Legal, Financial & Operations

Not-for-Profit Status & Leadership

Stepping Stones Network is a program of Oasis Productions, a 501c3 faith based organization that can receive tax-deductible donations.  Suzanne Baker Brown, President of Oasis, has a rich history in women’s ministry and helping people who have come out of abusive and destructive situations rebuild their lives.  Suzanne has also helped to launch and lead a number of not-for-profit organizations. Currently, Suzanne serves as Executive Director, with Dr. Ron Hesselgrave as Director of Church Engagement, Kathi Hesselgrave as interim Director of Restorative Services/Advisory Clinical Director, Beth Jordon-Kroll as Director of Operations, Colette Mendelson and Olivia Gildenzopf as Directors of Fundraising and Dave Stouwie as Director of Men's Prevention & Restorative Services.  Board of Directors include Suzanne Baker Brown, Michelle Bobart, Kelli McMiller (Secretary), and GInny Girmschied (Treasurer).

Mentorship & Advisory Board

We have completed initial training and are in a formal mentee relationship with Wellspring Living, an organization that is well respected in the field of residential sex trafficking recovery programs. For guidance with our local activities, an Advisory Board will be formed consisting of community leaders and experts in the field.  

Community Engagement

We have learned from similar organizations that an endeavor of this magnitude is expensive and requires a large number of volunteers to assist – in other words, “it takes a village”.  Some might say the price is too high, but what is one life worth?  In God’s eyes, every life is a treasure and worth every effort and cost to be redeemed and restored. Therefore, a key focus will be to engage the entire community to work together in unity to help with everything from fundraising, working with the clients, presenting educational materials, etc.  Stepping Stones Network has initiated several Community Collaboration meetings amongst social agencies, is an active member of the Lake County Human Trafficking Coalition, and will begin providing services in the Cook County jail in 2019.  

Fundraising & Volunteer Recruitment

We will seek major donors, run a capital campaign for the residential home, and release volunteers to come up with creative ways of their own to raise funds and contribute to this cause.  In addition, our ongoing fundraising and volunteer recruitment model will be based on an approach designed by our team called Champion Networks.  A unique network will be developed for four types of organizations: churches, universities, health care providers, and businesses.   If an organization is interested in being a champion of this cause, they will join the network and name an individual as a liaison.  The liaison will assist in identifying two things: 1) Specific ways to contribute to Stepping Stones that uniquely fit their organization's strengths and interests; and 2) Ways that Stepping Stones Network's expertise and network might contribute to their organization’s education and service goals. 


We will operate at around a $350,000 budget in 2019.  We file annual 990's and will begin a formal audit process in 2020.  


At this time, we are an all-volunteer organization with 40 talented volunteers who have been dedicated for multiple years and make their roles in Stepping Stones Network's operations a prioirity in their lives.  Some volunteers receive regular or occasional stipends or appreciation awards. We will begin hiring staff for our Residential Program in 2019.