Little Ripples Make Big Waves
Nia Z. Sherar
Nia was born with a love for indigenous people and stays with them in their remote, rural villages when making her yearly site visits to Kenya. These visits are to ensure your donation is being used as reported and to meet with new communities requesting assistance to a better life - both sides of the ocean learning from each other.
Locally, Nia has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA), mentored women as they bridge from welfare into the work force (People Helping People), and tutored for Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) and Booked: Literacy Behind Bars. She served as Secretary for Utah-Bolivia Partners of the Americas, co-founded Utah Strategic EDI Resource group (USER) and started the Meals on Wheels delivery program at PacifiCorp. She's planted trees through-out the Wasatch Front with Tree Utah.
Nia holds a BS in Computer Information Systems from Weber State University and certificates in Non-Profit Financial Management and Pre-Award Process from the University of Utah.
Nia is a recipient of the 1999 Spirit of Excellence Award from the PacifiCorp Foundaton as well as several Hero Awards from their foundation. She was honored on Utah Philanthrophy Day 2006 with a Heart and Hands award. Her efforts to give economic empowerment to women is recognized with the 2006 Women of Peace Award. Nia is a 2009 CNN Hero Award Nominee.
Simon is proud of his Maasai culture. He was raised in a manyatta (traditional mud and cow dung hut of the Maasai), had two mothers and 14 siblings. Since Simon is a male, his father sent him to school. Simon worked and saved money so he could attend teacher's college. Simon taught at Talek Primary located on the Maasai Mara. He was also Headmaster for several years before joining Friends of Conservation (FOC) as programs director, later worked for a tree conservancy organization and as Executive Director of Koiyaki Guiding School, a European Union funded NGO that trains Maasai to be tourist guides. Simon currently works at Ol Kinyei Conservancy as the Manager, Employed by Porini Safari Camps which is sister to GameWatchers Safaris. OFDC's founder has worked with Simon for over 25 years.
"Throughout my entire life, service to others has been a high priority. I'm constantly on the look out for everyday opportunities to help someone in need. From fixing and supplying food to those without a proper meal, to simply helping someone onto the bus. I'm always overwhelmed with love and joy when I can have a positive impact on someone's life. When I was lucky enough to hear of the opportunity to get involved with the OFDC, I couldn't let it pass. The work that the OFDC has done has impacted so many lives and there was no way I could let it dissolve and stop its mission. The amount of time and effort Nia has put in is nothing short of incredible. I'm confident my work ethic, energy, and passion for helping others can continue the mission of empowering women, educating children, and enhancing health for all."
Dalton served many leadership roles while a member of the Utah State University (USU) Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, or Pike, Gamma Epsilon chapter. These include External Vice President as well as Chair of New Member Education, Philanthropy, and Community Service. Responsibilities for these offices include the oversight and organization of new member education, fund raising for various charities, reaching out to the local Cache Valley community to find projects in need of assistance (such as highway clean up twice a year and collecting 3.4 tons of food for the Logan Food Pantry) and ensuring fraternity members perform service as required for fraternity membership (not an easy task).
While Dalton served as the Pike External Vice President, the fraternity was recognized in the USU publication, The Statesman, as the school organization with the most registered service hours, and a finalist for the Val R. Christensen Service Award.
Dalton is a native to Utah and enjoys being in the mountains either snowboarding, hiking, or biking. Dalton has a BS in Management Information Systems from USU. He served an internship at the Bradford Teaching Hospital in Bradford, England and is currently working in the Research Informatics department at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City as a software design engineer.
"I'm excited to meet all of you and work together in the upcoming years." DW
Matthew was born and raised in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Growing up he enjoyed football, baseball, basketball and golf. At an early age he got involved with the Boy Scouts of America, which fueled his passion to be outside enjoying the beauty that nature has to offer. In 2010 Matthew completed his Eagle Scout project, a group service project that is planned, organized, and supervised by the scout himself. With his love for the outdoors, Matthew choose to cleanup and re-landscape five canoe landings along the Minnehaha Creek that flows through his hometown, making them more accessible for the public and visually appealing for the cities patrons. At the age of sixteen Matthew acquired his Eagle Scout Award.
In the spring of 2016 Matthew graduated from Utah State University (USU) with a Business Administration Degree. While at USU he joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and served as their Community Service Chair. Matt organized over 20 different service opportunities for his fraternity members achieving over 800 hours of community service during his yearlong term. Matt now resides in Salt Lake City and is excited to have the opportunity to use his skills to give back and volunteer as OFDC’s book keeper and enjoy the gorgeous Wasatch mountain range.
Mary Cannella, JD
Mary is an immigration attorney, and practices in Omaha, Nebraska. She received both her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Creighton University. During law school her studies focused on International Law, including Int’l Human Rights Law, Int’l Criminal Law, and National Security and Foreign Relations. Additionally, she served on the Int’l Moot Court Board and was the President of the Environmental Law Society.
Boyd Tangren, PE/CSE
Boyd is a licensed structural engineer who has traveled to developing countries to offer his expertise toward improving infrastructure. This includes the access and distribution of fossil fuels, potable water projects and structural engineering for bridges. Boyd has climbed Mt. Kenya!
Kristy Chambers, MBT
Kristy earned her BA in Economics, cum laude, from UCLA and her Masters in Business Taxation, with honors, from The George Washington Institute of Law. She is the Executive Director of The Carmen B. Pingree Foundation for Autism in Salt Lake City, Utah. From time to time she instructs classes for the University of Utah's Academy for Non Profit Excellence. She is the proud mother of twin young ladies and a precocious teenager. Kristy enjoys running, yoga, and a good book.
Elizabeth Denman, MD
Health Committee Chair
Beth is an Internist practicing in Omaha, Nebraska. She has a special interest in Women's Health Issues and Preventive Medicine. Beth received her MD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she also completed her Internal Medicine Residency. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Creighton University. Beth loves her family, her patients, reading and knitting.
Barbara Richards, MS
Barbara is a Professor Emeritus with the University of Utah where she retired as an adjunct professor of photography. She remains active as a freelance photographer. Barbara has had numerous exhibits and been published in various publications. She joined OFDC's board because, "I prefer a smaller organization like OFDC where funds are not lost on administrative expenses and overhead. The projects of OFDC are selective and doable. We can't help everyone who is in need, but those supported by OFDC are a step in that direction."