Board Biographies



Julie Howard is a clinical psychotherapist in private practice with over 30 years experience in mental health. She works with clients suffering from depression, anxiety, and trauma using behavioral, cognitive and existential approaches. Julie holds a Masters Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, is certified nationally by the National Board of Certified Counselors, and is licensed in New Jersey by the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition to her work in mental health, she is trained in disaster psychiatry, and provided grief counseling to flight attendants and staff of United Airlines after 9/11.

Julie’s background has included lifelong work in social welfare and social justice as well as the field of mental health. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, she worked in the inner city of Trenton, NJ providing clinical counseling as well as employment resources. Later she founded Common Threads, a non-profit effort which sent gently used clothing, backpacks and toys to families in Asia, Africa, and South America.

In addition to her commitment to the fields of social welfare and mental health, Julie has a strong interest in environmental concerns which increased in 1989 when she and her husband Angelo traveled to a tropical rain forest in Panama and lived with scientists on a field station there. Today she lives with her husband and college-age son Emmanuel in western New Jersey, an hour north of Philadelphia in a small town nestled on the Delaware River.

“I arrived at the Community on May 4, 1970, the day four student protesters were shot to death on the campus of Kent State University. It was a crazy time to be an idealistic 21 year old. I’m grateful for the friendships, the emotional depth, and the unforgettable experiences we shared together before I left in 1977. By serving on the Board, I hope to give back some of the hope and fire you sparked in me back when I began that journey.”



Robert (Rob) Hincks is a psychotherapist with 25 years experience treating adults, adolescents, couples and families in private practice, as well as in hospital, school, and outpatient settings. He received his MSW from University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1982 and is an advanced practitioner of EMDR, an innovative method used to treat anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress.

Rob is a gifted singer/songwriter and guitarist whose evocative words and melodies have inspired many since he performed with Spirit in Flesh and Archer in the 1970’s. He continues to write and record new material and occasionally performs.

“At a time when I was looking to do some volunteer work in my present community (Northampton, MA), the opportunity to be of service to a beloved past community came up and could not be ignored.”



Bruce Geisler has been a full-time university professor for over twenty years and is currently a senior lecturer in the communication department at the University of Massachusetts, where he teaches film and video production, screenwriting, and documentary filmmaking.

He received a B.A. in English Literature/Creative Writing from Pomona College and an M.F.A. in Film Production and Writing from the University of Southern California. He is also an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. His feature-length documentary, “Free Spirits”, about the twenty-year history of the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community commune, released in 2007, played in theaters and film festivals nationwide, and is currently available on DVD. His latest documentary, “Grass Roots”, is a behind the scenes look at a citizen-led campaign that resulted in the passage of groundbreaking climate change legislation in Connecticut.

“I still have many cherished friends from my time at the Brotherhood of the Spirit, some close at hand and some very distant, some favored with good fortune and others tested by hard times. The Community Resource Foundation is an opportunity for me to work with like-minded friends to advance a vehicle to help those in need and thus prove to be friends indeed”.



Phil Dowling’s career as a painting contractor originated in the community over 35 years ago. His successful business partnership with Bruce Tolda celebrates its 30th year in 2011. Between their commercial painting operation and their retail paint store, they employ 25 people. Phil’s responsibilities within the company include marketing, estimating, accounting and project management.

Phil has volunteered his time to many local boards and organizations including serving on the Westhampton Board of Health and Zoning Board. He was a founding member of the Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative, which brought recycling to eleven towns in Western Massachusetts. He served as the Chairman of the HRMC for four years. Recently, Phil has been immersed in the construction of the New Westhampton Public Library. The project spawned many creative events, including “Lounging for Literacy”, which garnered national attention. Representing the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Phil testified before the Mass. State Ways and Means Committee, which ultimately funded forty library projects across the state. An astonishing one million dollars was raised privately for the Westhampton Library Project.

Surprisingly, Phil finds time to train for and compete in various athletic competitions including running, biking, canoeing and triathlons. He has trained in Aikido for the last twenty years and is the treasurer for Aikido of Northampton. Along with several past members of the Renaissance Community, Phil sponsors a weekly meditation on Saturday mornings.

“The CRF, in my opinion, can be a conduit for maintaining connections with old friends and sharing resources. In the same way that micro loans have proven to optimize positive economic change in poor communities, the CRF can help provide a bridge for individuals in times of need.”


Brian McCue is an exceptionally talented and creative entrepreneur who possesses degrees in management and marketing, as well as considerable technical expertise in general contracting and environmental design. President of Renaissance Painting for over 35 years, he also has extensive experience in building unique custom homes, recording studios, and numerous science exhibits. Brian was president and founder of SciExpo Corporation, which produced a mobile science museum that housed 200 hands-on exhibits, traveled the country in a 60,000 sq. ft. pavilion, and was featured at the 1986 Vancouver World’s Fair. Brian has lent his talents to the Magic Mouse Theatre Company, a repertoire of children’s theatre in the American Southwest, and throughout his life he has brought his unique style of networking to hundreds of individuals, communities, and progressive causes.

“I feel to give back a little of what was given me in the Renaissance Community. I learned there about friendships and compassion and a positive way of being. There I lost myself to find myself, and learned that life is an inward journey to be joyfully shared with others.”



Founder and President from 2006-2008

D. Nicholas (Nick) Carson was an accomplished businessman as well as an innovative and deeply committed philanthropist, with a lifelong history of giving generously, while inspiring others to follow his lead.

In addition to initiating the Community Resource Foundation, Nick began the Transplant Athletic Foundation, Inc. (TAFI) after receiving two lifesaving kidneys in May 2003. TAFI promotes donor awareness, while providing financial assistance to organ transplant recipients who compete in local, national, and international athletic events.

Nick’s other Board positions have included Goodwill Industries, the Boys and Girls Club, the Campfire Girls, the YMCA, the Butler Art Friends, and the First Presbyterian Church as Deacon and Trustee. Nick has also performed charity work for the Spin for a Cure, the Youngstown Playhouse Annual Fund, the National Kidney Foundation of Ohio Gala Ball, the Minority Men’s Transplant Enlightenment Program (MMOTEP) Annual Gala, and the Tod Children’s Hospital Make A Miracle Telethon and Golf Outing.

Nick’s family business, the City Asphalt Company, has paved the highways of northeastern Ohio since it’s inception in 1927, and Nick has served the company in different capacities for 29 years

“At the Brotherhood of the Spirit, I believed that through our collective thoughts and energies we could save the world. In our own way, I think we still can!”.


Past Board Members

Gwen Hotaling (Wynne Burns) 2006 – 2008

Jim Baker, Treasurer  2006 Р2010

Susan Sutphin 2008 – 2009

Cindy Prince 2009 – 2011

Bunni Vaughan Healy 2010 – 2012

Melvin Weiner 2006 – 2013

Carol Hand 2013 – 2014

Rick Crum 2008 – 2015

Laurel Austin Lussen 2013 – 2016