Board Chair
The Reverend Dr. Robert Knebel

The Rev. Dr. Robert Alan Knebel brings myriad experiences to the UMFF Board Chairmanship. An ordained United Methodist minister, Rev. Knebel has served in eleven churches in the NYAC conference. Geographically, these appointments have ranged from the western-most to the eastern-most locales and from some of the smallest to the largest congregations. He also spent over a decade working in extension ministry as a non-profit fund raising consultant and President/ CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County. He has served on the UMFF board from 2001-8 and 2011 to the present. He is currently serving the West Hartford United Methodist Church in Connecticut.


President and Executive Director
Ellen Knudsen

For more than 21 years, Ellen Knudsen served The United Methodist Church in several positions at the General Board of Global Ministries. Starting as the executive assistant to the General Secretary of the international mission agency, she built relationships with church leaders around the world. She then moved to US-based work with the United Methodist Women’s network of National Mission Institutions providing technical support to non-profit boards and executive directors for 26 organizations.  In 2012, she became the Director of Advance Projects where she provided visionary and strategic leadership for the designated giving program of The United Methodist Church. Ellen is serving on the General Council on Finance and Administration’s board committee for Fiduciary, Foundation and Property matters. Originally from a farming community in the West Ohio Annual Conference, she now resides with her husband in New York City where she is a member of the Church of the Village United Methodist Church.

Board Vice Chair
Susan Fulton

Susan Fulton joined the UMFF Board in 2008. She brings financial skills to the organization through her experience as a Claim Manager for CAN Insurance. She served on the Upper NY Conference Insurance Task Force. She is a member of the Chittenango United Methodist Church and serves on its Administrative Council.

Meet our leaders.

Bickerton, Thomas J. (New York Annual Conference)
Webb, Mark J. (Upper New York Annual Conference)

Dan Ruback

A resident of Tillson, New York, Mr. Ruback is a member of the New Paltz United Methodist Church. Among church offices he has held are Trustee Treasurer, Chair and founding member of the Planned Giving Committee, and member of the Church’s Building Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and Church Treasurer. A graduate of Clarkson College, Mr. Ruback has 30 years’ experience in accounting and management and has been Chief Financial Officer of both profit and not-for-profit corporations. He is currently Controller of the YWCA of Ulster County in Kingston, New York. Mr. Ruback is Treasurer of the United Methodist Frontier Foundation and has been a member of the Board since its founding. He was previously on the Board of The New York Connecticut Foundation.

Board of Directors

Board Secretary
Ronald Brand

Ronald P. Brand brings corporate organizational experience to the board as a retiree after 38 years with Central Hudson, and left with the title of SVP. For the last 10 of those years, he was the officer responsible for Engineering, Environmental Affairs and Special Projects. He is also a lifelong United Methodist, a 30+ year member of the Hyde Park, NY, United Methodist Church and has served on or chaired numerous commissions and committees during that time including the Board of Trustees, Administrative Board/Church Council, Finance, Staff/Parish Relations and Men’s Club. In October 2001, he became the Project Manager responsible for the successful financing and completion within budget of the $2.7 million expansion and renovation of the Church and Education Building. He currently chairs the Finance Committee and serves on the Church Council and Men’s Club.

Wayne Allen

Joe Andreana
Charles Beach

Carol Bloom
Susan Ezrati
Kristina Hansen
Gary Hartman
Robyn Hays
Margaret Howe

Donald Kirby
Vernon Lee
Michelle Lewis
Marjorie Nunes
Peter Owh
Edmund Ruppmann
Ronald Salyer
Shelley Smith
Elaine Van Fleet