House of Ruth

Board Transitions at House of Ruth

Board Transitions at House of Ruth

On July 1, we welcomed three new members to serve on the House of Ruth board — and said goodbye to one board member who has served on the board since 2015. We are so grateful to Dr. Carolyn Gruber, Adjunct Faculty, Smith College for Social Work, who has served on the House of Ruth board for the past six years. 

Beginning of this month, we welcomed three new board members: 

Thomasine CarterFounder & President of Fit for Purpose Ministry
Heidi McIntoshCEO of First Place for Youth
Ifat PridanOwner of LiLi The First boutique in Georgetown

Thank you to all of the excellent board members and volunteers who give so much to House of Ruth to help our clients.

Sandra Jackson Promoted to House of Ruth President & CEO

Hello, supporters and friends of House of Ruth. My name is Lou Cardenas, and I’m the new board chair at House of Ruth. This is my fourth year on the House of Ruth board, and I just chaired the board meeting for the first time. At that meeting, after approximately six months of evaluation and discussion, the board unanimously and enthusiastically promoted Sandra Jackson to President and CEO of House of Ruth.

Sandra started at House of Ruth in 2013, as Director of Operations, and moved up to Interim Executive Director and then Executive Director in 2016. Since that time, she has started — and completed — House of Ruth’s first-ever capital campaign. She raised $7 million to construct Kidspace, and it will be open — with more than double the capacity of our last Kidspace facility — later this year.

Additionally, she has expanded and diversified the housing we offer to women and children at House of Ruth. In addition to our traditional care, in homes we own, Sandra helped pioneer ‘scattered site’ housing, where we use our name to secure leases on apartments throughout D.C. Our clients move into the homes, with their name co-signed on the lease, and pay a portion of the rent. As they are able, and they get back on their feet, they gradually take on more rent until they are at 100%.

This model is encouraging for participants, minimizing moves and increasing independence for clients who need an escape from domestic violence.

We’ve also hired two more licensed counselors — effectively doubling the reach of the domestic violence support center, our free therapy for survivors of domestic violence. With these additional staff members, we have increased our group therapy offerings in our homes and at partner agencies throughout the city.

What I’m trying to say is, Sandra is the definition of a high-achieving, highly successful, brilliant and kind leader — and it’s high time she became President and CEO of House of Ruth.

No matter how high Sandra goes, she always keeps our clients and our staff at the forefront of her mind. I’m grateful to partner with her, and grateful to be able to recognize her hard work.


Lou Cardenas, Board Chair

Board Transitions at House of Ruth

On July 1, we welcome five new board members to serve on the House of Ruth board — and say goodbye to four board members who have collectively served on the House of Ruth board for more than 40 years(!). We are so grateful to Diane Lewis, president of ALTA Consulting Group, who served as board chair at House of Ruth for the past 2 years. We say a huge thank you to Darryl Christmon, VP and Chief Operating Officer at Georgetown University, who was chair of the finance committee for most of his 10 years on the House of Ruth board! We promise not to lose touch with Gina Schaefer, owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, because we need her energy and her leadership on development (she led the development committee for years). And we will miss Andrew Kentz, a Partner at Picard, Kentz & Rowe LLP, lawyer extraordinaire, who led our governance committee and helped re-write the bylaws. We will miss them all … and we are grateful to have five new board members step in to fill their (enormous!) shoes. Starting today, new board members include:

Frances Christmon, Principal, Frances D. Christmon, LLC
Dr. William Mazzella, M.D., Physician, Medstreet, Inc. and Internal Medicine Services, P.L.L.C.
Christine Pembroke, Enterprise Performance Senior Consultant, Deloitte
Jane Stevens, community volunteer and longtime supporter of House of Ruth
Helena Valentine, community volunteer and longtime supporter of House of Ruth

Thank you to all of the excellent board members and volunteers who give so much to House of Ruth to help our clients.

Board Transitions and Elections

On December 6, 2017, new House of Ruth Board President Diane Lewis (pictured left) ran her first board meeting, and the first order of business was to honor outgoing chair and long-time board member Pamela Pinkett (pictured below). “Serving on a board can be hard work,” Lewis said, “especially when the organization hits a bump in the road, like an executive director search. When that happened at House of Ruth, Pamela was the one who jumped in and got us back where we need to be.” Pinkett was also recognized by Executive Director Sandra Jackson, who said, “As Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ I believe this fits for women, too, and Pamela stood strongly on behalf of House of Ruth these past four years as board president.” After receiving a plaque, flowers and a cake of thank you, Pinkett said, “I’ve taken pleasure in seeing the organization progress.”

Ms. Lewis has been elected to a two-year term, with Anne Zummo Malone serving as Vice Chair and Darryl Christmon as Treasurer. New board members include Monica Brame, Monica Beckham, and Julie Shroyer, each of whom were elected to serve a three-year term.

Caryl Bernstein’s 26 Years on House of Ruth’s Board of Directors

In 1991, Caryl Bernstein was serving as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Fannie Mae, as well as raising her children with her beloved husband. A dear friend of hers, Margery Waxman, was serving on the board of House of Ruth and felt strongly that Caryl should get involved too. She invited her onto the board that year – and Caryl has served on the House of Ruth board for the past 26 years.

During that time, she has served as chair of the board for six years, has served as co-chair of the governance committee, and has served on the finance, program and compensation committees. She is retiring from the board because, as she said, “I’m 83 years old, and my three-year term is coming to an end. I am convinced that the organization is now on a good path and in good hands.”

Caryl remains an attorney, and said part of what drew her to House of Ruth was the direct impact the programs have on people’s lives. “I was active in the Pro Bono Committee of the DC Bar for many years. The work at House of Ruth appealed to me because it has a more immediate impact on people’s lives,” she said. “So I continued on the Bar’s pro bono committee, but I joined House of Ruth.” She also liked that the number of women House of Ruth is able to help per dollar donated shows what an effective organization we are.

“I’ve always served on the board in part because I feel ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ when I hear the stories of the clients,” Caryl said. “For me, it is a way of being grateful for my good parents and my good life. The stories that the women tell reinforces how good the work of House of Ruth is.”

“We are grateful to Caryl for her wise leadership, years of shepherding our bylaws, and generous support of House of Ruth,” said Executive Director Sandra Jackson. “She has been a wonderful member of our leadership team.”