My life as I knew it changed forever in 1974. Prior to that time, I remember a childhood of sadness, loneliness, an absence of toys to play with and most of all, no real knowledge of family and never seeming to have enough to eat.
My name is Saintanne Hilaire Tipton and what I have just described was my life in an orphanage in Haiti, where I was born. I don’t remember much about my life there. When I was five years old, I was brought some one hundred-thirty kilometers away to an orphanage in Petionville, Haiti where I lived until I was adopted.
As far as my recollection of Petionville, I remember the few caring people who looked out for me and the other orphans. A few of the habits of mind we gained, habits that have remained with me throughout my life, were to love God, to be grateful for everything, and to always share with others what you have. In the early 1970s, it was truly God’s providence that a man named Thomas Tipton came to Haiti and visited the orphanage where I lived. When he saw me, somehow, he knew I was going to be his daughter, and at the same time, I wanted to be his daughter. I remember writing him a letter saying, “I hope one day you will come to take me to live with you in your home,” and he did; because of his generosity my whole life changed and I was given a chance for a brighter future.
I am so grateful to God for rescuing me and giving me a chance for a better life while so many desperate children in Haiti were left waiting and hoping. The bible says, “For everyone who has been given much, much will be required.”(Luke 48:12) Since so much has been given unto me I am compelled to give back. In 1995, using my own funds, I started The Haiti Project, a project that provided necessities to homeless kids and an orphanage.
The Lighthouse a multi-purpose community outreach center is an outgrowth of a partnership between my church, Faith Tabernacle Fellowship International’s Mission to Haiti, which was established by its Senior Pastors Drs. Floyd & E. Mae Beecham and myself in 2004. Under my leadership the church provided food, clothing, medicines, school supplies and materials for education through a partnership with an orphanage in Haiti.
The driving theme for The Lighthouse is about opening our hearts and minds to the extreme suffering our children, families and communities endure every day. The lighthouse symbolizes the way forward to help in navigating the way through the rough waters of life, whether those waters be personal, financial, or spiritual in nature. It leads those that are in danger to a place of security and safety. I call God’s work!
Charles A. Ellis
Charles A. Ellis is a 1978 Graduate of Macalester College with a B. A. Degree, Political Science. Charles has lived in Minnesota for 39-years and is a married father of 4 children. After college he spent his 30 year career as an Operations Leader and Project Manager, in 4 Minnesota Corporations ranging from Computer Storage Devices to High Tech Military Weapons Specification Devices, Enclosures and Automotive sectors (retired in 2009). Charles has operated a private business since 1998 and opened a Consulting Business in 2005 specializing in Small Business Consulting, Marketing and Web Development.
As a lifelong community activist Charles has served and continues to serve as Commissioner on Minnesota State, Saint Paul City and local Community wide Boards. Volunteering over the years as a Member, Board Chair, Director or beyond at Church, Mosque, Fraternity, Human Rights Commissions, Community Corrections and Charter Schools.
Board Vice Chair
Angela has over 25 years of management, facilitation, and administration experience. She offers a tremendous wealth of knowledge and has a unique ability to develop strong leaders through innovative training and engagement activities. She has facilitated numerous workshops, bible studies and corporate events.
Angela is a graduate from Augsburg College and holds a degree in Business Communications.
She is currently an Assistant Pastor at Faith Tabernacle Gospel Fellowship. Under the tutelage of Pastors Floyd and E. Mae Beecham for over 17 years she has served as a teacher, administrator and treasurer.
Angela believes that we are all valuable. God has given everyone a special assignment and purpose. She has volunteered over the years as foster parent for teenage boys, mentoring young adults in life and career skills and providing spiritual guidance to women in transitional housing. She has dedicated her life to strengthen and empower others to live life to its fullest potential both spiritually and physically.
Has a background in Small Business, Financial Analysis, Accounting, Banking, Taxes; as well as experience serving on several non-profit boards, both as Chairman and Board Member.
Beecham resides in Roseville, Minnesota with Katherine, his wife of 51 years. They have two daughters, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Glenn studied Architecture at Howard University, Washington D.C.; and studied Math and Business Administration at the University of Minnesota.
He served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps; a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Bonita (Bonnie) Hughes was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota where she graduated from Highland Park High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University and a MBA in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.
She worked for 20 years at 3M and Imation, a spin-off company of 3M, in various accounting and financial positions. Currently, she is the Business Manager for Studio 4 Enterprises, a management company to High School for Recording Arts, since 2002.
She actively volunteers in the community. She was the Treasurer of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer from 2007 – 2016. And is the current Treasurer of Butterflies 4 Life, a breast cancer awareness organization.
Bill Brass has been working in the construction industry since 1976. Worked as a laborer between college years and went into the carpentry apprentice program in 1979. Bill has a broad base of experience in commercial and residential construction working as a project manager for a commercial general contractor since 1991. Currently he is employed by Morcon construction since 2003. Bill has a wife of 38 years and three grown children with 4 grandkids and resides in Lake Elmo MN.
Joseph A. Palen (Joe)
Joe’s started his career at a young age and has been in the construction and real-estate industry for over 35 years. Joe believes that the key to any successful business is driven by faith, honesty, integrity and building long-lasting relationships. During his career, he has owned and partnered with several companies, such as the Palen Contracting LLC, Bralen Companies, JT Real estate and Palen Property Management. In addition to The Lighthouse, he currently sits on the board of the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base.
Throughout his career, Joe has created and constructed many non-profit organizations. His passion for understanding people, cultures and community led him towards philanthropy and activism.
Kerri L. Lewis
Kerri has been active in Christian and Humanitarian ministry for over 19 years. She is Joint Associate Pastor along with her husband Anthony Lewis and a member of the ministerial staff at Faith Tabernacle Gospel Fellowship Int’l (FTGFI).
She works as a spiritual life coach. Her vision is to promote the advancement of the world and the Kingdom of God. An effective communicator of God’s Word, Pastor Kerri is known for her energetic and practical style which helps people apply the timeless truths of Scripture to their everyday lives.
She purposes to elevate all, through the visualization of God’s purpose for their life. Help them see, His value of their worth. She has a strong compassion to help others. Inspiration from the Lord to do our humanitarian work, whether it will affect one life or millions of people. For one act of kindness can be enough to create a wave of change.
She & her husband, co-coach couples, together. Helping to build, cultivate & restore marriages.
She has been a board member of Urban Hope Ministries since 2008.
Kerri worked in the airline industry for over 20 years as a Flight Attendant
Cassandra Walker Pye, CEO
For more than 30 years, Cassandra Walker Pye has enjoyed a successful career in communications, government, politics and advocacy for corporate interests in global, national, state and local arenas. In January 2015, she founded 3.14 Communications, LLC, a strategic partner to businesses, trade associations, non-profits and individuals seeking to influence stakeholders – linking modern communications tools with the well-written word.
Pye is an effective strategic facilitator, crisis counselor and executive trainer. Prior to launching 3.14 Communications, she was senior vice president for APCO Worldwide, a global strategic communication consultancy, where she led the retail segment for APCO’s global Food and Consumer Products practice group. In 2003, Pye was appointed deputy chief of staff to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and served on his historic post-recall election transition team. She is former vice president of corporate affairs and political director for the California Chamber of Commerce, director of public affairs for the California Retailers Association, director of governmental relations for the California Grocers Association and state relations manager for the Food Marketing Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. An award-winning writer, Pye is a regular contributor to CA Grocer magazine.
She’s been a longtime advocate for women’s leadership in the public and private sectors and now serves as State Board President for California Women Lead, the only statewide, non-partisan organization committed to providing women the training and support they need to be successful in the political arena. She is member of the Board of Directors for Street Soccer USA (Sacramento), a director of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, a trustee for the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism Foundation and a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum (ALF).