Planned Giving
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Board of Directors

Rev. John E. Simmons
Board Chair
West Virginia Baptist Convention
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Rev. John E. Simmons first joined the Foundation's Board of Directors as an at-large member in October 2015, bringing his experience in planned giving gained from his positions as Minister of Mission Support and Chief Financial Officer with the West Virginia Baptist Convention. He became the chair of theBboard effective January 1, 2017. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Louisville and a Masters of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, John served from 1984 to 1997 in pastorates at Calvary Baptist Church, Shelbyville, Indiana, First Baptist Church of Webster Springs, West Virginia, and First Baptist Church of Weston, West Virginia. He applied these pastoral skills internationally in 1997 when he began serving with the Thailand Lahu Baptists in pastoral and evangelism training and taught at their Bible school. He was also an administrative consultant for the Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention's executive team. His passion continues to be focused on missions as he works to encourage West Virginia churches and individuals to become involved in mission outreach through prayer, personal involvement, and financial support.
Rev. Jacquline L. Saxon
Vice Board Chair
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
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A native of Rochester, New York, Rev. Jacquline L. Saxon has brought her financial and theological acumen to the Foundation's board since 2016. After earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1984 from Howard University (Washington, D.C.), she served as Financial Analyst for IBM in Endicott, New York, later moving to IBM's location in Austin, Texas, where she was an Advisory Financial Analyst. While there, she pursued a call to ministry, earning a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2000. From 1996 to 2008 Jackie served as the associate pastor of the University Baptist Church in Austin. She then became the Admissions Counselor and Recruiter at her seminary alma mater (2006-2009) and Vice President for Student Affairs and Vocation (2009-2017). Her ministries have also included serving on a wider stage; for instance, she was nationally nominated as a representative to the General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA and was a convener of the American Baptist Women in Ministry Advisory Taskforce. In 2018 she began her present position as the Executive Minister for the Mid-American Baptist Churches of Iowa and Minnesota.
Marcus Pereira
Board Treasurer
Citizens Bank
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Marcus Pereira has been on the Foundation's Board since 2015. His experience in banking serves him well in his role as the treasurer. From 2010 to 2014 Marcus was a branch manager for TD Bank and from 2014 to 2017 was a lender with Citizens Bank, covering eastern Pennsylvania with an emphasis on large and medium-sized businesses. Marcus' ability to speak Spanish, Portuguese, and English has helped him to assist business leaders from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Presently, he is the business development manager with the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, the oldest credit union in the state with more than $5 billion in assets and over 450,000 members. Marcus is an active American Baptist and civic leader, a popular public speaker, and an ambassador with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as the Board Chair of the Nehemiah Wall, a non-profit organization sponsoring a home in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which provides a place for women and children who have had economic challenges or have been victims of domestic violence.
Nichole Tillman
Board Secretary
American Baptist Churches
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Nichole is the Foundation's Board Secretary. A Norfolk State University graduate who focused on Journalism and Public Relations, Nichole is now a senior communications and public relations executive. With nearly 20-years of experience as a leader and a change agent, she has done publicity for USA Today and The Harlem Globetrotters just to name a few. Nichole's areas of expertise include national and international media relations, public relations, crisis and corporate communication, brand management, community and government relations.
Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer
Board Member
General Secretary, ABCUSA
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Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer serves as the General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA since June 2017. Prior to his new call, Dr. Spitzer served as Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey for 14 years. His Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees are from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and in 2016, he was awarded a PhD degree in Theology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the International Baptist Theological Study Centre. Dr. Spitzer has written numerous scholarly articles and books. Dr. Spitzer is married to Lois and they have two children, Joshua and Larisa.
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray
Board Member, Executive Director
ABHMS
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An ordained American Baptist minister, Haggray has deep roots in the life of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and the greater Baptist family. He is a member of ABCUSA's Adaptive Challenge Team and chairman of the Baptist World Alliance's Commission on Social and Environmental Justice. Haggray also serves as co-chairman of the National Planning Team of New Baptist Covenant, a movement focused on uniting Baptists in service and Christian love to promote justice and overcome racial, theological and geographic boundaries. Haggray holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi, W.V., awarded Haggray an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2005.
Rev. Sharon T. Koh
Board Member
Executive Director, International Ministries
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Rev. Sharon T. Koh is the Executive Director of American Baptist International Ministries. A native of Los Angeles, CA, Rev. Koh is a graduate of the Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA (B.Sc.) and Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California (M.Div., M.A.T.). During her eleven-year pastoral ministry, Sharon served as the Mission Pastor at Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles. In 2016 she became the Executive Director of American Baptist International Ministries with oversight of American Baptist mission work in more than 70 countries.
Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri
Board Member
President of the Multi-Region Corporation Executive Minister, ABC of Wisconsin
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Marie has been the Regional Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin since August 2014. She joined the Board of the American Baptist Foundation in 2018 and became the president of ABF's Multi-Region Corporation, which was established to create a dynamic partnership between the Foundation and more than 30 American Baptist regions across the country. Marie has been shaped through her work experiences as a seminary admissions director as well as a pastor/ministerial staff member at three America Baptist churches in the San Francisco Bay area. She has been a cross-cultural competency trainer and executive in the retail industry. Through her lifetime of straddling the intersections of multiple cultures, she has used her skills in bridge-building, gracious and collaborative leadership, hospitality, communications, and holistic administration. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management at Binghamton University (N.Y.), and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at American Baptist Seminary of the West (Berkeley, Calif.). She enjoys sharing her skills as a poet, photographer, and pianist.
Rev. Steve Van Ostran
Board Member
Executive Minister, ABC Rocky Mountains
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Steve brings a wide range of regional experiences to the Board of the American Baptist Foundation. Before becoming the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains in 2008, he served the American Baptist Churches of the Central Region as Associate Executive Minister with duties in finance, administration and directing its interim ministry program. His passion for regional ministry grew out of his 18 years in pastoral positions in Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana. Steve has led pastoral discovery trips to such countries as Myanmar, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Lebanon, the Philippines and Zambia. He also has led or participated in mission work trips to India, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Steve earned his Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1987 and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1994. He has been an adjunct professor at Ottawa University (Kansas) and at American Baptist Seminary of the West and has been on boards for organizations like the Colorado Council of Churches, Habitat for Humanity in Franklin County (Kansas) and the Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa.
Rev. Dr. Jesse Brown
First Baptist Church of Chicago
Board Member
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Rev. Dr. Jesse Brown joined the Foundation's board in 2013, and three years later became the chairperson of the Board Advancement and Nominations Committee. He is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Chicago, the oldest Baptist congregation in that metropolitan area. Jesse graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in political science in 1972 and earned his Master of Divinity degree (1977) and Doctor of Ministry degree (2012) from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a past president of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago and was part of the leadership team for Immerse 2012, the National Youth Event of the American Baptist Churches USA, held in Washington, D.C. He has taught Christian education workshops in the Chicago area and has led mission teams to Alaska, Jamaica, Cuba, and Costa Rica. For 19 of his 38 years as a pastor, Jesse worked for the General Motors Acceptance Corporation as a finance and insurance consultant.
Debra Schill
Board Member
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Debra has been a long-term ABF board member while also serving on the board of the American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky. During her tenure with the Foundation she has been the Board's Vice President and Interim President as well as the chair of the grant committee where she has led in the growth and development of the Palmer Grant Program. She celebrates how that program, which funds ministries regionally, nationally, and internationally from a permanent endowment, touches numerous lives in tribute to Virginia and Gordon Palmer, Jr. Debra is a 1987 graduate of Indiana University. While there pursuing a computer science degree, she worked for H&R Block. During that time God showed her how much she liked tax preparation, and she felt called to switch to an accounting degree. She earned her CPA in 1993 and now owns her own accounting firm.
Rev. William Carlsen
Board Member
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Rev. Bill Carlsen was appointed as the Foundation's Interim Director in July 2010. When a permanent director was hired in November 2011, Bill was named the Chair of the Foundation Board, serving in that capacity until 2016. He graduated from Houghton College, Houghton, New York, with majors in Philosophy and Psychology and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton Massachusetts. As an active American Baptist, he served pastorates in Williamstown, Massachusetts and Rome, New York and became the Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches of New York State from 1994 to 2009. Previously, he served for fifteen years as that region's Field Counselor for World Mission Support, an office of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). For many years he was on the board of Springbrook, an institution that ministers to children and adults with developmental disabilities from across New York State and beyond. He once held the position of Treasurer of ABCUSA's Interim Ministry Program. He is a member of the board of trustees and adjunct faculty for Keuka College, Keuka, New York.
Michaele D. Birdsall
Board Member
ABHMS
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Michaele has brought stability to the Foundation's board during her 2004-2015 tenure and most recently by her return in 2018. Since 2007 she has served as the deputy executive director, treasurer, and chief financial officer for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS). There she oversees the areas of finance and socially responsible investing, partnering closely with the executive director to ensure that ABHMS maintains its strategic direction. Having served as the treasurer of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (2004-2006) and the assistant treasurer for the American Baptist Churches, USA (1998-2004), Michaele possesses vast knowledge of the various levels of American Baptist mission. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting at Rutgers University, Camden, N.J. in 1996 and became a certified public accountant in 2000. In 2013 she earned a masters degree in organizational development from American University in Washington, D.C. Presently, in addition to Michaele's role with the Foundation, she represents ABHMS in several additional key denominational arenas including being a member of the National Leadership Council, which serves as staff council for the denomination.

Patti Glasser
Board Member
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Patti joined the ABF board in 2013 when she became the Associate Executive Director for Operations for American Baptist International Ministries (IM). Prior to joining IM she was the Director of Operations for Mission Central, a ministry of the United Methodist Church. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Patti served in the U.S. Air Force and then the Pennsylvania Air National Guard where she attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In that capacity she held the positions of Chief Administrative Officer, Director of Human Resources, and Operations Manager and was the first female Chief of Staff in Pennsylvania Air National Guard history. In 2008 Patti entered state government as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In her present IM position Patti serves on its finance and investment committees, Foundation board, and the facility ownership and management council.
Rev. Dr. Norman G. Bullock
Board Member
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Having had senior management roles in the urban corporate, non-profit, and faith-based sectors, Rev. Norman Bullock brought this vast experience to the Foundation's board in 2015. He has served in many pastoral roles including youth pastor, associate pastor, and executive pastor of a non-denominational church plant before assuming his current role as interim pastor of the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. He also works as the controller of a non-profit organization. Norman possesses an undergraduate degree from UCLA in sociology and economics with a concentration in business administration. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology in social ethics and urban ministry with a concentration in non-profit leadership. He has also earned an MBA degree with a focus on entrepreneurship from Walden University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in leadership in the urban context. From 2001 to 2008 he was the executive director of The Canaan Group, a community development ministry of Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Through it he helped develop affordable housing and provided financial education and workforce development training.
David Gnirk
Board Member
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With his gifts in management and fundraising David joined the Foundation's Board of Directors in 2014. As an active layman he had served as president of the national organization of American Baptist Men in the 1990s and on the General Board of the American Baptist Churches USA in the early 2000s. David has worked as a volunteer in the area of development with many American Baptist organizations including a seminary, local congregations, and International Ministries. He has often encouraged donors to support their favorite ministries by incorporating the various financial instruments provided by the Foundation. David received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Rapid City college in 1974.
Lianne Wright
Board Member
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Lianne Wright has been an active member of First Baptist Church, Columbus, Indiana, since 1995. She has served as church treasurer and on the church council for 16 years. Music ministry, children's programs, and teaching adults, particularly in the area of personal finance, have been areas of ministry. Currently Lianne is helping to organize First Baptist's resource guide for seniors who are working to "make decisions by choice, not by crisis". Lianne holds an accounting degree from Iowa State University and worked in public accounting and financial institutions during her early career. Tax and nonprofits were areas of emphasis. Her work experience has translated well as she has served as treasurer and finance chair for her church and various nonprofit boards.
Sarah Hodges-Austin
Board Member
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Sarah has been a member of the Foundation's board since 2011. Her long-time dedication to local church life brings valuable experience and perspective to the board's deliberations. She has been active in the First Baptist Church of Washington D.C., where her parents met in the early 1950s. Sarah has called the Lord her savior from the time she was baptized at the age of ten. Her church responsibilities have comprised serving on several committees including memorials and building as well as being chair of the childcare committee and property management committee. After earning her bachelor of arts degree at the University of Maryland (College Park), Sarah worked for more than 35 years as an aviation data specialist. She programed computers and analyzed data in two major parts of the Federal Aviation Administration-the Office of Safety and Flight Standards Service. At her retirement in 2017 she was overseeing contractors and handling all of her division's administrative activities, like contracting for conference space.
Vincent W. Dent, Sr.
Board Member
ABHMS
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Vince joined the Board of the American Baptist Foundation in 2018, soon after he began his work as Chief Development Officer (CDO) with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS). As CDO, he is responsible for planning and implementing strategies to cultivate donors and secure financial support for ABHMS. Previous to this position Vince had been a consultant in Senior Major Gifts for the United Lutheran Seminary (Philadelphia, Pa.), the Senior Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for Overseas Council (Indianapolis, Ind. and West Chester, Pa.)-which provides assistance to 130 partner institutions worldwide-and Vice President of Advancement for United Church Homes, Incorporated (Marion, Ohio). His career has also included development positions for non-profit and educational institutions in Washington, D.C. as well as in Ambler and East Stroudsburg, Pa. Having earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1983 at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (Detroit, Mich.), Vince was in private practice as an attorney until 1992.
Ken Hines
Investment Committee Advisor
Wealth Management Advisor Merrill Lynch
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Ken is a Senior Vice President of Merrill Lynch having 35 years of experience with advanced certifications as a Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor and a Certified Investment Management Analyst, a title conferred through a progressive education program developed by the Wharton School of Business. He was a member of an initial exploratory committee of the American Baptist Churches, USA (ABCUSA), which was part of the process toward founding the Foundation (ABF). He is a past ABF board member and presently serves on the Investment Committee. Ken has also been on the boards and finance/ investment committees of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and from 1998 to 2001 was the Budget Review Officer for ABCUSA. He is a past finance committee chair for Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and the First Baptist Church of Rochester, where he has been a member for 30 years. He also is currently on the Investment Advisory Council for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies.
Anne Mills
Investment Committee Advisor
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Anne has served on the Foundation board in many ways for more than three decades. She became the founding chair in 1985 and presently is on the investment committee, which oversees the endowment fund, trusts, and annuities. Following teaching for four years, Anne joined IBM and retired after 26 years having served in a variety of executive financial and planning positions. She then became vice president for business management and CFO of Ottawa University (Ottawa, Kansas) for eleven years. She also served as a mutual fund trustee for 28 years and board chair for the last ten. Currently, she is a Director of the Wind Crest Board, a non-profit corporation overseeing the thousand-unit senior living facility at Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and serves on the National Senior Campuses Investment and Treasury Advisory Committee. In addition to the American Baptist Foundation, her many denomination roles have included being the national lay financial officer for American Baptist Churches, USA, and chair of the American Baptist Churches Rocky Mountains investment committee. She also is an Ottawa University life trustee, Brown University trustee emerita, and Denver Art Museum volunteer. She serves on several other volunteer boards.
David Moore
Investment Committee Advisor
Director of Investments at American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS)
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David brings vast investment experience to the Foundation in his position as the director of investments for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) Common Investment Fund. He is proud of his involvement with socially responsible investing issues in conjunction with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). ABHMS is a founding member of ICCR, a nonprofit organization that influences corporations by advocating against practices and investments involving tobacco, liquor, gambling, militarism, discrimination, abuse, and exploitation. Having earned a BA from Washington and Lee University in 1974 and an MBA in finance from Loyola University of Maryland in 1978.
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