Beacon House Board of Directors
Linda Gustitus (Fundraising and Marketing Committee)
Linda Gustitus is a lawyer who served in the Senate for 24 years as an aide to Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan. For most of her time in the Senate she was Senator Levin’s Staff Director and Chief Counsel on his Governmental Affairs Committee subcommittee. She retired from the Senate in January 2003. She currently serves as the Washington Co-Director, Levin Center at Wayne Law (Wayne State University Law School). Ms. Gustitus received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in 1969 from Oberlin College, Ohio. Ms. Gustitus was a member of River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bethesda, Maryland, for over 20 years. She is married with two children and three grandchildren and permanently resides in Washington, D.C.
Beth Harrison (Vice-Chair)
Ms. Harrison is a Supervising Attorney in the Housing Unit of the Legal Aid Society of Washington, DC. She represents tenants in affirmative and defensive suits in DC Superior Court and in administrative claims at the DC Housing Authority and the Office of Administrative Hearings. She graduated Harvard Law School magna cum laude and has devoted her career to advocating for the rights of disadvantaged people. She is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, a long time supporter of Beacon House.
Traci Hughes (Board Chair)
Traci L. Hughes is a journalist-turned-attorney with more than a decade of experience working in government. Ms. Hughes is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, and of Howard University. She joined the Beacon House Board on March 24, 2015.
Jill Barrett Melnicki (Fundraising and Marketing Committee)
Jill Barrett Melnicki is Director of Individual Giving at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, where she is leads the creation and implementation of strategic fundraising campaigns and related programmatic activities that connect individual donors to Ashoka’s “Everyone A Changemaker” vision. She is the founder of Evolve Impact, LLC an innovation and collaboration consultancy. A serial intrapreneur, Ms. Melnicki has more than a decade of multi-sector experience launching social good initiatives, having worked in state and national politics, local government administration, nonprofit communications and fundraising, C-suite innovation cultivation, global CSR and social impact investing. She is passionate about human development, social and economic inclusion, workers' rights, the protection of vulnerable populations and the modern social contract. Ms. Melnicki earned a MPP from the College of William & Mary and is a DC area native, the eighth generation in her family born and raised in the Washington region.
Tod Preston (Secretary)
Mr. Preston is a Senior Vice President at the Glover Park Group, a strategic communications and government affairs firm based in Washington, DC. He works with corporate, non-profit and government clients particularly in the foreign affairs and global development arenas. He is a long time resident of Washington, DC and is a member of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, which has a long history of supporting Beacon House.
Jeff Smith is a Senior Manager for Community Impact Strategies at Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC). He joined CPDC in 2016 to support its vision of connecting underserved populations to meaningful, sustainable partnerships in a way that enhances the lives of residents living in CPDC communities. Mr. Smith is a veteran of the United States military and a graduate of Howard University School of Law. He served as a high school administrator, classroom teacher, and university professor before joining the affordable housing community. Additionally, Mr. Smith is a former elected member of the District of Columbia Board of Education. He is a devoted father and the head coach of his daughter’s Little League softball team.
Kimberly Smith is the Executive Director of the League of Innovative Schools at Digital Promise leading a national network of forward-thinking education leaders in implementing innovative technologies and practices. Previously, Ms. Smith worked in senior leadership roles developing digital initiatives at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, PBS, Discovery Education, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She is an Aspen-Pahara Institute Fellow and co-founder of the National Charter Collaborative, an initiative to support single-site charter leaders of color in creating quality schools. She received her M.B.A from Johns Hopkins University and Bachelors of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Melvin Ward (Fundraising and Marketing Committee)
Mr. Ward is a Customer Service Representative for Pearson Education in the District of Columbia. He lived on the Edgewood property for 17 years, and two of his sons grew up in Beacon House programs. Mr. Ward remains a very active volunteer with Beacon House’s athletic programs.
Bernhard W. Witter (Audit and Finance Committees)
Bernhard (Bernie) W. Witter is an independent financial services professional who served previously as Chief Operating Officer of Dechert, LLP in Philadelphia. Mr. Witter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Administration from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Bernie has also been certified as a CPA in the state of Illinois.
Kevin Hinton (ex officio)
Beacon House’s board of directors appointed Kevin Hinton as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director in February 2017 after Kevin served for five months as Interim Executive Director. Kevin brings to Beacon House over 20 years of professional experience in strategic leadership, partnership building, financial analysis, and team leadership in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. Previously, Kevin served as a Senior Portfolio Director with DC Public Education Fund. Kevin has also held management positions with organizations including Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive and Discovery Education. Kevin holds an MBA degree from NYU-Stern School of Business and a BA degree from Williams College. Kevin has lived in Washington, DC for over 17 years and is a proud father of two teenage daughters.