Lead Organizer, Justice Matters in Lawrence, Kansas
Originally from Bay Village, Ohio, Ben graduated from Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana in 1995. After college, Ben became a fulltime volunteer with the Brethren Volunteer Service, as part of the wider mission of the Church of the Brethren. While in volunteer service, he first worked at a café serving the homeless known as the Inspiration Café in Chicago, and then later spent two years with Hnuti DUHA, an environmental group in the Czech Republic. This experience inspired him to return to the United States and work on domestic environmental issues. In 1997, he was accepted into GreenCorps, an environmental advocacy training program.
He appreciated the importance of environmental issues, but yearned to work with leaders, rather than push a specified set of issues. He also appreciated the power-based analysis he had heard from congregation-based community organizers. For these reasons, he went to work with DART’s affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999.
In 2000, Ben helped the DART Center launch the DART Organizers Institute, a formalized training program for people seeking to gain training and skills to become congregation-based community organizers. He coordinated the recruitment, screening and training of new organizers through the DART Organizers Institute for the next fourteen years, bringing hundreds of talented individuals into the field.
Since 2014, Ben has worked as Lead Organizer of Justice Matters in Lawrence, KS.