Jeff is the Founder and Executive Director of Love Our Cities. Officially beginning as a non-profit organization in 2014, these community-wide volunteer days and other initiatives have helped over 90 cities and have had over 180,000 volunteers since beginning in 2007. Jeff recognizes that more sustainable solutions are needed beyond volunteer days in order to see our cities thrive. His efforts have evolved to championing ongoing volunteerism, collaboration among leaders and initiating the efforts of Love Our Neighbors, Love Our Schools, and Love ALL Our Kids.
Jeff grew up in Iowa, went to college and graduate school in Virginia and has been in Modesto, CA since 1995. Prior to being executive director, Jeff was a pastor for almost 20 years at Big Valley Grace Community Church. As a college pastor, Jeff started to get a vision for his community. This vision grew when he became the outreach pastor during which Love Modesto began. Jeff and his wife, Karen, have been married for 16 years and have three children. Besides loving his family, Jeff is involved at his children's schools and activities, passionate about social justice issues and cheering on his Iowa Hawkeyes.
LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS DIRECTOR
Gloria is the Love Our Neighbors Director and has been a part of developing the network since the website launched on June 1, 2019. She has been collaborating with nonprofits, fostering relationships with leaders in the nonprofit world in Modesto and, more recently, expanding the network to organizations throughout Stanislaus County. It is her dream for Love Our Neighbors to be the AirBnB of volunteering - matching people who want to help with people that need help. As such, she led a team during the COVID-19 crisis that handled the cases of people who needed help and matched them with volunteers and food pantries throughout Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.
She is a California native just returning from a 22 year stretch in Colorado where she worked for a short while at CityServe, a nonprofit that organized an annual volunteering event, much like Love Modesto. Prior to that, she had a successful, 30-year career as a project manager with an insurance company and chose to retire early to satisfy a desire to change direction and help people in a more direct way. She is married to Paul and they have 3 adult children among them and are enjoying the empty nester lifestyle. In their free time, they can be found kayaking in the Stanislaus River, hiking along the coast or binge-watching their favorite Netflix show.
LOVE OUR SCHOOLS DIRECTOR
Menne is the Love Our Schools Director, an initiative aimed at building stronger and sustainable partnerships between schools and their communities in service to students and their families.
Menne has over 20 years of non-profit experience in various roles since the age of 16, from designing and running an after school program to piloting citywide initiatives and school partnerships in the Bay Area and leading a startup team for a youth empowerment program in Stockton, CA. She began her career in nonprofit work as a full-time AmeriCorps member providing over 3,500 hours of service to her community and birthplace of San Jose, CA. She is married to her best friend Charlie of 13 years and is a mother of a rambunctious 5 year old boy. Menne is also an amatuer Strongwoman and is passionate about many things including women empowerment, mental health, leadership development and social justice issues.
LOVE ALL OUR KIDS DIRECTOR
Crystal is the Love ALL Our Kids Director. Love ALL Our Kids seeks to inspire and mobilize the community to help meet the needs of foster children and their families by working with county social workers to identify specific ways in which we can support these children. In this role, Crystal champions the voices of children in foster care, doing all she can to ensure every child has the support of a loving family. As a foster and adoptive mother herself, Crystal believes every child deserves to feel safe, valuable, and loved.
Crystal grew up in the Modesto area, graduated from Stanislaus State, and then worked for Valley Mountain Regional Center helping coordinate services for children and young adults with special needs. She is married to her high school sweetheart, TJ, and together they have four children. Even as a little girl, Crystal remembers wanting to help those around her. Now as a parent, having walked the road of foster care and adoption, the Love All Our Kids Director position combines her desire to help others with the passion she has for children in the foster care system.
During her time off, Crystal loves enjoying a great cup of coffee, exploring the great outdoors with her family, and designing and organizing home spaces.
Sarah is the Event Coordinator for Love Our Cities. She started her journey with this non-profit organization in 2017 after concluding a contract coordinating for the non-profit organization World Relief. She has successfully delivered two community-wide volunteer days also known as Love Modesto, and two golf tournaments to fundraise for the initiative Love Our Cities. Sarah believes in the power of loving where you live and recognizing this is YOUR CHOICE!
Sarah was born and raised in Modesto, CA. After high school she attended California State University, Fresno where she received a BS in Commercial Recreation with a certificate in Special Event Coordinating. Post college Sarah performed as the Gym Director for the franchise The Little Gym and eventually left her love and passion for children to pursue coordinating private events. She served as an Event Sales Representative and Coordinator for the venue Vista Ranch and Cellars in Merced, CA for a little over three years. Nothing gave her more pleasure than being a part of a couples wedding! And eventually she coordinated her own wedding when she married her husband, Kion. Kion and Sarah have two beautiful children, Naia and Nevin. Besides raising her children, Sarah is involved in BSF, an avid Peloton rider and OTF member, loves to travel and eat her way through life!
MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
Caleb is the Media and Communications Coordinator for Love Our Cities. He joined the team shortly after graduating from Calvin University with a degree in Communications and Congregational Ministry Studies.
Caleb was born and raised in Modesto, CA and missed it greatly during his four years in Michigan. Caleb has always been passionate about telling powerful stories through media, partiularly video. His love for creating began when he was young as he loved to write short stories, direct plays, create music, and make stop-motion videos. In high school he discovered his love for film production and that his since become his primary creative pursuit. Caleb is an avid movie lover and board game player, and enjoys engaging in both with family and friends.
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT & BOOKKEEPER
Josie is the Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper for Love Our Cities. She has over 25 years of service experience with people, which has helped her develop a love for them, and a strong intuition of what their needs are. Josie is driven by her passion for helping others. Building and maintaining strong relationships is her gift. She is excited to be part of a team where her gifts can benefit an organization whose mission is to love, care for, and serve others.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Josie relocated to Patterson in 2006. Josie and her husband Bobby have been married for 14 years. They share 5 children in their blended family. Josie’s enjoyment outside of work is cooking, spending time with her family, soccer, and football (Go Raiders....).