Jeremiah Program Welcomes New Governing Board of Directors   

MINNEAPOLIS – December 31, 2018 – Jeremiah Program is pleased to announce its new governing board of directors: Erin Peterson, Inés Sira, and Jeremy Wheaton.

“Jeremiah Program is incredibly fortunate to welcome extraordinary members to the governing board, said Jeremiah Program CEO, Gloria Perez. “Their extensive business experience is a true asset and we’re grateful for their commitment to transforming lives, two generations at a time.”

Erin (McDermott) Peterson (Austin, TX), Partner and Global Talent Acquisition Consultant at PeopleResults  
Erin Peterson is a Talent Acquisition Leader and Consultant specializing in global recruitment, process innovation, employment brand, and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). She has been fortunate to work inside and consult with many well-known brands including Accenture, Aon Hewitt, Amazon, and NFP.

Erin is a frequent speaker at conferences and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, HR Executive Magazine and has published articles in the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership (see below). She has a degree in Psychology from Concordia College, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Staffing Management Association (now STAR Chicago) and I.C. Stars, a Chicago based not-for-profit. She and her husband currently live in Austin, TX. Erin is currently serving as chair of Jeremiah Program’s Governing HR Committee.

Inés Sira (Minneapolis, MN), Global Business Leader, Scotchlite Reflective Materials, 3M  
Inés is a visionary executive with an outstanding record of delivering results and raising the bar in execution. She has a keen ability to accelerate business growth in all product life cycles and multiple business models, drive results and develop high performing teams by translating business strategies into actionable objectives. Inés is a creative leader who shapes business outcomes, champions change and can manage ambiguity and navigate within a matrixed organization.

She has deep experience in global, international and US business management, business development, strategic planning, marketing, digital and sales management, product development, operations, P&L management, regulatory, clinical research and reimbursement. Inés is currently serving on Jeremiah Program’s Governing Advancement Committee.

Jeremy Wheaton (Minneapolis, MN), President & CEO, ECMC  
Jeremy has spent 20 years leading high growth, entrepreneurial businesses to achieve strong outcomes through engaged teams, focused on a clear vision and strategy. Jeremy is a new CEO at ECMC and relocated to Minneapolis from the Chicago area. ECMC has made a multi-year investment in Jeremiah Program capacity-building and Jeremy is excited to build a strategic partnership with Jeremiah Program.

Jeremy was raised by a single mom and has a passion for the transformative value of education. He is currently serving on Jeremiah Program’s Governing Finance Committee.

About Jeremiah Program 
Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children two generations at a time. As a leader in the field of 2-Gen programs, Jeremiah uniquely focuses on the whole family to achieve long-term, sustainable results. The approach has been proven to achieve significant educational, health and economic benefits for parents, children and communities.

Jeremiah Program currently operates nationally in both residential programs with integrated early childhood services and non-residential programs where housing and early childhood education are provided through community partnerships and resources. The organization is on a consistent growth path with its newest programs in Rochester, Minn. and Brooklyn, N.Y. Jeremiah Program also has a presence in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn. Austin, Texas; Boston, Mass.; and Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn.

Why Supportive Housing Matters

Jeremiah Program is aiming to change the trajectory of single-mother families in the twin cities by providing five key program pillars designed to help families transform themselves from poverty to prosperity, two generations at a time. In our recent mailing you learned more about empowerment, Jeremiah’s 16-week pre-admissions course taken by single mothers. In this article we will highlight another pillar – safe and affordable housing.

One in four Minnesota households currently pay more than they can afford for housing, often forgoing other essentials like food or medicine in order to pay for housing costs. Homelessness is hard to track and often looks like couch hopping or staying with family members. Many of Minnesota’s homeless are children, who struggle with a myriad of issues related to homelessness: truancy, illness, increased exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences and more.

Many, though not all, Jeremiah families come from unreliable or unsafe housing situations. A few families come from shelters or have experienced long-term homelessness. All of the families at Jeremiah are living below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and regardless of their income, Jeremiah families only pay 30% of their income for rent on the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jeremiah campuses. This allows families the ability to afford food, clothing, daycare, books for school, and other necessities.

In conjunction with Jeremiah’s other pillars of support, providing housing to our families means they don’t need to worry about a safe place for their child to grow up or how to pay for their apartment. Moms can focus on their education and spending quality time with their children, and Jeremiah children, in turn, can have the childhoods they deserve.

You can help support safe and affordable housing for Jeremiah families. Please visit and make your gift today.

Jeremiah Program Announces New Chief Advancement Officer

Jeremiah Program is pleased to announce its new hire, Debra Wilken, as the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). Wilken has spent the better part of three decades with The Salvation Army Northern Division Minnesota & North Dakota, where she previously served as the Executive Development Director.

“A hallmark of an effective development professional is an ability to inspire others, said Jeremiah Program CEO, Gloria Perez. “Deb is mission-aligned and a believer in the power of education and community to transform lives, two generations at a time. Her enthusiasm for Jeremiah Program’s strategic direction and her desire to partner with colleagues across the country will make us stronger.”

In addition to extensive expertise in fundraising, Wilken brings marketing and communications, training, and volunteer development experience to Jeremiah’s national office. Prior experience also includes Professor of Record at Olivet Nazarene University. Wilken earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.

With a proven track record for fundraising, including major and planned gifts, endowments, corporate and foundation giving, Wilken is the ideal fit for continuing Jeremiah’s mission and vision for national expansion.

“Miraculous transformations are happening for families through the Jeremiah Program,” said Wilken. “It’s an honor to help donors align their desires with the outstanding outcomes of Jeremiah.”

Wilken will officially start with Jeremiah on October 29, 2018.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Mette

This month we are kicking off our Volunteer Spotlight series, to honor our volunteers who give so much of their time and talent to Jeremiah Program. Our first profile is on Mette Lundsgaard, Jeremiah Program Volunteer Extraordinaire.


Mette Lundsgaard, Jeremiah Program Austin, Volunteer

How did you hear about Jeremiah Program?
My sister, who lives in Minneapolis, was familiar with the program and recommended I look into the Austin efforts.


How long have you been volunteering at Jeremiah Program?
Started fall of 2015, three years!


What do you love most about volunteering at Jeremiah Program? 
The program itself – the focus on education for both moms and kids.


Please share a favorite memory/funny story while volunteering. 
My favorite memory is August 2017, super-hot days, moms coming in about 5:30 worn out from work, school, bus riding, all of the above – and then the joy on their faces when they pick up their child.


Please share a fun fact about you!
Travel, travel, travel.  I have been to 63 countries – and planning a few more in 2019!


Thank you so much, Mette, for all that you do to help Jeremiah Program families. Stay tuned to see our next Volunteer Spotlight, and please visit if you’re interested in becoming a Jeremiah volunteer.