Board of Directors
Carl Crawford is currently the City of Duluth’s Human Rights Officer, a position he took after serving as Lake Superior College’s Intercultural Center Coordinator for 9 years. As the Human Rights Officer, Crawford is charged with enforcing City and state human rights laws and works to ensure City services are accessible to all people without discrimination. In addition, the Human Rights Officer also serves as the Equal Opportunity Representative for the City of Duluth and the ADA Coordinator, responsible for enforcement of policies against discrimination and harassment, diversifying the workforce and promoting accessibility for all residents. Carl brings a deep history of community involvement and human rights experience to his work, and was a founding board member of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.
In addition, Crawford has served on numerous Board of Directors, including Community Action Duluth, Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, Woodland Hills, Men as Peacemakers, the Ordean Foundation, SOAR, NAACP, and American Cancer Society. He is the recipient of the 2012 MLK Jr. Drum Major for Peace Award, is currently serving on the board of Family Freedom Center.
Ellie Holte is an accomplished communications and operations professional with expertise in maximizing organizational strengths through skillful interpersonal and written communications, and effective operational strategies. She is recognized as a creative and collaborative partner, passionate about driving results and creating a positive impact.
Recently retired, Ms. Holte is the former Operations Director at First Witness Child Advocacy Center (Duluth, MN). Previously, she served as the Director of Outreach and Community Relations for a pre-operational charter high school in Minneapolis, and prior that, as Special Projects and External Relations Manager at Pillsbury United Communities (PUC) Office of Public Charter Schools (Minneapolis, MN) where she reviewed all aspects of new school applications, including curriculum, instruction, management, facilities, finance, governance and law.
Ms.Holte is passionate about working towards equity, inclusion, and social justice. She serves on the board of the Family Freedom Center (Duluth), and as board chair of New Century School (St. Paul), a public charter school where she guides all policy development (aligned to law), financial reporting as well as strategic direction.
Sharon Witherspoon is a woman of faith who has worked for decades toward economic and social justice in our community. She moved to Duluth in 1968 with her late husband, Dr. Sylvester Witherspoon of New Hope Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church. She raised ten children, and is now a grandmother and great-grandmother. Currently retired, she was a University of Minnesota-Duluth financial aid advisor for twenty-four years and supervisor of the One-Stop Student Assistance Center. During this time, she served on the board at Churches United in Ministry (CHUM) for over fifteen years.
For decades, she has continued to work for educational equality as the chairperson of the ISD709 Education Equity Advisory Council and serves as the long-time secretary for the Duluth branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is a mentor, role model, civil rights activist and community elder who was honored as a Woman of Distinction in 2010 by the Duluth YWCA and the 2016 Drum Major for Peace and the 2016 Martin Luther King Day celebration.
The Family Freedom Center welcomes applications from prospective Board members interested in helping us pursue our organization’s mission