Board Members

Christine Grumm, Chair

2015_ChristineGrummMs. Grumm joined the LIRS board in 2009.

Ms. Grumm’s invaluable contributions to the board’s work stem from her years of experience with strategic program development and fundraising, leveraging up individual leadership and organizational profiles/development, social change strategies/evaluation, and philanthropic investments. She currently works with clients at the local, national, and global levels as head of the Chris Grumm Consulting Group.

Prior to this, Ms. Grumm was president and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network for eleven years, guiding over 166 women’s and girls’ funds in the United States and around the world. Before joining Women’s Funding Network, she served as executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW). Under her leadership, CFW increased its grant-making to $1 million dollars annually and completed an endowment campaign surpassing its $5 million goal. Before moving to Chicago, she spent four years as the deputy general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva.


The Rev. J. Bart Day, Vice Chair

Bart Day, LIRS board memberRev. Day joined the LIRS board in 2013 and currently chairs the Outcomes Committee.

Rev. Day brings to the LIRS board in-depth skills in research, accounting, auditing, church-related agency leadership, fundraising, theology, and public relations and communication. He also brings connections to a number of networks: academic, research, church bodies and related institutions, ethnic communities, foundations, NGOs and social ministry organizations, students and young people.

He is currently the executive director of the Office of National Mission of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Previously Rev. Day served as associate pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston and headmaster of Memorial Lutheran School. In addition, he has served as a liturgical advisor and instructor, presenter and teacher in various programs related to music, teaching, Bible, and ministry.

A graduate of Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska, Rev. Day did theological studies at Westfield Theological House in Cambridge, England and received his M.Div. from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis).


William Swanson, Board Treasurer

BillSwanson150Mr. William Swanson became affiliated with LIRS in 1998 and served as treasurer for approximately seven years. He remained deeply connected to the LIRS mission and rejoined the board in 2012. After chairing the Finance and Investment Committee and serving as Secretary, he was elected to the role of Treasurer in 2015.

Mr. Swanson devotes his time and expertise in investment management to LIRS out of a shared compassion for the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. He has been a personal sponsor of refugees, both officially and unofficially.

Mr. Swanson’s commitment to standing for welcome is also evident in his eight years of work on the board of Ascentria Care Alliance, formerly Lutheran Social Services of New England, where he has served as chair of the Governance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee. That experience, as well as leadership roles in his church, informs his service and invaluable contributions to the LIRS board.


Lori Fedyk, Board Secretary

LoriFedyk150Ms. Lori Fedyk joined the LIRS board of directors in 2012 after serving on the Finance Committee and as liaison between the Finance and Audit Committees in 2011. Ms. Fedyk is currently Vice President, Corporate Finance/CFO at Lutheran Life Communities in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Through her 20 years of business experience, she has achieved successes that undergird her commitment to services of compassion and justice. She feels serving as a board member gives her an opportunity to pursue work for which she has a passion and can make a difference in the lives of others.

Through her work in in financial management, leadership development, and project management, Ms. Fedyk has provided financial guidance to both private and public organizations. A certified public accountant with a background at Arthur Andersen from 1987-1995, she has provided integrity to other businesses, safeguarded company assets, assisted in the turnaround and growth of companies, and developed her employees. Her accomplishments in financial analysis, auditing, process improvement, and developing and executing strategic marketing initiatives inform her invaluable leadership to the oversight and guidance of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.


Chris Andersen, Board Member

2015_ChrisAndersenMr. Anderson joined the LIRS board in 2012.

He brings to the board his deep experience with strategic thinking, a strong governance perspective, and a commitment to the LIRS mission. Mr. Andersen believes that it is time for individuals and organizations to re-assert the importance of embracing immigrants and refugees as central to the United States’ beliefs and culture.

Mr. Andersen has managed foundations and has been active with regional and national associations of grant makers. He has served on the board of 15 non-profit organizations including Lutheran Services in America. Since 1995, he has been president and executive director of inFaith Community Foundation, formerly Lutheran Community Foundation, in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to that, he worked in banking, real estate lending, and community development.


Judith Benke, Executive Member at Large

2015_JudithBenkeMs. Benke joined the LIRS board in 2014. She served as the Vice President for Church and Community Relations for the Lutheran Care Network prior to her retirement in December 2014.

Having served a variety of Lutheran organizations over the years, she contributes a wealth of experience with church related agency leadership, the capacity to expand efforts, and a strong passion for social justice. Previously, she has had involvement with the Lutheran Schools Association Board of Directors, the Lutheran Counseling Center Board of Directors, the District Commission on Women, and the Atlantic District Health and Human Care Task Force. Ms. Benke has been recognized with countless awards for her volunteerism and dedication.

A graduate of Wisconsin State University-Whitewater and Hunter College in New York, Ms. Benke began her career as an educator, having completed her Master of Science in Administration and Supervision. She is married to The Rev. Dr. David Benke, President of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


Melissa Graves, Board Member

2015_MelissaGravesMs. Graves joined the LIRS board in 2013.

Ms. Graves brings to the board her deep skills in church-related agency leadership, fundraising, nonprofit board leadership, nonprofit management, and services for migrants and refugees.

As an executive, fundraiser, and management consultant, Ms. Graves has dedicated her career to building the capacity of organizations serving at-risk children and families. She has worked with numerous organizations including: Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA), For Love of Children, The Fishing School, Montgomery Housing Partnership, and the Metropolitan Center for Assault Prevention. Her extensive involvement with these and other institutions allows her to connect the LIRS board to a number of networks: church bodies and related institutions, ethnic communities, foundations, NGOs and social ministry organizations, political and advocacy networks, refugees, asylees, people in detention, immigrants, and national and state government.

Ms. Graves holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) with an emphasis on nonprofit management from George Mason University. She is a resident of Rockville, Maryland, and a member of Christ Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Washington, DC.


Esther López, Board Member

EstherLopez150Ms. López joined the LIRS board in 2013. She is the International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. In her role at the UFCW, Esther spearheaded UFCW’s advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform and she created programs to help new Americans in the UFCW on the path to citizenship. She brings to the board extensive skills in research, legal affairs, nonprofit management, public policy and advocacy, and services for migrants and refugees. The board also benefits from her connections to networks in academia, research, and think tanks; ethnic communities; national and state government; and political and advocacy networks.

Previously, Ms. López served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Labor in Illinois, and in the governor’s cabinet as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor. She has fought for working men and women and immigrants and refugees on several fronts, from legislation and politics to worker and community organizing. Her experience in the labor movement is extensive and diverse. Ms. Lopez serves on the national boards of Jobs with Justice, the National Consumers League, the Center for Community Change, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. She also co-chairs the Immigration Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Ms. López is a graduate of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.


Diane Padilla, Board Member

2015_DianePadillaDiane Padilla joined the board in 2013.

Currently, Ms. Padilla serves as Executive Director-HR Law Group for JP Morgan Chase’s Consumer and Community Banking Division, developing HR controls to mitigate risk driving business continuity planning. Ms. Padilla has devoted over twenty years of her career to addressing diversity and working with immigrants and refugees. Previously, she worked as an attorney with the Migrant Farmworker Project with Legal Services Organization of Indiana and with law firm, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, P.C., as well as a Political Asylum Hearing Officer with the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Services in Chicago.

Ms. Padilla holds a Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law. The desire to assist immigrants and refugees initially brought her to the legal profession and it continues to shape her, both personally and professionally.


Rev. Michael Rinehart, Board Member

2015_MichaelRinehartRev. Michael Rinehart joined the LIRS board in 2013.

As Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Michael Rinehart enhances the board with his leadership skills and his career focus to carry out the mission of LIRS. Bishop Rinehart realized his affinity to LIRS after witnessing laws and policies that he has described as unjust. Under his leadership, the Gulf Coast Synod is working to create welcoming communities in an area of the United States that is increasingly diverse.

A graduate of Valparaiso University in Indiana, Rev. Rinehart earned his Masters of Divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He has served congregations in Iowa and North Carolina and is currently serving at Grace Lutheran Church in Conroe, Texas. He was elected bishop in 2007. He currently serves on the boards of the Texas Lutheran University Corporation, Houston Coalition for Mutual Respect, Louisiana Interchurch Conference, Houston Coalition for Immigration Reform, and the Texas Conference of Churches.