Board of Directors

We are incredibly thankful for our wonderful board of directors. As a small organization, our board is hands-on and creative. If you are interested in serving as a Poverty & the Arts board member, please email your resume and short letter of interest to

We welcome artists, arts administrators, homeless advocates, business professionals, community leaders, and more to serve as board member for Poverty & the Arts.  Our specific board member needs right now are marketing, finance, and mental health professionals.



Darrell Hawks, President    |    Term: 2016-2018

Darrell is Business Development Director at Project Return, a Nashville-based nonprofit working with people returning from incarceration. At Project Return, he leads the employment development efforts—including the operation of a social enterprise—that serve more than 400 people each year. Darrell earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Belmont University. He joined Poverty & the Arts to combine a passion for serving the underserved with a professional experience in devising and implementing innovative commerce strategies.


Jennifer Parker, Secretary | Term: 2017-2020

Jennifer is a native Nashvillian who has a had a heart for non-profits and volunteer work since she was in middle school when she began volunteering at Saddle Up! in Franklin, Tennessee. While in college, Jennifer began working at a non-profit church-run camp during the summers. She completed a degree in Child Development from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in 2011. During this time she continued to work as a volunteer at Saddle Up!, as well as other non-profit organizations in Nashville. Jennifer became involved with Poverty & the Arts in early 2017 through St. George’s Episcopal Church, and decide to join to transition from simply volunteering with organizations she is passionate but to taking a leadership role and actively helping them grow. When she is not volunteering, Jennifer works both as a nanny and as an assistant director at Oak Hill Day Camp.


Justin Roark, AIA, NCARB, EDAC    |    Term: 2016-2018

Justin is an architect at Earl Swensson Associates (ESa). He joined ESa in 2006, after earning his Bachelor of Architecture, with a minor in business management, from Louisiana Tech University. In his role as Design Manager, Justin provides masterplanning and design services for new and expanded/renovated medical facilities and campuses of varying size and complexity.  In serving clients, Justin’s goal is to build a platform that achieves creativity and innovation, while committing the time and attention to detail necessary to shape design solutions that will bring clients’ visions to life. He has a passion for nonprofits and is very involved with organizations in the Amazon and around the world where he serves the poor and orphaned.  As an architect, Justin is very passionate about art and design and is excited to form new relationships with artists in Nashville and help contribute to their success.  He is originally from West Monroe, Louisiana, and enjoys woodworking and outdoor activities.


Meghan Russell | Term: 2017-2020

Meghan has been a fundraising professional since 2008, primarily working in Higher Education Development, currently serving as Director of Development at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, she worked for Vanderbilt University and The Ohio State University in a variety of fundraising and leadership roles, including Leadership Annual Giving and Major Gifts. Meghan holds a B.A. in Psychology and Neuroscience and a M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership from Vanderbilt University. Philanthropy has been a huge part of Meghan’s life ever since receiving an undergraduate scholarship, and she has made it a priority to find ways to pay it forward in the community with her time, energy, and resources. Her interests include ministry, music, theater, cooking, and crafting. A Wisconsin native, she enjoys southern living with her husband Jonathan, her dog Ryman, and soon, her baby girl, due in October 2017.


Will Choppin    |    Term: 2017-2020

Will is a lawyer who serves as Assistant General Counsel at Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency (MDHA). Will is a lifelong Nashvillian who went to high school at Montgomery Bell Academy and college at Vanderbilt University. Will considers himself somewhat of a patron of the local arts scene with a special appreciation for local music and theater. Will is impressed with POVA’s commitment to community values, overcoming homelessness, and creating and developing artistic talent and marketable skills. Will is thrilled at the opportunity to serve on the board.


Kate Kostecki | Term 2017-2020

A recent Nashville transplant, Kate was raised in the Chicago area, the daughter of a photographer and potter and granddaughter of an accomplished sculptor and poet. Early on, she found her own niche in the arts, and honed her painting, sketching and figurative art skills. While working to develop classroom curriculum at a local social service agency, Kate crafted an arts program for adults living with disabilities that enabled them to express themselves more thoroughly. Clients in this program enjoyed improved communication skills and balance through sensory development. In addition to other volunteerism, Kate served as a member of the board of directors of the Northwest Area Arts Council, an organization that connects artists and their community. She later led NAAC as president and chaired one of the largest women-only fine art shows in the nation, in addition to other juried exhibitions drawing artists entries from around the world.  


Lauren Dougall | Term 2017-2020

Lauren is the Director of Development at The Contributor, a Nashville nonprofit that provides economic opportunity to people experiencing homelessness and poverty through social enterprise. She holds a B.A. in Development and International Relations from London Metropolitan University, and a Diploma in Fundraising Management from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Lauren has a passion for forward thinking, innovative nonprofits. She has 8 years of experience fundraising for an array of different causes; international humanitarian aid; mental health; mass incarceration and homelessness.


Poverty & the Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.