Interfaith Action Board & Staff

Interfaith Action Board    2019-20

Interfaith Action Board of Directors
The executive committee is listed with the officer roles identified, followed by the names of the board at large. The faith communities listed next to the board members’ names are the communities with which the board members are associated.

Executive Committee


Anne Heinz, President, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, has been a soup kitchen regular for many years.  At St. Mark’s, she has been a long-time teacher and served several terms on the Vestry, including senior warden.  She trained as a political scientist and worked on program evaluations in the areas of education and criminal justice.  She retired from the University of Chicago, where she was an academic administrator.


Joey Rodger, Vice President, a member of the Evanston Friends Meeting (Quakers) and a chaplain for the Evanston Police Department, has served the Friends meeting as Clerk, as a member of various committees, and as their representative to clergy groups in Evanston.  For 18 years she served as CEO of national organizations serving public libraries.  Prior to that she worked as an early childhood librarian, a jail librarian, and an elementary school teacher.  She co-founded Peaceable Cities: Evanston and served as its Executive Director for five years.  She has also served on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Evanston.  Joey is a regular volunteer at the Producemoble.

Melissa Appelt, Secretary, a member of First United Methodist Church, is a soup kitchen and emergency overnight shelter volunteer and a member of the Interfaith Action Advocacy team. Within her congregation, Melissa has served on Church Council and led Staff Parish Relations and Mission & Outreach committees. She has participated in a dozen trips to the Appalachia Service Project and hurricane relief efforts in various locations and currently assists Syrian refugees and Bundled Blessings, FUMC’s diaper service for low-income families. Melissa retired from the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she worked in Foundation and Government Relations and continues to volunteer for the Garden’s Windy City Harvest program, helping ex-offenders with resumes and job searches.

Rita Bailey, Treasurer, a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, retired from the Internal Revenue Service after 39 years as a corporate examiner. She volunteers throughout her church, including working with the Night Ministry team and the 2nd Friday Sack lunch team. She is also a member of the Northminster Fellowship committee, Christian Education committee, and Finance committee. Rita has been a Sunday School teacher at Northminster since 1983. She volunteers with Faith in Action, which supports the independent living of older adults and people with disabilities in Evanston. She regularly volunteers at our Producemobile and is one of its current team of organizers.


Mildred Carter, a member of Sherman United Methodist Church, actively participates in the ministries of her church and has held numerous leadership positions. She is treasurer of her local United Methodist Women unit and sits on the national program advisory board. Mildred currently serves on Interfaith Action’s Direct Services committee and volunteers at the Soup Kitchens, the Overnight shelter and the ProduceMobile.  She has also been involved with Connections for the Homeless sack lunch program for many years and plays a supportive role to women and children residing in New Life Interim shelter. She also volunteers as a return preparer and financial coach for the center for economic progress.  Mildred is an attorney and recently retired from her position as a senior federal tax analyst for a global corporation.


Board members


Simon Anolick, a member of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, is an intellectual property attorney with HERE, a location and navigation company, in Chicago. Simon has been in leadership at Beth Emet for many years, serving on the Board of Trustees for over 10 years including 3 years as Secretary.  He has also led various committees including Adult Education, Worship, Nominating, and a Cantorial Search Committee.  Simon also served for 12 years as one of four people on the Ozerim (Helpers) Committee that helps the clergy provide for the needs of congregates by arranging meals including providing a Shabbat meal to a congregate each week, minyan leaders for families sitting shivah, and rides.  In 2014, Simon, with Debbie Render, Kathy Kaberon, and Gita Weintraub, were honored as Beth Emet’s Vision Keeper sponsored by Interfaith Action.

Richard Cahan, a member of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, is an Evanston journalist who writes books about art, photography and history through his publishing company CityFiles Press.

Jason Glanz has volunteered with Interfaith Action over the years at the hospitality center as well as our soup kitchen.  Having gone through the Connections program as a resident, he has found it important to return to show gratitude for the services provided for him and others throughout the years.  As a military veteran, Jason served seven years active duty as a truck driver, while deploying twice to Kuwait and Iraq.  Upon his return back to the Chicago land area, he has utilized his time volunteering, and helping the veteran community.


Richard Peterson, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, is a structural engineer by profession who primarily does engineering on buildings. He has volunteered with the Hospitality Center and Overnight Shelter and Warming Centers during the winter. He has also been the Coordinator of the Sunday Soup Kitchen all with Interfaith Action of Evanston. At his church he has served on their Council, on their Faith in Action Committee as well has been a Sunday School Teacher for many years.

Donna Richardson, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, serves as the lay coordinator – Social Justice and Outreach Ministry and since 2018 the IAE delegate.  She is the one of the coordinators for the Wednesday Lunch Ministry sponsored by St. Mark’s and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Churches. Donna is a retired special and school librarian, spending the last 22 years at Chute Middle School in Evanston.  She has served on the Direct Services and Delegate Advisory Committees for Interfaith Action. She has volunteered at the Producemobile and Emergency Overnight Shelter.  Donna is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., actively involved in the local chapter. She has served as an election judge, a volunteer for the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, and as a tutor with Books & Breakfast Program. She was honored in 2019 with St. Mark’s Lion of the Year Award. Donna and her husband have lived in Skokie for 30+ years.

Olga Ricketts-Peart, a member of The First Presbyterian Church for 30+ years, has held numerous leadership positions and was a faithful volunteer at the Souper Saturday soup kitchen for many years. Olga co-teaches the Thursday Evening Women’s Bible Study and she is a Commissioner at the Presbytery of Chicago.  She is a retired geriatric social worker and worked at the Inter Faith Action Hospitality Center for 5-years in computer training.

Carol Wilson, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, worked for 46 years as a journalist, including 34 years writing about telecommunications technology. At Trinity, she is former Church Council President and a member of the Faith in Action committee. She is a regular soup kitchen and Emergency Overnight Shelter volunteer, as well as a member of the Communications, Direct Services and Fundraising committees. Her other volunteer work includes teaching adult ESL classes and working at the Misericordia Sweet Shoppe.

Rev. Michael Woolf is the senior minister of Lake Street Church of
Evanston, where he has been since 2019. He previously served
congregations in Massachusetts, and completed his Master of Divinity
degree at Harvard Divinity School in 2014. He is also a Doctor of
Theology candidate at Harvard writing about the Sanctuary Movement of
the 1980s and hopes to finish his dissertation in 2021. A native of
Alabama, Michael lives in Evanston with his wife, Anna, and daughter,
Zofia. He is working on his Polish, as his wife and daughter are Polish
citizens, and he is an avid bread baker and vegetable gardener.


Interfaith Action Staff

Executive Director, Susan Murphy

Assistant Program Director, Shawn Iles 

Administrative Assistant, Sara L.

Employment Counselors, Warren Smith

Computer Trainers, Jernone Smith

Maintenance Manager, Kim Jefferson