About Us

Founded in 1965, Utah Community Action is a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive services for income-eligible families. Their six core programs—Head Start, Housing & Case Management, Nutrition, HEAT, Weatherization, and Workforce Development—address barriers to self-reliance to empower individuals, strengthen families, and build communities.


    Utah Community Action’s mission is to empower individuals, strengthen families, and build communities through self-reliance and education programs.


    • APPRECIATION – We recognize and enjoy the positive contributions of others.
    • COMPASSION – We demonstrate genuine concern for the well-being of all.
    • INTEGRITY – We exemplify the highest standards of honesty and accountability.
    • RESPECT – We have admiration for each individual’s unique strengths and perspectives
    • TRUST – We have confidence that the agency and staff will consistently act with the best of intentions.


    Jennifer Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer

    Jennifer Godfrey is the CEO of Utah Community Action, one of Utah’s largest and longest running nonprofits. The mission of Utah Community Action is to empower individuals, strengthen families, and build communities through self-reliance and education programs. To do this, they work alongside low-income families in Utah to both address immediate needs and find long-term solutions through a variety of programs—Head Start, Early Head Start, Adult Education, Weatherization, HEAT energy assistance, Nutrition, Housing and Homelessness services.


    Jenn is a longtime advocate for children and families with over 20 years of experience.  Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer, she worked as a Preschool teacher, School Guidance counselor, Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Program Manager, and Chief Operations Officer. Under her leadership, the Utah Community Action developed one of the first sustainable Head Start nutrition programs in the country and launched the first homeless diversion program in the State of Utah. Godfrey holds a Master’s degree in Education and in Counseling, with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Development.


    Recently, Godfrey joined the Equity and Economic Mobility Commission, newly created to advise the National Community Action Partnership Board of Directors. Godfrey also sits on the Board of Trustees for Trauma Informed Utah, is a member of the steering committee for the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness and is co- chair of the coalition’s Education Core Function Group. Godfrey is also the current Vice Chair for the Community Action Partnership of Utah and a board member representing Region 8 on the National Community Action Foundation Board.


    In 2012, Godfrey’s innovation and dedication to providing healthy nutritious meals was recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Godfrey was also honored as one of Utah Business’ “30 Women to Watch,” in 2016 and was named a Pathfinder recipient through the Salt Lake Business Chamber in 2010. Jennifer is the proud mother of two beautiful daughters and currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband of 21 years.

    J. Janell Cerva, Chief Impact and Strategy Officer

    J. Janell Cerva is the Chief Impact & Strategy Officer for Utah Community Action. Janell oversees the Data & Policy Team, and manages Resource Development, Communications, and Marketing across the agency. She also leads strategic initiatives based on how the agency can leverage assets and strengthen partnerships to better meet the needs of the community, especially families and children experiencing poverty. These currently include affordable housing development and the expansion of high-quality early childhood programs. Prior to joining Utah Community Action, Janell directed cross-sector collaboration addressing homelessness and housing in Salt Lake County on behalf of Mayor Ben McAdams, and lead early childhood regional and community-based partnerships for United Way of Salt Lake. Janell graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from Brigham Young University, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Utah, and is currently completing her PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Utah.


    Patrice Dickson, Chief Operations Officer

    Patrice Dickson is currently the Chief Operations Officer and Assistant Head Start Director for Utah Community Action. Ms. Dickson oversees two of the agency’s six core programs, Head Start and HEAT, leading more than 400 staff.

    Ms. Dickson’s responsibilities include oversight and program management for Head Start staff and operations, as well as HEAT program staff and operations to ensure grant compliance, and quality holistic services for children and families in poverty.  Ms. Dickson has extensive experience working to improve and support the family unit across Utah communities. Her involvements spans from delivering family advocacy and early education services to managing utility assistance. Her past experience includes work in homeless and housing services in collaboration with State and local leaders, including oversight of diversion services in the homeless resource centers.  Prior to her transition into Utah Community Action, she instructed parenting and communication skills classes for a substance abuse program, worked on a project for women inmates at the Utah State Prison, and served on Women’s Legislative Council.  Currently, Ms. Dickson serves on a range of committees for early childhood education and the 211 Steering Committee.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for Genshai and was a past Board Member for United Cerebral Palsy.


    Ms. Dickson holds a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences. She also holds a Family Development Specialist Certification.

    Sahil Oberoi, Chief Operating Officer

    Sahil Oberoi is the Chief Operating Officer for Utah Community Action. Sahil oversees the Housing and Case Management Department, which includes our Housing Team, Mediation Team, and Adult Education Team, Homeless Services and our centralized Intake team for the agency. He works closely with community partners to ensure that we are able to deliver services geared towards homeless prevention. Sahil has worked in the social services sector for the past 9 years and is committed to providing clients equitable access to services so they may achieve self-reliance. Sahil graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Utah State University and received his Juris Doctorate from Seattle University’s School of Law.

    Chris Smith, Chief Auxiliary Officer

    Chris Smith is the Chief Auxiliary Officer for Utah Community Action. Mr. Smith leads and manages UCA’s Weatherization and Facilities Departments which includes compliance and risk management, ensuring that all facilities are safe and secure for all the children and families UCA serves, and oversees the addition of new facilities, remodels, and renovations as needed. Mr. Smith has over 20 years’ worth of safety management experience as a detective/first responder and safety manager. Mr. Smith received his undergraduate degree from Columbia College and his Masters of Science degree in Homeland Security/Emergency Management from Arizona State University. As an avid University of Utah football fan, Mr. Smith can be seen cheering on the Utes at every home game.

    Stacy Weight, Chief Administrative Officer

    Stacy Weight is currently the Chief Administrative Officer of Utah Community Action, which runs 6 distinct programs, 1 of which is Utah’s largest Head Start program serving approximately 1,400 children and their families living in poverty.


    Mrs. Weight’s responsibilities include leading functions of nutrition services, human resources, information technology, finance, and accounting. Prior to being with Head Start, Ms. Weight was a Senior Innovator/VP Finance for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.


    Mrs. Weight has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Utah Valley State College and a MBA from Westminster College. She has been a licensed CPA since 2009. She currently sits on the Executive Board of the Utah Association of Certified Public Accounts as the AICPA Council Representative. She earned CPA of the Year Award, Business and Management Category, UACPA 2016.

    Program Managers

    Program Managers

    Matt Ulmer
    Director of Network Operations
    (801) 410-5710

    Brad Myrup
    Director of IT Operations
    (801) 410-5739

    April Powell
    Director of Human Resources
    (801) 214-3153

    Jamie Castleton
    Family Partnership Manager
    (801) 214-3175

    Aurora Howell
    Head Start Education Manager
    (801) 410-5719

    Victoria Edmonds
    Head Start Special Needs & Mental Health Manager
    (801) 410-5858

    Jenna Seeley
    Accounting Manager
    (801) 214-3114

    Peter Hughes
    Accounting Manager
    (801) 214-3146

    Vance Woodward
    Case Management & Housing Manager
    (801) 214-3095

    Jason Gapinski
    Facilities & Maintenance Manager
    (801) 214-3179

    Andy Agardy
    Data & Policy Manager
    (801) 410-5738

    Joseph Erickson
    HEAT Program Manager
    (801) 214-3142

    Dewayne Phillips
    Culinary Director
    (801) 410-5651

    Board of Trustees

    Public Sector

    Janis Dubno
    Board Member

    Mayor Marcus Stevenson
    Board Member

    John Delaney
    Board Member

    Kelli Meranda
    1st Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect

    Sam Johnson
    Board Member

    Kelly Colopy
    Board Member



    Private Sector

    Julie Buchholz

    Stephanie White

    Jake Hawkins
    Board Member

    Rebekah Couper-Noles
    2nd Vice-Chair

    Moe Hickey
    Board Member

    Casey Jones
    Board Member

    Low-Income Sector

    Stephanie Russell

    JennaBree Tollestrup
    Board Member

    Emily Diaz
    Head Start Policy Council Chair-Elect

    Hannah Skeen
    Head Start Policy Council Chair

    Michelle Crawford
    Board Member

    Ze Min Xiao
    Board Member

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