President/Chairman of the Board
Bob is an ordained Elder in the Allentown Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, and a partner in the international law firm Dechert LLP, specializing in intellectual property litigation. Born and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Audrey, have three teenage children—Ethan, Sarah and Alek. Bob first traveled to Malawi in 2008, during the year the Heinzel-Nelson family was living there. He was touched by the people he met but disturbed by the conditions of extreme poverty under which they struggle every day, and he felt compelled to do something at a grass roots level to help make a difference in their lives. Upon returning, he worked with the Heinzel-Nelsons to help found VIP and devotes as much time as his family and job responsibilities allow working to further the mission of VIP. He is honored to serve as the President of VIP.
Liz is a graduate of LaSalle University and the University of Pennsylvania. She is a mother of four, an entrepreneur and a visionary leader. Her expertise is start-up ministries and mission enterprises. She has been a stay-at-home mom, classroom teacher, consultant to classroom teachers, community developer, youth ministry director, and professional clown. Her passion to serve the poor began at a young age and led to the decision to live in Malawi for one year. She is trip coordinator for VIP Friendship Trips and has traveled to Malawi 6 times in the past 3 years leading 12 teams to experience the work of VIP. While in Malawi she enjoys living in the village and reaching across cultural barriers where she encounters the Kingdom of God.
Stephen is an ordained Presbyterian pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is currently the pastor of Allentown Presbyterian Church, New Jersey. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, he graduated from Cornell University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Columbia Theological Seminary. He is married to Liz and they have four children Jem, Clay, Terra, and Jordan. In 2008, the Heinzel-Nelsons spent a year of mission in Malawi. While there Stephen taught at Zomba Theological College and served as the associate pastor of St. Colomba Presbyterian Church in Blantyre. It was during that year that they met Wellings Mwalabu and the BSHDC. They began the work in Sakata in August 2008. Since returning to New Jersey, Stephen helped to start VIP. His role is mostly to support Liz. He is also the namesake of Pastor Stephen, the harness race horse, who to date has raised over $15,000 for VIP.
Kim is an ordained Elder in the Allentown Presbyterian Church, and Coordinator of After School Programs at the Upper Freehold Regional Schools in Allentown, NJ. Originally from Locust Valley, New York, she is a graduate of Muhlenberg College. She and her husband, Kevin, have two grown sons, Matthew and Terrence. Kim traveled to Malawi in 2008, during the year the Heinzel-Nelson family was living there. After witnessing first-hand the challenges in Malawi, she realized that merely feeling sympathy and sadness is not helpful. What can be helpful is to nurture a partnership with our brothers and sisters in Malawi and to raise awareness (and funds) in our “village” and beyond to support sustainable development opportunities in that country.
Dick has been an educator for over 40 years, and currently serves as the Superintendent for the Upper Freehold Regional School District. He received B.A. and Masters degrees in education from Boston College, as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, he now resides in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He is a devoted husband and father of seven children. Having led the construction of several large school construction projects, including the recently completed $50+ million construction of Stonebridge Middle School in Allentown, New Jersey, Dick visited Malawi in August 2011 where he was able to witness the construction of a new primary school in Malawi, which will allow many kids in the nearby area to attend school for the very first time. Funds raised by students, teachers and administrators at Upper Freehold Regional School District have helped furnish the classrooms at this new school.[/one_half]
Lucy has worked as a nurse for the past 30 years, and currently serves as the Project Director for the Compassionate Care and Interprofessional Education Initiatives at the School of Nursing, University of Virginia. She became interested in VIP several years ago after listening to the passion Liz and Stephen have for Malawi. She is Liz’s younger sister, a mother to 4 children, a wife, daughter and friend. Lucy has worked in many areas and served many different populations. None of that prepared her, however, for the experiences she had last year when she traveled to Malawi with her daughter, who is also a nurse, and a friend interested in becoming a nurse. The brief time she spent there gave her a glimpse of the life that VIP has chosen to be part of. She hopes to be able to return and work as a Nurse Practitioner in the clinics, see the progress of the school, the water wells and the people that welcomed her.
Kim is an attorney who resides with her family in Scarborough, New York. Having officially retired as a litigator, Kim is very involved in numerous not-for-profit organizations. She and her husband, Paul, have three daughters, Alexandra (college freshman), Christina (10th grade), and Victoria (6th grade). In 2009, Paul and Kim went to Malawi to observe the work being done by Liz and Stephen Heinzel-Nelson. Having been extremely touched by the Heart of the people of Malawi, the Huchros returned in the summer of 2010 with their daughters. This life altering experience has encouraged Kim and her family to continue their support of the work and mission of VIP.
Since 1997, David has served as the Senior Pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River (PCTR), in Toms River, New Jersey. He has received B.A. in Classics from Lehigh University, a B.A. and M.A. in Theology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in Theology and International Politics. An avid soccer player and motorcyclist enthusiast, David lives in Toms River with his wife, Julia, and their two children. Through David’s leadership, and that of fellow Trustee Dan Raisch, PCTR has become a valuable partner with VIP, making a significant long-term commitment to the work of VIP that will allow VIP to expand its reach into new villages. David traveled Malawi in August 2011 to witness first-hand the life-changing work being done there and see the difference that PCTR’s contributions will make in the lives of some of the poorest of the poor.
Randa is the executive director of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, North Texas Chapter. She resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, John Nelson (Stephen Heinzel-Nelson’s brother) and their three children. During her trips to Malawi in 2010 and 2012, she was moved by how the work that VIP is doing there is completely doable and sustainable, and found it exciting to be in on the ground level of development. Since then, she has been raising awareness for VIP in the Dallas area, speaking to church groups and people she meets to spread the word and praying that the seeds she has planted will take root and grow. She treasures the time she spent in Malawi and desires to do even more. Working on behalf of our friends in Malawi, she finds a higher purpose for herself and experiences Religion as she never has before—as reflected in her favorite verse from Scripture, which VIP has incorporated as part of its Mission statement: “Religion that is pure and faultless before God is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress.” (James 1:27)
With a lifetime of corporate management and church leadership experience under his belt, Daniel Raisch, an Elder of The Presbyterian Church of Toms River (PCTR), welcomed the opportunity to combine the business skills honed in corporate life with the spiritual reflection and mission outreach inherent in a position on the VIP Board of Trustees. Retired after 41 years with Bristol Myers Squibb, Dan has held numerous positions within the leadership of his own congregation and the Presbytery of Monmouth including Chair of Committee on Ministry and Moderator of the Presbytery. In addition to his roles at PCTR and the VIP Board of Trustees, Dan also volunteers with Van Dyke Hospice, the Ocean County Library system and Meals on Wheels. Born and raised in New Jersey, when he’s not volunteering Dan will likely be found with his two grandchildren (playing the Wii or building Bionicles), or enjoying a quiet afternoon with his wife, Diane.
David is an Elder at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River, New Jersey. He is the Group Vice President of Firmenich International in Geneva Switzerland, has served on the Board of Directors of Firmenich Incorporated since 1995, and is the President of the Company’s Charitable Foundation. He graduated from Rider University in 1982, worked for 7 years for the firm of Price Waterhouse, and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is single and splits his time between Switzerland and New Jersey. He serves the Clinton Global Initiative on the Haiti Action Network and has worked extensively on sustainable development projects in Haiti and Uganda. He was deeply impacted by his first visit to Malawi in August 2011 with Villages in Partnership, and feels both privileged and excited to grow in service to the mission of VIP.
Greg is an ordained Elder at Swift Creek Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia – most recently serving as its Finance Elder. He is CEO of Kloke Group, a moving, storage, and logistics company with four locations in the state of Virginia. Prior to Kloke Group, Greg ran an $80 million division of Honeywell that develops and manufactures high performance synthetic fibers and composites. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Kathy, have three sons between the ages of 11 through 15- Matthew, Kyle, and Brandon. Greg visited Malawi in August 2012 and was inspired by the faith, resilience, and smiles of the villagers. He hopes to return again to continue alongside of VIP in its effort toward helping our partners achieve self-sustenance.
Laura has worked as a nurse for 10 years. She began her nursing career as a labor and delivery nurse with the mission of empowering women during their transition to motherhood. After six years in this role, she became acutely aware of broader social needs that impact the health of families. She was inspired to focus her graduate studies on training as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist in Public Health. For the past four years she has served her local community in a variety of capacities aimed at improving access to quality health services. Currently she is working with an Area Agency on Aging to start a home care organization that will provide access to affordable, quality care for elders in her community In May 2013 she had the privilege of traveling to Malawi with Liz and Lucy through a partnership with the University of Virginia. She was deeply touched by the friends she made in the villages and inspired by the impact of VIP’s work. Laura is prepared and committed to provide both individual and population-focused support to underserved communities across the globe and she is honored by the opportunity to continue to serve those she met in the Sakata region. She dreams of returning to Malawi in the future and introducing her family to the beautiful people living there. Born in Amagansett, New York, she was raised in Rockbridge County, Virginia where currently lives with her husband, Peter, and children Henry (8) and Helen (6). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from the University of Mary Washington and a Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia.
Gayle currently serves as Executive Director of The Board Connection, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women serving on corporate boards through programs designed to develop, influence and connect credentialed women with board governance opportunities. Previously she held the positions of Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Financial Officer for Match.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI). Gayle is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California and received her MBA from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. Her philanthropic work includes serving as Board Chair for A Small Miracle Foundation, a Dallas nonprofit that provides childcare for families who are battling cancer. Additionally, she is in the midst of her second term as a Deacon at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas. Along with her current focus in the not-for-profit sector, she enjoys raising her two children and volunteers actively at their schools. Gayle visited Malawi for the first time in the summer of 2013 with her husband Phil, and her teenage children John and Nicole. After witnessing firsthand the incredible work being done by Villages in Partnership, and their powerful and effective partnership with the Blantyre Synod and the villagers themselves, she was eager to throw her full support behind the VIP mission, and looks forward to another Friendship Trip to Malawi in the future.