Board of Directors
Jody Fransisco, Chair
Barbara Bleiweis, Vice Chair
Barbara Bleiweis has over 35 years of professional business experience in the technology industry. Since 2004 she has focused on community and civic service and in positions where she has developed programs to raise capital, increase awareness and improve the quality of life for underprivileged and underrepresented communities. She retired in 2013, relocated to Charlotte, and became more politically active. She is currently serving on the MSWCD Board and actively pursuing county legislation to protect rural and urban farmland and effect economic policy changes to encourage urban agriculture, urban conservation and empowering farmers to assist communities with food insecurity issues. In Spring 2018, Bleiweis was one of 42 citizens selected from 250 applicants to participate in the prestigious Charlotte Civic Leadership Academy. Bleiweis also serves on the Charlotte Water Advisory Committee as a neighborhood representative where she advocates for HOA’s and other communities affected by municipal water policy changes. Ms. Bleiweis served on the Board of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg as well as the League’s state chapter in support of ending gerrymandering. Prior to 2013, Bleiweis served on Boards in the youth sports arena where she planned capital fundraising events, created training programs and worked with local lawmakers and media to ensure public awareness of various initiatives.
Danielle Andrews, Secretary
Danielle Andrews, a Stay-at-Home mom of five, fell in love with nonprofits in high school when she first volunteered at the local Literacy Council. She received her degree in English and Diverse Literature and Cultural Studies from UNC Charlotte. The past eleven years, she has devoted her time to local schools, by serving on PTA boards, tutoring, fundraising, and writing. Danielle's love of gardening and community outreach drove her to join the mission of The Bulb.
Keia Mastrianni, Board Member
Keia Mastrianni is a food writer, baker, cookbook author, editor, and multi-media storyteller. Her work focuses on foodways, agriculture, joy, and justice. She is the editor of independent magazine, Crop Stories, which tells complex stories from the agricultural South. Her work has appeared in the Local Palate, Bon Appetit, Vice Munchies, Food Republic, and others. She also bakes under the name, Milk Glass Pie. She and her farmer partner live happily in Western North Carolina.
Jessica Foster, Board Member
Jessica Foster is a native of Las Cruces, NM, and a first generation college graduate. She received a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University. Jessica is a Captain in the North Carolina Army National Guard and has served for over seven years. She has lived in North Carolina since 2008, and she and her dogs, Barbara and Matilda, have been in Charlotte since 2017.
Caleb Sauls, Board Member
Caleb Sauls was born in the rural town of Orangeburg, SC. He has always been inspired by the lives of the unseen and the unheard. Stories are the mark we leave on this world, and each one is rich and unique. He found his love of people and their stories on a hitchhiking trip from Charlotte, NC to Nova Scotia back in 2015. He has since been an advocate for social justice and the progress of others. Caleb is currently a Graduate candidate in the Masters of Social Work program at Winthrop University. He is also the founder of the People Are Good project in which individuals in rural communities of the American South have a voice for their stories, and an advocate for their needs.
Kelle Pressley-Perkins, Board Member
Kelle Pressley-Perkins AKA “G.R.I.T.S.” (girl raised in the south). Wife, blogger, doula, and homeschooling mom of 9. Kelle graduated from Johnson and Wales University with an A.S. in Travel and Tourism Management and a B.A. in Hospitality Sales and Marketing Mgmt.. Her younger days were spent in the dirt of Nesmith and Hemingway, S.C. Her grandparents planted everything. When she became an adult, she swore she would never pick another bean sprout again in this life. Fast forward. All of her children master seed bomb making and hydroponic plant gift giving. To date, she has had the honor to speak up for NC children about food deserts, on Capitol Hill about the need for healthy neighborhoods, and many local parenting groups about growing food in their yards for healing, first baby foods and simple meals. Her passion for urban horticulture is a reflection of what she wants for her children and community; self sufficiency.
Bill Marsh, Board Member
Leah Segrin, Board Member