Board of Directors
Garry Manuel, Founder and Chair
Garry Manuel is the founder and executive director of Project URGE, Inc. He is the owner and a guitar instructor at Manuel's Music Studio in Fairport, NY as well as a songwriter and music performer. He was formerly involved in the worship teams at Walnut Hill Community Church, Crosswinds Wesleyan Church (CWC) and Project URGE. His wife, Mary, with Garry’s assistance, also led children’s worship at CWC for a time.
For over seven years Garry volunteered at the Kidz Kafé program at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in the city of Rochester on Saturday mornings. He began to reach out to other churches to take part in volunteering to allow more support for the program, but to also build relationships across the cultural divides existing within churches in the area. God’s prompting of him to that experience provided a pivotal motivation for him to begin Project URGE, Inc.
Since the start of Project URGE he has organized networking/collaborative meetings, helped with administering the Compassion Capital Federal grant that was headed by Foodlink, organized workshops and conferences, Concert of Praise events, began the Saturday Sonshine program (with kids on Sat. mornings), volunteer coordination and tirelessly working toward more collaboration between churches, ministries and other organizations that work with the under-resourced. In addition, he has worked on a team in planning the 2015 Urban Camp Out and the interfaith coalition of The Children’s Agenda.
In 2015 Garry received an honorable mention from the Federation of Social Workers for corporate contributions to social services in Rochester through his donations and volunteer work through Project URGE, Inc. and in 2013 was nominated for the Center City Champion award for inspiring the community to work collaboratively and improving the quality of life in Rochester.
Phillip Hounshell, Vice-Chair
Phillip Hounshell is an Associate Pastor at Rochester Bible Baptist Church in the City of Rochester where he has been involved in Christian Education, Teen Ministry, Outreach Coordination, Discipleship teaching, and Deacon/Deaconess training.
Phillip Hounshell works for the Rochester City School District in the Information and Technology Department as a Programmer Analyst performing such task as submitting student and teacher information to New York State, extracting and reporting data about school and student performance to the community as requested and ensuring that various elements of the Student Information System is properly Functioning.
Besides what’s already been mentioned Phillip Hounshell is the Chaplain of the Baptist Ministers Alliance where he is responsible for opening weekly meetings with devotional scripture, praise and prayer. Within the Alliance he is able to connect with ministers from within the City of Rochester and within the Upstate New York arena to discuss the social climate, current events, and needs of the community with the mindset to address the issues as a collective unit of spiritual leaders.
His passion for outreach has enabled him to work with Veterans and put on yearly recognition events; assist on the board of Komposition Kidz which is a youth basketball league which focuses on Performance in the classroom, community, and within the league; Organize Eastside LoveFestival which is a community outreach program which brings community service agencies, local churches, and businesses together for a day of music, games, food, encouragement and clothing give-aways with a an desired end being building community.
Katie Kreutter, Secretary
Katie Kreutter works as a Legal Assistant at an elder law firm. She has been involved with Project URGE since serving with a community non-profit several years ago and has served on the Board for the last few years. With a background in communications and theology, she is passionate about connecting the faith-based and non-profit community in Rochester. She is a lay leader at The Pillar, a faith community in Rochester.
Tim Beck, Treasurer
Tim came to know Jesus through the ministry of Young Life at Fairport HS. He met his wife at Oswego State and has been married for over 30 years. Tim and his wife are members at Browncroft Community Church. They are privileged to have three children, with all being excited about who Jesus is in their lives and involved in ministry and fellowship.
Tim has worked for Toth's Sports for 30 years and remains joyful and committed to his work. He has formerly worked as a treasurer in ministry in the past and believes that God wants to use him in a deeper capacity to serve. Serving on the Board of Project URGE, Inc. as treasurer is a new a venture that he looks forward to fulfilling.
Shawanda Owens-Ulysses, Concert of Praise Team Leader
Shawanda Owens-Ulysses is the founder of Ulysses Heart2Heart and Hidden Hands ministry. Both ministries were birthed out of the need of the broken communities in the city of Rochester. “We never wanted to reinvent the wheel, however, we wanted to meet the matters of the heart so that we can reach out to the lost and broken and even the forgotten ones, and establish God's love back into the heart of his people.”
Shawanda Owens-Ulysses is a part of Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church where she has served for 16 years as music director under the leadership of Pastor Thomasina Owens. She has been singing around the world since the tender age of 13, and has been recognized by her city as best female Gospel artist of the year for 2016. Shawanda is also the youth pastor of Morningstar where she established a group called L.A.B.S 899 (Life Application Bible Study), where young adults of the ages of 17-34 come together to learn how to apply the teachings of the bible to their everyday living.
She is the wife of Eamon Ulysses, who is the co-founder of the Ulysses Heart2Heart ministry. She is also the mother of one son, King Darrius Douglas, and many of God’s children. She is considered the big momma of the community, with a voice of thunder and a tender heart. Her dreams are to help abolish racism, feed the homeless, and show love to the children around her. In 2016 she decided to partner with Garry Manuel and was elected a board member of Project URGE. She believes in the goals and desires to pursue and further the mission of the organization.
Advisors to the Board
Rev. Judith Davis is a graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and is an ordained minister under the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
Rev. Davis is a member of the Leadership Team at Community of the Savior (CoS) meeting at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, 120 French Road, Pittsford, New York and the Chair of CoS’ Mission and Social Justice Committee (MSJC). By sponsoring raising awareness workshops on domestic violence, human trafficking, poverty, the irresponsible care of creation, and racism, joining the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism, the MSJC works to raise the response-ability of individual members as well as the church collectively, i.e., the ability of the church to respond effectively to persons impacted by these social ills.
Rev. Davis became acquainted with Project Urge through a Project Urge Presentation and Tour. As a result of this event which seeks to connect suburban and urban churches, CoS came along side Outreach Temple’s Soup Kitchen located at 218 Murray Street in the City of Rochester to assist with preparing and serving meals as well as with providing a short worship service for patrons. Together CoS and Outreach are breaking down barriers of poverty and race in the Murray Street/Lyell Avenue area not only through the soup kitchen but also by sponsoring a Community Health Fair, holding joint Sunday worship services and collaborating with community partners such as the Emergency Services and Family Stabilization Network through which CoS and OutreachTemple were offered training in order to become Community Liaisons able to connect soup kitchen patrons to needed local agency services.
Rev. Davis has been a support group facilitator for Alternatives for Battered Women (ABW), a Knowledge is Power speaker for ABW, her most popular offering being “The Mis-Education of Women”, and is currently the Producer and Host of a new television show on Cable Channel RCTV15 entitled, “Crossroads” which provides information about services available to persons impacted by poverty. She also works with Christians for Biblical Equality, advocating for the equality of women and men in various areas including church offices, is a member of the Rochester Coalition for Racial Equity, addressing the impact of individual and institutional racism on public education, K-12 and, still in its infancy, is the Founder and Director of At Liberty Ministries, an organization established to provide educational workshops both to raise awareness of and to address the psycho-spiritual impact of oppression on women and African Americans in the form of mis-education.
By day, Rev. Davis is a Sr. Legal Administrator with a major corporation and a Proctor for the City of Rochester.
Brigit Hurley is a Policy Analyst with The Children's Agenda, an independent children’s advocacy organization in Rochester, NY. She serves as staff to The Children’s Agenda’s Interfaith Collaborative. Previously, Brigit worked at Catholic Family Center in Rochester, where she spent ten years in the Office of Social Policy working on issue advocacy and faith-based education and outreach on topics such as poverty, children's mental health, and immigration reform. Previous to that she served as Coordinator of the Rochester Toy Library. Brigit earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. She lives outside Rochester with her husband and 4 children, and worships at St. Monica’s parish on Genesee St. in Rochester.