planning, media, competitive research, production, creative development, fulfillment, ROI analysis, and consumer consideration. Currently, she serves as group account director at CMD Agency, managing the agency's largest client, Intel.
Michele received her bachelor of arts degree from State University of New York, Buffalo in 1994.
Born and raised in western Kenya on the foothills of Mt. Elgon, Tony Machacha grew up in the 1970s and '80s farming his family’s ancestral land. Since then, he has spent most of his career working to increase the visibility and success of small-scale agricultural initiatives around the world.
In 2005, Tony joined Heifer International’s National Immigrant Farming Initiative (NIFI) as a program associate, coordinating technical assistance to immigrant farming projects. He has also served as a research assistant for the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Program to improve food security in eastern Uganda, focused his thesis on Farmer Field Schools in western Kenya, tutored immigrant workers in Ames, Iowa, and volunteered as a staff member and on the management board for Worldly Goods, a nonprofit, fair-trade enterprise.
In 2010, Tony joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting the Agricultural Development Program in the Global Development division. As a financial associate, he is responsible for forecasting grant and contract spending, tracking division projects, and advising staff on a wide range of financial and operational issues.
Tony received his bachelor of science in agricultural engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University in 2001, his master's of science in sociology and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University in 2004 and his masters in business administration from Oregon State University in 2010.
As a skilled project manager, Kimberly brings 15 years of experience to the board in the areas of training, personnel, and business consulting. Most recently, she served as a senior orogram management analyst for Ford Motor Company, where she guided forecasted projects related to vehicle program plans and quality operating systems from functional integrated work plans through implementation.
As a senior program manager for Daimler Chrysler/Dodge’s commercial marketing programs, Kimberly refined new business implementation and support and, as a project supervisor, she managed the training of over 170 employees. She also worked as a program analyst for General Motors, supporting implementation and execution of corporate policies.
Kimberly earned her bachelor of business administration with a focus in international business from Western Michigan University in 1991.
Frank So joins the Advisory Board with experience involving multiple international development projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. He's currently serving as an advisor to the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID).
Prior to his work with the U.S. State Department, So worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), covering post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti. His work in humanitarian assistance also includes over four years in Sudan with the International Organization for Migration in Darfur and the United Nations in South Sudan. His private sector experience includes three years at Costco Wholesale. So also serves on the advisory board of VIDES USA, a nongovernmental organization based in San Antonio, Texas.
Frank graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in international relations from Seattle University in 2000 and received his master's of arts in peace studies and conflict resolution from the University of Ulster in North Ireland in 2006. He also studied at the Geneva School of Diplomacy School of International Service.
With over 25 years of experience with the U.S. State Department serving as ambassador, counselor, and envoy, Ambassador Stewart has a distinguished diplomatic career promoting overarching U.S. economic priorities and political policies on an international scale.
Starting in 1989, he worked in Italy in the consular's office and as chief economic officer; chief economical and political officer in Gaborone, Botswana and Niamey, Niger; and political-economic counselor in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. From 2004—2006, he served as deputy chief of mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he researched and drafted analyses regarding local and international efforts to rebuild the war-torn country and to develop key economic sectors and infrastructure.
From 2006—2010, Ambassador Stewart served as U.S. Permanent Representative/Ambassador to the UN Program Global Headquarters Environmental Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. There, he researched hard-fought negotiated positions on resolutions among 58 member states that define UNEP's global work on climate change, dangerous chemicals, developing country capacity building, sustainable water use policy, and global environmental monitoring and reporting. He has also worked as a researcher and writer for the State of Oregon and for Pacific Power & Light, based in Portland.
Ambassador Stewart graduated summa cum laude with a master's in economics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1980. In 2010, he received the U.S. State Department's Career Service Award from Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Vanessa Tharp joins the Advisory Board with a specialization in the areas of education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and leadership. Currently a high school teacher in Oregon, Vanessa is involved in student leadership, mentoring programs, diversity training, and teaching conference and workshop facilitation. She is also an adjunct professor for Concordia University's MAT and MEd programs.
Vanessa has a wide range of experience as a volunteer for various organizations, including the Oregon Association of Student Councils, Children's Cancer Association, and Doernbecher Children's Hospital. She also serves on the board of directors of the Oregon Public House and brings expertise in the areas of event planning, fundraising, and community building.
Vanessa obtained her bachelor of science in geography from the University of Oregon in 2004 and master of arts in teaching from Lewis & Clark College in 2005.
It’s a long way from Portland to Tanzania. Read how our founder, Ashley Holmer, first saw the potential in a red sweater, and explore our timeline to see how far we’ve come since 2005.
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