Support & Encourage


As of January 2023


Diana Whitney (Henry Co), President

Former Managed Care Executive

Claudia Plumer, DNP (Stark Co), Vice President

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Pediatric Resource Center Department of Pediatrics University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, IL

Sheila Rumbold (Stark Co), Secretary/Treasurer

Entrepreneur/Business Owner


Nedda Simon (Bureau Co)

Founder, Freedom House

Marshall Jones (Henry Co)

Retired Manager, Verizon

Mark Breeden (Henry Co)

Retired Farm Manager

Jennifer Beaver (Marshall Co)

Business Owner

Brenda Beaver (Stark Co)

Business Manager

Randy Mullin, MD (Henry Co)

Retired Family Physician

Pam Horwitz (Bureau Co)

Development & Policy Professional

staff leadership

Michael Zerneck

Michael Zerneck

Executive Director

Michael is fortunate to lead an amazing team of talented and dedicated professionals at Freedom House. Before joining the agency, Michael was most recently the Associate Director of CASA of Peoria County, with responsibility for grants, major gifts, marketing, training, and staff and volunteer supervision.

Working for non-profits is Michael’s second career, having spent his professional life in medical education and pharmaceutical advertising in New York City. As the CEO of NCM Nexus Inc. and Park Row Publishers Inc., he created and oversaw a portfolio of promotional campaigns for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. This 40-year body of work includes award-winning programming in HIV and AIDS, oncology, infectious diseases, heart disease, and psychiatry, produced for physicians, allied healthcare professionals, consumers, and patients.

He has served on the boards of the non-profit Brooklyn Public Library Foundation (New York) and the biotechnology company Artecel Sciences Inc. (North Carolina).

Trisha Schafer

Trisha Schafer

Manager, Outreach & Facilities/Community Relations

Trisha leads the agency’s fundraising and community outreach efforts. Trisha started her “volunteer career” in Nebraska, moving to Princeton, Illinois in 1991. She has been active in the community since then and has been part of several volunteer service organizations while working her “first career.” She is very proud to serve Freedom House in these capacities and enjoys nothing more than presenting our story and vital mission to the public at large.

Trisha’s efforts in community relations and fundraising has been ongoing for more than 25 years. She has vast experience working with people, along with community organizations, not-for-profits, boards of directors, and helping businesses with marketing and communications. She gravitates to organizing people for projects and helping them celebrate their accomplishments. She is passionate about encouraging the potential of the people around her.

Trisha has been involved in philanthropic causes throughout her professional life. She has recruited, led, and trained hundreds of volunteers and organized dozens of events. 

Amber Killian, ICDVP

Amber Killian, ICDVP

Domestic Violence Program Manager, Operations

Amber supervises the emergency and transitional shelter program, truly the heart of Freedom House. In this role, she is responsible for supervision of shelter advocates, office staff, and grant administration. Previously, Amber was shelter manager, responsible for developing the shelter program and providing case management to residential clients and their families. Her work included assisting survivors with seeking safety, counseling, legal advocacy, employment and housing. Amber also facilitated domestic violence education classes and weekly support groups. She organized yearly domestic violence awareness events and provided public education about the needs of the clients we serve. She received  a BA from Aurora University in 2006 and obtained her Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional license in 2012.
Jen Johnson, LSW

Jen Johnson, LSW

Domestic Violence Program Manager, Advocacy and Counseling

Jen oversees advocacy and counseling services for our Domestic Violence Program.  She is a licensed social worker. Previously, she was the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the YWCA of Sauk Valley and, before that, she served as a Legal Advocate, where she provided crisis intervention, legal advocacy, and counseling to domestic violence survivors. Jen is a  Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional and a graduate of the Illinois Victim Assistance Academy. She holds an MSW from  Aurora University.

Chloe Lund, MAS

Chloe Lund, MAS

Finance and HR Manager

A native of Princeton, Chloe manages the agency’s financial operations. Chloe was awarded a Master of Accounting Science and BA in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University, where she received numerous academic awards, including Academic Excellence Memento, Dean’s List, and the Arthur J. Krupp Endowed Scholarship. She has often volunteered in the community as a mathematics/literature tutor. Chloe is currently pursuing her CPA.

Melanie Whitmer

Melanie Whitmer

Sexual Violence Program Manager

Melanie manages advocates, counselors, preventionists, and a volunteer coordinator for the Sexual Violence Program. Melanie was previously a legal advocate at Freedom House, providing crisis intervention, legal advocacy, case management, and supportive counseling to survivors of sexual violence. She started at Freedom house as a prevention educator for grades pre-K through 6.  Melanie serves on numerous community boards and committees and is a graduate of the Advanced Illinois Victim Assistance Academy through the Illinois Attorney General. Melanie is passionate about empowering survivors of sexual violence and excited to lead a talented staff and volunteers.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
John Maxwell

Freedom House is a
Gender-Neutral / All-Inclusive
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