Our Board Members

US Board Members

Lauren Boswell Blair

Lauren Boswell Blair

Chair

Lauren has experience writing policy for various government agencies and authored the novel about Kupenda, “An Unlikely Gift.”

    Chair

    Lauren is an experienced writer who earned with an honors degree in English and has gone on to write policy for various government agencies and contracting companies. She also wrote An Unlikely Gift, a book about Kupenda’s founding and growth.  Lauren has always had a heart for children with physical struggles because she underwent numerous surgeries as a child. Her compassion for people who struggle energizes her to get involved with Kupenda. In addition to working with Kupenda in Kenya on multiple occasions, Lauren has hosted a variety of awareness and fundraising events. Without her fundraising efforts in the early stages, Kupenda would not be where it is today.  Her love of the children she met in Kenya is evident in her devoted leadership of Kupenda’s board of directors!

    SEE FULL BIO
    Cynthia Bauer

    Cynthia Bauer

    Board Member

    As Kupenda’s executive director and founder, Cynthia provides the board with updates on both the U.S. and Kenyan operations in addition to financial reports.

      Board Member

      As the executive director and founder of the organization, Cynthia continues to hold a position on the board. She provides the board with updates on both the U.S. and Kenyan operations in addition to financial reports. Cynthia facilitates the board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Read Cynthia’s full biography here.

      SEE FULL BIO
      Keita Rone Wilson

      Keita Rone Wilson

      Board Member

      Keita Rone Wilson is a native of Detroit, Michigan and has worked in the field of special education over 20 years as a speech pathologist, special education teacher, educational consultant.

        Board Member

        Keita Rone Wilson is a native of Detroit, Michigan and has worked in the field of special education over 20 years as a speech pathologist, special education teacher, educational consultant. Keita has both a MS and PhD in special education and is currently an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has taught courses that address inclusion and diversity. In addition to her work in teacher preparation programs, Kay is passionate about her research interest which includes studying how other cultures perceived and experienced disabilities. Kay is excited about working towards improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families through the mission and vision of Kupenda for the Children.

        SEE FULL BIO
        Jeff Gentry

        Jeff Gentry

        Vice Chair

        Jeff holds a Master of Divinity degree and currently serves as the Director of Youth Services at Community Relations for Triangle.

          Vice Chair

          Jeff holds a Master of Divinity degree and currently serves as the Director of Youth Services at Community Relations for Triangle, an organization that helps people with disabilities and their families live more independent, dignified lives in their local communities. Jeff is also proud to be a part of the leadership of IMPACT: Ability, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported initiative that empowers organizations and individuals with disabilities to prevent abuse. Jeff has served with and been shaped by the work of L’Arche Toronto and related leaders in the field of disability care, including Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier. Jeff’s passion for people with disabilities began when he was in the fourth grade and continues to drive his work as a Kupenda supporter and an invaluable leader in this field!

          SEE FULL BIO
          David McKay

          David McKay

          Board Member

          David McKay is a retired partner at Ropes and Gray law firm and a founding member of the MS Cure Foundation.

            Board Member

            David McKay is a retired partner at Ropes and Gray law firm and a founding member of the MS Cure Foundation. He is also a member of the Vestry and Finance Committee at Christ Church Episcopal, the Zoning Board of Appeals for the town of Wenham, Massachusetts and the Boston Bar Journal where he also serves on the Board of Editors. David received an award for Banking and Finance Law from  The Best Lawyers in America. He earned a JD from Boston College Law School, an MAT from Brown University and a BA from Hamilton College. David also can relate to our beneficiaries since he has lived with Muscular Dystrophy for more than 20 years and uses a walker to help him with mobility challenges.

            SEE FULL BIO
            Patricia Prasada-Rao

            Patricia Prasada-Rao

            Secretary/Treasurer

            Patty holds degrees in Psychology/Pre-Med and Public Health and has worked with several non-profits.

              Secretary/Treasurer

              Patty holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Pre-Med and a Master’s degree in Public Health. She has worked with several non-profits over the past 20 years, both in the U.S. and abroad, in multiple roles. In addition to her public health and research background, Patty has worked in corporate marketing, psychiatric program management, and as an area director for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. She has served on 11 different boards and actively volunteers within her community and abroad. Near and dear to her heart is her family’s work with the Chadalawada School (Pure Religion in Action [PRIA] Ministries) in India. Her experience in community and international development, as well as faith-based leadership, is a valuable resource for Kupenda!

              SEE FULL BIO
              Hillary Pember

              Hillary Pember

              Board Member

              After spending close to 20 years in management consulting Hillary embarked on the far more challenging full-time occupation of raising her three children.

                Board Member

                After spending close to 20 years in management consulting (with a focus on market research and financial analysis) Hillary embarked on the far more challenging full-time occupation of raising her three children. Balancing her time between various volunteering activities as well as a freelance writing career, she also served on several boards and committees for nonprofit organizations in the education sector. In each of these roles, Hillary played a central role in furthering the success of the institutions financially and advancing their overall mission goals. By far, Hillary credits her role as a mother as her most important undertaking. Having two of her children diagnosed with learning disabilities (which she prefers to be called learning differences) she is passionate about reeducating people on the potential gifts a “disability” can unveil. She is a great supporter of all that Kupenda stands for and has achieved!

                SEE FULL BIO
                Isaac Olatunde

                Isaac Olatunde

                Board Member

                Isaac holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and has 20 years of experience working in a variety of roles connected to this field.

                  Board Member

                  Isaac has worked for several nonprofit organizations and is currently a clinician for people with behavioral health issues. Issac is from Nigeria, has lived in the Middle East, and has extensive experience working overseas. Growing up in Nigeria, he witnessed the abuse of people with disabilities due to similar belief systems we encounter in Kenya. As our only U.S. board member who is not an American, Issac can see western cultural influences in our decision-making and, in bringing these to our attention, helps to reduce bias and expand Kupenda’s cross-cultural sensitivities. Isaac’s compassion for people with disabilities and his unique international experiences are invaluable to our work!

                  As a Board member, Issac attends all of Kupenda’s board meetings and important related meetings. He is also an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Issac provides counsel to the executive director and her team as requested and according to his areas of expertise.

                  SEE FULL BIO
                  Brian Lowery

                  Brian Lowery

                  Board Member

                  Over the last 18 years, Brian has ministered in churches in western Illinois, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and on the west coast of Florida.

                    Board Member

                    Over the last 18 years, Brian has ministered in churches in western Illinois, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and on the west coast of Florida – and planted a church on the west side of Indianapolis. In addition to local ministry, he also served for three-and-a-half years as the managing editor of PreachingToday.com, a ministry resources branch of Christianity Today International. He holds an undergraduate degree in preaching from Lincoln Christian College, and a Master of Divinity (emphasis in New Testament) from Lincoln Christian Seminary. He, his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Eden, live in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

                    SEE FULL BIO

                    Kenya Board Members

                    Kupenda’s name in Kenya is “Kuhenza for the Children’s Foundation.” Kuhenza has a Kenyan board of directors that oversees and supports the organization’s staff and operations.

                    Reverend Robert Mangi

                    Reverend Robert Mangi

                    Chair

                    Reverend Robert Mangi has been a pastor for over 30 years leading congregations at eight different Anglican churches.

                      Chair

                      Reverend Robert Mangi has been a pastor for over 30 years leading congregations at eight different Anglican churches in Kilifi County. He currently serves as the Archdeacon for the Anglican Church of Kenya in the Malindi Diocese. His church was the first one Kupenda worked with to include children with disabilities early in the organization’s development. The programs at this church serve as a model to other churches seeking to be more inclusive. Reverend Mangi’s work and experience helps Kupenda connect to other pastors in Kilfi County.

                      SEE FULL BIO
                      Linnet Mkutano

                      Linnet Mkutano

                      Board Member

                      Linnet developed epilepsy at the age of 26 and by 27 was unable to walk to talk due to the paralysis caused by her seizures.

                        Board Member

                        Linnet developed epilepsy at the age of 26 and by 27 was unable to walk to talk due to the paralysis caused by her seizures. She was bedridden until the age of 35, when she finally received medicine to manage her seizures and began working with a physical therapist to improve her mobility. After ten years of medication and PT, Linnet finally began to walk again and now is able to walk independently using a cane. Her journey through disability inspired her to join the Kuhenza Board and found the Matunda Disabled Women’s Group, which has 15 members who have been meeting together for 10 years. She also acts as a role model and counselor for people with disabilities and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities through speeches at rallies, ceremonies and chief meetings throughout her county. Linnet has a certificates in Rights of the Girl Child and Counseling for Stroke Victims. She also has a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from the Kilifi District Education Center

                        SEE FULL BIO
                        Norbert Deche

                        Norbert Deche

                        Vice Chair

                        Norbert spent his career working as a legal advisor and traveling extensively in his position with Kenya’s immigration department.

                          Vice Chair

                          Norbert was drawn to the work of Kuhenza because he has a daughter with a disability who is still under his care, even though she is over 30 years old. Although now retired, Norbert spent his career working as a legal advisor and traveling extensively in his position with Kenya’s immigration department. Norbert is a trusted advisor to the Kenya director. In 2014, Norbert’s flexibility and finances also allowed him to accompany the Kenya director to visit the work of Kupenda in the U.S.

                          SEE FULL BIO
                          Cynthia Bauer

                          Cynthia Bauer

                          Board Member

                          Cynthia, Kupenda’s founder and Executive Director, also serves on Kuhenza’s Board. She provides updates on Kupenda’s U.S. operations and supports strategic planning.

                            Cynthia, the Kupenda founder and executive director, is also a board member for Kuhenza. Read Cynthia’s full biography .
                            SEE FULL BIO
                            Susanne King

                            Susanne King

                            Board Member

                            Susanne King has more than 30 years of experience working as a social pedagogue (a teacher and social worker) in Denmark, Tanzania, Zambia, and Kenya.

                              Board Member

                              Susanne King has more than 30 years of experience working as a social pedagogue (a teacher and social worker) in Denmark, Tanzania, Zambia, and Kenya. She served both the Danish Council and Danish Refugee Aid as a family counselor and worked as a development professional and nutrition group coordinator in Zambia. Susanne also served as headmistress at the Nordic School in Dar es Salaam and as Deputy Head of a Nature at a kindergarten in Denmark. She has experience working with teenage mothers, families with alcohol issues, and young adults with special needs and has earned diplomas in adult education and business administration.

                              SEE FULL BIO
                              Gabriel Mwanengo

                              Gabriel Mwanengo

                              Treasurer

                              For 20 years, Gabriel has been a teacher for children who are deaf. He was also the head of a special unit at the Gede Special School for children who are deaf.

                                Treasurer

                                Gabriel has over 20 years of experience working as a teacher for children who are deaf. He was also the head of a special unit at the Gede Special School for children who are deaf or have physical disabilities. His extensive experience and attention to detail make him a strong Board Treasurer and great asset to the Kuhenza team.

                                SEE FULL BIO
                                Julius Kalu

                                Julius Kalu

                                Board Member

                                Julius Robert Katoi Kalu has been the Bishop of Kenya’s Mombasa Diocese Anglican Church since 1994. He is also has teaching and nonprofit management experience.

                                  Board Member

                                  Julius Robert Katoi Kalu has been the Bishop of Kenya’s Mombasa Diocese Anglican Church since 1994. In addition to providing spiritual guidance and counsel to the Kupenda/Kuhenza teams, Bishop Kalu has extensive teaching and nonprofit management experience. He has served as an executive member of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, a council member of the Technical University of Mombasa, Executive Chairman of the Shanzu Teachers’ Training College, Executive Chairman of Godoma Secondary School, a council member of the Coastal Interfaith Council of Cerics, a board member of the Mama Nguni Girls High School, Executive Chairman of Kilifi County Leaders Association. He has also been in charge of relief food distribution in Ghanzi, Malindi, Taba Delta, and the Galole Constituency for more than 10 years. Bishop Kalu has earned multiple diplomas in education and theology from Kenyan training institutions and a master’s degree in theology from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also completed vocational training programs in advanced adult education, ecumenics, and AIDS awareness in both Kenya in the United States. Bishop Kalu is fluent in Kiswahili, English, Kigiriama and Hebrew.

                                  SEE FULL BIO
                                  Mohammed Mgaza

                                  Mohammed Mgaza

                                  Board Member

                                  Mohammed is a special needs teacher, head teacher at Kakuyuni Primary School’s Mental Health Unit and the Assistant Coordinator of Malindi’s Special Olympics.

                                    Board Member

                                    Mohammed has been a special needs education teacher and the head of the Kakuyuni Primary School Mental Health Unit since 2003. He also serves as the treasurer of the Special Schools Sports Association of Kenya (SSSAK) in Malindi Sub County and is the Assistant Coordinator of the Special Olympics in Malindi Sub County. Mohammed holds a certificate in primary teacher education from Kilima Mbogo Teachers Training College, a diploma in special needs education from the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and a degree in special needs education from Kenya Methodist University (KEMU).

                                    SEE FULL BIO
                                    Leonard Mbonani

                                    Leonard Mbonani

                                    Secretary

                                    In his role as board secretary, Leonard is responsible for ensuring that accurate and sufficient documentation exists to meet the Board’s legal requirements.

                                      Secretary

                                      In Kenyan nonprofit organizations, the executive director typically holds the role of secretary. In his role as board secretary, Leonard is responsible for ensuring that accurate and sufficient documentation exists to meet the Board’s legal requirements. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, Leonard records minutes of meetings, ensures their accuracy and availability, proposes policies and practices, submits various reports to the board, and maintains membership records.  Read Leonard’s full biography here.

                                      SEE FULL BIO
                                      Jacob Mwagandi

                                      Jacob Mwagandi

                                      Board Member

                                      Jacob has been a primary school teacher for nearly 40 years and a pastor since 2012. He also served as the head teacher at Magarine Primary School since 1995.

                                        Board Member

                                        Jacob has been a primary school teacher for nearly 40 years and a pastor since 2012. He has also served as the head teacher at Magarine Primary School since 1995. Very early in his career Jacob met Kuhenza’s founder and director, Leonard Mbonani. Leonard and Jacob were teaching together and began to fundraise to pay the school fees of high-performing, impoverished children in their classes. Over the years, Jacob developed a deep passion for vulnerable children, particularly those with disabilities, and agreed to join the Kuhenza Board as an advocate for these young people. Although he will retire soon from teaching, Jacob wants to continue supporting these children through Kuhenza and a farming project he has started to provide nutritional support to special education schools and units in Kilifi. Jacob holds certificates in Primary Education and Theology, as well as a diploma in Education Management.

                                        SEE FULL BIO