Jerry Peterson, Executive Director
Jerry joined the Ruth Ellis Center in June of 2013. Peterson brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the non-profit sector, including several years dedicated to working with lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
Jerry most recently served as facilitator for the LGBTQ Youth Advocacy Collaborative in Concord, California. He managed an innovative collaboration with six non-profits in Contra Costa County to reduce rejecting behaviors and increase accepting behaviors toward LGBTQ young people in families, schools, service providers, and faith groups. He also spent 14 years with the United Way of Allen County in Fort Wayne Indiana, where he served as its president and CEO for four years. In this position, Jerry led the $6 million, 30-person organization, nurtured community partnerships and launched a 10-year initiative to improve reading levels of children. Although Peterson was not looking to change careers, upon hearing of the critical work of the Ruth Ellis Center he felt compelled to pursue the opportunity to work and serve the incredible youth at the Center.
Mark Erwin, Director of Development
Mark joined the Ruth Ellis Center as Director of Programs in August of 2011. Erwin is responsible for building strategic relationships within the community, establishing visibility of the Center’s programs and services, providing LGBTQ youth proficiency trainings, and the planning, direction, and coordination of all development activities, including major fundraising events and special projects. Mark also serves on the board for the Michigan Network for Youth and Families (MNYF).
Erwin previously served as the General Manager of the well-known after school program School of Rock in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, serving more than three hundred youth and their families. While at School of Rock, Erwin helped to establish a comprehensive scholarship fund on which more than 15% of the youth and families of the School now depend in order to participate.
Erwin graduated from Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan and the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jessie Fullenkamp, Youth Programs Director
Jessie joined the Ruth Ellis Center as Program Coordinator in October of 2010. She is responsible for supervising all counseling services for individuals and families, as well as targeted case management. Additionally, Jessie assists with the development and supervision of psycho-educational groups, and assists with the center’s family preservation and reunification model. Fullenkamp has been instrumental in activating street and venue based outreach services, instituting the Center’s community mental health contract, and implementing positive youth development and trauma-informed care.
Fullenkamp studied in Kumasi, Ghana and graduated with a BSW from Xavier University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Fullenkamp lived and worked in the Federated States of Micronesia on projects pertaining to education, HIV and women’s issues. Following this experience, she completed her Masters in Social Work focusing on Social Policy and Evaluation from the University of Michigan in 2010.
Nicholas Piotrowski, HR / Special Projects Coordinator
Nick joined the Ruth Ellis Center in 2012 as Office Manager. Piotrowski manages the work behind the scenes at the Ruth Ellis Center which enables us to be so successful and assist so many LGBTQ youth. His responsibilities include human resource oversight and management, and support of outside services.
Before joining the Center, Piotrowski was the executive assistant to Slows Bar BQ owner Phillip Cooley, he is a freelance graphic designer, and worked for the University of Detroit Mercy and Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and has a Master’s Degree in Architecture.
Renee Sturdivant, Administrative Manager
Renee joined the Ruth Ellis Center in 2011 as Administrative Assistant. Renee is responsible for assistance with administrative projects and organizational finance. Additionally, she maintains the administrative oversight over mental health, and health services. Renee also oversees the technology and information management for the Center allowing everyone else to do their job.
Before coming to the Ruth Ellis Center, Sturdivant worked for Wayne County Health Department and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.