Leading With Our Hearts

We are proud all our board members are parents, grandparents, foster parents or foster grandparents.

Board Members

Compassion, love and improving the lives of children in our community is our passion, which we hope will become our legacy!

Nancy Wolanin

Nancy Wolanin

President

Nancy Wolanin has been married to her husband Ted for 44 years. They have 5 grown children, 7 grandchildren and multiple foster  grandchildren. She has been … 

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… in remission from leukemia and a bone marrow transplant for almost 5 years and mentors people around the country who have just recently been diagnosed with leukemia. She moved to Midland from Wyandotte, Michigan in 1971 to teach school. She has a B.S. and M.A. +45 hours and is dually certified to teach K-12 Special Education (children who have cognitive impairments), K-6 elementary students and high school Language and Literature. She taught Special Education, Gifted Education, and Kindergarten for 29 years in Midland Public Schools. Her hobbies and interests are enjoying time with her grandchildren and foster grandchildren, cooking, baking, gardening, reading, involvement in her church, volunteering for Relay for Life and involvement in the Midland Area Interfaith group. She was drawn to help establish a foster closet in Midland County when she had to retire abruptly with a leukemia diagnosis. After regaining her strength a couple of years later, she found her special “niche” working with foster families. She loves to be with kids and help them, and this volunteer position allows her the flexibility to still keep her frequent appointments at U of M Hospital and also visit their children and grandchildren.

Gail Letcher

Gail Letcher

Vice President

Gail is a native of Michigan, a former elementary school teacher and a retired small business owner. She enjoys crafting, spending time with her grandchildren, and volunteering …

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…… with the Foster Closet because it speaks to her heart.

Jim Klaffer

Jim Klaffer

Treasurer

My wife, Melissa and I are the proud parents to 5 amazing kids and we are also proud to be foster parents. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwood University and have … 

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… been a CPA for the past 17 years. I am currently a Tax Manager at Deloitte Tax, LLP, based in Midland. In the past 5 years, I have been the Treasurer for three local Not for Profit organizations in Midland and spend much of my free time serving on Not for Profit boards and committees. I have also spent time serving on ad hoc committees with the Midland Public Schools and have been a youth football, soccer and baseball coach over the past 7 years. I most enjoy spending time with my wife watching our kids participate in their many activities and just being together as a family.

Judy McDowell

Judy McDowell

Secretary

A native of Missouri, Judy graduated from Missouri Valley College, studied at St. Mary’s Divinity School, St. Andrews University in Scotland and received a Master’s … 

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… degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Married to Presbyterian Minister, the late Dr. John McDowell, they have two children and five grandchildren, including 13 year-old triplets who also live in Midland. Both Judy and John served churches in Ohio and Colorado before coming to Michigan in 1977 when John joined the staff of Midland’s Memorial Presbyterian Church. In 1985 Judy was elected to serve as Associate Executive for Ministries of Lake Huron Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, USA. In 1995, the family moved to Indiana where Judy joined the staff of Church World Service as the Director of Community Education and Fund Raising, leading staff working with communities throughout the U.S. to support the ecmenical relief and development work of Church World Service through CROP Hunger Walks and the CWS Blanket and Kit Programs. Since returning to Midland in 2006, Judy has been active in mission outreach of the Presbyterian Church and through a variety of interfaith activities in the community, including the Coordinator of the Midland Area CROP Hunger Walk. Judy has been a 35+ year member of the League of Women Voters, currently serving on the Board of the Midland Area LWV.

Umbareen Jamil

Umbareen Jamil

Member-at-Large

Umbareen Jamil has been a resident of Midland since October of 2000. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, she earned her B.A. from Kent State University double majoring in Economics … 

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… and International Relations. She and her husband have 4 beautiful children. While her primary job is being the ‘Master Caretaker’ of her family, she still finds time to be passionate about service in our community and therefore spends quite a bit of time volunteering with various local organizations. She is an active member of the Islamic Center of Midland, volunteering her time in countless ways from teaching Sunday school to arranging social events and open houses for the Center. She also serves as the advisor for the Muslim Youth of Mid-Michigan, which is a tri-city Muslim youth group that serves our community by volunteering at nursing homes, the Recycling Center, the Saginaw Children’s Museum, Foster Closet, Midland Blooms (planting flowers along Eastman Avenue), Shelterhouse Resale Shop, Post office food drive and many others. Through this group, she strives to instill her passion for community service with the Muslim young adults. As the co-director for the Midland Area Interfaith Friends, a group that serves to foster understanding among various faith groups in our area and gives back to the our community through various volunteer opportunities, Umbareen believes we need to look for commonalities instead of differences. She is blessed to be one of the founding members of the Midland County Foster Closet and finds great joy in serving the most vulnerable in our community.

Deb Ballard

Deb Ballard

Member-at-Large

Meet Debbie Ballard, Midland native and active lifelong volunteer. Alongside Debbie’s husband, Dick, they have raised 3 wonderful children in the Midland community and …

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… are now the proud grandparents of 9 grandchildren. Debbie has blessed the Midland community with many philanthropic activities from Social Justice issues to most recently helping grow the Midland County Foster Closet. Many also know Debbie for her award winning quilting skills and generosity to share those gifts with others. Debbie hopes that her presence on the Midland County Foster Closet will create a blanket of love and support wrapped around every foster child and their family.

About Our Team

Our team is extremely hard working, organized, flexible, resourceful and generous, all with the goal of dedicating our service to the children .

I Am So Thankful!

"I am so thankful that another foster parent told me about The Midland County Foster Closet! After become licensed in June of 2016, we eagerly awaited our first call, but it didn't come until April of 2018. So when it finally sank in that a new child would be coming into our home, the anxiety of the situation was overwhelmed by the loving generosity of the workers and gifts from the foster closet. We received many new clothes, plenty of used ones, toys, diapers, books, a blanket, and even gifts for our biological children that helped get them excited to welcome this new sibling! We all set up his bed, dresser, bookshelf, and were in a joyful mindset to spend our first few days just playing with and getting to know him instead of worrying about shopping for new things. We have since had the same wonderful experience with two other placements, and we continue to be encouraged that we are not alone in providing for these children- understanding that the friends I have told about The Midland County Foster Closet and made donations, the local businesses that donate items and money, the volunteers who have built shelving and spent time organizing ... we are all part of a community that cares for these children and families, helping us lighten the burdens and multiplying the joys!"

-Courtney, foster parent

Let's Make a Difference Together!

Our passion is not only to help foster children, but also the Midland County families who take them in by reducing the stress, financial responsibility and allowing the foster parents the chance to focus more on the immediate needs of the child.

Mailing Address

Midland County Foster Closet
P.O. Box 1243
Midland, MI 48641

(Monetary Donations)

Location Address

Holy Family Episcopal Church
4611 Swede Ave.
Midland, MI 48642

(By Appointment Only)