Here are the people who make all of this possible
Valerie AndersonThe Ringmaster (Strategy & Operations)
Synchronizing people, processes and projects
Valerie has a passion for creating environments in which others can thrive. In her role as Common Change’s Operations Director she finds balance synchronizing people, processes and projects. She received her MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cape Town and has spent the last 6 years establishing and maintaining a range of community development projects both in her home country, South Africa, and in low-income urban areas in the United States. She is a writer, problem-solver and strategist. Valerie and her husband, Brett Fish, have recently returned to their beautiful home city, Cape Town, where she is establishing Common Change South Africa.
Damien O’FarrellBoard of Directors
Damien O’Farrell lives in Riverside with his wife of 13 years, Jennifer, and 18 month old daughter, Marleigh.
He currently serves as the CEO of Path of Life Ministries, the largest homeless shelter and housing provider in Western Riverside County, hosting 11 shelter, housing, and development programs. Path of Life Ministries has also incubated and launched 2 other non-profit organizations intended to address issues surrounding poverty and generational poverty – They are Health to Hope Clinics (providing free and low cost healthcare) and Path of Life Enterprises (providing transitional employment opportunities and earned income for Path of Life Ministries through social enterprise models).
In addition to his role with Path of Life Ministries, Damien also recently served as the director of Community Development on the staff of Today’s Urban Renewal Network (TURN), where he now serves as a board member. TURN is an intermediary organization that connects Church congregations in collaborative efforts of compassion, service, and community development within the City of Riverside while also connecting those congregations with other like-hearted organizations doing similar work, supporting, and empowering those congregations with the training and information required to engage in the work of service to their community. TURN has been instrumental in providing the connections and support required for the development of Homeless programs in the city and the development of a collaborative effort between TURN’s network of Church congregations and the County Department of Public Social Services to meet the needs of Families in the Child Protective Services and Foster Care systems and find healthy foster and adoptive families for orphaned children.
Damien commits his time to the sustainable development of other organizations aimed toward empowering individuals to engage the common good within their communities and take personal ownership for the care and protection of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. As a certified Facilitator and Strategic Planner with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, Damien conducts planning sessions for these organizations, and serves on Boards, counsels, and committees directing the organizations’ operations. He recently served as Vice-President of the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership Board and on the most recent Riverside Charter Review commission. He is the founding Vice-President and a past President of The Pick Group (a Young Professionals organization that creates space for career and community minded individuals between the ages of 21 and 35 to connect, develop professionally, and engage civically for the betterment of the city), Board Member of The Relational Tithe dba. CommonChange.com (an international non-profit that creates a seamless platform of redistribution connecting people across historical dividing lines and meeting the needs of individuals in crisis and poverty), a member on the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council, a member of the original creation and steering committee for Seizing Our Destiny for which he now serves on the 5 member leadership core, and has been highly involved in the creation and implementation of Give BIG Riverside, and Our Riverside, Our Neighborhoods (formally known as 26 in 26).
Damien is fascinated by sustainable urban design and economics, integrated spiritual formation, and the arts.
Bryan GowerThe Ranger (Finance)
Bryan’s role as the Common Change Finance Controller is a convergence of his experience in the software industry and as a founding member of a local community development organization. His work experience includes over 7 years as a Senior Renewable Energy Registry Administrator for State Renewable Energy programs across the United States and over 6 years of community development work as the Board of Directors President for the Crosstown Community Center in Alameda, CA. He graduated from California State University East Bay with a Master of Public and Non-Profit Administration (MPA). Bryan is passionate about seeing isolation in all its forms eliminated from our communities through acts of generosity. Bryan currently resides in North Carolina with his wife and 2 children.
Flor JuarezBoard of Directors
Florinda (“Flor” to most) was born and grew up on a coffee plantation owned by her parents on the outskirts of Manila in the Philippines. She attended the University of the Philippines where she earned her undergraduate in Economics. During her sophomore year she became a follower of Christ and discipled through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. She later went on to pursue her Master in Public Administration (Economic Development) at Harvard University in the United States as an E.S. Mason Fellow. After a long stint in government service, Flor played an active role in Asia and the Caribbean working for World Vision, Feed The Children, International Aid and other Philippine-based NGOs. While serving World Vision in Cambodia in the 80’s she met her now husband, Rodolfo, a Cuban. She and Rodolfo settled together on the island of Cuba in 1986 where they worked alongside one another in the creation (and now leadership) of the first English-speaking congregation, the International Christian Community, in Havana. Flor is currently residing temporarily in Manila, Philippines while she attends to family matters.
Robb DavisBoard of Directors
Robb Davis is the Mayor Pro Temper of Davis, California. He is a public health professional with over 25 years of experience working in the field of food security, child nutrition and maternal and child health primarily in francophone West Africa. In more recent years he has focused on bringing the principles and practices of restorative justice to Yolo County and dealing with the challenges of homelessness and addiction in Davis. He continues to work in child health as a consultant in curriculum design, program design, monitoring and evaluation.
Robb has a Masters in Public Health and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.
He has worked primarily in the non-profit sector his entire career and lived and worked in West Africa. He has also worked extensively in over 40 nations around the world. He has taught graduate courses in training design, advocacy and program planning, monitoring and evaluation at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and at Eastern University.
Robb is married to Nancy Davis. Nancy works in the UC Davis College of Engineering Dean’s Office as a Student Advisor. Robb and Nancy have two adult children and three (beautiful and extremely intelligent) grandchildren all of whom live in Davis.
Brian BoitmannThe Bard (Chief Storyteller/Marketing)
Brian is a creative communicator, social entrepreneur and founder of the missional enterprise Acts of Sharing, a platform designed to enable the radical generosity practiced by the first church in Acts 4:32. While demonstrating the relational growth fostered through sharing goods, Acts of Sharing has been named a finalist at the SXSW Interactive Awards, featured in The New York Times, and named a leader in peer-to-peer sharing by The Knight Foundation.
Brian currently resides in Austin with his wife Iesha. He graduated from the University of Texas in 2008 and again in 2010 with degrees in History and Asian Cultures and Languages. In addition to leading his company, Brian works as a Senior Product Manager for the e3 Foundation, where he helps to craft online tools for collaboration. He is part of the Church at East, organizer for a restore community, Water and Wine, and is part of the Acts of Sharing Common Change group.
Steven LedgerwoodDirector of Common Change UK (Ambassador)
Educated in South Africa, I have a degree in Business Management, majoring in Marketing and Industrial Psychology. My work experience has 12 years (both client and agency side) of working, managing, growing, retaining and driving success in the Marketing Sector. Over 10 years is focused on managing teams in both client services and business development with 4 years as overall responsibility in a Managing Director capacity of various organisations. I have also worked with clients and managed teams all over the world, including Africa, Australia, Middle East, Europe, Asia and the Americas whilst having lived in 3 different countries South Africa, UK and Hong Kong.
My current residence is in London, where I live with my wife (Anne Ledgerwood) and 11 month old son (Joshua Ledgerwood).
Will SamsonBoard of Directors
Will Samson has a broad range of experience in the corporate, non-profit and political spheres. He is the author of multiple books and book chapters dealing with issues of social justice. Will serves on the Board of Directors of Common Change and the Center for Environmental Leadership. He is involved in community gardening efforts through his volunteer work with Seedleaf, a Lexington based food initiative, as well as being an accomplished home cook and gardener.
Ben YounanBoard of Directors
For over a decade Ben has been an educator and social-do-good-er. He’s worked with numerous non-profits and individuals around the world with the desire to make the world a little better.
Since moving back to the Twin Cites in 2011, Ben has committed to putting down roots and contributing to his local community. Ben continues to volunteer with numerous non-profit organizations both locally and internationally. By profession, he is a realtor and lives with his wife and two kids in Minneapolis, MN.
Shane ClaiborneFounding Member
Shane Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastern. His adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago where he served at the influential mega-church Willow Creek. As a peacemaker, his journeys have taken him to some of the most troubled regions of the world – from Rwanda to the West Bank – and he’s been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Shane is a founder and board member of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He is married to Katie Jo, a North Carolina girl who also fell in love with the city (and with Shane). They were wed in St. Edwards church, the formerly abandoned cathedral into which homeless families relocated in 1995, launching the beginning of the Simple Way community and a new phase of faith-based justice making.
Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom, Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers – and his classic The Irresistible Revolution. He has been featured in a number of films including “Another World Is Possible” and “Ordinary Radicals.” His books are translated into more than a dozen languages. Shane speaks over 100 times a year, nationally and internationally.
His work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been on everything from Fox News and Al Jazeera to CNN and NPR. He’s given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame. Shane speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe.