GraceWorks is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, all-volunteer foundation based in the United States. Its mission is to respond to the needs of the poor and marginalized in India, Africa, the U.S. and neighboring countries.

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Ready to serve...

Ralph Nazareth

Ralph Nazareth

Ralph Nazareth, President, was a professor of English at Nassau Community College until he retired in 2015. He worked as a volunteer in the late 60's in the villages around Nasik, Maharashtra, India. In 1969 he helped with the literacy corps in Wyandanch, Long Island. For the last ten years, he has taught in the Rising Hope program at maximum security prisons in New York. He has been involved, over the last thirty years, in many nonprofit organizations in Stamford, including St. Luke’s Life Works, and PoemAlley, a creative arts outreach arm of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Stamford.

Marianela Medrano

Marianela Medrano, Vice President, is the director of Palabra Counseling & Training Center in Stamford. A psychotherapist, she has extensive training in third wave Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in particular Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), and has worked with  children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. She has served as a clinical supervisor and consultant for various programs in CT. She also lectures across the country on issues of spirituality with emphasis on the Divine Feminine, cross-cultural psychology, healing and writing. She is a regular contributor to the American Counseling Association blogs, where she discusses issues relevant to the counseling profession.

Sr. Josephette

Sr. Josephette is the Assistant General of the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa (CSST) and the order's General Councillor of Social Apostolate in the US, Kenya, and Abu Dhabi as well as approximately one hundred and fifteen communities in India. Following a nearly thirty-year stretch as professor at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, she served as the Provincial of the Karnataka Province for three terms. Before she took on her present position at the Generalate, she worked for three years at the Center for Integrated Social Action in Byadgi. 

Esther Cohen

Esther Cohen is a cultural activist, a teacher, and a writer.  In 2000, she began Unseenamerica, a national photography program, to tell the story of the lives of thousands of Americans, from migrant workers through nannies, by the pictures they took in classes sponsored by Bread and Roses 1199/SEIU. She now directs Unheardamerica, a story telling, writing and literacy project with the Workforce Development Institute, and the National Writers Union.

Bonnie Currie

Bonnie Currie has served terms as President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (UUC) in Stamford, Connecticut.  She and her husband, Don Currie, initiated the conversion of the UUC Parish House into 10 units of affordable transitional housing for formerly homeless.  Working with the City of Stamford’s Community Development Office, funds were raised through federal, state, corporate, foundation and private donors.  She is on the Board of INTEMPO Organization, a not-for-profit whose mission is to promote music education to multicultural communities through the use of native instruments.

Lynda Sorensen

Lynda Sorensen is a teacher and writer. At Darien High School, she was co-director of the China Exchange Program and advisor to China Connect, a program which supports the Dandelion School, an elementary school in Beijing, which serves the children of migrant workers. A sponsor of Students for Peace, Lynda arranged for a visit to Darien High School by Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Rigoberta Menchu.  Inspired by Lily Yeh, founder of the Barefoot Artists, Lynda has promoted art and writing as a means of transformation and community building. She is a member of the Charter for Compassion and a volunteer with the International Institute of Connecticut serving recently arrived immigrants. 

Ivonne Zucco

Ivonne Zucco is the Executive Director for The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford, CT where she heads a team of ten and administers the organization’s various programs, financial oversight, strategic planning and policy, board relations, and development efforts. In her fifth year Ivonne has been able to grow the organization by almost doubling its budget and dramatically increasing its resources and services.  She has been part of several Executive Development programs and initiatives. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Sacred Heart University and has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of New Haven.

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Francesca Bouwman

Francesca Bouwman is a consultant in Dubai where she gives advice to European companies who want to expand their business to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Prior to this, she worked on trade enhancement and health projects funded by EuropeAid, The World Bank and The Global Fund. She has been actively involved in the running of one of our projects, Sneha Sadana, since 2004 where she also sponsors a child. She is very passionate about poverty alleviation, prevention of child labour and education. She holds a Bachelor Degree in European Studies and Master Degree in Euro-Asian International Business.


We wish to thank Jill Strykowski for her beautiful work in designing the website and Catherine Ednie for her ongoing help in maintaining it; David and Erica Lieberman for helping edit the text; and the Carmelite sisters at the Generalate in Bangalore and various project sites in India and Kenya for giving us the stories and pictures that define and illuminate our mission.