Leadership - Think Tanks on Poverty

Wendy Tarr, Director, VOAN 

Wendy manages ARCH and the Think Tanks on Poverty as part of her role as Executive Director and co-founder of The Vincentian Ohio Action Network (VOAN). Wendy has worked throughout California, Ohio, and the Midwest with faith communities building cross-sector collaborations as a community organizer for 13 years, primarily focused on economic justice, immigration, and criminal justice reform issues. Wendy is currently the director of the Vincentian Ohio Action Network. Prior to VOAN, Wendy was the Midwest Regional Organizer for "Bibles, Badges, and Business for Immigration Reform," a network of faith, law enforcement, and business leadership working to establish a new consensus on immigrants and America, led by the National Immigration Forum in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Wendy worked for eight years for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California, where she organized diverse faith communities to support low-wage workers in struggles for living wages, affordable accessible healthcare, responsible development, and workers' rights. 

Contact: [email protected]  | 614-512-7106


Lesha Farias, Organizing Consultant - Think Tanks on Poverty

Lesha is a Lead Organizing consultant for the Think Tanks on Poverty. She is a co-founder of the Newark Think Tank on Poverty and is expanding the Think Tanks on Poverty in Perry, Muskingum, Knox and Fairfield Counties. Prior to working for VOAN, Lesha was the Senior Program Director at the Ohio Campus Compact where she oversaw the AmeriCORPS Vista Program based at Denison University for 14 years. She directed the OCC AmeriCorps VISTA and Connect2Complete (C2C) Programs, along with other events and initiatives that promote higher education as a public good accessible to all who and helping students become civically engaged. Lesha also volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Licking County. 

Contact: [email protected] | 740-334-2152


Allen Schwartz, Organizing and Regional Training Consultant- Think Tanks on Poverty

Allen is a consultant to VOAN with our Think Tanks on Poverty. Allen works in GED and Adult Education at C-TEC (Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County). He is a musician and artist. He also has over 40 years of experience in labor and community organizing. Allen worked as a law library supervisor at the Stateville Penitentiary, Joliet Illinois. He was the President AFSCME local 3506 (Chicago) and the past Executive Director, Chicago Metro History Education Center. While in Chicago, Allen was a regular presenter, National Public Radio Chicago, and the Sandra Gair Show. He has been faculty at colleges and universities throughout Chicago and Central Ohio. Allen is the founder of Licking County Concerned Citizens for the Environment and a co-founder and organizer for Newark Think Tank on Poverty.

Contact: [email protected]


Ophelia Adjei-Awuah, Special Projects and Program Development 

Ophelia helps the Think Tanks on Poverty and ARCH with communications and program development and is part of our VISTA program. Ophelia has a Masters in International Affairs from Boston University.

Contact: [email protected]


Young Leaders & Field Organizing Volunteers!

VOAN receives interns from OSU, Notre Dame, Denison University throughout the year for various lengths to gain professional and organizing skills. We also work with many local grassroots leaders to support their skill development through apprenticeship programs and project leadership with our various events, Think Tanks, and initiatives. 


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  • Wendy Tarr
    published this page in About 2020-03-17 09:56:59 -0400