Mission

Ann Arbor Active Against ALS is a grassroots, nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise funds for research toward effective treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), while raising awareness of the disease, encouraging physical activity, and building a compassionate community.

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Our Board

Though Ann Arbor Active Against ALS was created as a response to a particular friend’s diagnosis, the organization has become part of a much broader community aiming to help all families affected by ALS.  Many of our all-volunteer board members and volunteers have lost someone to the disease.  The following individuals currently direct the organization, with help from much-appreciated volunteers and past board members.

Current Active Against ALS Board Members

Joel Dalton earned his B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees from the University of Michigan School of Engineering and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Joel works in Ann Arbor at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the Office of Air and Radiation. He and his wife Jackie are avid runners as active members of the Ann Arbor Track Club and have been race directors or assistants in many favorite Ann Arbor runs, including the Burns Park Run and the Big House Big Heart Run. Joel is a founding board member. He is responsible for social media tools and race director of the Twinkie Run, the Electric Bolt, and organizer of Beerfest for ALS.

Elizabeth DeRose received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Michigan and previously worked in advertising for J. Walter Thompson. More recently, Elizabeth has focused on volunteer work for non-profit organizations, in particular for the Junior League of Ann Arbor and school PTOs. She became involved with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS when Bob Schoeni, her daughter’s field hockey coach, was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. Elizabeth joined the board in January 2013 and is chair of our Let’s Go! Newsletter Committee.

Anne Gilbert received her B.S.E. and M.S.E. from the University of Michigan School of Engineering. Anne worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years. She is currently a realtor with Howard Hanna in Ann Arbor. Anne volunteered on the Family Field Day Committee for a number of years; serving as chair in 2014. She currently serves on our Technology Committee. Anne joined the Active Against ALS board in February 2016.

Caren Goldberg, M.D., M.S. is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she has worked as a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital since 1997. Caren is a founding board member. As chair of the Distribution Advisory Committee, Caren is the liaison to a Scientific Advisory Board that advises the Active Against ALS board on where to invest our funds.

Amir Gulati is currently a junior at the University of Michigan studying economics and creative writing. From a young age, he was very involved with charity work; often volunteering at local soup kitchens and working for Habitat for Humanity. Amir has also worked extensively for his cousin’s foundation, Suneel’s Light, which helps raise awareness and research funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As a brother of the fraternity Phi Delta Theta, Amir helps organize our annual Boxcar Derby, and serves as a liaison between the brothers and the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS board.

Knut Hill earned his B.A. from Kalamazoo College, and his J.D. from Widener University School of Law (Wilmington, DE). He worked for seven years at Esperion Therapeutics in Ann Arbor before becoming an environmental attorney. He has long been committed to charity work through activities and community building. Knut has worked with Habitat for Humanity, and has run marathons and skied across Michigan to raise support for individuals in need. He is director of Boxcar Derby, chair of the Technology Committee helping to maintain the website and social media tools, and member of the Distribution Advisory Committee.

Jenny Jalet has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Administration from Central Michigan University. She is a performance support analyst for Information Technology Services at the University of Michigan. Jenny met the Schoeni family over 10 years ago, while serving with Bob on the board of Community Day Care & Preschool. She had the opportunity to learn more about our organization, and the fight to cure ALS, as a member of the Channel for ALS relay team. While an undergrad at Michigan, Jenny was part of 4 Big Ten championship swimming & diving teams. She and her husband, Sam, are happy to be raising their two children, Martin and Winnie, in the heart of Ann Arbor. She is excited to help advance the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS mission. Jenny joined our board in February 2016.

Stacey Johns received her B.A. in Visual Communications, with a minor in Photography, from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. After working as a designer for eight years in Chicago, she returned to Ann Arbor to run her company ENVISAGE Design, where she does photography, and interior staging. She also enjoys volunteering her time and efforts to several local non-profits. Stacey’s father, Michael Johns, passed away from ALS in October 2010. A year later she became involved with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS to spread awareness and find a cure to beat ALS. Stacey joined the board in January 2013.

David Lowenschuss received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University.  He has worked as an attorney in the pharmaceutical industry for over twenty years. When friend and neighbor Bob Schoeni was diagnosed with ALS in July 2008, Dave realized that the lack of investment from the pharmaceutical industry was holding back the research and development of a treatment or cure for ALS. He reached out to friends and colleagues of Bob’s to create a grass roots fundraising effort that would support research aggressively seeking effective treatments and ultimately a cure – this effort turned into Ann Arbor Active Against ALS.  Dave serves on the Box Car Derby and Distribution Committees.

Michael Meister received a B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and a Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Public Affairs and Administration from Western Michigan University. Michael is a senior project manager for Information Technology Services for the University of Michigan.  Michael previously worked in higher education budgeting and finance for over 15 years. Through personal family loss, he has experienced the devastating effects of ALS and is dedicated to raising public awareness and research funds for treatment and a cure. Michael joined the board in February 2015. He is Treasurer of the Board.

Susan R. Miller received her B.A. from the University of Rochester and her M.A. in Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. She has many years of experience in direct service, program administration and human services systems building, with a focus on early childhood. A friend and neighbor of the Schoeni-Spreitzer family, Susan is a founding board member of Ann Arbor Active Against ALS. She is Chair of the Board.

Sara Robins earned her B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University.  She has worked in the Human Resources field for over 15 years and is currently the Human Resources Manager for Foresee in Ann Arbor.  She and her husband, Mike, own ShutterBooth Detroit, a company that rents photo booths for special events.  She has been active in several charitable organizations and first became involved with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS through her friendship with the Lowenschuss-McGuire family, volunteering on committees for several years.Sara joined the board in January 2013. She is Secretary of the Board.

Gayle Rosen earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and received a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University. She is an attorney for the University of Michigan Student Legal Services. A member of our founding board, Gayle and her family have been volunteers at many of our events and are the organizers of the annual Rivalry Ride. She rejoined the board in February 2016.

Laura Stidham has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a specialty in early childhood, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She currently is executive director for a nonprofit preschool in Ann Arbor. Having had six family members pass away from ALS, Laura had been searching for a way to become involved in efforts to raise awareness about ALS and raise funds to support research for treatment and a cure. Laura is a founding board member and Vice-Chair of the Board.

Katherine Walsh received her B.A. in History and B.A. in Theatre from the University of Notre Dame, her M.A. from the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, and her Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where she studied under Bob Schoeni. Kat is currently Director of Student Engagement, Office of Development at the University of Michigan and was the program designer for the award-winning Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP), which is now in its tenth year. Previous to her work at Michigan, Kat worked as Director of Alumni, Coordinator of Admissions, and part-time instructor at Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas. She joined the board in February 2015 and is chair of the Fund Development Committee.

 

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Jim Frenza earned degrees in philosophy and theology from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and St. John Seminary in Plymouth, and served as a catholic clergyman from 1964 – 70. He is a long-time Ann Arbor resident who retired as president of the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum in 2004. Prior to that, Jim was director of marketing and public affairs for the St. Joseph Mercy Health System. From 2004 – 2014 he was a strategic planning consultant to non-profit organizations in SE Michigan. Since 2011, Jim has facilitated three Ann Arbor Active Against ALS staff retreats as a volunteer. He is also an enthusiastic, amateur bread baker, and has taught bread-making classes for Ann Arbor Rec and Ed and other local groups.

Kristen Freshley earned her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois. She currently works at Greenhills School as Director of Publications.  Kristen is a former board member, and is editor of the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS newsletter, Let’s Go!

Amanda Mercer received her B.A. from Michigan State University and J.D. from Wayne State University. She has previously worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, as an enforcement representative for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and as a solo practitioner. Amanda was a board member from January 2010 – May 2013.  She captained the Channel for ALS Team of six women who broke the world record with a double- crossing of the English Channel in July 2012 and raised over $120,000 for research. Amanda is now Special Events Representative for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS.

Suzanne Ross received her B.A. from Kalamazoo College and her M.S.W. from the University of Michigan. After working as a medical social worker for many years, Suzanne has been a volunteer board member for non-profits in the Ann Arbor area since 2000. Suzanne is a founding member of Ann Arbor Active Against ALS and was Chair of the Board for the first five years of the organization. She is currently Program Administrator for the organization.