The Board of Directors for Homeward Bound is made up of a diverse group of people. Many work with the homeless community every day, while others are passionate about affordable housing. We all have a set of God-given unique gifts that we have honed to help those in need.
Matthew 25:40 says
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Our Executive Board of Directors
Leigh is a retired Steel Executive and in 2005 started a very successful 501 C-3 non-profit in FL. His goal with Homeward Bound is to develop an organization that will not only house, but also employ our homeless population, and once again make them contributing members of our community. Leigh co-founded Homeward Bound, Inc. with John Vander Wagen in 2016.
John Vander Wagen, III
Co-Founder and Treasurer
John graduated from Bradley University with a BS in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. He entered the field of transportation and progressed quickly to a key management role as President of a McDonald's distribution company and partner in the parent organization. At fifty-one years of age, he started a commercial internet business serving the transportation industry. Throughout my career I was an active volunteer in the churches I attended and served them for many years as their Treasurer. In 2016, he co-founded Homeward Bound, Inc.
Sandi is an experienced professional leaving a life-long career behind to bring about change in her community and beyond. She brings skills in Organizational Development, Agile Transformation, Portfolio & Project Management and Construction. In addition to her professional career, Sandi spent significant volunteer time leading Habitat for Humanity in board development, capacity building, process improvement and directly managing construction projects over the course of seven years. Sandi joined Homeward Bound in 2021.
Tricia graduated from Fox Secretarial College in 1990. As a stay-at-home mom (1991 - 2014), she developed two Scrip programs within Northwest IN. One was at the church where she is a member, and the other was at the school at which her son attended. Between these two programs, she raised over $50,000 combined for those organizations through the Scrip program. She was a room mom, Girl Scout, and Boy Scout leader and has volunteered thousands of hours of her time for various organizations. Tricia graduated from Ivy Tech Community College in 2014 with an AAS degree in Office Management. Currently, she is the secretary for Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church and enjoys her position there. She has been involved in Homeward Bound, Inc. since 2017 and currently serves as the Secretary of Homeward Bound.
Our Board of Directors
Patrick brings Public Relations, Fundraising, and Social Media Planning experience to our board. Patrick joined Homeward Bound in 2021. Patrick is a former educator. He was a secondary school principal before moving on to Purdue University Northwest and Indiana University Bloomington as a Director of their dual credit programs.
Shirley is the retired co-founder and C.E.O. of the Crisis Center, Inc., a Miller Beach, Gary, Indiana non-profit that provides an emergency shelter for boys and girls, ages 13-18; a crisis/suicide intervention phone line; individual, group and family counseling; a Safe Place outreach program; and a Teen Court early intervention juvenile delinquency program.
Jim Eriksson is a State Farm Insurance agent. Jim has worked for many years with the Town of Porter Planning Commission Board and currently is serving on the BZA Board and Storm Water Board. Jim joined Homeward Bound in 2019.
Dan is an attorney-at-law and owns his own firm concentrating in real estate, corporate, tax, contract, business, and estate planning. Dan is currently a commissioner on the Michigan City Plan Commission and the Michigan City Historic Preservation Commission and a board member of the Porter County Parks Foundation. Dan joined Homeward Bound in 2021.
Kathleen was the Executive Director Sharing Meadows. Kathleen has been very instrumental in the fund raising and operation of Sharing Meadows which deals with special needs adults. They developed a 185-acre facility where these special adults can live, work, and relax in dignity. She’s recently retired and looking for a place to volunteer. serve as Board President of Citizens Concerned For the Homeless, I am on the Mission/HR Committee at Franciscan Health in Michigan City and I volunteer with Heart to Heart Hospice. Kathleen joined Homeward Bound in 2017.
Ed was principal broker of Merrion & Associates, Realtors, Inc. from its beginnings as a partnership in 1986 until 2010. He ran a housing program for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary from 2010 to 2018. He has volunteered with the Interfaith Community Men's Shelter in Michigan City from its start- up in 2001 to the present, coordinating the program from 2006 to 2016. Ed joined Homeward Bound, Inc., in 2017.
Jim is Executive Director of Citizens Concerned for The Homeless and his hands on experience is irreplaceable. Jim’s ability to look “outside the box”, know what resources are available, and what’s going to be needed to make our efforts a success will be invaluable. Jim joined Homeward Bound in 2017.
Pastor Nancy Nichols
Nancy is currently the Pastor First United Methodist Church of Michigan City. Pastor Nancy has a passion for working with individuals and families who are housing insecure in LaPorte county and previously in other areas where she has served. Her strength is in envisioning the connections of strength and hope that support individuals and families as they move toward stability. Nancy joined Homeward Bound in 2018.
Lisa is the Trustee for Center Township, and she goes far beyond the requirements of a Trustee by reaching out and helping the disenfranchised in her Township. She attended the same workshop in Austin as Leigh attended and will be in a lead position for Homeward Bound Village. Lisa joined Homeward Bound in 2017.
Roger owns dh2w, inc., an architectural firm and has lived in Michigan City since 1988. He has a history of working with organizations trying to eliminate homelessness. He has been very helpful to the board in design ideas and locations in order to get our project up and running. Roger joined the Board in 2017.