Partners for Sacred Places lives at the intersection of heritage, faith, and community. Partners’ staff brings a wide variety of skills and backgrounds, grounded in a passion for the value of historic sacred places as valuable community assets.
Click on the name of any staff member to learn more about them.
Director, Community Engagement Services
Grants and Program Manager
Consulting Services Associate
A. Robert Jaeger
Bob co-founded Partners for Sacred Places in 1989. Previously, Bob worked with the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation as Senior Vice President for the Historic Religious Properties Program. He is the co-author of Sacred Places at Risk (1998) and Strategies for Stewardship and Active Use of Older and Historic Religious Properties (1996), author of Sacred Places in Transition (1994), and editor (from 1985 to 1989) of Inspired, a bi-monthly magazine with news and technical articles on religious property preservation. Bob holds a master’s degree in preservation planning from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Executive Vice President
Gianfranco Grande brings over twenty years of experience in management of nonprofit organizations. Since opening its doors in 2008, the Chicago Office of Partners for Sacred Places has worked with more than 1,000 community-serving congregations representing the religious, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity of the City. It has built strategic relationships with local faith leaders, lay leaders, community leaders, universities, seminaries, public officials, foundations, and philanthropists. These collaborations have been instrumental in the successful local rollouts of Partners’ trainings, programs, research, and consulting services, helping to bring sacred places and art together in a way that preserves the history and enhances the beauty of the city’s architectural treasures. In 2012, he was awarded the Richard Nickel Award from the Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois, recognizing his dedication to the principles of livable communities through grassroots initiatives.
Chief Operating Officer
Joining Partners in 2018 Craig brings nearly 20 years of experience as chief operating officer working in a nonprofit. Repeated success guiding diverse organizations in business operations, strategic business planning and growth, and capacity building and expansion initiatives. Exceptionally skilled in transforming under performing programs and operations into stable financial units, procuring strategic business partners, and cultivating community relationships. Expert liaison with ability to forge solid relationships with partners, board members, and cross-functional teams.
Director, Community Engagement Services
Joshua brings to Partners his professional experience as a historic preservation specialist in one of the nation’s most densely and diversely populated communities of Paterson, NJ. There, he helped build partnerships between historic congregations and public institutions, with a particular focus on heritage tourism initiatives that benefited many of the dynamic congregations successfully serving the city’s economically challenged neighborhoods. Joshua also developed a variety of heritage-based public education programs and participated, through research and legislative assistance, in the local landmark designation of historic congregations in addition to formal advocacy on behalf of threatened historic sites. In addition to his work at Partners, Joshua provides consulting assistance and leadership for regional denominational committees and boards within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultural institutions in the New York metropolitan region. Joshua earned a BA in Art History from Oberlin College where he curated an exhibition on the landmark Robert Venturi-designed addition to the Allen Memorial Art Museum, originally designed by Cass Gilbert.
Director Arts in Sacred Places
As Partners’ first director of the Arts in Sacred Places program, Karen has developed a Manual of Best Practices and a series of systems critical to developing long-term, sustainable relationships between faith-based and arts organizations. She has contributed to the Center for the Future of Museums as a guest blogger and was an essayist for MICA’s MFA in Curatorial Practice, as well as the journal for the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. Karen has worked in professional theater since 2000, both onstage and off. She is the co-artistic director of Madhouse Theater Company and has served as a panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. As the director of Programs & Services for the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, she produced the Barrymore Awards Ceremony many times and directed them herself twice. Karen taught acting at West Chester University and served as a stage management consultant for Villanova Theatre. Karen has a BA in History and Drama from Washington College and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University.
Consulting Services Associate
John comes to his work in community engagement consulting at Partners from a background in academic theology. He has taught courses in American religious history, systematic theology, and contemporary continental philosophy of religion, mostly at Fordham University, where he is a doctoral candidate in historical theology. John also holds an M.A. in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary. His dissertation examines issues of place, social geography, and cultural difference in the political theologies an influential school of late-Puritan thought known as the “New Divinity.”
Senior Program Manager
Rachel holds an MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Before beginning work at Partners, she co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011), both published by Arcadia Publishing. Rachel continues to write as a freelance contributor for Philadelphia’s Hidden City Daily web magazine.
Director of Development
Simon brings fifteen years of experience working in the development field for a variety of Philadelphia area non-profits. Having worked in a West Philadelphia parochial school for many years, Simon has a special appreciation for the role sacred places play as community centers for people of all ages and backgrounds, and the challenges congregations face in maintaining aging infrastructure. Simon holds a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College
Director, National Fund for Sacred Places
Chad joined the staff of Partners in 2016 to oversee the National Fund’s grant-making program targeted to award over $10 million to more than 50 congregations in coming years. Previously he was a pastor at Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster (PA). During his tenure the congregation developed an in-house art gallery, redeveloped an award-winning parking lot in accordance with the city’s green infrastructure plan, and substantially increased building use by community partners. Chad has served on several boards of directors in Pittsburgh and Lancaster, including as a founding board members of the Union Project – an example of best practice for adaptive reuse of a historic religious property. He has written numerous articles on stewardship, art, theology and spirituality for a variety of publications. He is currently a special correspondent writing periodically on religion for Lancaster Newspapers. His ordained for pastoral ministry in Mennonite Church USA. Chad is a graduate of Goshen College (BA) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (MA)
Prior to joining Partners in early 2017, Emily assisted with the donor database and collaborated on published materials for the Development Office at Calvin Theological Seminary. She previously held internships with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, where she worked on public policy projects, and with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, where she worked as a site interpreter and developed interpretation materials. Emily holds a Master’s degree in Public History: Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University, as well as a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Theology in Old Testament from Calvin Theological Seminary.