In addition to our staff, the success of the Tri-Faith Initiative depends on the extraordinary commitment and efforts of a number of committed volunteers, clergy, lay leaders and the administrative staff of the three faith groups.
Rev. Bud Heckman – Executive Director
Rev. Bud Heckman (@BudHeckman) has worked to advance interfaith as a field in leading non-profits, academic settings, and throughout the field of philanthropy, even developing and heading an affinity group of donors and foundations to champion the development of interfaith cooperation as a full, public movement. He discusses some of this in this interview with Georgetown University’s Katherine Marshall.
Bud served on the Interreligious Cooperation Task Force for President Obama through the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bud serves presently as the President of the Board of Governors of the Religion Communicators Council and as Treasurer of The Interfaith Observer. He has served previously on the boards of the North American Interfaith Network, the National Association of Ecumenical and Interreligious Staff, the Tri-partite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation at the United Nations, the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN, and other organizations.
An ordained Christian minister from the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church, Rev. Heckman has served formerly as: Executive Director of the International Shinto Foundation, Director of Outreach and the Mosaic Initiative at El-Hibri Foundation; Senior Advisor to Religions for Peace USA; Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA, Director for External Relations for Religions for Peace International, Chief Development Officer of Hartford Seminary, Executive Secretary in the Mission Volunteers unit of the General Board of Global Ministries, and Program Administrator for the World Congress of Philosophy. He has also consulted for: Worldwide Support for Development (a foundation), Unity Productions Foundation (a nonprofit), Coexist Foundation, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, and the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, among others.
A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Rev. Heckman has graduate degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School and Boston University’s Division of Religion and Theological Studies, as well as additional education from several other schools and centers. He has served rural, urban, and suburban churches in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
A frequent speaker and writer on interfaith relations, Rev. Heckman is editor of an award winning reference book for the field called InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook (SkyLight Paths, 2008).
He lives in the Dundee community of Omaha, shares life with his best friend Amy who is the nation’s leading recruiter in hospitality, and tries to keep track of two children Annah and Noah, who are at Bard and Temple University in Tokyo, respectively.
Wendy Goldberg – Associate Director
Wendy Goldberg is a fourth generation Omahan and a founding member of the Tri-Faith Initiative. She served on the Board of Trustees of Temple Israel for 10 years, including a two-year term as President of the congregation and was on the Temple Israel staff for seven years as Program Director. Wendy played a key role in communications, volunteer engagement, and the capital campaign during Temple Israel’s transition to the Tri-Faith Commons in 2013.
Wendy has served as Tri-Faith Communication Chair for a decade helping to develop communication policy, procedure, and plans for traditional and social media materials. She lead communication task force initiatives to set brand guidelines, create a speakers bureau, and create video stories archives.
Uroosa Jawed – Communications and Development Manager
Uroosa Jawed joined the Tri-Faith Initiative in October of 2018. A graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, she earned her bachelor’s of science degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in May 2002. Uroosa has worked in philanthropy over the past ten years, and began her career as Planned Giving Coordinator for the Islamic Society of North America. She has been instrumental in raising funds for both local and national non-profit organizations through capital campaigns and corporate sponsorships. Uroosa is passionate about serving her community through volunteer work and advocacy. She proudly serves on the board of directors of Omaha Girls Rock.
A first generation immigrant, Uroosa moved to Indiana from Karachi, Pakistan at the age of five years old with her parents. A lifetime Hoosier, she now finds herself thriving in the Dundee community of Omaha with her daughter Laila and her son Oliver. A writer by avocation, she has served on the board of the Indiana Writers Center since 2013. Her poetry has been published in Hoosier Lit magazine and she is currently working on her first manuscript.
Ray Meints – Media Manager/Producer
As the Media Manager/Producer for the Tri-Faith Initiative, Ray Meints wears many hats. A video producer, videographer, editor, and director, Ray has a career dedicated to video “story telling.” Most recently, Ray worked for the Omaha World-Herald as the newspapers Video Production Specialist. Other career stops included time at Creighton University, NET Television in Lincoln, and WOWT TV in Omaha. His mission, is to “Inform, Educate, and Inspire” through excellent video presentations. A member of Countryside Community Church, Ray is married to Mary Fraser Meints, loves Nebraska sports, is a three time Emmy winner, and was born in Scotland.
Lauren Zimmerman – Program Associate
Michael is a Service Supervisor at UNO’s Office of Civic and Social Responsibility and first partnered with The Tri-Faith Initiative in September 2018. In his position, he hopes to learn more about interfaith cooperation while also helping the organization with its overall mission. Michael is a senior studying political science and is hoping to attend graduate school in 2019 to study race and ethnic politics. While at UNO, Michael has been involved with various multicultural organizations and in his free time enjoys playing soccer and board games.
Ellie Wilson – Intern
Ellie first began working with Tri-Faith Initiative in August 2018 as an intern through the religious studies department at University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). Ellie is also a recipient of the Lea Marshall Scholarship for the Tri-Faith Initiative internship. Ellie is currently a senior in her undergraduate program studying international studies with an area concentration in East Asia with a religion minor. Currently, she is involved in Friends of Japan and is a volunteer with Omaha Sister Cities Association.
Additional Staff and Support
Public relations, fundraising, and program support are provided by Vic Gutman & Associates.