Our dedicated staff.

 
 

Board of Directors

The Nehemiah Project LA's Board of Directors are all deeply passionate about assisting transitioning foster youth.

Please take a look at our bios.

 

Bishop Edward A. Smith
Founder, Executive Director, Pastor, Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier

Edward A. Smith was born in Los Angeles. He is the Pastor/CEO of Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier, Chancellor of the Joseph Business School for the Los Angeles Region, Founder of Awyken, and Bishop of Zoe Association of Churches and Businesses. 

 Pastor Ed earned a BA in Applied Mathematics and a MBA in Marketing/Finance from UCLA. He is much sought after as speaker for conferences and seminars in the U.S., as well as abroad. He was invited to Russia in 1995 to participate in training the staff of the fourth largest bank in Russia. His speaking/ministry engagements have taken him to Japan, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, South Africa, and Brazil.

Pastor Ed earned a BA in Applied Mathematics and a MBA in Marketing/Finance from UCLA. He is much sought after as speaker for conferences and seminars in the U.S., as well as abroad. He was invited to Russia in 1995 to participate in training the staff of the fourth largest bank in Russia. His speaking/ministry engagements have taken him to Japan, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, South Africa, and Brazil.

Before full-time ministry Pastor Ed worked in several marketing executive positions with companies such as General Mills, Ford Motor Company, Carnation Company, and Avco Financial Services. His final corporate position was that as Vice President of Marketing for Family Savings Bank in Los Angeles California. Read more about Bishop Ed →


Jessica Chandler
Board Member

Jessica Chandler spent most of her adolescence bouncing between group homes and Juvenile Hall until she emancipated at age 18. Since then Jessica received her bachelor's degree in psychology, and Masters of Social Work from Cal State University Northridge.

 Jessie Chandleris a national advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She sits on the Board of Education Coordinating Council (ECC), and previously served on the State Youth Council (SYC) as the Los Angeles County Ambassador for child welfare. 

Jessie Chandleris a national advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She sits on the Board of Education Coordinating Council (ECC), and previously served on the State Youth Council (SYC) as the Los Angeles County Ambassador for child welfare. 

Young parents in the foster care system face both the challenges of being in foster care as well as the challenges of being a young, usually single, parent. Studies of both groups have found that they will experience higher than average rates of poverty, unemployment and low educational attainment. While this has long been the case, the issue of parenting youth in foster care has become more pressing with the implementation of extended foster care in California. Senator Leland Yee has introduced legislation (SB 528), sponsored by the Alliance, to assist these vulnerable young people by ensuring they have access to child care so they can attend school and get a job.

Kathy Saigeon
Board Member

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President  and Executive Director Christian Foundation of the West, a Christian Community foundation serving the Western US.  Katherine has 30+ years executive experience in philanthropy, including, the Fuller Foundation,  The California Endowment, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Previously a CPA with Price Waterhouse, Kathy is currently a member of the AICPA and CalCPA.  Ms. Saigeon is a member of Kingdom Advisors,  and serves on Boards of several charity and ministry organizations. 

Deborah Mayes
Board Member

Deborah Mayes currently functions as Finance Director at a growing human service organization in the Southern California area. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the USC and a Masters in Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management.

 Deborah has accumulated nearly 40 years of financial management experience at a number of government and nonprofit organizations, and privately held business entities. 

Deborah has accumulated nearly 40 years of financial management experience at a number of government and nonprofit organizations, and privately held business entities. 

Her most notable achievement was to lead the accounting and business service efforts for over 40 Los Angeles County clinics through technology advances. This experience continues to allow her to make valuable contributions to business organizations that desire positive business results. Read more about Deborah →


Pastor Tony Dunn
Board Member

Pastor Tony and his wife, Jacqueline, have been married for over 30 years, are the proud parents of three wonderful adult sons, three beautiful daughter-in-law’s, and one granddaughter. He’s the senior pastor of New Day Church in Corona, California and a faculty member of Cottonwood Leadership College in Los Alamitos, California.

 Pastor Tony Dunn

Pastor Tony Dunn

His ministry emphasis is discipleship, global missions and leadership development of those called to ministry and also of those called to the marketplace. Pastor Tony is a 2004 graduate of Cottonwood School of Ministry, has a Masters of Practical Theology degree from King’s Seminary, and a certificate of leadership from the University of Southern California.

In 2006, Pastor Tony entered full-time ministry as the mission’s pastor of Zoe Christian Fellowship in Whittier, California under Pastor Ed Smith. He and his wife Jacqueline have led and sent short term missionary teams to Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa. Pastor Tony routinely conducts leadership development workshops in nations throughout the African continent and South America.


Keith Nelson, Phd.
Board Member

Keith Nelson’s mission is to bring his technology knowledge and passion for service to Vistem Solutions, Inc.  Keith has a history of technical leadership with companies such as Technical Support Services, Software Technologies, Sun Microsystems , Oracle and iBASEt. His long history of providing technical guidance and solutions as a consultant with a focus in Business Solution Design including high profile projects such as the LA Unified School District Food Services System and directing legacy integration development for SeeBeyond (now part of Oracle). He has chosen as an SMB 150 Influencer multiple times.

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Keith Nelson has a Doctrine in Computer Science and completed his American Electronics Association (AeA) [now The Stanford Executive Institute) at Stanford University.  He still remains active with the CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum as well as CompTia.  Keith was President of the Riverside Poly High School Special Education Boosters while his eldest son attended high school and that spring boarded his passion for community service. Read more about Keith →