Governance Structure

The People Who Govern L’Arche USA

The Members of Our Board

L’Arche USA is grateful to have passionate board members who donate their unique skills and expertise to help further our mission. The board of L’Arche USA provides leadership in areas of policy formulation, fundraising, communications and development, government relations, oversight, and other support of regions and communities of L’Arche USA. Because of their dedication, L’Arche communities around the United States are thriving. We invite you to get to know them.

Anne Vandenabeele

Board President
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Member of: Executive Committee, Governance Committee, Finance Committee

I’m originally from Grenoble, France, where I grew up with a brother with Down Syndrome (who now lives in a L’Arche community in our hometown). I’ve spent the last twenty years in the L.A. area where I’ve settled with my partner, three cuddly cats and a lively friends community. When I’m not trying to keep up with the global economy at work, you can usually find me on a tennis court or up a mountain.

Brian Berg

Board Member
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Member of: Executive Committee

I was born and raised in an agricultural area north of Sacramento, California, where I now share life with my wife, Danka and our 3 children. We own and operate a wholesale fruit and nut tree nursery, supplying trees to orchardists throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been involved with L’Arche since 1985 when as a young college student, I went to live in community in Compiegne, France. Danka and I met there and L’Arche remains an essential part of our life and family. We enjoy traveling as a family and being involved in any activity in which our children show interest.

Lisa Schiltz

Board Member
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Member of: Communications Committee, Public Policy Committee

I was born in Germany, but have been living in the United States since I went to college. I’ve lived in Connecticut, New York City, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and California, but I now consider myself a Minnesotan, having lived in Minneapolis for over 25 years. I am married and have four children. Because I work full time as a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, I don’t have much time for hobbies, but I love reading and going to movies and plays.

Luther E. Smith, Jr. Ph.D.

Board Vice President
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Member of: Executive Committee, Governance Committee

Luther E. Smith, Jr., I am Professor Emeritus of Church and Community, Candler School of Theology of Emory University (Atlanta, GA), where I served on the faculty for thirty-five years. I continue to write and speak extensively on issues of church and society, conflict transformation, interfaith cooperation, Christian spirituality, and the thought of Howard Thurman. Helen (my wife) and I live in Stone Mountain, GA. where we enjoy life with four children and five granddaughters.

Paula T. Olson

Board Secretary
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Member of: Executive Committee

Okay, so I live in Tacoma, Washington but grew up in the San Fernando Valley, CA. I have two sons and my hobbies include movies, gardening, and trying to raise dahlias. I live with Murphy, a lazy chocolate lab and Dobbie, a frenetic beagle/Shar Pei mix.

Rebecca Cates

Board Treasurer
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Member of: Chair of Finance Committee

I grew up in Alaska and now reside in Central Washington State. I volunteer with several non-profits, primarily in financial and accounting advisory roles. I enjoy good wine and preparing meals with family and friends.

Stephen Rothrock

Board Member
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Originally from Spokane, WA, I now live in Seattle with my wife Tessa. We are currently empty-nester’s as all 5 of my kids no longer live at home: 2 are married, 1 is engaged, and 2 are at university! When I’m not visiting my kids, who are scattered out around the country, you can find me boating in Lake Union or cheering loudly at a Seattle Sounders soccer game!

Steve Lawrence

Board Member
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Member of: Communications Committee

I grew up in Texas, but have lived in the New York City area since college. I’m lucky to be married to a highly talented woman and have three outstanding sons. I love to hike and fish, go to the opera, especially Wagner, do projects around the house, read the great books and do crossword puzzles.

Wendy Sullivan

Board Member
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I live in ST Louis with my husband Bill (we met at a L’Arche event). We have 6 grown children who live all over the US and they have blessed us with 5 grandchildren. The family keeps me busy and traveling, but when I have spare time I love the solitude and challenge of backpacking in a forest.