David Heppard, Executive Director

David Heppard, Executive Director

Pronouns: He / Him

David knows first-hand the impacts of mass incarceration after being incarcerated at 16 years old with a de facto life sentence. Due to his juvenile status when he was convicted, and the passage of the 5064 bill, he was released after 24 years of confinement. He now works toward developing partnerships with other community providers whose mission is in alignment with making advancements in criminal justice and prison reform. He is also a Credible Messenger, which is a national initiative of adult men and women from similar backgrounds who equip young people with the tools to heal their lives and provide them with a living example of hope and transformation. He is on the Board of What’s Next Washington, which believes every person has a right to a life of dignity and right to full participation in society, with an emphasis on stripping away the barriers in employment for those with conviction histories.

Joanie Fuller, Prison Programs Director

Joanie Fuller, Prison Programs Director

Pronouns: She / Her

Joanie coordinates Freedom Project’s prison programs through the Department of Corrections and in collaboration with our dedicated team of volunteers and mentors. She aims to support the variety of needs of the community members integral to Freedom Project’s work – including class participants, inside mentors/facilitators, folks returning to the community from incarceration, and those who volunteer their time on the inside/outside. Joanie has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington.

Karen Dhaliwal, Development Director

Karen Dhaliwal, Development Director

Pronouns: She / Her

As Development Director, Karen works collaboratively with Freedom Project staff to develop long-term strategies for funding sustainability. Prior to working at the Freedom Project, Karen spent the past ten years connecting women and men to educational, apprenticeship, and basic needs resources as they transitioned out of incarceration. Outside of her work with Freedom Project, Karen enjoys her work as a facilitator in Pierce County for the Community Partnership Transition Solutions hub. She also is currently a Graduate Student at Western Washington University studying Adult Higher Education with an eye to working on ways to reduce the cycle of the School to Prison Pipeline.

Kiki Elfendahl, Operations Director

Kiki Elfendahl, Operations Director

Pronouns: She / Her

Kiki manages day-to-day operations and works to build a strong foundation of clarity and collaborative systems upon which Freedom Project can grow further into its mission. She brings over 20 years experience in business management, organizational development and personal growth, as well as a rich meditation practice of over 15 years. Kiki has a Bachelor’s Degree with High Honors in American Studies from Smith College.

Rusty Thomas, Reentry Director, Volunteer Training Coordinator

Rusty Thomas, Reentry Director, Volunteer Training Coordinator

Pronouns: He / Him

Rusty supports volunteer orientations and trains volunteers for both inside prison programs and office volunteers. Rusty is also the Community Circle/Seattle Facilitator and is passionate about providing Nonviolent Communication and mindfulness training to Freedom Project Volunteers. Rusty’s biggest life resource is his regular meditation and living Nonviolent Communication. Rusty holds a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in psychology, spirituality from Antioch University, Seattle. Along with Lucy Leu, Rusty is the co-founder of Freedom Project.

Tonya Wilson, Reentry Resource Manager

Pronouns: She / Her

Tonya currently works as the Resource Manager at Freedom Project. In this position and in collaboration with the Credible Allies Project, she endeavors to manage and broaden community resources offered to men and women returning to the community after incarceration. A Black woman directly impacted by the prison system, Tonya knows that the needs of previously incarcerated women often go unacknowledged and unmet. She realizes that as the Resource Manager of an organization that seeks to disrupt White Supremacy and center the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and all people of Color, she stands in a position of responsibility for those coming after her. Tonya values the mindfulness and empathy-building potential of the Nonviolent Communication model and works with others in the organization to refresh the model to be one of true inclusion and relevance for all people. Tonya is also a board member of the Freedom Education Project of Puget Sound (FEPPS) and a native of Tacoma. She has presented as a TEDx speaker and spoken word artist, as well as appearing in the documentary Since I’ve Been Down. Her greatest joy is being part of an extensive and vibrant family in Tacoma, Washington.