Scott began his focus on poverty in the late ‘70s as a volunteer for Catholic Worker in Rochester, N.Y. Since then, he has initiated projects in North America that directly help families and communities address poverty more effectively. After a decade of research and refinement of a program to address poverty head on, Scott founded Circles® USA. He makes his home in Albuquerque, N.M., with his wife Jan. Both have volunteered for years as Circles Allies to families enrolled in Circles. Scott is author of the books, Until It’s Gone: Ending Poverty in our Nation, in our Lifetime and The Circles Story, How Circles Can Help Your Community Find New Ways to Resolve Poverty and Thrive.
Ausha Jackson is visionary with a reputation for making things happen. Ausha’s passion and career as a Workforce Development Professional began out of her personal experience of becoming a teen mother and raising a child in poverty. Despite her early obstacles, she went on to graduate in the top 5% of her high school class, obtain a Master’s degree, start her own business, and dedicate her life to empowering others.
Ausha served as the Executive Director of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s Circles chapter from 2010 – 2014 where she led her team to win the highest award for American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and was recognized nationally for the way she and her team built intentional relationships across race and class lines to end poverty.
In 2014, Ausha relocated to Atlanta, GA and became a part-time consultant and National Trainer for Circles USA. She now serves full time as a CUSA National Training Director and travels the country training communities that are committed to helping families permanently move out of poverty and grow into economic stability.
Gena is originally from Alabama and served for eight years in the U.S. Air Force. Gena began working for Circles® USA in 2006 and works remotely while living in rural Minnesota. She coordinates calendar logistics, materials distribution, contract negotiations, invoicing, event planning and general inquiries. Gena’s long-term working relationship and knowledge is a key component of Circles’ operations. You can reach her at: 888-232-9285 or Gena@CirclesUSA.org.
As a systems analyst for Circles USA, Courtney architects both IT and non-IT solutions for the organization. Courtney uses her problem solving skills to tackle a wide variety of challenges particularly related to data. She identifies improvements needed to the data system and also implements those upgrades in addition to training and motivating others to use the system, all in an effort to help the system operate more efficiently and effectively.
John Wilson, Chairman CUSA Board
Consultant, Chalk Hill, Pa.
Mr. Wilson served as Executive Director of Community Action Association of Pennsylvania for 37 years and brought Move the Mountain into Pennsylvania several years ago and helped launch the Circles initiatives. He now consults and has served as Interim Director for community action agencies.
Jim Masters, Treasurer/Secretary CUSA Board
President of the Center for Community Futures, Berkeley, Calif.
Mr. Masters has been a friend of Circles since its inception. He has worked with over 500 Community Action Agencies and Head Start programs since 1966. He has provided strategic planning and administrative oversight support as a board member for the past several years.
Joan Kuriansky, Vice President CUSA Board
Former Executive Director of Wider Opportunities for Women, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Kuriansky served as Executive Director of Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), working nationally to achieve economic independence for women and girls throughout their lifetime. Between 1987 and 1994, Ms. Kuriansky was Executive Director of the Older Women’s League (OWL), a national advocacy and membership organization with chapters throughout the United States that addresses economic and social issues facing women as they age. Between 1995 and 2001, Ms. Kuriansky served on President Clinton’s Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. Today, Ms. Kuriansky serves on a number of boards including Real Wealth of Nations, Justice International Connections and the Income Security Committee of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), on which she serves as a Fellow. She has received the Gloria Steinem/Ms. Foundation “A Women of Vision” award. Ms. Kuriansky holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in urban affairs from Occidental College.
Vince Gonzales, Member at Large CUSA Board
Vince Gonzales learned servant leadership from his family’s long tradition of helping others. As Healthcare IT Director for Perinatal Associates of New Mexico, he uses information technology to enhance the company’s daily operations and further their goals for exemplary patient care.
Following the example of his grandfather who started Mano En Mano, a NM nonprofit that received national recognition directly from President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Vince adeptly balances his professional career and family life with his commitment to serve the community. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his beloved wife (Sylviana) and two amazing sons (Hunter and Jerome). Vince serves as the Board President for the Rio Grande Center (RGSCL). Under his leadership, RGSCL has embraced a results-oriented decision-making process that has resulted in a fully-staffed board, and a successful blueprint for financial stability and growth. Alongside with his wife Sylviana, who lost her father to Alzheimer’s, and son Jerome, Vince runs a Music and Memory program that provides iPods to Alzheimer’s patients.
As an at-large Board Member, Vince is working with CirclesUSA to transform families and communities by eradicating poverty. His focus is on helping Circles USA and its chapters achieve long-term financial sustainability, establish new partnerships with business, and utilize state-of-the-art information and technology platforms.
Advisors and Champions to Circles USA
Carolyn Workman and Kurt Whacker, philanthropists with social work and business backgrounds from Columbus, Ohio
Chris Tinney, strategic initiatives, helping develop and execute a sustainable, strategic plan as we pursue the “Tipping Point” in communities across the country.
Denise Rhoades, writer/ communications consultant for Hartsook Companies, Inc., Kansas
Gordon Hannah, Ph.D. Community Psychology, Veteran Affairs, Pittsburgh, PA
Jen Nibley, Director, Arrive Utah, Provo, UT
Julie Liske, Executive Director, Circles Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI
Linda Jacobs, Executive Director, Good Samaritan Ministries, Holland, MI
Lynette Fields, Executive Director, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Orlando, FL
Mariam Mengistie, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Orlando, FL
Mark Lautman, author, and founder of Community Economics Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM
Mary Jane Collier, Ph.D. The University of New Mexico, Multi-Cultural Studies, researcher for Circles
Michael Audino, Board Chair, Impact Pinellas, St. Petersburg, FL
Michael Gordon, Ph.D., Dean of the Department of Social Impact, Ross Business School, University of Michigan
Sarah Thornburg, Executive Director, Friends In Deed, Ypsilanti, MI
Tami Trover Crosson, philanthropist, and higher education consultant, WY
Ted Melnyk, Director of Family, Community and Social Equity, East Liberty Development Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
Toni Taylor, Professional Certified Coach, Greenville, SC