Our Community

we are building our World U.P. to become a place where we are united by our spectrum of differences.

"Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life."

~Pablo Neruda

Jamal Greene
Public Relations

My Story...

I am a Richmond native and Varina High School alum.  Through various jobs, I have placed focus on aiding those less fortunate and remains dedicated to improving visibility and access to resources for underrepresented communities. As a local music artist and entrepreneur, my long-term vision is to create something that helps and inspires youth, young adults, and families in the Northside/Highland Park area.

Alex Gerofsky
Donor Relations & Arts Programming

My Story...

My passion for providing learning opportunities to those who do not readily have access to them brought me to World U.P. Originally from NY, I attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, NY. Peter Cooper, born into a poor family, was unable to afford the cost of higher education. It was his belief that “education should be as free as air and water”; that it be accessible to all who wanted to learn. It was during my time at this school where I embraced these values by meeting many talented and diverse first-generation college graduates with a love for learning. 

There are Over 2.5 Million cities, towns, and villages on our planet

There are roughly 6500 languages spoken in the world today

Kendra Butler
Operations & Board Historian

My Story...

My heart and focus is on the bettering the community through the elevation of children and their families. As a Richmond transplant from Texas I have fallen in love with the RVA. I've been a preschool teacher since 2013. In Texas, I interned with Communities in Schools, worked with immigrant families and children at Any Baby Can, and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club.  I am a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor's degree in Family and Child Development.

Liz Dukette 
Founder & Executive Director

My Story...


The idea for the World U.P. Foundation developed from my passion for helping others, thirst for travel, and deeply rooted belief that exposure to new people, places, and experiences are an essential component to achieving peaceful diversity. Growing up in a rural community in upstate New York, I saw the many challenges faced by those living in poverty and was drawn to volunteering from an early age. With my eclectic personal and professional background, she hopes to develop World U.P. into an effective and trustworthy organization on which the community can depend.

"If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."

~Maya Angelou

There are at least 4300 religions practiced around the world

Ever Bautista
Mobile Produce Pantry
Program Manager

My Story...

Originally from Los Angeles, California, and born to Guatemalan immigrants, I moved to Richmond in 2007. I currently attend VCU and study History, Spanish and Latin American Studies, and Anthropology. Community has been ingrained in me since I was born. My father was a part of a band called Los Jornaleros Del Norte (The Laborers of the North) in my hometown of Los Angeles. They were a band that included immigrants and day laborers of different nationalities, and their lyrics spoke about their daily struggles and their hopes and dreams.  While tagging alongside my father onstage, I started to learn about the difficulties that immigrants like him experienced in learning English and finding jobs, facing raids by immigration agents as well as racial and ethnic discrimination. As The Laborers played in cultural events, celebrations, marches, and rallies held by grassroots groups and community organizations, I began to learn about the importance of community and the power of solidarity. 

Amy Garelick
Communications & Marketing

My Story...

Born and raised in Richmond, I'm a VCU Alum who believes that richness and depth of communities are cultivated from the stories that we tell. Preferring to be behind the camera,  I use Video Content and Virtual Event Production to give voices and visuals to stories that need to be heard and shared. 

There are at least 195 countries in the world today.

Are you a social entrepreneur, advocate, innovator, or collaborator?

Cody Symanietz

My Story...

I believe that to leave the world a bit better is to have succeeded. My passion for community and service started with my roots in North Dakota and grew with my love of music and theater. After spending several years working in opera and traveling the world, I moved to Richmond in 2016 with his husband and fell in love with the beautiful capital city along the James. Searching for new opportunities, I now work at the VCU School of Business where I'm also pursuing an MBA. I have found a new passion for nonprofit financial management and I hope to grow World U.P. to leave the world a bit better.

Devon Charles
Visual Design & Branding

My Story...

As a creative, a survivor of white supremacy, and a nascent social 'entrepreneur', I am driven to contribute to solutions that benefit more than a few.  In the finite hours that comprise a life, is it not vital to live that life in service and gratitude for all that it has given?  

Contact us to Collaborate - We can't wait to meet you!