Tom Bohnert was born and raised in the United States by a courageous single mom. Helped by the social programs of the local government, faith-based programs for the poor, and the YMCA Big Brother program, Tom’s family survived and climbed slowly out of poverty. Key people and programs helped the family through lean times, and helped his mom get educated, he and his siblings attend a good school, and by signing him up for sports, keeping him out of some of the problems plaguing lower income families. He also learned the significance of earning pocket money by doing small little cleaning jobs, taking out people’s trash, recycling, and delivering newspapers. This laid a foundation for the heart of what is now Ethne’ International Development.
Through college, Tom had the privilege of travelling to needy countries and see first-hand the plight of the poor. This guided his studies in business and ministry. After finishing college and marrying his wife, Connie, Tom served as the Director of Local and Global Outreach for his Alma Mater, Vanguard University of Southern California, guiding the students into service opportunities locally and globally. Some of these expressions of care included a youth crisis hotline, juvenile hall visits and mentoring, feeding the poor and homeless, sports outreach, and building homes in Mexico for the poor among other activities. This eventually led Tom and Connie to volunteer coach in the Himalayas in a short term capacity, and furthermore led to a move to the Philippines where they have been since 2004.
Thus, much of what this organization does is a result of years of experiences in their own lives and seeing the needs of the Nations. Hence, Ethne’ started as a means to facilitate development among the unique ethnic and marginalized people in the world. We invite you to join us in this effort!
Connie was born and raised in Orange County, California and was the middle of five children. She started playing basketball, softball, and soccer year round while still in elementary school. Coming from a large family, she was taught to work hard and to serve others. She remembers one particular Christmas where the family decided to give their Christmas away. They did not give or receive traditional Christmas gifts that year and instead gave the money to help a very poor family in Latin America. She recalls, “I will admit that it was very difficult for me at that age not to get any presents for Christmas, but I had no idea the positive impact this event would have on how I view my purpose.”
After high school, Connie attended Vanguard University of Southern California as an English major while competing inter-collegiately in both basketball and softball. She was awarded Athlete-of-the-Year her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. After graduating, she finished her California Teaching Credential in English and was the Head Coach for Varsity Girls’ Basketball at Irvine High School in California while also coaching the JV Softball team. She later moved to Villa Park High School in California as the Varsity Girls’ Basketball Head Coach where they were South Coast League Champions two consecutive years at which point she resigned from coaching and continued teaching for nine years before moving to the Philippines with her family.
Chairman of the Board
Josh resides in Costa Mesa, California with his wife, Heather, and two daughters. He graduated from Vanguard University of Southern California with a degree in English and is a teacher and writer. His extensive travel throughout the world shaped his humanitarian efforts. A self-professed “night-owl,” Josh loves reading with a cup of black or oolong tea, hanging with family, building stuff, being outdoors, and spending time with friends.
Secretary of the Board and Legal Counsel
Carolyn is passionate about serving entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profit organizations. She graduated from Vanguard University of Southern California, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in History/Political Science. She received a full-tuition scholarship from Western State University College of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the law review, and graduated magna cum laude. While in law school, Carolyn took business courses in which she reviewed and analyzed financial statements, negotiated deals, and mediated between opposing parties. She passed the California bar exam in 2003 and was licensed to practice law at the age of twenty-two. She passed the Nevada bar exam in 2005 and maintains active licenses in California and Nevada.
Carolyn is also an adjunct professor teaching Law Practice Management at Western State College of Law. She has served a three-year term on State Bar of California Section on Law Practice Management and Technology’s executive committee, including one year as editor-in-chief of its signature publication The Bottom Line.
Carolyn’s passion for helping others was instilled in her from a young age. As a child, her father left a lucrative career in marketing and tax planning, to become a pastor and start a homeless shelter and rehabilitation center for men getting off drugs and alcohol. Growing up Carolyn says that she knew most of the homeless people in Corona by their first names, and they knew her too. They were friends. And although she also had friends who were from middle class or affluent backgrounds, her experience gave her a perspective to see everyone, no matter what their background, as people, and worthy to be cared for as such. It is this glimpse into the formative years of Carolyn’s life that hopefully sheds some light on the depth and genuineness of her passion to help others succeed.
Carolyn and her husband, Ken, have three children and live in Southern California. She enjoys playing ping pong, lifting weights, watching movies like Rocky IV and Mission Impossible 2, playing tennis, playing the piano, and being outside in the sun and enjoying the fresh air.
Ed Rutherford, a decorated Viet Nam War veteran, holds a Degree in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration, graduating with high honors. He worked as a mid-level manager and was selected for an accelerated executive program with a major corporation.
Ed also holds degrees in Ministerial Studies, Church Business Management and a Doctorate in Divinity and is a fellow in the National Association of Church Business Administrator and The American Counseling Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for two other charitable organizations and a homeless ministry.
Rutherford, a published author, has written books and articles in the areas of Business Administration, Religion, and General Humor.
He has taught Graduate and Under Graduate classes at Vanguard University of Southern California, local community colleges and various Seminaries. He holds an Adult Teaching Credential issued by the State of California. He is listed in Who’s Who in religion and in Who’s Who in the West.
Ed is married to Mary Helen (Blackburn) Rutherford and they reside in Southern California. They have two daughters, Roben and Michele.
Edward A. Rutherford is the Senior Pastor of Orange Hills Assembly, Orange, California. Pastor Rutherford is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He has served that organization since 1970 and has served three other churches as Senior Pastor.