CREATE! is a tax exempt nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status. We are unaffiliated with any governmental or religious organizations.

The founders of CREATE! bring decades of experience in humanitarian assistance, appropriate technology, social services, education, training, business, nonprofit management and fundraising to our nonsectarian, nongovernmental organization. We share a passionate commitment to the mission of CREATE! and to working with rural village populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world to alleviate the impact of global warming on their lives and livelihoods.


US Staff Senegal Field Team Board of Directors



Barry R. Wheeler — Founder and Board Member
Barry is the dynamic force behind CREATE! and its impassioned and inspiring leader. He has spent the past 25 years working to alleviate suffering and provide basic human needs for poor rural villagers, displaced persons and refugees in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He finds in CREATE! the culmination of his life's work and the opportunity to share with others what he has learned about building the capacity of people to solve their own problems.

After serving in the Peace Corps for six years as an Appropriate Technology volunteer, trainer and technical advisor in Togo, West Africa, Barry earned a Master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University, focusing on project planning and management, local capacity building and sustainable community rural development in developing countries.

He has served as Country Director for the American Refugee Committee International programs in Uganda/Sudan and in Rwanda; as a consultant for UNICEF and UNHCR; and as a team leader and training coordinator in local capacity building, renewable and appropriate technology and sustainable rural development. Barry has designed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in international community development, sustainable development and project planning at the University of Oregon.


Louise Ruhr — Executive Director and Board Member
Louise enjoys her day to day involvement in the operations of CREATE! including field programs, fundraising and administration. She brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, marketing, advertising and communications as well as a passion for the mission of CREATE!

Louise comes to CREATE! with more than 30 years of experience as a manager, leader and executive in for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations. Having decided to follow a new path of voluntarism and humanitarian work, Louise discovered her true vocation when she began working with refugees living in camps in Rwanda helping to form, train and support cooperative groups and voluntary saving and lending associations within the camp community.

From 2001-2008 Louise served the American Refugee Committee as a Board member, volunteer and fundraiser. From 2005-2010 she served as a field volunteer and as Program and Operations Manager for ARC’s country program serving refugees in Rwanda. Louise has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Kaitlyn Grigsby-Hall — Grants Manager
As Grants Manager, Kaitlyn writes and manages foundation grants for CREATE!. She also works with individuals donors and handles CREATE!’s projects on GlobalGiving.

Kaitlyn has been interested in sustainable, grassroots, and participatory development projects in Africa since she spent six months studying abroad in the Gambia in 2009. For her master’s thesis, Kaitlyn studied participatory development theory, using CREATE! as a case study.

Kaitlyn has a BA in environmental studies, biology, and public policy from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She also earned a MS in environmental studies and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Oregon. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys exploring Oregon, baking gluten free treats, and reading.


Robin Weil — Development Associate
Robin is enthusiastic about CREATE!’s work in Senegal and works to support CREATE! by communicating with donors, supporters and the public, writing newsletter and website content, and assisting with fundraising.

Robin spent more than 20 years as an Energy Management Specialist for a public utility, working primarily with low-come households and countywide programs to promote energy conservation and assistance programs that empowered individuals to fight poverty and preserve natural resources.

In 2009 and 2010, Robin worked for the American Refugee Committee as a field volunteer in refugee camps in Rwanda, implementing and coordinating community gardening and improved cookstove programs and fulfilling her lifelong dream of working in humanitarian aid in Africa. Robin has a BA in Political Science from the University of Oregon, is a Master Gardener, and a trained mediator in conflict resolution and restorative justice.



Natalie Deehan-Clark — Communications Assistant
As the Communications Assistant, Natalie works on CREATE!’s donor outreach campaigns and fundraising events. She also manages CREATE!’s social media presence.

Natalie is a senior at the University of Oregon. She studies advertising through the School of Journalism and Communications. With her advertising major, she intends to promote ecological sustainability and social responsibility.

Natalie is an aspiring world-traveler. She has visited eight countries and loves to learn about different cultures. During her travels, Natalie has found that she is interested in the impact that different cultures have on the environment. She wants to raise awareness on how people impact their environment, their community, and the world. In her free time, Natalie loves to make art, as well hike, surf, snowboard, and ride horses.


Andrea Willingham — Communications Coordinator
As Communications Coordinator, Andrea develops and implements local and online outreach strategies, as well as manages CREATE!'s social media presence. She also prepares CREATE!'s weekly blog posts and monthly newsletters.

Andrea earned her MS in Environmental Studies, Media, and Geography from the University of Oregon, and her BA in Environmental Studies and Anthropology from Eckerd College in Florida. Her explorations have taken her from studying in London, to volunteering in Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Iceland, to working as a multimedia intern and park ranger in rural Alaska. She is interested in using multimedia and creative communications strategies to promote greater awareness of and responsibility toward our natural world and global communities.







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