meet our team

The Alliance uses a team approach as we mobilize our community to protect kids and strengthen families. We have a number of different groups that serve specific purposes:

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

An advisory committee guiding The  Alliance to ensure our organization exceeds expectations

Alliance staff

Our team dedicated to coordinating events, resources, member services and communication

REGIONAL LEADERS

Local experts who are helping kids & families  and willing to share their knowledge to equip others

 

Board of directors

Sandy Runner - Board Chair

Sandy is a Marketing and Event Coordinator for Hewlett Packard as well as a successful photographer. She is a mom of 4 kids – James, Haylie, Raider and his wife Jennifer and has been married to her best friend, Micah, for 20+ years. Sandy has been deeply active in children’s ministry starting in the 6th grade when she regularly volunteered in special needs classes. In middle and high school she served in the children’s areas of women’s shelters, and in college she launched a weekly Sunday School ministry for kids in the low-income families in downtown Sacramento. Early in their marriage Micah and Sandy felt called to become foster parents and they were placed with a 12-year old boy, Raider, who was later adopted. Sandy has worked over the past 10 years to help launch church orphan ministries and other foster care related programs, including Safe Families, which allowed Micah and Sandy to host additional children in their home. Sandy's passion and call in life is to "defend the cause of the fatherless." 

Dave Bowers - Board Member

Dave has been active in youth ministry for 20+ years and currently works as the Outreach Coordinator for Safe Refuge for Children + Families. He and his beautiful bride, Sue, have been married for 40 years and have 4 grown children and 11 grandchildren.  Together they serve as the Directors of Royal Family Kids Camp - Brentwood, an annual summer camp for children in the foster system. Dave is the Short Term Care Regional Leader for Defending the Cause and a certified foster parent.

Megan McCleary - Board Member

Megan is the Director of Serve United, an organization that helps churches activate gospel sharing initiatives through acts of service and also on staff with the Church Volunteer Network. Megan and her husband Matthew have been married for 7 years and are several years into an international adoption process in Ghana, Africa where they eagerly await approval to bring their son Enoch into their family.

Ricardo Garza - Board Member

Ricardo is a Pastor at Southport Church in West Sacramento and also a graduate student at Western Seminary, studying to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has been married to his wife, Tiffany, for over 10 years and they have four vivacious children Penny, Jude, Ryland, and Skyler. Their two youngest were adopted through the foster care system.  His passion is to partner with God to bring transformation and healing to parents, children, and families.

Sally Beaudry - Board Member

Sally is an attorney and through her law practice, Beaudry Law Offices, Inc., offers services including wills and trusts,  nonprofit formation, drafting and reviewing all kinds of contracts and referring people to legal specialists. Sally has been married to her husband Bob for 27 years and is mom to Gregory and Nikky. Her passion is to care for widows and orphans and to share the love of Jesus through prayer and action.

Heather Penny - Board Member

Dr. Heather Penny is an experienced leadership coach, trusted advisor, celebrated teacher, and engaging speaker.  She encourages individuals to step into their best life as they recognize the unique strengths they have to offer. Heather draws out fresh ideas and actionable goals to focus on forward momentum, and holds a Ph.D. in Human Services, as well as an M.A. in Educational Leadership. Her background includes work with at-risk communities stateside and abroad to focus on interventions that break the cycle of poverty.  As a professional coach, Heather serves her clients by drawing out their natural strengths and motivated direction through her coaching approach of 3C Living – Clarity, Confidence and Courage.  She is a clear-thinking partner while promoting creativity, passion, and growth on teams and within organizations.  The highlight for her is a life well lived and enjoys living in Rocklin with her husband and two children.

Tiffany Loeffler - Board Member

Tiffany is the Founder and Executive Director of Defending the Cause and has been passionately advocating for vulnerable kids since 2010 after a mission trip to Haiti. She, and her husband Matt, led over 20 short-term mission trips to Haiti and also launched and led a local church-based orphan care ministry. Tiffany is a church ministry coach for the Christian Alliance for Orphans and is passionate about unity, helping people find their purpose and mobilizing the community to serve kids and families in need. Matt & Tiffany have 2 amazing kids, James & Laurie, who they adopted from Haiti in 2017 after a 6 1/2 process. Tiffany has a degree in physiology from UC Davis and a doctorate in physical therapy from University of the Pacific.  

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alliance staff

Tiffany Loeffler - Executive Director

Tiffany first became passionate about advocating for vulnerable kids in 2010 after a mission trip to Haiti. Over the next 7 years, she and her husband Matt returned to Haiti many times leading short-term mission teams while also launching a local church-based orphan care ministry. Tiffany is a church ministry coach for the Christian Alliance for Orphans and out of her passion for unity and collaboration she founded Defending the Cause Regional Alliance in 2016. She believes that every child deserves a family who loves them and that we’re all called to make a difference for the kids and families struggling around us. Tiffany and Matt have 2 amazing kids, James (14) & Laurie (16), who were adopted from Haiti in 2017 after a miraculous 6 1/2 year international adoption process.

Heidi White - Church Relations Director

Heidi majored in Sociology in college and began her career with Koinonia Family Services where she worked for 4 years (2 years as Child care Counselor in group homes and 2 years as clerk in adoptions). While working in the group home, Heidi felt called to ministry and joined staff at Bayside Church in 2013 as the Women’s Student Life Director of Thrive School (a 9 month internship program for college students). Her favorite thing in life is to see people encounter Jesus and through discipleship Heidi gets to walk alongside people as they pursue God and His call on their life. Her passion for foster care and adoptions began when she was 15 years old and currently Heidi feels called to help connect the heart of the Father with the hearts and homes of the Church.

Michelle Kopkash - Member Services Director

Michelle began helping foster youth in 2015 with a community-wide coat and pajama drive, where she collected over 250 new winter coats and PJs for local foster youth.  She soon realized that no matter how many items were provided, there would always be another need and that the greatest need of all was for these children to feel accepted and loved within a family. With a heart motivated by God's love for at-risk and foster youth, Michelle became a regular volunteer at Koinonia Family Services and Blossom Place. Her mission is to help kids know they are worthy and deeply loved while also finding creative ways to provide for their physical needs and desires so that they can experience childhood.  Michelle was named Koiniona’s volunteer of the year in 2018, she serves as a chaplain at Bayside Adventure Church, and is part of their memorial team. Michelle and her husband, T.J., have two amazing children (Kaden and Kyla), one gentle dog (Jammer) and a stubborn cat (Nala), and all of them enjoy spending time outdoors.

Jill Mansfield - Communications Director

Jill has been in the social media world for over a decade and still gets excited about a well-written Instagram post. During this time, she has helped small businesses and non-profits find their on-line voice while also partnering with larger brands on national campaigns. Jill grew up in a family of “helpers” so getting involved and service is a way of life. She volunteers within the community with her family and friends and has spent the past five years serving in high school ministries at Bayside Church. She is passionate about students and children knowing how very loved they are - especially by God. Jill and her husband have two amazing daughters and an adored labradoodle pup. They love spending time with family, getting outdoors, and planning their next trip to Disneyland. 

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regional leaders

Prevention

Mike Mason - Strengthening Men/Fathers Leader

Mike Mason is the Program Manager of Education & Outreach at KidsFirst Counseling and Family Resource Centers. He is a graduate of the Defense School of Public Affairs & has a B.A. in Communication Studies as well as two Professional Life Coaching certifications. A father of 2 adult children, Mike’s background is Marketing & Public Relations, but he found a new passion in social causes - particularly in advocating for child abuse prevention as well as positive father involvement. In addition to his community relations & development duties at KidsFirst, he teaches Mandated Reporting, Child Abuse Signs & Symptoms and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Awareness in Placer County as well as leads his agency’s Forever Fathers dads support groups.

Eric & Tiffany Saathoff - Strengthening Families Leaders

Eric and Tiffany have been married 11 years and have two children, Blake (17) and Paige (11) who were adopted from Placer County Foster Care. Together, Eric and Tiffany have a heart for strengthening the family unit. They were children's pastors at Destiny Christian Church for 10 years and now are Directors of the new Destiny Community Center in Rocklin where they offer resources to strengthen and support families. Trained in Love & Logic and Kimochi Social Therapy, Eric and Tiffany both teach and train West Coast leaders in churches, community centers and public schools and have written a 3-week Co-parenting class for separated/divorced/foster/ adopt/blended families. With a degree from UC Davis in Psychology emphasizing on Child and Family Development, Tiffany is trained in assessing and implementing family health strategies. Eric and Tiffany's goal is simple, to provide the resources and education necessary to see stability and health in local homes. 

Angela Da Re - Strengthening Families Leader

Angela has over 20 years of experience in the field of Youth Substance Abuse Prevention. As a Certified Prevention Specialist, she has employed multiple prevention programs and strategies, which encompass all of the areas of prevention but works most closely with families to help them understand and implement at-home strategies.  As a Strengthening Families Program facilitator, Angela has had the pleasure of implementing the evidence-based program for over 10 years including a  faith-based component in the local region. As a Master Trainer for SFP for over 5 years, she has had the opportunity to train countless facilitators in implementing the curriculum. Additionally, she has been trained as both a facilitator and trainer in multiple evidence-based prevention programs.  She is an expert in community and collaborative prevention strategies.

Dave Bowers - Short Term Care Leader

Dave and his beautiful bride, Sue, have been married for 37 years and have 4 grown children and 10 grandchildren.  Dave has been active in youth ministry for 20 years, serves with Sue as the Directors of Royal Family Kids Camp - Brentwood, and works as the Outreach Coordinator for Safe Families Northern California. He also is on the Board of Directors for the Defending the Cause Regional Alliance.

Juliette Bickford - Short Term Care Leader

Juliette and her husband Shawn have been married for 26 years and have four grown children. After five years of working with and hosting foster children, Juliette became the Ministry Lead for Safe Families for Children at her church, Foothill Christian Fellowship, in Meadow Vista.  Being passionate about the Safe Families mission, Juliette became a regional supervisor and has hosted many children. As a family, they have served at Kokrine Hills Bible camp in Alaska for the past 16 years, working with native youth struggling with the effects of the break down of the family unit. Juliette also enjoys serving as a biblical counselor at her church.

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intervention

Jessica Miller - Foster Care & Fost-Adopt Leader

Jessica and her husband, Ruston, have been married for 12 years.  They have three beautiful children, two through foster care adoption and one biological child.  Jessica has been working as a social worker, and now supervisor, in the foster care and adoption field for 11 years.  Jessica also works as a therapist specializing in foster care, adoption and early childhood trauma.

Emily Kaiser - Foster Care & Fost-Adopt Leader

Emily oversees the foster care and adoption programs in Koinonia's Sacramento District Office. She has worked for Koinonia Family Services since 2009. She is passionate about recruiting and training families who will care for vulnerable children as their own. Emily and her husband Greg married in 2008 and began their journey as foster/adoptive parents in 2015. 

Shelly Bokman - Aging Out Youth Leader

Shelly has spent her life working with children and youth as a preschool owner, editor of Sacramento Parent magazine, foster parent and most recently as the founder of Blossom Place. With 3 biological children, one adopted daughter, five aged-out foster youth who are a forever part of her family and 3 grandchildren—she understands the importance of family and belonging.

Nancy Gugino - International Adoption Leader

Nancy is a woman who loves God! She has been married to her husband Mike for 27 years and has 2 bio-sons and 2 daughters through international adoption from China.  Being an adoptee herself, she is passionate about all children having the love of a family, a forever home, and most importantly knowing God’s amazing love for them.

Kelsey Dahlin - Kinship Adoption Leader

Kelsey works at Lilliput Families as a kinship social worker and previously worked for other nonprofits who work directly in the child welfare field. Currently, she works specifically with dependent children placed in a relative’s home and has had the pleasure of walking alongside many families as they navigate placement of kinship children. Kelsey is passionate and knowledgeable about kinship placement and understands the benefits and challenges that come along side kinship placements/adoptions. Kelsey additionally has personal experience with kinship placement, as her family had placement of a child in kinship care for 9 months. Kelsey hopes to one day adopt children of her own and considers herself blessed to be working in a field that she feels directly called to.

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support

Mason Gizard - Mentoring Leader

Mason laughs more than any other person you know. It’s interesting since life has thrown Mason a few curve balls. At 19, after the death of his mother, Mason became the sole caretaker to his 14-year-old twin brothers, his 16-year-old sister and her daughter. Yep, father of three and grandfather to one at nineteen. 19! But Mason can’t stop smiling and his smile is contagious to all the teenagers he works with. He has spent the last 8 years mentoring youth, first as a volunteer and now professionally with StudentReach in local schools.

Frank Anderson - Policy Advocate Leader

Frank knows all about overcoming adversity. He was born in San Francisco to drug addicted parents, was taken away by CPS at the age of 2, then placed in an adopted home where he started being abused when he was 7. At 14 years old the abuse was finally reported and Frank bounced around between 5 different placements and 2 schools before graduating with his high school diploma. After emancipating the foster care system, Frank had to navigate the difficult transition to becoming an independent adult and was at times homeless.  Years later, motivated by his faith in God and personal vow to dramatically improve the foster care system for others, Frank become the founder and director of a National organization called Project Blue Frank that advocates for foster care policy reform and spearheaded National Foster Care Awareness Day which takes place  annually on the first Tuesday of May.

Charlotte Fritz - Foster & Adoptive Family Support Leader

Charlotte has been married to her husband Scott for ten years. They adopted two beautiful children locally through foster-adoption over the course of the last five years, and fostered two other children who later reunited with their birth family. Charlotte has been working as a Marriage and Family therapist since 2007, and currently specializes in working with families who are raising children who have experienced trauma. Charlotte is passionate about connecting foster and post-adoptive families with the resources they need.

Renee Hemsley - Foster & Adoptive Family Support Leader

Renee and her family have been fostering children since January 2012.  She is a graduate of Butte Community College with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences.  Renee currently teaches foster care education classes at the Woodland Community College and serves as a peer mentor to other foster parents.  As a former foster youth, Renee feels passionate about advocating for and supporting children entering the foster care system and is the Director of Hope's Anchor, Inc. where she provides direct support services to foster, adoptive, kinship and resource families in Yolo County. She and her husband Gary have five children, three of whom were adopted through the foster care system.

Tiffany Loeffler - Respite Leader

Tiffany led church-based at-risk youth ministry from 2012-2017 when she stepped into her role as the Executive Director of DTCRA. For those 5 years she worked with an amazing team to host quarterly respite nights for foster and adoptive families and is an adoptive mom of 2 kids from Haiti. Tiffany is a church ministry coach for the Christian Alliance for Orphans and has a passion to see churches provide ongoing support and encouragement to the families who step into the lives of kids from "hard places."

Cary Wilcox - Pregnancy Support Leader

Cary Wilcox is the Executive Director of Sierra Pregnancy and Health, a faith-based, free non-profit, state licensed medical clinic, funded 100% by community donations.  Cary has a deep passion committed to progressing the clinic’s mission of offering a free community resource for those facing an unplanned, unsupported or uninsured pregnancy. She enjoys working with organizations that encourage clients to overcome difficult circumstances and have hope, where they have none. Cary is married to Cliff (25 years) and has 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, and 3 beautiful grandchildren. She is devoted to Christ, family, and has a love of reading and connecting with others.

Tara Taylor - Single Parent Support Leader

Tara began her career in property management, quickly advancing to become the company's Training Coordinator, then eventually a Regional Manager, while concurrently becoming co-owner of an alarm company. She went on to run one of the largest security dealerships in the nation for several years. After a prosperous 20-year career, she switched gears, listened to her heart and found her purpose as the Founder and Executive Director of Single Mom Strong. Inspired by her experience raising her own daughter as a single mom and motivated by her strong conviction that anything can be accomplished with effort and determination, she has dedicated herself to developing and leading the organization while also working as a life coach. Tara’s greatest achievement is raising her daughter on her own and her mantra is “Believe and achieve”. In her spare time, Tara coaches women’s boot camps, runs half-marathons and continuously advances her education (she is currently finalizing her studies in Business Management).

Heidi White - Prayer Leader

Heidi majored in Sociology in college and began her career with Koinonia Family Services where she worked for 4 years (2 years as Child care Counselor in group homes and 2 years as clerk in adoptions). While working in the group home, Heidi felt called to ministry and joined staff at Bayside Church in 2013 as the Women’s Student Life Director of Thrive School (a 9 month internship program for college students). Her favorite thing in life is to see people encounter Jesus and through discipleship Heidi gets to walk alongside people as they pursue God and His call on their life. Her passion for foster care and adoptions began when she was 15 years old and currently Heidi feels called to help connect the heart of the Father with the hearts and homes of the Church.

Phil Darke - Global Orphan Care Leader

Phil serves as President of Providence World, co-host of the Think Orphan Podcast, and co-author of In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence. He received a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and a B.A. in rhetoric and communications from U.C. Davis. Before his time with Providence, Phil worked as an attorney for law firms in Sacramento, CA, and Atlanta, GA, and as a clerk for a federal judge in Honolulu, HI. He serves as a board member for All Things Possible Ministries and loves spending time with his wife, Becca, and five children.

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