meet our co-founder and executive director
A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Leonard Bagalwa lived in refugee camps in Malawi and Zimbabwe for more than three years before coming to the United States. Today, he believes that his personal experiences and his work can empower people and transform lives.
Leonard completed his undergraduate degree in Public and Community Health Education at Utah Valley University. He has over six years of experience working with refugees in Utah and has served on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations over the past two years. He is the founder and former president of the UVU African Club, a club that transformed the perception of Africa in the eyes of the local community and state of Utah. In 2016, Leonard co-founded the Utah Community & Refugee Partnership Center, which has since become Utah Valley Refugees.
meet the board of directors
Charles Cranney, Board Chair
Charles is a writer, editor, singer, technical specialist, film producer/editor, Russian speaker, teacher, former treasurer for another nonprofit board, SEO specialist, and much more. He has particularly enjoyed joining a refugee family alliance of seven families to serve and enable a refugee family with five young children. He currently works for BYU Publications & Graphics as their digital products manager.
Claralyn Hill, Vice Chair
Claralyn is the mother of five children, nineteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She and her husband, Ned, have sponsored and housed several immigrants. She worked as a guardian ad litem, ensuring children’s rights in court, and has served on numerous nonprofit boards. She has taught various legal courses at BYU. She and Ned lived in Romania for three years, where they experienced a bit of what it is like to be an immigrant, but she feels fortunate never to have had to flee a country as a refugee.
Andria Cranney, Secretary
With a private piano studio of more than 40 students, Andria Cranney has always loved being around and teaching children and has a special place in her heart for the refugee children that have come to Utah Valley. She feels like every child should be able to live in an environment of safety and love where they can learn and grow. She graduated from BYU with a degree in broadcast journalism and loved living abroad in Russia for three years. Her greatest pride and joy are her seven children and 16 grandchildren.
Ned Hill, Business Director
Ned recently retired from BYU, where he taught Corporate and International Finance, served as Assistant to the President, and served as dean of the Marriott School of Business. As chairman of the Volunteer Care Clinic of Utah County, he helped provide free health care to many refugees and immigrants. He and his wife, Claralyn, served a three-year mission for their church in Romania and Moldova, where they personally saw the plight of many refugees trying to settle in Europe. The descendent of refugees, Ned believes that no one should have more empathy for refugees than the people of Utah County.
Scott Bradford, Treasurer
Scott is an economics professor at BYU. He specializes in international economics with a focus on migration. In 2016, while on a Fulbright Fellowship in India, Scott, his wife, and two youngest children became good friends with a refugee family from Afghanistan and saw first-hand the challenges that refugees face and the need for non-refugees to help them. This led Scott to find ways to help refugees after returning to the United States. Seeing that Utah Valley Refugees was the best organization for helping refugees in Utah County, he joined the board in 2018. Other community service includes a stint as president of the UV Rays Swim Team and ongoing foster care.
We’re working on Rhett’s bio—pardon our construction dust!
Lana Bailey, Family Alliance Coordinator
Lana has been a volunteer with Utah Valley Refugees since July 2018. She has loved meeting refugees from all over the world and learning from their resilience and optimism. As a student at BYU, she conducted research about women and children in Guguletu, South Africa. There she saw first-hand the plight and great needs of dislocated people. She is thrilled to be a part of an organization dedicated to helping refugees make a home in Utah County.
We’re working on Ann’s bio—pardon our construction dust!
Andrew May, Co-Founder
Andrew has a passion for helping refugees, immigrants, and those of foreign culture that started at an early age. He currently works as an assistant basketball coach at Dixie State University. He has also worked at BYU as the director of basketball operations and at Salt Lake Community College as an assistant men’s basketball coach, adjunct faculty instructor in the LIfetime Activity Department, and mentor to foreign students. In 2016, he co-founded Utah Valley Refugees.He is married to Marissa, and they are the parents of Benson, Ella, Karsten, Luke, and Will.