Kate Ayers
Executive Director

Kate joined ReEstablish Richmond in 2013, motivated by her participation in the “Just Faith” program, a class focusing on social justice issues around the world. She previously worked as a special education teacher and department chair in Hanover County for 11 years, while also serving as a volunteer mentor for refugees in the Richmond community. Kate’s dedicated efforts continue to build a supportive, trustworthy community for refugees living in Richmond.


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Laura Jones
Refugee Outreach Coordinator

Laura's 16 years of non-profit work in Kenya, Cyprus, and England inform her deep appreciation for people of diverse cultural and faith backgrounds. Having been welcomed as a foreigner, she is passionate about extending welcome to the international population. Having navigated multiple international moves, she has a heart for those who have been forcefully displaced. Laura was drawn to the practical nature of our work among refugees and joined ReEstablish Richmond in 2016,



AmeriCorps VISTA Interns 2016-2017


Elizabeth Gerde
AmeriCorps VISTA Resource Development Coordinator

Elizabeth is one of two AmeriCorps VISTAs assigned to serve at ReEstablish Richmond in 2017. The AmeriCorps VISTA program is a federal initiative designed to build capacity of organizations like ReEstablish Richmond that work to alleviate poverty and enrich community. After completing her undergraduate degree in History at Hamline University, Elizabeth received TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) at VCU. It was the stories of the ESL students she encountered that inspired her to get involved in working with refugees. After her year of service, Elizabeth plans on going back to graduate school or spending a year teaching English abroad. 



Sharon Singer
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator

Before beginning her year of service with ReEstablish Richmond, Sharon spent 18 years in the film and television industry. Her career in production and post-production took her on international and cross-country assignments and continually inspired her to find opportunities to fulfill her interest in community service and volunteer projects. Sharon’s focus as a VISTA is expanding ReEstablish Richmond’s community and media partnerships and volunteer recruitment and management.



Board of Directors

Marjie Patterson, Chair

While volunteering at the Matthew House Refugee Shelter in Ft. Erie, Ontario, Marjie learned about refugees and the challenges they face in both their native and host countries. With a background in public policy, she has studied many of the conflicts that lead to displacement and was trained in nonprofit and public sector management. After working with immigrant communities and serving as the Director of Volunteerism on the board of the Central Virginia Chapter of Project Management Institute, Marjie joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2014.

Committees: Executive, Finance/Budget


Katie Bisceglia, Vice Chair

After traveling the world and working on corporate social responsibility projects with UNICEF, strengthening the monitoring and evaluation framework at the Hunger Project, and building agriculture supply chains that incorporate low income suppliers, Katie found an interest in the refugee community. She joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2015.

Committees: Executive, Fund Development/Strategic Marketing


Pient Tran, Treasurer

Bio Coming Soon

Committees: Executive, Finance/Budget


Lindsey Leach, Secretary

Bio Coming Soon

Committees: Executive, Board Development


Ayad Aljadery, Board Member

In December 2014, Ayad came to the United States as a refugee and immediately began volunteering with ReEstablish Richmond as a tutor and interpreter for newcoming refugees. His previous work as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Bagdad encouraged Ayad to get involved with refugee populations, and he joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2015.


Patrick Braford, Founder

Patrick founded ReEstablish Richmond in 2010 after getting to know several refugee families through attending Tabernacle Baptist Church. As he became aware of the challenges faced by the refugee community, his experiences at Habitat for Humanity and Richmond Christian Leadership Institute solidified in Patrick's mind the importance that housing plays in establishing a place in the community and a sense of personal integrity. ReEstablish Richmond was born out of his desire to improve the resettlement process for refugees and to support the agencies that serve them.

Committee: Finance/Budget

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Marilyn Breslow, Board Member

As the director of Refugee and Immigration Services of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond for 33 years, Marilyn oversaw the resettlement of over 12,000 refugees into Richmond, Roanoke, and Hampton Roads. Her experience with resettlement policies and multiple populations from across the globe inspired her to join the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2014.

Committee: Fund Development/Strategic Marketing


Kathryn Hall, Board Member

Bio Coming Soon

Committee: Fund Development/Strategic Marketing


Rick Hanson, Board Member

After working in the housing community development field for over 35 years, Rick retired and joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2013. He has a longstanding interest in refugee issues, inspired by his work with the Interagency Task Force on Indochina Refugees as well as his son's experiences working with Burmese refugees during a recent assignment with an Australian non-profit in Thailand.

Committee: Fund Development/Strategic Marketing


Beth Nolan, Board Member

With experience in outreach and project management for child health policy, Beth has seen firsthand how grassroots activities can impact and support policy work. In her current role with the Virginia Health Care Foundation, she is responsible for conducting statewide trainings to teach outreach workers how to help families apply for state-sponsored health insurance. A first-generation Iranian-American, Beth has a particular interest in helping the children of refugee families adjust to their new environment. She joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2015.

Committee: Board Development


Olugabenga "Benga" Oguntokun, Board Member

As an Information Technology Strategist with over a decade of experience in Software Application Development, Benga has worked in various industries including healthcare, insurance, government services, and senior programming. He has a keen interest in helping immigrants settle into their new environment and joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2015.

Committee: Board Development

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Richard Sasso, Board Member

Richard is a first generation Chilean-American raised by immigrant parents. His upbringing, which included assisting his non-English speaking parents with day-to-day responsibilities, remind him of the similar struggles that refugee children and adults encounter. He became interested in working with refugees and joined ReEstablish Richmond as a volunteer in 2015. He has experience working alongside another nonprofit organization, the International Rescue Committee, where he has formed a bond with a Cuban refugee whom he spends time fostering a friendship. As a board member since early 2017, he hopes to both increase awareness to the people of our city and help refugees feel welcomed.

Committee: Fund Development/Strategic Marketing


Ramona Taheri, Board Member

Ramona previously worked as a Research Assistant for Columbia University, where she conducted research on civil wars through a grant from the National Science Foundation. This experience and her studies in International Relations led her to focus on the displacement of people by conflict. She has experience working with several nonprofit organizations, including Amnesty International USA, the Red Cross, the Rebuild Afghanistan Summit, and the Peace Operations Training Institute. Ramona joined the ReEstablish Richmond board in 2016 in hopes of creating a better and more inclusive environment for refugees in Richmond.

Committee: Fund Development/Strategic Marketing