We are a network of communities and individuals in North America dedicated to supporting the life-saving work of Touching Tiny Lives (TTL), a non-profit organization based in Mokhotlong, Lesotho. By raising funds, spreading awareness, and providing technical support, TTLF empowers our Basotho partners at TTL to provide a smart and sustainable local response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho. TTLF also serves as the voice of TTL in North America, sharing the message about how TTL’s high-impact care is saving lives, one child at a time.
The foundation’s birth can be traced to a cold, rainy Lesotho night in 2004. A small child, orphaned by AIDS, was left outside in a thunderstorm to die, a desperate move by relatives unable to feed another mouth. Neighbors heard the child’s cries and brought him to Mokhotlong’s social worker. Later that evening, the social worker knocked at the door of former Peace Corps volunteer Ken Storen, asking for help. Ken suggested that he had “better buy some diapers,” and the TTL safehome was born.
In the following months, Ken and another former Peace Corp volunteer (and now wife), Colleen Dunst, filled a home of children impacted or orphaned by HIV. Ken, Colleen, and a dedicated Basotho staff committed to a vision in solidarity with Lesotho’s families: that every child deserved every chance to survive, regardless of the odds, with proper nutrition, medication, and care. TTL grew out of a commitment to health in rural Lesotho, one child at a time.
As the safehome filled with children, and outreach services grew to care for reintegrated children and those healthy enough to remain with their families, support began to flow from the US. Ken’s hometown, Mahopac, New York, and his parent’s church, St. John the Evangelist, initiated strong financial support for TTL. After Ken wrote a piece in the Notre Dame Magazine about rural Lesotho’s agricultural and HIV crises, University alumni, supporters, and students mobilized funding and stateside awareness.
One year later, a small group of supporters met in Kansas City to set out a vision for supporting the innovative and committed work in rural Lesotho. The Foundation was created, and gained official non-profit status by the IRS in record time. More than ten years later, and with programming supporting over 1700 children, The Foundation continues to support health and wellbeing of the Basotho people – one child at a time.
Board of Directors
TTLF has gathered together a talented board committed to bringing to fulfillment the vision and mission of the foundation. Their backgrounds are diverse, and all give their time and talent freely, without compensation, to successfully implement our work.
Kenneth is the founding father of TTL in Mokhotlong. Ken’s years in Lesotho as a Peace Corps volunteer led him to open his home to children affected by HIV/AIDS. He was assisted in those early days by his dear friend, and now wife, Colleen.
Colleen helped found TTL in Mokhotlong when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was instrumental in building TTL into a stable and thriving organization.
Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC
Fr. Hesburgh was President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame. Before he passed away, he brought a legacy of work in issues of poverty, support for women and children, and human rights in his active role as the Foundation’s Honorary Director. The Hesburgh Initiative, named in honor of his life of service, focuses on efforts within the Foundation’s strategic plan to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
TTLF Governing Board
Sheila Block, LLB (Chair)
Sheila is a senior counsel in Canada with extensive non-profit board experience. She has spent considerable time in Lesotho, most recently witnessing TTL’s work with the village health worker program.
Ellen Block, PhD. (Executive Director)
Ellen is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, where she conducts research on HIV/AIDS and orphan care practices in Lesotho, and elder care in Ghana. Her book Infected Kin:Orphan Care and AIDS in Lesotho (written with Will McGrath, her husband, and creative non-fiction writer) is based on the research she has conducted in Lesotho since 2007. She has served as advisor to undergraduate students who wish to do field research at TTL, and has been on the Board since 2015. She took over the position of Executive Director in 2019.
Dan Block, LLB
Dan served as a 2007-08 TTLF Fellow in Lesotho. He now provides guidance on program development and volunteerism. Dan is an attorney at Goodmans LLP in Toronto, Canada.
Harriet became a board member in 2016. She served as a TTLF Fellow from 2014-2015. She now works as charity development manager for the Prince of Wales’s charity in London.
Janelle became a board member in 2016. She is a Certified Public Accountant, working as Controller for Comtrol Corporation. Aside from being on the board of TTLF, Janelle also serves as board member and Treasurer of Spero Academy (K-6 charter school).
Amy Ellingson, MD
Amy is a family doctor in Washington State. A longtime volunteer with TTLF, Amy joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and directs medical volunteers during their travels to Mokhotlong.
Nell is a small business owner and digital development consultant in Denver, Colorado. Nell joined the board in 2015 and manages the organizations digital presence.
James Martin, MD
James is a pediatrics doctor in Washington, DC and a graduate of Georgetown Medical School. As a founding pillar of TTL/F, Jamie has worked regularly in Lesotho since 2004.
Kevin served as a 2010-11 TTLF Fellow in Lesotho. He is currently a journalist for the Baltimore Sun.
Reid Rector, JD
Reid served as a 2008-09 TTLF Fellow in Lesotho, focusing on organizational strategy. He previously worked for non-profit advocacy organizations the Save Darfur Coalition and Resolve, in Washington, D.C. He currently contributes to TTLF’s fundraising, financial management, and overall strategic direction. Reid is an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Denver, CO.
Michael Roaldi, JD
Michael is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at UnitedHealth Group. A 2005 Notre Dame graduate, Mike previously served as an associate attorney at K&L Gates.
Linda became a board member in 2016. Her travel with a group of university students to learn from the work being done by Touching Tiny Lives in Lesotho in 2017 was a catalyst for creating ways to engage support for this important work. She worked in elementary and secondary education and staff development during her career and continues as a consultant during retirement.
Meg Towle, MPH
Meg is a founding member of TTLF and has worked extensively in India with the Earth Institute and Government on maternal and child healthcare. She previously worked for the World Health Organization headquarters and completed public health graduate work in the UK as a Marshall Scholar.
Advisors & Emeritus Members
J.T. Arseniadis, CPA
J.T. is a Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and assists with the financial management of TTLF.
Howard assists TTLF with database management and finances.
Dan Towle, MD
Dan is a founding member of TTLF and remains deeply committed to the mission of the organization. In addition to being involved with several other charities, he is an anesthesiologist in Kansas.