Board Members

Evaristo Sanga – Chair

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Evaristo Sanga grew up in Magulilwa, in South-Central Tanzania and attended Magulilwa Primary School. He was the only student in his class of 70 primary school students to be selected to attend secondary school, and traveled to a school in another town to continue his education. After graduating from high school in Tanzania, Evaristo was a Mathematics and Civics teacher at Pomerin Secondary School in Tanzania.

Evaristo came to the U.S in 1994 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in MIS and Economics from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He then earned a Master of Science degree in Software Engineering from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Evaristo currently works as a Principal Application Developer at HealthPartners. He previously worked as an Application Developer for Lawson Software.

Evaristo was grateful for the rare opportunity to attend secondary school and has had a dream of creating a secondary school in his village for many years. In 2004 he initiated the project to build a secondary school in Magulilwa in hopes that the children in the Magulilwa area will have a chance to continue their education and improve their lives.

Claire Sanga- Communications

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Claire Panton Sanga is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with majors in Anthropology and French, and minors in International Studies and Psychology. While at Luther, Claire studied in Cameroon, West Africa, and Nepal, and strengthened her interest in working and living abroad and bringing communities of the world together.

Claire is experienced in working with people of different cultures and in the field of education.  She is currently a Case Manager at Borene Law Firm, P.A., an immigration law firm in Minneapolis.  She served for several years as a volunteer at English Learning Center, teaching English to adult refugees and immigrants in Minneapolis. In addition, she has experience working with young people of various ages, including working as a high school student tutor.

Claire married Luther classmate, Evaristo Sanga in 2002 and has shared his dream of creating a secondary school in his village since her first trip to Tanzania with him in 2003.  She encourages Magulilwa Area Secondary School graduates to seek ways to serve their communities and to develop creative solutions to bring positive change to their country.  Each person can make a difference.

Cory and Martha Hoeppner – Treasurer/Fundraising

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Cory works for RBC Capital Markets in Minneapolis and has spent the last 17 years in the investment banking business with a focus on State and Local Government Finance. Martha currently takes care of their three children full-time while taking a break as a special education teacher for children with physical disabilities. Both Cory and Martha have been to Tanzania on multiple occasions and share a passion for the work being done on the education front through CIFFT’s partnership with the Maguliwa Area Secondary School. As fairly new members of the Board, Cory and Martha are jointly responsible for fundraising as well as the planning and design of the annual Brick by Brick Gala. In addition, they continue to spread the word about all of the available opportunities to impact the lives of children in a rapidly developing third world country. As a couple, their initial 2002 trip to Tanzania was the single most transformational moment they have shared together. The opportunity to personally experience the hospitality from those who have little, yet somehow find the ability to share is an experience that they wish everyone could undertake.

Cory received a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Finance and Economics from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Hoeppner has his Series 7 and Series 63 Securities registrations.

Martha received a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also received a Masters in Special Education at the University of Minnesota.

Varghese Alexander – Technology, Outreach and Partnerships

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Varghese Alexander (Alex) is a technologist who currently works as an IT program manager at UnitedHealth Group. He has worked for multiple fortune 500 companies such as General Electric, Medtronic and Hartford Insurance designing and implementing business critical technology applications. Alex was born In India and has been passionate about children’s’ education since his college years. While working on his bachelor’s degree in India, Alex started working with various Christian organizations in India such as MCYM (Malankara Catholic Youth Movement) to support and promote education for children from under-privileged households. Alex joined the board of directors of CIFFT in 2014 and has been actively involved in all the functions of the board since then.

Alex completed his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from University of Kerala, India and his Master’s in Business Administration from University of St Thomas, Minnesota.

Brandon Ferdig – Volunteers and Outreach

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Brandon Ferdig is a writer from Minnesota currently living in Minneapolis. Today he freelances commentary and travel stories, speaks to audiences around the Midwest about his travel experiences, and sells copies of his book Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China. He’s passionate about telling others’ stories, observing and experiencing different ways of life, and understanding the motivations of humans and the direction of humankind.

His affiliation with Change it Forward Tanzania began when introduced to founder Evaristo Sanga by a mutual friend. Ferdig had been looking for an opportunity to live abroad following a year teaching in China, and so teamed up with Sanga and Magulilwa Area Secondary School to help start the computer program at the school.

In January 2014, Ferdig arrived at the school with twelve laptops in his luggage and worked with the school to start the program and taught computer classes to the adolescent students. He also wrote about his experiences on his blog and other media outlets. Since returning home to Minnesota in October 2014, he has been a member of the CIFFT board, helping the school by coordinating volunteers and continuing to share his stories, photography, and footage about his time in Tanzania.

Ferdig graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2004 with a BA in psychology.

Change It Forward Foundation- Tanzania
P.O. Box 24125 Edina, MN 55424

Change it Forward - Tanzania is a 501(c)(3) organization.