Board President, Program
Board President, Program Committee
Leatrice, a Program Manager with Disability Network Southwest Michigan, started volunteering with First Day Shoe Fund during the summer of 2017 as a committee member because she felt a true connection to the mission and vision of the organization. In her professional role, Leatrice is able to assist the agency in furthering its mission of educating and connecting people with disabilities to resources while advocating for social change. She likes that she can bring that same perspective to work on the Board of First Day Shoe Fund.
“When I’m not working or volunteering for several different nonprofit agencies in the area, I love spending time with my family. I have two children who attend Kalamazoo Public Schools. Destiny and Aaron truly motivate me to do my best in all that I do. It is my goal in life to advocate for, and be a positive representation of all of the marginalized groups I am a part of.”
Board Member, Fund Development Committee
Lynn is currently the Community Education Leader for Kalamazoo Public Schools and has worked tirelessly to support the mission of the school district for over two decades. Just recently, in 2021, she began to serve as a volunteer board member for First Day Shoe Fund, but has witnessed their great work for many years. Lynn has lived in the Kalamazoo community for over 30 years and is very active in our community. In addition to her professional responsibilities and community service, Lynn spends her remaining free time running, bicycling, and sewing. Lynn is the very proud mom of two sons who are graduates of KPS and are Kalamazoo Promise recipients.
"I volunteer with First Day Shoe Fund because I know how important it is for each and every student to start the school year feeling good about him/herself. Having something new, just like everyone else does at the beginning of the year, builds self-confidence and that ‘can do’ grit. Each child deserves that special feeling of having a new pair of sneakers to wear to school, to participate in gym class, and to put on and feel like she/he can get excited about the many other fun things there are to do in school."
Liz currently works for the Bronson Health Foundation as Executive Director and recently served six years on the Board of Directors for the Kalamazoo Literacy Council. Liz completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband Jacob, two children, Stella and Sebastian, and their dog Betty.
Liz has a passion when it comes to educational equity and ensuring basic needs are met to support a learning environment. “As someone who has previously volunteered at First Day Shoe Fund distributions, I have seen the excitement in kids’ faces when they get their new shoes. It is amazing to see and, as a KPS parent, I’m grateful to join the board and help play a small role in sustaining this important effort.”
Fund Development Chair
Board Vice President, Fund Development Committee Chair
Doug is a scientist and project team leader at Zoetis and has been on the First Day Shoe Fund Board since 2017. When not volunteering for First Day Shoe Fund, he enjoys home improvement projects, traveling, going to the movies, being outdoors and chasing after his pets. He's also a part-time fitness instructor who resides in the Winchell neighborhood with his partner, Zac, and their three dogs, Duncan, Ketchup and Ruby.
"I volunteer with First Day Shoe Fund because I believe it is important to give back to the community. While volunteering at my first shoe distribution, I felt overwhelmed by the emotions of volunteers and kids alike. I observed that when kids receive their new shoes, they become more enthusiastic, talkative, and most importantly, more child-like. To me, this was very eye-opening; being part of it firsthand brings home the impact of basic need fulfillment. I’m proud to be part of this incredible organization that positively affects the lives of so many within Kalamazoo County."
Board Member, HR Committee
Jason, who lives in Kalamazoo with his wife Ryanne and their three children, joins the First Day Shoe Fund Board of Directors in March of 2020. His work in Operations Management at Stryker, as well as his experience on the Board of Directors of Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes will provide a new perspective to the Board.
Jason chose to serve on the FDSF Board after learning about the impact on the community. He is passionate about equity and helping others, especially children and believes that new athletic shoes bring confidence and support an active lifestyle.
"The greatness of a person is not is not how much wealth they acquire, but in their integrity and their ability to affect those around them positively”-Bob Marley
Board Member, PR/Marketing
Board Member, Marketing Committee
Josie is the owner of Josie Joan Creative, a marketing and graphic design company specializing in nonprofits. She also is the Marketing Coordinator for Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo. Passionate about community development, Josie earned her Masters of Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Josie joined the First Day Shoe Fund in the summer of 2019.
She lives in the Milwood neighborhood with her husband Nathan and daughter August. They have a dog named Ohlie and a cat named Flint.
Secretary, PR/Marketing Chair
Board Secretary, PR/Marketing Committee Chair
Christa is an active mom of three, wife of a Tiny House Building Entrepreneur, and Personal & Executive Coach. They love spending time outside as a family, and Christa loves serving her clients and customers for enriching and engaging experiences.
"I volunteer with the FDSF because I believe that each human is only limited in their abilities by their confidence and beliefs in themselves. By serving our younger population to build confidence, to have ‘equal footing’ to others, is a critical step in their development as I think about their personal growth and how one day, they will be contributing members of our community."
Board Member, Program Committee Chair
Stacy is a part of the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network team as an Out-of-School Time Program Development Coach. Previously, she was employed by Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo. Stacy loves to be involved in the community as the Immediate Past Board President for Open Doors of Kalamazoo, Board Member for Girls on The Run Kalamazoo, Treasurer and Youth Ministry leader for Bible Baptist Church and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
"I chose to serve on the FDSF board because of these two words from the mission, "equal footing". Those words provide a world of context for those who may wonder why a pair of shoes is so valuable. I've also been able to experience youth receiving a new pair of shoes and the impact that has on self awareness and confidence. I'm happy to bring my experiences into service with FDSF."
Board Member, Finance Committee
Born and raised in this area, Tim is proud to call Kalamazoo home! He is a graduate of Plainwell High School and stayed close enrolling at Western Michigan University. In 2004, he graduated from WMU with a Sales & Marketing Degree. Shortly there after, he joined Greenleaf Hospitality as a Sales Manager and has worked hard over the 15 years to grow into his current position as CEO. When not involved with Greenleaf businesses, he loves to spend time with family, coach one of his kids in their sports or he can be found on the golf course!
"Volunteering in our community is very important to me, whether that's with Discover Kalamazoo Board of Directors, the time I've spent with the Kalamazoo Marathon, or with the many initiatives we've launched at Greenleaf. I'm excited to be involved with First Day Shoe Fund as I believe their mission to be so powerful for our youth."
Treasurer, Finance Chair
Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Allison is currently a Senior Wealth Management Advisor at Greenleaf Trust. Originally from the east side of the state, Allison earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on corporate finance from Central Michigan University. Allison is a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® practitioner as well as a CERTIFIED COLLEGE PLANNING SPECIALIST®. Allison joined the board in 2017, hoping to make an impact in an area which she shares a strong passion – underprivileged children in our community. When not working or helping with the FDSF, Allison enjoys spending time with her three children and watching them compete in numerous sporting events, and cheering on Michigan football! Go Blue!
Board Member, HR Committee
Lynn Kelly-Albertson has served on the boards of Planned Parenthood, the Volunteer Center and Fire Historical and Cultural Arts Collaborative as well as volunteered for many local nonprofits. Lynn retired in 2019 as the Executive Director of Career and Student Employment at Western Michigan University. Since retirement she has started a small business, Kibble Time Pet Care and is employed part-time with WMed as a standardized patient. Lynn and her husband Jerry live in Kalamazoo and have one dog named Mazzie. Lynn enjoys yoga and traveling to anywhere there is water.
Andrea and her husband Connor live in the Edison neighborhood and love being a part of the vibrant, downtown area. She has been at the helm of First Day Shoe Fund since February 2019, and brings years of experience from other Kalamazoo nonprofit partners. When she's not up to her eyebrows in children's shoes, Andrea travels with her husband, volunteers with Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo , and enjoys all that this amazing city has to offer.
"Seeing a child run around the room after finding shoes that fit--that's a game changer. Kids shouldn't have to be focused on basic needs like food, shelter, shoes.... they should be focused on learning and growing into tomorrow's leaders."
Board Member, HR Committee Chair
Surangi joined the board in February 2021. Surangi lives in Kalamazoo, MI, with her husband, son and Goldendoodle. She is originally from Sri Lanka and has been in Michigan for over half of her life. She has many years of professional HR experience and currently works at Stryker Corporation. She has a bachelors’ and master’s (MBA) degrees from Western Michigan University with the focus in HR and business management. She is a certified SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), a 360 coach, certified HR consultant, and a Gallup Strengths Performance Coach. Surangi loves spending time with her family and friends, travelling globally, and exploring various cultures and cuisine.
Surangi is very passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and has had been involved in related programming and activities at Stryker as well as in the community. She has also been a part of Boy Scouts of America as a Den Leader for the past 5 years and has a strong focus on youth development. These are a few of the main reasons that triggered an interest for Surangi to join the FDSF.
“As a mother and an advocate for children, I strongly believe that each child should have the opportunity to attend school in equal footing. I’m a firm believer in diversity, equity, and inclusion. FDSF serves diverse groups of students and beautifully adds to and strengthens equity and inclusion. It’s my privilege to volunteer my time as a board member and HR Committee Chair for the FDSF.”