Renée LeVangie grew up in a family of eight in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. Her Mom was a teacher at the local elementary school and her father ran the family convenience store. Ever since Renée got her first taste of travel in high school, she hasn’t stopped. While studying Commerce at Saint Mary’s University she took a year off to explore Southeast Asia and Australia, and then spent three semesters interning at a business development centre in Halifax and a health foundation in Ghana. After graduating in 2010, Renée set off to South Korea, teaching English as a Second Language for two years to kindergarten children. Wanting to explore commerce in the international development context, Renée returned to West Africa for ten months, facilitating entrepreneurial workshops and expanding a micro-finance program. Teaching English had sparked a genuine interest in Renée, and she quickly became involved with a local school in Ghana. The children craved stimulation and what started off as having a few books on hand turned into a fundraising project that involved several schools and daycares. After returning to Canada, Renée completed a course in asset-based community development and started volunteering with a social enterprise managing their student ambassadors. Renée first came to San Juan del Sur in September, 2014, and joined the Barrio Planta Project as Program Manager in 2015, moving on to become BPP’s first Director of Development in 2016 and now sits on the Board of Directors where she is able to continue her commitment to education, youth empowerment and volunteering..
Anshul Jain works with Keystone Strategy, a boutique-consulting firm in Cambridge, MA. His work involves applied research and engagement across a wide variety of complex challenges related to technology, manufacturing, industry ecosystems and competitive market positioning, including expert litigation strategies for a diverse array of clients from established Fortune 100 companies to prominent leaders in cutting-edge technologies. Outside of strategy consulting, Anshul is completing his PhD in Political Science--his research has centered on political communication in the age of new media platforms. He is a co-author of The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), has published a number of other articles, presented at numerous conferences in the field, been interviewed in print and on television, and is currently planning the defense of his dissertation. Anshul also worked with the Boston Public Schools for 6 years, first as a teacher and later as a curriculum consultant, and has served as the Co-Chair of the Governing Board of a Pilot School since 2012
Glen Yates is a hard-working entrepreneur with a vision of creating a groundbreaking nationwide framing operation with the most talented, experienced team in the business. Growing up on a farm in Northern Alberta, Glen learned how to creatively solve problems using his strong work ethic, and his grassroots honesty. These were traits that served him well as he began his professional career after graduating from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Construction Engineering. Seeking adventure, Glen paired his early office experience with his growing interest in the construction industry and began pursuing a new goal. Undaunted by hard work, he started as a laborer on a construction site in the U.S. — eventually moving through the construction ranks to general manager of framing operations. Glen paired this impressive experience and work ethic with his people-centered approach and his focus on customer relations at every level. Glen views every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. A little over a decade after he began working in construction, Glen acquired majority ownership in Colt Builders. Leveraging his leadership, his keen understanding of the framing and construction industry, Glen builds excellent teams of the most accomplished professionals, has an impressive ability to recognize and foster talent, and has compelling vision. When not traveling or at work for Colt, Glen refuels by spending time with his family, hiking, snow skiing and waterskiing. Glen dedicates time, funding and resources to BPP, and is responsible for spearheading BPP’s expansion to Mexico
Bruce Makous is chief advancement officer of the Society for Science & the Public in Washington, DC. He has been a professional fundraiser for 32 years, previously serving as chief development officer for ACLU of Pennsylvania and before that as national vice president for development of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. He has held previous positions with American Association for Cancer Research, Drexel University, and The American College. He is a noted author on such fundraising topics as legacy giving, donor cultivation, and ethics. He has served on the national board of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and the international board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and has been named by the Nonprofit Times as one of the “Most Influential and Effective” fundraisers in the United States, an honor reserved for only 14 individuals annually. He has an M.A. from New York University and a B.A. from Oberlin College. Bruce has served as President of the Friends of Barrio la Planta Board since 2014.
Bruce Makous - Board President
David Hersh - Board Treasurer
David Hersh is the Senior Director of Strategic Analytics for the Camden City School District and a Strategic Data Project Fellow at Harvard's Center for Education Policy Research. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy at Rutgers University and the founder of The Endeleo Project, a non-profit that supports education organizations like BPP. Prior to starting his Ph.D. work, David was a Deputy Attorney General representing the state of NJ in child abuse litigation and an associate in Structured Finance for the NY office of Linklaters. Before that David taught HS math and physics in Maryland. He has been a member of the board of FBLP for over 4 years. David was born in West Milford, NJ and now lives in Philadelphia.
Rudy Espinoza - Board Vice President
Dafina Williams is Vice President, Public Policy at the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). She joined OFN in 2006 and leads the organization’s public policy development and legislative affairs related to affordable housing, small business lending, community reinvestment, and healthy foods financing. She also manages the organization’s regulatory advocacy and state and local policy efforts. She has presented at numerous industry conferences and contributed to economic and community development finance publications, including OFN's policy book, Good Policies for a Great America. Dafina is a magna cum laude graduate of Temple University, where she received a BBA in Economics. She has been a member of the board of the Friends of Barrio la Planta since June of 2015. She currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
Dafina Williams - Board President Elect
Brenden Layte is a Senior Development Editor for National Geographic Learning and a linguist with a focus on the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of language acquisition, bilingualism, and language variation. He has worked in ESL/EFL education for ten years, holds a TEFL diploma, and has completed teaching courses and training through the TESOL International Association. Brenden has a BFA from Emerson College and is currently enrolled in the graduate program for Applied Linguistics at Boston University, where he is designing and leading a research study on bilingual autobiographical memory encoding and recall. He has been a member of the board of the Friends of Barrio la Planta since June of 2015. Brenden was born in Worcester, MA and now lives in Jamaica Plain, MA.
Kezia Carpenter - Secretary of the Board
Rudy is Nicaraguan American, originally from Miami but has lived all over the US & Latin America. Rudy attended an agriculture school growing up and went on to study International Agriculture & Development with a focus in Business Management/Marketing at Cornell University. After working in business in India, Chile and New York, Rudy moved to Nicaragua in 2010, where he discovered his passion for marketing and giving back. While in Nicaragua, Rudy served on the board of several nonprofits, which is where he became involved with BPP in 2011. Rudy’s notable work in marketing led him to Panama, New York and now Mexico where he currently works as senior Marketing & Strategy Manager at Intel in Mexico City, leading Intel brands in Mexico by expanding digital investment, influencer/content marketing and PR. Rudy has developed long-term brand strategy for products in the Latin American region and was recognized as an Intel Top Performer his first year on the job. Rudy utilizes his visionary leadership, expertise in marketing and strategic thinking to help BPP continue to grow through fundraising, marketing and consistent targeted outreach.
Marc Schultz presently lives in Amagansett, NY with his wife Dayna and 17-year-old daughter Maya. He has a B.S. from Syracuse University and an MBA from Pace University.
Marc currently engages in projects such as real estate investments and is now building a small resort and retreat center in Escameca, Nicaragua at Costa Dulce Beach Resort.
Prior to that, up until 9 years ago Marc had a career in the financial sector, which culminated into CEO at Head of America's for a global financial services organization.
Marc first visited Nicaragua in 2006 and immediately felt at home with the land and people and purchases land. He built a home a few years later and spends a good amount of time there. Marc plans to spend 6 months in Nicaragua and 6 months in Amagansett starting the fall of 2018.
While in Nicaragua Marc sponsored children through the Fabretto Foundation, and tried to support local schools, communities, children and families, this was always done in a non-organized/structured manner.
After being introduced to BPP he has been excited to continue to support a local community in a more efficient and structured manner, and has been behind the majority of fundraising efforts responsible for spearheading BPP’s rural Nicaragua branch, BPP Escamequita.
Kezia Carpenter joined Friends of Barrio la Planta after a two-week trip to Nicaragua in November 2013. She met Dyani by chance and was deeply impressed by BPP’s commitment to the San Juan del Sur community and its innovative education programming. Over the past four years, Kezia has been an active board member, supporting BPP’s leadership in developing its program assessment practices, the creation of its first annual report, the initiation of its now annual Holiday Fundraiser, and the enhancement of BPP’s early childhood English program. Outside of BPP, Kezia has led or supported numerous mental health and education initiatives during her thirty-year career, including the pioneering of Cincinnati’s first intensive case management agency and the creation of a family childcare program for New York University, which now serves as a model for other universities (e.g., Harvard Medical School). She has worked as a teacher, program director, and educational consultant in private and public education settings in New York, Ecuador and Panama, including Early Head Start and Head Start programs. She collaborated with Migrant and Seasonal Head Start for her doctoral research and has presented her findings at national and international conferences. Kezia has licenses and graduate degrees in agency and community counseling, early childhood/elementary education, and interdisciplinary studies in the humanities. Kezia moved to Panama City, Panama in 2014. She enjoys living in Central America and has been working at a Panamanian school, helping their early childhood team improve its education program and launching a new university credit program for academically advanced high school students. This year she will join Florida State University Panama as a part-time humanities and education professor.