FOM Board of Directors
Sixty years ago, a small child with lively brown eyes picked up my LIFE magazine and held it upside down to “read” and look at the pictures. Education for Haiti’s rural mountain children has been my passion since that day. Apart from brief interludes in Haiti, my professional career focused on U.S. social policy, first working in HUD’s Model Cities Program, then leading a division of a policy research firm, and finally as President of TERC, a not-for-profit education R&D organization. Since 2001 I have been deeply involved in, and remain an enthusiastic supporter of, Matènwa’s progress and dreams.
Founder & President Emerita
Barbara C. Sampson
Now on Sale
Chris W Low is the Executive Director of Friends of Matènwa and the co-founder Matènwa Community Learning Center. She received her BA in Psychology from Vassar College and M Ed from Lesley University. Chris taught in the Cambridge Massachusetts Public Schools for 9 years. She currently splits her time between Cambridge MA where she lives with her daughter, and Haiti.
Founder & Executive Director
Chris W. Low
Throughout my 55+ year professional career, I have used my energies to be a positive force with others in eradicating poverty, serving first as a social justice activist in Appalachia, then as a human service practitioner in Nashville TN and the Boston area, and from 1995-2014 as researcher/professor/center director at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Inspired by Matènwa’s impacts in the lives of children and families on Lagonave Island and in the future throughout Haiti, I am fully committed to the Friends of Matènwa’s mission, bringing my best self to our collective endeavors.
Donna Haig Friedman
I served as Executive Director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), and of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network. I am a founder of the Haitian Studies Association (HAS) and have served on the Board of the National Immigration Forum, the NY Immigration Coalition, and the Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch/Americas. I have long campaigned in favor of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Haiti, and for the rights of Haitians abroad. I have written much on these issues over the years. I consult regularly with a wide range of leaders, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations of various ideological persuasions and interests. I was born in Haiti and reside in the United States.
Throughout my career with the United Nations Children's Fund, it was my honor and privilege to work for the promotion and protection of the rights of children, at both global and national levels, including in Guatemala, Haiti, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Few rights are more transformative than education, and I could not be more proud to support the Matènwa Community Learning Center in its mission to deliver an education, grounded in respect for Haitian culture, language and values, that prepares its students to contribute to the lives and well-being of their families, community and country.
Elizabeth D. Gibbons
After undergraduate and graduate studies in Boston, my professional career took me first to the financial world in Tokyo, then to the international athletics world. For the past 28 years out of Boulder, Colorado, I have worked with athletes from around the world on their training and competitions, as well as representing many in their professional activities. From my experiences particularly with athletes from Kenya and Romania, I have seen the value of strong local communities and schools in economic development, and the parallels I see with the goals and achievements of MCLC are why I am excited to serve on the Friends of Matènwa Board.
For the past few years, I have been developing my new fitness company, NouFlex LLC, with the intent of bringing needed changes to the health and fitness industry. I am doing my part to increase the US’s physically fit population. Strength is a beautiful thing, and fitness brings a lifetime of health and happiness!
Being a FoM board member lets me expand my desire to help people beyond the fitness industry, and to my home country of Haiti. Education and literacy are so connected to opportunity, and I am passionate about enabling Haitian children to have as much opportunity as possible, so that they, too, can make positive changes in their own communities and the world. I wish I had joined the FoM board sooner, and look forward to the great work we will do in Haiti.