Board of Directors 2021-22
The Board of Directors at Kids Hope USA provides strategic leadership to support and guide the daily work of our Kids Hope USA team and, by extension, the mentoring programs that transform lives. Learn more about our amazing board members:
Doug Ruch (Board Chair)
Director for Center for Leadership, Hope College; Holland, MI
Doug serves as the Hope College Center for Leadership Director. Prior to that he served as the CEO for the Fleetwood Group, Vice President of Donnelly Corporation’s (now Magna) Toyota Business Unit, and as a sales representative for P&G.
Doug has been engaged with Kids Hope USA for over 20 years. He has been a mentor, prayer partner, campaign co-chair, and has been on the board since 2013. As a follower of Christ, Doug resonates with the mission of the organization and is passionate about providing many more children with a loving, reliable mentor!
Doug VanDyken (Board Treasurer)
Director of Finance, Hope College; Holland, MI
Doug VanDyken brings over 30 years of not for profit accounting experience to the board as he serves as Director of Finance & Business Services at Hope College. Doug is now in his 6th year on the Kids Hope USA board. Doug and his wife Beth reside in Zeeland, Michigan and love to spend time outdoors and camping. The importance of investing in children and molding their success is the motivating force behind Doug’s service to Kids Hope USA.
Senior Vice President – Wealth Planning Practice Executive & Chief Tax Strategist,
Northern Trust; Chicago, IL
Suzanne Shier is Of Counsel in the Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC Trusts & Estates Group as well as an adjunct professor in the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law LLM. She is active in the civic community, serving on philanthropic boards, concentrating on access to educational excellence at all levels. Suzanne serves on a number of Executive Committees for various organizations.
Dave Vander Wel
Retired; Holland, MI
Dave Vanderwel has spent his career in the area of nonprofit administration, serving 19 years in higher education at Hope College, 10 years in Christian publishing at CRC Publications, and 17 years as executive director at Geneva Camp & Retreat Center. Now in retirement, he continues his volunteering in church and on various boards and committees.
Lead Pastor – Fielder Church; Arlington, TX
Jason leads Fielder Church in Arlington, Texas, a multiethnic and bilingual church in the heart of the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. Day by day, he is trying to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. His church leads one of the largest Kid’s Hope USA programs in the nation with a vision to connect hundreds of other mentors and students in their local schools.
Merrill Lynch -Grand Rapids, MI
After graduating from Hope College, Zachary was led into the profession of financial advising at Merrill Lynch. Outside of work, he is often actively giving back to his community through both local and national organizations.
Retired – General Electric; Saugatuck, MI
Nancy DeWitt has had a career as a Labor & Employment Lawyer and Human Resources Leader working with businesses, government and non-profit organizations. Nancy joined the Kids Hope USA board because she believes strongly in the mission of building life-changing relationships one at a time and loves the simplicity of the approach — just show up!
Principal, Adams Elementary – Arlington, TX
Prior to becoming the principal of James and Barbara Adams Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, Lesley served in a number of capacities as an educator. She desires to create a learning environment that has an unshakeable focus on student learning and community engagement. Her priority has always been to provide students with an education that prepares them to excel academically and socially.
Retired – Festida Foods; Zeeland, MI
Kyle is an experienced business leader and salesperson. While serving as the President & CEO of Festida Foods, Kyle led efforts to sponsor the first KHUSA program in Cedar Springs. He is passionate about mentoring, kids and the mission of Kids Hope USA. Kyle is a follower of Christ and is an active member of his church, which includes being a Kids Hope USA mentor.
Karen Pearson, PH. D., President
Kids Hope USA – Zeeland, MI
Karen began as the president of Kids Hope USA in June of 2019 after serving in a variety of faculty and administrative positions at Lawrence University (Appleton, WI) and Hope College (Holland, MI). She has her PhD in chemistry and has long found meaningful work at the intersections of education, mentoring, and faith-based community service.