Karon Wright is the President, co-Founder and Executive Director of The Greater Contribution. She is a passionate advocate for the poor and a frequent speaker about the fight against poverty. In 2006, Karon and her co-founders were motivated by recognition of the abundance of their own lives and a desire to make a greater contribution – to give back and make a difference in the lives of those who are so much less fortunate. They formed The Greater Contribution. Since 2006, under Karon’s leadership, during the last 11 years, The Greater Contribution has provided over 13,000 micro loans to women living in abject poverty, allowing them to start small businesses and begin to work their way out of poverty. Karon was given national recognition with a “Vibrant Giver Award” for her dedication to poverty relief worldwide. She was one of the featured speakers at the TED conference in Thousand Oaks in 2010 and was named A 2016 Peace Hero as part of a nation-wide celebration commemorating the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and honoring those in local communities working toward peace. Most recently she was nominated for a 2017 CNN Hero Award. She is a member of the faculty at the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Cal Lutheran University. She travels to Africa every six months to monitor the TGC loan program there.
Over the past 20 years, Elaine has held local and international public health and education positions in resource development, grantwriting and programmatic management for positions of increasing leadership and responsibility to enhance quality-of-life and well being among vulnerable populations. As a member of The Greater Contribution Board of Directors, Elaine primarily focuses on grantwriting. She is also a senior program officer/grantmaker for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a national nonprofit organization focused on combating hunger. Previously, Elaine worked for Joseph Hospital of Orange and raised over two million dollars annually to support health education, health access and community development programs in Orange County. As the executive director for Project Concern International in Romania, Elaine was responsible for resource development activities, and all financial, programmatic and administrative activities. Elaine’s past experiences facilitating several community coalitions have enhanced her ability to lead people from diverse backgrounds in creating innovative community solutions to complex social service and health problems. Elaine holds a Masters in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
The brilliance of the micro loan is that the loan pays itself forward forever. Hi, my name is Carolyn Corwin, I am a mother of four wonderful children, and grandmother of three. I have lived in the Conejo valley for over 25 years. Several years back I was introduced to the Greater Contribution through a mutual friend and it changed my life, and the lives of those that the Greater Contribution support, forever. My heart was opened to the possibility of supporting and nurturing those in need in Uganda. The discovery of micro loans fascinated me, the ability to have the same donation go out, be paid back, and go out repeatedly changing the lives of women and their families for the better resonated so strongly with me that I instantly became a recurring donor and over time a Board Member. I have personally witnessed the change and empowerment of the micro loan at work on the ground in Uganda. To be able to help those so desperately poor is a moving experience, and one that leads to empowerment and self-sustaining lives for those in need. For it is not what we have, but what we give that truly defines us. I am most grateful to be part of this organization.
Art Barmash is an award-winning marketing executive with more than 15 years of experience at major advertising agencies and Fortune 500 companies, including Discover Financial Services, Avery Dennison and Countrywide Financial Corp. He has experience in building brand marketing campaigns that drive customer loyalty and revenue. In addition, Art excels at developing strategic partnerships and alliances that add value and profitability for all stakeholders. His expertise encompasses advertising, branding, integrated marketing, marketing communications, social media, sponsorships and public relations. Art has been volunteering with The Greater Contribution in various marketing and development roles since 2015.
Over the last ten years, Matt Gilling has been a financial supporter and volunteer for The Greater Contribution and was recently invited to join the Board of Directors. The Greater Contribution was something that appealed to him since it was a way for women to permanently change their lives and the lives of their children. Creating and sustaining meaningful change creates hope and a better future. Matt’s passion for helping people began back in high school when he donated his first pint blood to the Red Cross at the age of 17. Forty years later, he has donated over 300 units to the ARC. While between jobs in 2007, Matt became a Disaster Volunteer for the Ventura County Chapter of ARC and was deployed to provide relief at a major flood in Ohio. Matt’s background in disaster preparedness, logistics and team leadership was essential to the success of his deployment. He continued on as a Chapter volunteer for the next 7 years. After returning home from that experience, Matt decided to pursue a career that would fulfill his passion for helping people. In December of 2007, Matt was hired as the Volunteer Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County. His major job duties were recruiting, training and supervising the volunteers who helped build homes for the chosen families. Over the years, his role was expanded to writing the newsletter, fundraising, volunteer recognition, securing building supply donations and supervising the committee who selected the families that applied to Habitat’s program. After his experience with Habitat for Humanity, Matt has been an active volunteer for Pepperdine’s Waves of Service program, Anthem/Blue Cross’ Blue Crew and Heart of Compassion, an organization co-founded by one of his fraternity brothers that provides food and clothing donations to those in need. Matt has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix; a Bachelor’s degree in History/Political Science from Pepperdine University and is an active member of the Community Emergency Response Team in Simi Valley. He is currently works as a Travel Agent with the Automobile Club of Southern California. He and his wife Denice reside in Moorpark.