Offical partners

  • The Office of the Public Defender of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit
  • Florida State University College of Criminology & Criminal Justice Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research.
  • Florida West Coast Resource, Conservation & Development (RC&D).

Board of directors

Barbara Richards, MS

Barbara Richards, MS is the Founder and Director of Project 180. A former Adult Basic Education and GED teacher in the San Francisco County Jail system, she came to Florida to study for her Master’s of Science Degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice at Florida State University which she obtained in 2006. Prior to becoming involved in criminal justice issues, Ms. Richards owned and operated a successful restaurant in San Francisco for fifteen years.

Judy Lash, BS

Judy Lash, BS, Nominating Committee Chair, is a Volunteer Job Coach for the Community Coalition on Homelessness in Manatee County. Ms. Lash spent over ten years as an Executive Search Consultant and Owner/Manager with Management Recruiters International and has founded and operated three successful technology-sector recruiting businesses.

Ms. Lash received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh, PA, and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch for over ten years where she currently serves as Club Secretary. Ms. Lash volunteers at Bayside Community Church as the leader of the Career Search Group.

Duane Saunders, CPA

Duane Saunders, CPA, is a Staff Accountant with Cavanaugh and Co. in Sarasota where he is primarily involved with tax return preparation for individuals and business. Mr. Saunders was formerly Controller for Administrative Concepts Corp, an employee leasing firm in Bradenton, FL, where he participated as a member of the management team and focused on operational efficiencies and improvements to increase profitability. He also spent thirty years as Controller for Ray Routh, Inc., a cabinetry manufacturer in Sarasota.

Mr. Saunders received his BA in Accounting from the University of South Florida from which he graduated magna cum laude.

Karen Dove, Chair

Karen Dove, Chair, is a grant writing specialist and has worked in resource development and nonprofit management for 21 years as Development Director, Executive Director and Consultant. Ms. Dove began her business, Karen Dove Consulting, in 1998 and has consulted with organizations from Montana to Key West. Since 2012 she has focused solely on grant writing and nonprofit marketing with a special focus on social media marketing.

Ms. Dove is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and serves on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Grants Collaborative. She has served as an AFP Mentor for the past two years and is a conference speaker, trainer and educator. Ms. Dove has taught classes at State College of Florida, delivered workshops at local, state and national conferences and is a National Training Associate for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In addition to her professional career, Ms. Dove is a published author of a children’s book, A Gift for Santa, and serves on the Ministry Board of Directors of Fellowship Alliance Church. Her book won first place for children’s literature in the Christian Choice Book Awards in 2013.

Cramer Verde, BS

Cramer Verde, BS, is a Real Estate Agent with SRQ International Realty who has more than ten years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Public Relations. He has volunteered with various nonprofit organizations including Project Light of Manatee which presented him with the Sister Nora Brick Award for Outstanding Service and UnidosNow.

Originally from Peru, Mr. Verde moved to Sarasota in 2003. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Business Administration from San Ignacio de Loyola University in Peru. He is a Commissioned Notary Public for the State of Florida.

Directors Emeritus

James Homes, BS

James Holmes, BS, Board Chair, is Online Director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, where he oversees development of digital products, the production of content for the newspaper’s various digital properties and all digital sales operations. In May, 2013, was named Website of the Year at the 2013 Great Plains Journalism Awards, an eight-state regional journalism competition.

Before moving to Arkansas in September of 2012, Mr. Holmes was Director of Circulation and Marketing for the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota. In addition to his work at the Herald-Tribune, Mr. Holmes was deeply involved in the Sarasota-Manatee area, serving on both the Small Business Council and the Leadership Council of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and on the Advisory Board and Executive Committee for the Manatee Economic Development Council.

Mr. Holmes received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. He has served on the Board of Directors of Florida Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives and is a former board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the Leadership Sarasota Class of 2010.

Vanessa Barker, PhD

Veronica Brandon Miller, MBA, Board Chair Emeritus, is Vice President for Goodwill Industries Manasota Foundation. Ms. Miller has over 20 years extensive experience in development and cause marketing. She has worked with many nonprofits including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, ShelterBox USA, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the American Lung Association and the Navy League of the United States. She has successfully helped increase revenues up to 1,000% and secured both national and international media coverage for the causes she’s led and championed.

Veronica earned her Master’s degree in business from the University of Maryland. She has received many awards for marketing and has published numerous articles on fundraising and marketing. She was listed by Biz941 Magazine as one of the 25 People to Watch in 2009.

Honorary Society.

  • Hon. Ed Brodsky, State Attorney-elect, Twelfth Judicial Circuit
  • Derek Byrd, Esq., State President, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Michael Carlson, AIA, Carlson Studios
  • Kathy Durfee, MA, Founder and CEO, Tech House
  • Hon. Larry Eger, Esq., Public Defender, Twelfth Judicial Circuit
  • Harris Friedman, PhD, ABPP, Florida Department of Corrections, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida
  • Marge Maisto, RN, MA, MS, Maisto Consulting
  • Elliott Metcalfe, Esq., Metcalfe & McLain, PA
  • Charlotte Ryan, MSW, LCSW