Kim Bobo  
Executive Director 

Kim is a nationally known promoter of social justice who leads VICPP’s advocacy, outreach, and development work. She literally wrote the book on faith-based organizing. Kim joined Virginia Interfaith Center in 2016, where she mobilized a historic faith advocacy campaign and played a leadership role in the statewide Healthcare for All Virginians coalition advocating Medicaid expansion, which passed in 2018. Kim moved to Virginia from Chicago, where she founded and served as executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, the nation’s largest network of people of faith engaging in local and national actions to improve wages, benefits, and conditions for workers. Prior to that, Kim was national organizing director for Bread for the World and an instructor at the Midwest Academy. Born in Cincinnati, Kim has a B.A. in religion from Barnard College and an M.A. in economics from the New School for Social Research.  She was married for 31 years to Stephen Coats, who died unexpectedly in 2013. Their twin sons, Benjamin and Eric, are organizing for economic justice. Kim married David Duvall Orr, a long-time Chicago reform politician in 2017. She is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church, where she sings in the choir. Kim served as the choir director at her previous church for 25 years. kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook
Deputy Director

LaKeisha is an accomplished graduate with degrees in Sociology and Religious Studies from Virginia Union University, and additional qualifications including a Master’s in Educational Leadership and a Doctorate of Ministry. With over 20 years of experience in non-profits, education, and the African American church, she has held leadership positions at various institutions and serves as a pastor and preacher advocating for social justice and racial equity. LaKeisha has spearheaded successful campaigns, including abolishing the death penalty in Virginia, and has expertise in program administration, particularly in intervention and prevention programs. She currently serves on staff at VICPP, focusing on justice reform initiatives.

Hamna Saleem
Director of Communications

Hamna, a versatile communicator and leader from Henrico, Virginia, blends creativity with strategic thinking honed through a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Rutgers University. With over six years of diverse leadership experience, including roles at ICNA Relief USA, she currently serves as Director of Communications at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Here, she leads impactful communication initiatives to amplify advocacy efforts and foster connections. Beyond her professional endeavors, Hamna is a dedicated photographer with over six years of freelance experience, using her keen eye for storytelling to capture powerful narratives. Committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, she seeks to make a positive impact in all aspects of her work. Reach out to collaborate for lasting change:  Hamna@virginiainterfaithcenter.org 

 

Terri Erwin, PhD  (She/Her)
Director of the Virginia Consensus for Higher Education in Prison, a VICPP Initiative
New Leadership Engagement Organizer
Terri is currently leading the Virginia Consensus for Higher Ed in Prison, an initiative that engages stakeholders from a variety of sectors: corrections, higher education, justice-impacted, faith, business/employers, and public officials in a process of consensus-building and strategic planning to expand access to college degree programs for incarcerated individuals in Virginia prisons. The initiative is generously funded by a $750,000 award from the Ascendium Education Group, a national leader in support for higher education in prison (HEP) initiatives. Terri also serves on the steering committee of the Southern Collective for Higher Education in Prison, which encourages and facilitates the exchange of best practices among HEP practitioners in the South. Her background as an academic, researcher, small business owner and faith-based community organizer contributes to her base-building work as Virginia Interfaith’s staff Organizer for New Leadership, in large part, focused on building relationships across Virginia’s higher education landscape. In Hawaii, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Michigan, she directed faith-based coalitions in high impact policy advocacy as part of the Gamaliel Network. Her doctorate was awarded by the University of Connecticut in Experimental Psychology, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University in the College of Architecture. Twice, she has been a family caregiver with primary responsibility for loved ones with terminal and degenerative illnesses. Terri@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Darryl Byers-Robinson
Higher Education in Prison Organizer
Prior to joining VICPP, Darryl was the Assistant Program Director at a therapeutic youth program for victims of abuse and a Pastor at three Philadelphia-area ministries. He has worked as an advisor to Pennsylvania colleges and universities on their higher education in prison programs, because of his own personal experience. While serving time at the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, Darryl Byers-Robinson chose to participate in the transformative program that is the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). It changed his life forever. During his schooling, he became a founding member of the BPI Debate Team. This group of inmates not only took part in debates with nationally renowned universities, they beat them: in 2015, Byers-Robinson’s team defeated Harvard University. Byers-Robinson’s journey, and those of several others incarcerated at the time, soon became featured in Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s award-winning documentary College Behind Bars, available on PBS. As a criminal justice advocate, he is a frequent public speaker, traveling across the country speaking to students, communities, legislators and at conferences supporting prison education reform.

Kathryn Haines  (She/Her)
Health Equity Manager
Kathryn began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, gaining a deep appreciation for community organizing and the Muslim faith tradition. After pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning and policy, she did interfaith organizing with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs in Chicago. After the birth of her first child, she became a doula and later, a Certified Professional Midwife. She practiced as a rural midwife in West Virginia for two years. A life-long Catholic, Kathryn has been an active member of her faith and the school community. With four kids spread across the elementary, middle and high school level in Chesterfield County Public Schools, Kathryn became a fierce advocate for equity in education. Kathryn joined the Chesterfield County Public Schools School Board in 2019. During her term, Kathryn has been the Board Liaison to the School Health Advisory Board. Navigating the return to in-person learning as a Board Member during the COVID-19 pandemic made Kathryn deeply aware of the consequences of underfunding public health and she is passionate about creating a Virginia where your zip code doesn’t determine your health. Kathryn joined VICPP in 2023.  Kathryn@VirginiaInterfaithCenter.org 

Sheila Herlihy Hennessee  (She/Her)
Faith Organizer
Sheila is a professed Secular Franciscan who values dignity, simplicity, and peacebuilding. Before moving to Richmond, she served as the Coordinator of Justice and Charity at a bilingual Catholic parish in Charlottesville for eight years where she coordinated advocacy and community organizing efforts. Sheila has a B.A. in Spanish and Sociology of Religion from Wittenberg University in Ohio, and she has spoken at retreats and conferences in both English and Spanish on welcoming immigrants, affordable housing, and justice as integral to faith. She is passionate about building bridges with diverse communities, whether among diverse language groups, faith traditions, or political persuasions. In addition to her role at VICPP, she serves on the board of Sin Barreras/Without Barriers, and enjoys swing dancing and making music in her free time. sheila@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Robert Lester
Civic Engagement Coordinator
Robert is originally from Philadelphia, PA, and a graduate of Rutger’s University, where he majored in Political Science. Before joining VICPP, Robert managed support services in most of Virginia’s largest law firms. In his current role as Civic Engagement Coordinator, his primary focus is voter education, mobilization, and protection with civic and faith-based organizations. Robert is very civic-minded and volunteers with several organizations, not limited to RRHA, Historic Jackson Ward Association, Club 533, Thebans Beneficial Club, and the YMCA, where he coached youth basketball for 18 consecutive years. Robert is married 34 years to Denise DeShields Lester and has two college graduate sons, Robert II and Richard Lester. Robert@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Janay Moniz
Administrator
Janay is a dedicated community health worker with a love for social justice and advocacy. After earning her B.A. in sociology from Christopher Newport University, she worked with underserved communities conducting public health research for The College of William & Mary. Seeing the positive impact community-centered services had on health outcomes inspired her to advocate for other CHWs and pursue her state certification along the way. Prior to joining VICPP, she held various community engagement and database management roles in non-profits such as The Virginia Community Health Worker Association (VACHWA). Growing up in an interracial and immigrant family, Janay’s lived experiences also contributed to her desire to empower others and raise awareness around the importance of cultural humility in social services and decision-making spaces. Janay joined VICPP with the intention to learn, to serve, and to gain valuable insight into the legislative processes and advocacy efforts shaping Virginia. Janay@virginiainterfaithcenter.org


Student Interns

We enjoy working with students. If you would like to do a semester internship or volunteer in another way, please contact Terri Erwin. The following students (and recent graduates) are currently working with VICPP:

Ny’Asia Flowers
Bonner Scholar, Communications intern
Ny’Asia is a senior at the University of Richmond, originally from Newark, NJ. She majors in Politics, Philosophy, Economics, and Law (PPEL) and intends to go to graduate school starting in the fall of 2024. Ny’Asia holds multiple leadership roles at the University of Richmond, including Board of Trustee, peer instructor, and Head Resident Assistant to three hundred students. She has a passion for diplomacy, international affairs and social justice initiatives. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, designing clothes, and planning events.

Ina Loka
Bonner Scholar, Child Labor intern
Ina is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Richmond, as an international student from Albania. Her passion for political engagement and social justice led her to apply to VICPP. Her primary internship focus lies in addressing child labor issues, a cause she is deeply committed to. Last year, she worked on a bill to increase penalties for child labor violations. Her work involved mapping child labor violations in Virginia and doing research on child labor violations nationally as well as statewide for the VICPP child labor report. Driven by a desire to bring meaningful change, Ina is dedicated to leveraging her skills and experiences to advocate for equitable policies and amplify marginalized voices within our communities.

Grace Randolph
Bonner Scholar, Affordable Housing Intern
Grace is a second-year student at the University of Richmond from Suffolk, VA. She hopes to major in Journalism or English to pursue her passion for writing. She currently works as an Affordable Housing Intern with Sheila Herlihy Hennessee. Outside of VICPP, Grace is a Bonner Scholar, writes for UR’s student newspaper, The Collegian, and dances with Ngoma, an African dance group on campus. In her free time, if she’s not inside with a book or pen, she’s probably outside doing the same while soaking up the sun.

Ny’Kya Scott-McKoy
Bonner Scholar, Organizing Intern
Ny’Kya Scott-McKoy is a first-year student at the University of Richmond from Suffolk, Virginia. She’s a planned double major in Political Science and Psychology and currently works as a faith organizer intern with Sheila Herlihy Hennessee. Outside of VICPP, Ny’Kya is a Class Representative for the Bonner Scholars, a tour guide, and enjoys attending West Indian Lynk and Black Student Alliance meetings. She hopes to attend law school one day and further her education.

Matthew Snider
Affordable Housing Intern
Matthew is a first-year student at Brightpoint Community College from Richmond, VA. He is currently studying so he can transfer to William & Mary to pursue a degree in Political Science. Outside of VICPP and classes he enjoys rowing and backpacking in the Appalachians.

Jeff Tsai [蔡秉言] (he/him)
Bonner Scholar, Multimedia Intern
Jeff is a sophomore at the University of Richmond from Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He’s a Biology major with minors in Film Studies and Visual Arts. Jeff studied in Dilijan, Armenia for two years before coming to the U.S. He currently works with Terri Erwin on nonprofit grant research. Jeff is involved in Block Crew (hip-hop dance club), the theater department, biology undergraduate research lab on urban ecology, and an active board member of the United World College Taiwan National Committee. In his free time, Jeff enjoys making food, dancing, and going outdoors.


Special Volunteers

Ron Alpern
Ron is a volunteer of long-standing who helped launch the Richmond Living Wage Certification campaign and he assists with special events logistics. His background includes work as a grant and special projects consultant for non-profit arts, educational, and community organizations. Before moving to Virginia, Ron was a grant officer at the University of Kentucky. Previously he served in the Detroit Recreation Department unit responsible for concerts, special events, and public art installations at two riverfront parks. His wife, Pamela Knapp, is a professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.  ron@virginiainterfaithcenter.org

Kay Frances Dolan
Kay Frances is an Ignatian Volunteer who collaborates with VICPP in Northern Virginia. She helps lead the living wage work in her region, and co-chairs the NoVA chapter. Kay Frances is a retired Federal Human Resource Executive having served as Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management at the Federal Aviation Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources at the Department of Treasury, and Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.


VICPP Alum (Former Student Interns)

Our interns contribute to VICPP’s mission in ways that continue to make an impact on society even beyond their time spent interning with us. Many of those who have interned with us in the past say this was the most fun and enriching internship experience they have ever had. Please click here to view some of our past interns’ bios.