Claude Rwaganje is the Founder and Executive Director of ProsperityME. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Claude learned through his own immigration experience that financial stability is essential to building a new life in the United States. It was his vision to create a non-profit organization where New Mainers can go for free financial education and support.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities at ProsperityME, Claude currently serves on the board of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Community Foundation, United Way of Southern Maine, the InterCultural Community Center and was elected to the Westbrook City Council, serving as a city councilor At-Large since 2019. He was previously appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Advisory Council in the Spring of 2017 for a three-year term. Previously, he served a three-year term as a member of Portland’s Community Development Block Grant Committee.
Claude has received numerous awards for his service to the community, including Bowdoin College’s Spirit of Service Award (2012), Bates College Harward Center’s Community Partner Award for Outstanding New Initiative (2013), Portland Press Herald’s “10 Mainers to be Thankful For” (2012) and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce award for Public Sector Leadership (2017). Claude holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and is a certified coach and housing counselor through NeighborWorks America.
Ellen returned to Maine after living in Utah for nearly 8 years. Ellen has a B.S. in Biology from University of Southern Maine, and M.B.A. from Western Governors University. She is a HUD certified housing counselor, and former executive director of Fair Credit Foundation.
As the Executive Director of the Fair Credit Foundation, Ellen spearheaded the launch of the Bank On Salt Lake coalition to increase access to safe and affordable financial products to unbanked and underbanked. She helped to design a first-of-its kind medical debt legal advocacy project, as well as an innovative program that gives low-income people the opportunity to improve their credit and financial wellbeing by refinancing up to $3,000 in payday loans. She served on the Board of Directors for FutureINDesign and American United Credit Union Foundation.
Ellen loves running, hiking, and being outdoors.
Sarah Dawn Petrin, Director of Development at ProsperityME, cultivates partnerships with donors and conducts outreach to support fundraising goals. With 25 years of nonprofit experience, she has led philanthropic initiatives globally and founded Protect the People, which advised governments on humanitarian crises. Sarah has held senior roles at various organizations, including the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Truman Center for National Policy, and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Her work spans over 20 countries assisting refugees and immigrants.
She holds a Master's degree from Oxford University in Forced Migration and a BA in International Relations, African Studies, and French from Gordon College. Sarah is the author of "BRING RAIN: Helping Humanity in Crisis," a guide for change-makers. She is a Board member at the World Affairs Council of Maine. She enjoys writing, running, and the beach.
Heather Cameron's background is in member outreach and project management over the last two decades with non-profit organizations including Maine Sierra Club and Girl Scouts. Her bachelor's degree is in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Southern Maine. After graduating, Heather served in the Peace Corps working as a Small Business Development Consultant in Mauritania, West Africa where she taught financial literacy to entrepreneurs, vocational students and women's co-ops. Upon returning to Maine, Heather began volunteering as a tutor for ELL and citizenship students at Portland Adult Ed. Outside of work Heather enjoys time with family and friends, beach walks along our beautiful Maine coast, zumba dance, reading mystery novels, and music of all kinds!
Dieudonne has over 20-year experience in business and project management both in the private and public/nonprofit sectors. His latest roles included Operations Director of the Rwandan chapter of Population Services International, a US-based global health nonprofit. He also worked as a Project Management Consultant for Sybrin Ltd, a South African IT company specializing in banking/financial software development. He serves as a Board member for MANA (Maine Association for New Americans). Dieudonne completed his MBA studies with focus on Project Management, in addition to a first degree as a Statistical Works Engineer. (Translated from French – “Ingenieur des Travaux Statistiques.”)
Dieudonne is a former ProsperityME classroom student, completing Basic Money Management and Saving to Build Wealth. He volunteered for the Immigrant Welcome Center, the Manufacturers Association of Maine and the DHHS Office of Family Independence.
Dieudonne came to Maine in 2017 from Rwanda with two daughters. For more than 10 years, Dieudonne has been a part-time certified instructor of Transcendental Meditation, a scientifically validated technique for stress management and personal development that is taught worldwide.