BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Arlene Little, Director
Arlene recently retired from her Children’s Ministry position at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea, MN. She had served for 6 ½ years as a Children’s Ministry Coordinator (Preschool). Prior to that, she worked as a para-educator and also worked with the Early Childhood Screening program in the Alden-Conger and Albert Lea school districts. Arlene has worked in a variety of volunteer situations including Project Charlie, a school-funded program that focuses to build a student’s self-esteem and confidence and Health Day, a school-sponsored program that checks each student’s hearing and vision in order to create success in the learning process for each student in the classroom. Arlene has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education – Business (Northwestern College – St. Paul) and a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education/Secretarial (FBBC; Ankeny, IA.)
Jerry Epland, Vice President
Jerry recently retired from being senior partner in a family 4000-acre corn and soybean farming operation in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. In addition to farming for nearly 50 years, Jerry was the president of Epland Trucking, Inc., a commercial trucking firm which was in operation for 25 years. Jerry served on the board of directors of Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association for 20 years, serving as president for 5 of those years. Jerry also served as chairman of the Planning Commission of Freeborn County.
Lois Epland, Secretary
Lois was a working partner with her husband, Jerry, for nearly 50 years. Lois was raised on the farm on which she and Jerry make their home. In the year 2015 it was designated a century farm. Lois took care of the financial records and did the bookkeeping for their farming operation. She was the office manager for Epland Trucking, Inc for over 20 years. Lois served for 6 years on the board of directors of St. John’s Lutheran Home, serving as president for two of those years. Lois has volunteered in various community organizations, including helping to serve meals to the less fortunate through the Loaves and Fishes program. Lois was a Sunday school teacher for 25 years and still volunteers in other positions within her church.
Christopher Fiske, Director
Christopher currently serves as pastor of Word of Life Lutheran Church in Fairfield, IA. Prior to becoming a pastor, Christopher worked as a tutor and supplemental math instructor at North Iowa Area Community College. He primarily worked with students from low-income families who were the first members of their families to attend college. Christopher has served in the Army National Guard for 18 years (1984-1996, 2013-Present), including four years on active duty (1987-1991). Christopher has a Masters of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and a Bachelors of Arts in Social Studies (History) from Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN.
Julie Fiske, President and Executive Director
Julie began working full-time for Growing Hope Foundation as its executive director in September 2012. Prior to this she served for 12 years as the pastor of Emmons Lutheran Church, Emmons, MN. While serving Emmons Lutheran Church, Julie was also on the board of directors of the Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association. Julie received her Masters of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, in 1997 and her Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Luther College, Decorah, IA in 1992.
Marty Little, Treasurer
Marty Little is currently a Financial Officer with Compeer Financial (formerly AgStar Financial Services). He started with AgStar in 1985 as a loan officer. Over the last 33 years Marty has been busy building long-term multi-generational relationships with many area farmers. Marty has built these trusting business relationships by providing quality products that help farmers finance their operations and manage the associated risks. Recently retired, Marty will continue working with local farmers doing private consulting. Previously Marty was a County Supervisor at Farmers Home Administration in Freeborn County, administrating the housing and farm loan programs during the 1980’s Agricultural Crisis. In the summer of 1982, Marty served in Los Banos, Phillipines with The Navigators for six weeks. The ministry focused on students who were attending the Agricultural Campus of the local university by leading Bible Studies and their general gatherings.