Although the Casa Materna Mary Ann Jackman in Matagalpa, Nicaragua receives support from many parts of the world, most of the funding comes from the Friends of the Casa Materna (FCM), a non-profit organization in the United States.
FCM was founded in 2000 to reduce maternal deaths and infant mortality by providing support to the Casa Materna. Generous friends donate money, collect baby clothing, sew dresses, sell baby slings, hold information sessions, stay in the Casita, and initiate a host of other creative endeavors. We are grateful for our friends worldwide!
Our Board of Directors
Aggie Black, Vice President, has carried Nicaragua in her heart for 30 years, ever since she lived there and worked for Witness for Peace. On her many return trips, she met and married her husband, Tim Takaro. They currently live in Vancouver BC with their two children. A trained nurse, Aggie works for Providence Health Care in Vancouver, helping nurses and other clinicians develop research projects to improve patient care. An active member of Vancouver Quaker Meeting, Aggie worked to have the Vancouver Circle of Support accepted as an official project of the Meeting.
Carlos Castro, native of Costa Rica, works as a software engineer for Google. Carlos was introduced to the work of the Casa Materna through is wife, Lauren, and has since enjoyed sharing his technical expertise with the Friends of Casa as a board member and website consultant. Carlos is thankful to the Casa Materna staff for their ongoing dedication to the mothers of rural Nicaragua. Pura vida!
Lauren Castro, Secretary, lives in Costa Rica with her family and works as an an administrator and clinical research nurse. Lauren first visited the Casa during her college years and was forever touched by the special place that is the Casa Materna MAJ. Since this time, she has been blessed to share her nursing background and other gifts with the staff and women of the Casa Materna.
Dawn Dones, has ministered in various capacities throughout her life: She lives in Louisville where she currently serves the community of St. William Catholic Church as Pastoral Associate, in addition to being a Spiritual Director and co-creator of Choosing Wholeness. With her life dedicated to Gospel justice, authenticity, accompaniment, and empowerment, Dawn hopes all of her commitments to bring about a better world continually stretch her mind and expand her heart.
Karen Fogliatti is an educator, mediator and counselor who lives in western Massachusetts where she facilitates workshops in Nonviolent Communication. A native of Michigan, she has been involved with the Casa Materna since the early 90s through her friendship and support of Kitty Madden, one of the early founders of the Casa. She has visited the Casa many times and has served on the Board of the Friends of the Casa Materna since its inception in 2000.
David Hulefeld, Treasurer, retired from a career in urban planning, and now focuses on volunteer activities. For over 20 years he has coordinated his church community's relationship with a sister parish located in the Matagalpa district of Nicaragua. This work has evolved into a non-profit supporting several Nicaraguan initiatives to improve health and nutrition. He also assists youth education programs, creation of worker-owned cooperatives, and ESL tutoring in Cincinnati and Louisville.
Susan Lambert, Board Liaison and Consultant is the founder of Away 2 Be, an organization that facilitates personal, local and global connections. After nineteen years of international travel and facilitation all over the globe (with Taking it Global and The World Leadership School), and almost a decade of teaching, Susan decided to create opportunities for others to immerse themselves into lives and cultures at home and abroad. Susan teaches yoga and lives wherever she happens “2 Be” and incorporates global themes and sustainable intercultural practices in all she does.
Kitty Madden, Co-Founder and Chief Fundraiser, has had a lifetime commitment to working for peace and for social justice. A social worker and teacher by profession, in 1986 Kitty began her accompaniment of the Nicaraguan people in the midst of the U.S. supported Contra War and economic embargo. She felt privileged to work with Mary Ann Jackman that year and was returning to work with her more permanently at the time of Mary Ann’s death in January of 1987. In 1990, Kitty, with a group of women from Nicaragua and various countries of the world, helped to found the Casa Materna Mary Ann Jackman, and in 2000 she was a co-founder of Friends of the Casa Materna. Kitty continues to live in Matagalpa and volunteer at the Casa. She is a tireless advocated for the FCM and raises awareness and funds where ever she goes.
Matthew Ptasienski became a member of the board of the Friends of Casa Materna in 2014 through his affiliation with Saint Williams Church in Louisville, Kentucky, a major supporter of FCM for many years. He lived in Louisville for almost 13 years while living his lifelong dream of owning and operating a Chicago-Style pizzeria. Matthew is drawn to the organic, grassroots nature of the work of the Casa and the sole role of the board as facilitators and supporters of their mission. He is proud of the "bottom-up" direction of decision-making that only asks the board to be servants to the needs of the mothers and staff in Nicaragua.
Jo-Ann Snyder, lives in Detroit and recently retired from the College of Education at Wayne State University. The first half of her professional career was spent as a teacher and administrator in Detroit Public Schools. In retirement, serving as treasurer of the Friends of Casa Materna keeps her busy as does her work at her Church in downtown Detroit (Central UMC is one of the Circles of Support for Friends). She enjoys spending time with friends and family, likes to travel, and is an avid reader.
Dana Stern, Board President, works as a Health Educator at a large Northern California medical center and specializes in Women’s Health Education. She holds a masters degree in Public Health and her experience includes childbirth and prenatal education, family planning, and menopause. Dana enjoys traveling, cooking and entertaining, and time with her pets.