Board Of Directors

Joan Ross

Reverend Joan C. Ross

Operating Director, Founding Chairman of the Board

For the past ten years, Reverend Joan C. Ross has work in the North End Community of Detroit “serving the underserved” of her community by providing not only spiritual guidance, but establishing a strategy for regaining equity and building a local economy with the challenge of creating a sustainable community; sustainable-culturally, economically and environmentally.  She has developed community-scale renewable energy projects utilizing both on and off-grid models and has successfully trained community residents in the areas critical to the current and future needs of her community. In 2015, the Storehouse of Hope established the first Community Land Trust in Detroit to save families who were victims tax foreclosures and to develop a model for permanently affordable housing in the City. Her work in community sustainability has been recognized by both national and local organizations such as: US Green Building Council’s May/June 2014 Magazine, and Hour Magazine Detroit July 2016. She is the recipient of the 2014 Sustainable Champion Award, 2017 Spirit of Detroit Award, 2017 MLK Award from the City of Southfield and 2018 City of Detroit Earth Day Award. The US Green Building Council’s 2020 Shero of the Year.

Norma Heath

Norma Heath

Emergency Pantry Manager, Vice-Chair of the Board

Norma Fairweather Heath was born in Jamaica and came to the USA.1972 She attended school in Highland Park, Michigan, and graduated from Highland Park Community High School. Norma completed college with a degree in Computer Information Tech and participated at Madonna University and Wayne County Community College. In1986, Norma married Kelvin Health and was blessed to have three children and three grandchildren. Since 2006, Norma has been with the Storehouse of Hope, serving as a volunteer, and later as the Volunteer Coordinator and Pantry Manager. In 2010, Norma received the Board's nomination as Vice-Chair of the Board for the Storehouse of Hope and was the second longest-serving member of the Board. She now serves as Pantry Manager and oversees our community emergency food program working with ten faithful volunteers. Her pantry, staffed by all volunteers, serves the community with an outdoor pantry operation that functions rain or shine, providing food and personal needs for the community from March to November. Norma admits that she has learned the real dedication to social justice, land justice, and energy democracy since working with the organization. Her home is often the testing grounds for some of the organization's vision and experiments, such as the Equitable Internet Initiative, Solar Charging Station, Solar Tee Pee, and a twenty-two-panel solar array.

Penni Johnson

Penni Johnson

Steward (Storehouse of Hope CLT), Board Secretary

Acts of compassion…Retiring in 2010, with 28 years of service with Neighborhood Service Organization, Penni has assisted many community organizations and agencies on a myriad of services including block club organizing, processing 501c3 applications, and training on topics in non-profit management. In 2015 as the Storehouse of Trust was forming its vision of the Community Land Trust model and having worked with Penni since its early years of formation, the Storehouse recruited her for this new venture. She works with low to modest income people who desire to purchase affordable housing. Penni is a natural “care provider” as she currently provides daily care for her husband and provided daily care for her mother (deceased), both survivors of debilitating strokes. The success of a Community Land Trust is to provide daily care of the families and to provide the oversight for the objectives and goals of the CLT. Penni has for the past 6 years assisted our families with their needs and preserved the values of a good steward of the land.

Christian Liner smiling with a black vest and red tie

Christian Linear

Board Treasurer

Christian Liner is an experienced Accounting and Auditing Professional, Philanthropist, and Advocate for educational reform in the Detroit area. He began his career in the Public Accounting sector working for Deloitte and Touché as an Auditor. Later, he briefly relocated to Cleveland, Ohio to work with Ernst Young as a Senior Auditor. From there Christian moved on to work as a Financial Reporting Accountant at Flagstar Bank and then General Motors Financial. Currently the Director of Financial Reporting for Jewish Family Services in West Bloomfield, Christian manages short- and long-term financial forecasting and ensures compliance with grant funding requirements. Most recently he served as the Accounting Manager for Matrix Human Services, a Detroit based non-profit focused on helping Detroit individuals. Christian’s passion for people is what led him to serve as a member on the Board of Directors for Storehouse of Hope since 2014. Christian’s true mission and passion is to empower, impact, and incite change for the city of Detroit. He continues to use his knowledge and skills to make Detroit the city that he knows it can be.

Shelia Dudley smiling with black round glasses and a red shirt

Shelia Dudley

Project Manager Highland Park/Staff

Shelia Dudley is a Project Manager for NEWCC and her duties span all social justice areas of the organization. Most recently, Shelia has facilitated the “Internet in a Box” Project to get Internet and WIFI Solar Charging Station access into Highland Park.  Shelia has had an eclectic career which began at Detroit Edison (now DTE) and lasted for 17 years, where she rose through the ranks to become Administrative Supervisor overseeing all administrative functions for powerplant operations, successfully leading a staff of over 100 people and managing a $500M budget. Upon relocating to South Florida, Shelia became Associate Superintendent of Business Operations at Broward County Public Schools and acted as Chief of Staff, a position she held for over seven years before relocating to Baltimore, MD, as Human Resources Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. During her five years there, she successfully led the automation of a “paper” system to an integrated, enterprise-wide computer system thereby significantly reducing human errors and expediting processes. Her love of technology-led her to Lawson Software where she became a Sr. Business Consultant traveling throughout the US mapping “paper systems” for integration into a computerized system. Shelia was recruited by Burger King World Headquarters to lead their HR Compliance Department where she once again successfully led the charge to integrate the paper-based human resource activities into a technology-based, system-wide solution. In early 2020, she relocated back to her native city where her family resides, Highland Park. Wherever Shelia lived, she became actively involved in/with community organizations that helped improve the lives of the disenfranchised. Shelia has sat on the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Broward County, Room 2 Bloom Community Development Organization, Girls, Inc., Highland Park Youth Athletic Association and New Hope Development, Inc. Shelia holds a master’s degree in business administration from Florida International University, a bachelor’s degree in human resource management/labor relations from Wayne State University and Senior Professional Human Resource certification from the Society of Human Resource Management.

Jela Ellefson

Jela Ellefson

Board Member

Jela Ellefson is a community and real estate development professional with background in urban planning, economic development, and placemaking. Over the past 20 years Jela has worked on a variety of urban challenges across the U.S. Most recently Jela has been leading the parking strategy for Ford Land’s iconic Michigan CentralDevelopment project in the Corktown neighborhood in Detroit focused on leveraging parking as an economic development catalyst in support of a 24-hour neighborhood. Prior to that, Jela successfully developed and implemented fundraising strategies focused on creation of homeownership opportunities for low-income residents; managed district-wide planning and development projects at the Eastern Market, the longest-operating public market in the US; and led economic development efforts that reduced traffic issues in a busy commercial district, improved walkability, and satisfied community benefits agreement requirements. Coming to the US from Slovakia, Jela earned her bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Detroit Mercy where she was a scholarship member of the fencing team. After moving to Los Angeles and working in corporate finance, her passion for cities led Jela to an Urban Planning master’s degree from the University of Southern California. As a member of the inaugural 2011 Detroit Revitalization Fellows cohort, Jela moved back to Detroit to leverage her finance, urban planning, and policy experience into finding qualitative and quantitative solutions to complex problems. In 2016 Jela completed the Ford Motor Company International Fellowship of 92nd Street Y in New York City focused on non-profit management and leadership development.

Alton Williams III

Board Member

Alton R. Williams II is a business professional with extensive experience in real-estate and Operations Management. Raised in Detroit, Alton graduated high school from St. Agatha and went on to attend Central Michigan University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business. Alton’s mission is to make the world a better place by helping those in need. By volunteering with organizations such as Don Bosco Hall, the City of Pontiac, and Focus Hope, Alton has a firm understanding of the importance of giving to the community and is dedicated to the task of making sure that people are afforded just opportunities to live productive and fulfilling lives.

Latoya Morgan smiling with a gray sweater against an orange background

Latoya Morgan

Board Member

LaToya Morgan is a nonprofit professional with an eclectic background in public policy, program evaluation, and organizational development. Currently, she is a private consultant working in the public sector with nonprofits and foundations to provide advising and technical assistance around policy and advocacy. She has worked in local and state government including time with noted former city council president Maryann Mahaffey on Detroit City Council. Her professional background includes political campaigns and professional staff at large and small nonprofit organizations.

Community Impact

160+ Households Wired

Providing Internet access in North End and Highland Park

3,000 Served

Monthly providing emergency food and services to families in 48202, 48203 & 48211

41.5+ metric tons of carbon offset

Our solar power work is offsetting impact on our environment each year

300,000+ Listeners

Potential radio audience listeners on air and online

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