U.S. Board Bios

Merv Miller, Board Chair

Merv is a Minnesota native and Realtor with Edina Realty. Merv has always had a passion for serving the less fortunate.  That passion has led him to lead several faith based mission trips to Haiti and rural Belize with the goal of empowering local communities in regards to health and food sustainability while serving the vision for those goals through indigenous leadership. 

Merv lives in Maplewood with his wife Lisa. Together they love hanging out with their 3 adult children and two grandchildren, enjoying the walking and biking paths in the area and travel to their favorite destination, southeastern Idaho. 

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

I learned about Daylight when I read the book Poor Millionaires about 7 years ago and had the opportunity to meet the Co-founder Michael Kimpur. My wife and I became sustaining supporters of Daylight because it met all the giving criteria that we value. It was justice driven, seeking to provide education and hope to one of Kenya’s poorest areas. Providing a home for orphaned children and playing a role in the betterment of the entire community. When I visited Daylight in January of 2020 I found the leadership to exceed my expectations. It is a working farm with full time gardeners and herdsman. The staff and volunteers work hard to make the most of every donation coming from the US. I feel that my gifts to Daylight are contributing to the bending of the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

Merv with students on his visit to Daylight School in Kenya in January of 2020

Lori Hart, Vice Chair

Lori Hart, a  US Daylight Center and School board member since 2018, is a Family Nurse Practitioner living in Minneapolis Minnesota.   Her areas of specialty are Pediatrics and International Travel and Tropical Medicine. Throughout her career she has enjoyed opportunities to practice in a variety of healthcare settings including volunteer work in Mexico, Haiti, Peru and Nepal. She has developed a passion for caring for and learning from her culturally diverse patients in the US and abroad.

Through her neighborhood church, Linden Hills United Church of Christ, Lori and her 2 daughters were introduced to Daylight Center and School in Kenya.  They saved spare change and donated towards bunkbeds for the school’s dorms. 

Eventually, in the summer of 2018, Lori and her daughters joined a team from LHUCC on a service trip to Daylight School. During the trip, Lori assessed and treated each of the 300 students plus many community members and school staff during a pop-up medical clinic located on the school campus. 

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

I feel honored to serve on the Daylight Board.  I am very passionate about supporting and promoting the physical, mental and spiritual health of the students and the environment at Daylight so the children can reach their imagined potential. 

I am so grateful for the gifts from donors who help realize the goals of Daylight School and the dreams of each and every Daylight student. 

Cindy Wagner, Board Member

Cindy has served as a public school classroom teacher, literacy coach, instructional coach, and adult educator for over 30 years. She does some consulting, but is mostly retired, spending as much time as possible with her husband, adult children, and 5 grandchildren. Cindy loves to travel, read, sew, knit, kayak, bike, and fly kites! 

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

I strongly believe in education as a change agent. I also strongly believe that when we strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we can feel God’s presence and things happen for good. I experienced and witnessed the hope and joy present at Daylight, and I believe God is truly present in that place. I want to use my talents to support and further the work of God in this amazing place by serving on the Board. 

Cindy with students on her visit to Daylight School in Kenya, Summer 2018

Eliot Howard, Board Member

Eliot was born and raised in Concord Massachusetts. Following seminary, he served two churches in New England. In 1993, Eliot and his family came to Minnesota, where he served for 27 years as Pastor of Linden Hills United Church of Christ. The relationship between Linden Hills UCC & Daylight afforded Eliot the opportunity to visit the school in 2018 

With their immediate family residing in the Twin Cities, Eliot and his wife Jan are grateful for the time they are able to all spend together. Eliot and Jan also enjoy visiting Minnesota’s north shore, and appreciate the civic and philanthropic landscape of this state. 

Why I am involved with Daylight School

Prior to visiting Daylight I was convinced that the school’s mission of educating and developing leaders was being achieved in ways that were comprehensive, sustainable and achieved by adherence to the values of mutual respect and shared leadership. Visiting Daylight in 2018 blessed me with the opportunity to see the mission and practices of the school showing forth in the exuberant and determined lives of staff and scholars alike.      

Eliot teaching class at Daylight School.

Travis Colling, Board Member

Travis lives in Minneapolis, MN where he has worked in Special Education for 13 years. He studied English Literature and Theology in Dublin, Ireland. He has a passion for teaching and giving back to those who are so often left behind in our institutions. As a young man, he spent a summer living in Tanzania working alongside doctors and nurses, helping them build a new clinic in a remote area of the country. He was introduced to Daylight through the former US Director Nathan Roberts. 

Why I am involved with Daylight? 

My experiences in East Africa and my passion for education drew me to being a part of Daylight. My work with students in Minneapolis also has taught me to continually self-reflect on my own racial biases and to work for racial equity. My hope is that I can continue this work at Daylight by focusing on empowering our Kenyan leaders. 

Travis and his mom on a visit to Daylight School.

Rachel Arneson, Board Member

Rachel Arneson is a fifth-generation crop farmer in Minnesota. She holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and wrote her thesis about the Pokot people of northwestern Kenya. Rachel served on the first established U.S. Board for Daylight in 2010, and eventually as Daylight’s first U.S. Director of Operations prior to returning to her family’s farm. Her love for Daylight has never faded, and she is happy to be serving Daylight on the board once again.

Why am I involved with Daylight?

Before Daylight, I had no idea that children in some parts of the world had to pay to attend public school. Growing up, I had the privilege of receiving an education, experiencing other cultures, being exposed to other ideas. I understood that the cycle of warfare in rural Kenya could be stifled if a new generation of leaders from those communities had a chance for their world to be broadened by education. Daylight was co-founded by a boy from rural Kenya, who received an education and who wanted to give that same opportunity to more children. It was an easy decision to support and serve Daylight from the very beginning.

Rachel with Daylight students (before they changed to green uniforms)

Rebecca Erickson, Board Member

Rebecca Erickson has been a member of the Daylight US Board since 2016. She has worked at various fun and creative jobs, with her last one being in conference planning. Since retiring, she has taken on many volunteer opportunities, one of the most meaningful being in group and in-home respite for people with dementia. As a member of First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, she occasionally plays piano for worship, plays the bass bells in the handbell ensemble, and sometimes sings in the vocal choir. She has helped plan many retreats for the women’s group. She lives in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

This school is special. It’s a boarding school for about half of the students who attend Daylight. The boarders have been orphaned due to tribal violence, but it is so much more than a boarding school. The children are educated and fed and have a safe place to sleep, but they also experience the love of family from the incredible teachers and staff. The teachers aren’t just teaching academics. They are giving the children the family they’ve lost. The school’s amazing test results are a testament to the wonderful experience the children have. It’s an amazing combination. The teachers and all of the financial supporters of

Daylight School are helping the students achieve their dreams of being engineers, teachers, doctors, musicians and shopkeepers. I’m proud of the work I’ve done while being on the Daylight US Board.

Rebecca teaching music to some of our Daylight students.

Charlie Green, Board Member

Charlie is a retired professional fundraiser living in the Morningside neighborhood of Edina. He worked in higher education for most of his career, with experience in virtually all aspects of fundraising, especially major and planned giving. As a life-long lover of music, Charlie had the opportunity to join the staff of the (now named) Barbershop Harmony Society during which he established its first fundraising program. 

Charlie’s interests and passions of justice and reconciliation are reflected in his volunteer work…the local food shelf, Meals on Wheels, affordable housing, and his church. He and his wife, Barb, have three children and treasure the time they can spend in northern Minnesota at YMCA Camp duNord. They also love to spend time in their award-winning gardens.

Why I am involved with Daylight

My wife and I were introduced to Daylight when Michael Kimpur and Nathan Roberts made a presentation several years ago at our church, Edina Morningside Community Church – UCC. We were particularly drawn to Daylight’s mission of education and reconciliation. As a church, Daylight has been adopted as one of our outreach missions.  

In 2018 we were part of a team from EMCC which made a service/learning visit to the School. That trip underscored for me the importance of Daylight’s mission, the dedication of the School’s teachers and staff, and the fact that we in the US have so much. 

Charlie with one of the teachers, showing his chalk line drawing tool, during his visit to Daylight in 2018.