GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Samaritas, one of the state’s largest health and human service agencies welcomed Tracy Brame, Associate Dean of Experiential and Practice, WMU-Cooley Law School, and John Vande Guchte, MST, CPA of Strategies Wealth Advisors, LLC, as new directors of the board this year. Brame’s legal and community expertise and Vande Guchte’s financial expertise and wealth management are ideal additions to Samaritas’ current board tasked with implementing statewide programming and community outreach plans.
“It’s truly an honor to be the newest member of ‘Samaritas Nation’. As a board member I look forward to bringing a new perspective and skill set to help Samaritas grow,” said Tracey Brame, Associate Dean of Experiential and Practice, WMU-Cooley Law School. “I can’t wait to dive deeper to learn more about the agency’s programs and learn how we can enrich them to help even more people ‘live their best life’.”
Brame specializes in political science, public service and legal issues related to low-income individuals. Vande Guchte specializes in financial planning, investment management and succession planning. As Samaritas board members, they will help drive the agency’s overall strategic direction, including projects programs and services related to affordable living, substance use disorder, foster care, senior care, and persons with disabilities.
“I’ve been aware of Samaritas for quite some time and I’m looking forward to being one of its long-standing and trusted volunteer leaders,” said John Vande Guchte, Director and Senior Wealth Advisor. “I look forward to shaping new programs and creating plans to help Samaritas grow its donor base and increase services to serve more people across Michigan.”
Before joining WMU-Cooley Law School in 2006, Brame worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid of Western Michigan. There she advised and represented low-income clients on family-law, housing, and consumer-law issues. She also played a key role in programs to address legal issues of ex-offenders re-entering the community.
As a dedicated educator and author, Brame spends her spare time educating middle- and high-school aged students about the basics of law. She even volunteers at UPrep high school in Grand Rapids to teach freshmen about the U.S. Constitution.
She is a University of Michigan graduate who began her legal career as a law clerk to the Hon. Julian Abele Cook, Jr. in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan.
As a director with Strategies Wealth Advisors, Vande Guchte oversees strategic wealth and tax planning for individual clients and families. As a tax partner with Monroe, Sweeris & Tromp, PLC, he provided tax compliance and consulting for closely held businesses, owners, and their families. Between 1999 and 2006, he managed tax compliance and consulting clients for multi-national companies in the Grand Rapids, Amsterdam, and Washington DC offices of Deloitte.
Vande Guchte is a Calvin University alum graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy in 2000. He graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2014 with a Master of Science in Taxation. He currently lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and four children and regularly volunteers with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish.
Samaritas has sent ripples of positive change into Michigan communities since 1934. It is one of Michigan’s largest faith-based, nonprofit health and human services agencies and serves 13,000 people statewide. The agency helps children find loving families by utilizing family preservation, foster care and adoption programs and services. Through Samaritas, New Americans, like refugees can access resettlement services and establish new homes. Samaritas also offers transitional homes for the homeless, women existing the prison system and victims of human trafficking. Seniors seeking cost-effective, independent living options with memory care and rehab support can also lean on Samaritas for assistance.
Samaritas also offers clean, low-cost environments for seniors, families, and people with development disabilities and in need of affordable living. More than safe harbor in crisis, Samaritas comes through, when others don’t. Visit samaritas.org for more information. Follow us on Facebook @IAmSamaritas, Twitter @IAmSamaritas or on Instagram @WeAreSamaritas.
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