US Staff and Board of Directors

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Light of Hope US Staff

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Boni Karanja

Operations Director, Co-Founder

Boniface Mwaura Karanja, better known as Boni, is the Co-Founder of Light of Hope Home & School for Girls in Naivasha, Kenya. Originally from Kenya, Africa, and raised by a single mother, he took on the mantle as a father, which is the tradition in Kenya for the eldest son, and with that, the responsibility of educating his 5 younger brothers and sisters.

Knowing the importance of education, and wanting to make a better life for himself, he worked hard to get a degree in International Shipping and became employed in shipping at the Nairobi Int’l Airport.

Following his dream to move to the United States, Boni arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he met Sandy. They became partners for life, not only in marriage but also in ministry. Sharing the same passions, they founded Lighthouse Ministries International, and opened a home and school for girls in Kenya Africa, called Light of Hope Home and School for Girls (LOH), which has been open for over 11 years.

As Co-founder, Boni served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 14 years, and currently serves as Director of Kenyan Operations. Boni is responsible for the general operations of the home and school in Naivasha, and oversees all staff and students. Boni works closely with the Chairman of the Board in the U.S., as well as the on-site Director of the Home and School.

In addition, Boni works in shipping for SuperValu, located in Hopkins, MN, whom he has been employed by for 18 years.

Having grown up in poverty, Boni understands the struggles that people face, and how very important an education is in order to break that cycle. His greatest desire is to fulfill the call that has been given to him by God; making a difference through education, one life at a time.

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David Storevik

Finance Manager

After serving three years in the U.S. Army, David finished his education with a degree in Accounting from Augustana College before moving on to management positions with UPS in the Dakotas and then Outward Bound School in Minnesota.  His aptitude for numbers led him to 24 years as Finance Director for Tree Trust, and his big heart led him to continue working in the non-profit industry with contract positions.  David has also owned two small businesses.

Anyone who knows David knows his passion for adventure travel, and you will find he and his wife of 43 years kayaking or bicycling in the summer and snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the winter.

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Margaret Lord Anderson

Development Assistant

Margaret is a highly creative strategic communicator, and project manager, with a passion for helping people become the best they can be.  Her diverse set of interests and talents have led her to develop a wide set of skills (including holding HR Director positions, and selling Real Estate).  After the birth of her two daughters, Margaret decided to stay at home for a few years, before re-entering the workforce with LOH, where she has been the chief communicator, data-base guru, and business development point person.  Margaret was also co-chair of the 2016 Shine a Light of Hope Gala.

Margaret has a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Iowa and holds a Certificate of Professional Project Management  from the University of St. Thomas.  

Board of Directors

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Jeff Balagna

Chairman of the Board

With more than 35 years of experience, Jeff is a seasoned executive with broad management expertise. His career spans multiple industries and includes stints at prominent brands including Medtronic, GE, Ford, Eli Lilly, Sears, and Carlson Companies.

He has served as CEO of Friday’s Restaurants, Carlson Marketing, Sears Auto Centers, and Sears Home Services. Additionally he has held C-level positions at Medtronic and Eli Lilly, and senior executive roles at GE and Ford Motor Company. Early in his career, he founded Data Communications Corporation.

Jeff has served on many boards of directors over the past 20 years. He is a past board member of Sears Auto Centers, Sears Home Services, Sears Consumer Electronics, Tennant Company, US Energy, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Carlson Restaurants / TGI Friday’s, and Carlson Marketing.

Prior to becoming Board Chair for Light of Hope, he has also served on a number of non-profit boards, including Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota OrchestraJ and ELIMU. He also served as a volunteer firefighter and Assistant Chief of the Troy, Michigan Fire Department for 15 years.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Oakland University, in Rochester, MI. He is also a graduate of the GE Executive Development program at Crotonville, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business & Law, Graduate Director’s Forum.

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Sandy Karanja

Sandy Karanja is Co – Founder along with her husband Boni Karanja of Lighthouse Ministries International/Light of Hope Home and School for Girls located in Kenya Africa. For the past 20 years, with her medical background, she has worked at the U of M Hospital as a Respiratory Therapist as well working with special needs children in local schools and homes. She has also volunteered for Teen Challenge and Robbinsdale Women’s Center as a mentor for young girls.

From a young age her heart’s desire has been to help the less fortunate and serve troubled girls. After meeting her husband in 1998, who also shared the same passion, they partnered together and began their journey. Lighthouse Ministries International was started in 2004 and from there they began Light of Hope Home and School for Girls in Kenya Africa, which opened its doors in 2006.

She currently sits on the Board of Directors and Chairs the External Affairs Committee.

Sandy feels it has been an honor and a joy to be serving God through the beautiful girls at Light of Hope and to witness His faithfulness in this ministry and in their lives.

Elizabeth Ekstrand

Elizabeth Ekstrand

Secretary

Elizabeth first traveled to Light of Hope in 2007. On her very first trip, she was blessed by experiencing God’s idea of unconditional love… it came in the form of the girls and staff at Light of Hope.

Upon her return, she turned that love into action, joining the Board of Directors for Light of Hope. Six additional trips to LoH followed. Elizabeth’s first term of service – 2008 to 2013.

Elizabeth rejoined the Board in February, 2017. She was recently appointed Secretary for the Board of Director’s. Previously, she also served on the Board of Directors for ELIMU.

Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mankato with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work. She comes to LoH with years of varied professional experiences and is celebrating 15 years with General Mills. During her 15 years with General Mills, she has been responsible for management of trade investments, marketing, merchandising structuring and execution plans. Elizabeth has received many awards during her tenure with General Mills, recognized nationally for her leadership, executional results and citizenship.

Elizabeth enjoys volunteering and serving on the Connection Ministry Team at Westwood Community Church in Excelsior MN.

She is filled with gratitude to be able to share and serve Light of Hope and all those that support this amazing organization.