Letter from our Founder

Dear Friend,

I have wanted to work in the religious freedom space since I was a child, but other career opportunities and global crises have kept me away until now. After more than 20 years in the international nonprofit space, finally the time has come. Along the way, I have met an amazingly talented group of individuals who have committed to help with this cause. I have also gained a broad range of experience in issue advocacy, leadership development and training, and trans-organization collaboration, which are truly needed by the budding religious freedom movement.  

After managing and consulting for numerous nonprofits, I have noticed that the organizations that are best at fundraising are almost always the worst at operations. Moreover, organizations tend to always cluster around attention-grabbing activities, which are rarely the most effective activities. This is because the nonprofit model forces organizations to serve two masters. And since donors are rarely able to spend the time and money necessary for thorough due diligence and follow-up, nonprofits are rewarded for focusing on fundraising at the expense of operations. 

The solution is to create an intermediary that can spread the costs and effort of effective philanthropy between donors, and reward organizations with the best results. 

The First Freedom Foundation is that intermediary. We will simultaneously minimize the time organizations must spend on fundraising and re-inventing wheels, while maximizing the impact of funds raised by sharing the costs of due diligence, follow-up, and capacity building. By not seeking credit, nor trying to control, the First Freedom Foundation can truly empower a global movement. 

Please join us in our quest to secure the freedom of religion or belief for every child of God on earth. 


Our Team

Patrice Pederson


Patrice has over 20 years of experience in the international pro-family movement, including almost a decade as Founder and President of the International Family Caucus, founder of the UN Coalition for Women, Children, and the Family, and as the Executive Director of the World Congress of Families IX. She has worked for more than 20 political campaigns on five continents, and consulted for dozens of non-profit organizations around the world. She studied political science at Brigham Young University, and trans-organizational collaboration at Pepperdine University’s #1 ranked Master of Science in Organization Development Program.

Chandra Brown-Hendren

Vice President of Programs

Chandra has worked both as adjunct faculty and on the curriculum committee as Vice President of Administration at George Wythe University. She has also worked in media relations on campaigns and has created various events and programs for youth, adults, and legislators.

Dean Householder

Vice President of Technology 

Dean has over 25 years of experience in technology ranging from programming websites to running server clusters that scale out to millions of visitors. He is passionate about religious freedom and loves bringing more freedom to the world.

Stephanie Butler

Vice President of Events and Special Projects 

Stephanie Butler works to help organizations bridge the gap between dreaming and doing through event planning, project management and change management consulting.  She received a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership and has worked with various organizations in both the private and non profit sectors.  Stephanie is a 6th generation Arizonan living in Washington D.C., with a passion for good food, good friends, and good stories.

Our Advisory Board

W. Cole Durham, Jr

Cole is the Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, and Emeritus Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University, where he held the Susa Young Gates University Professorship.  A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Durham has had a distinguished career in comparative constitutional and church-state law. He currently serves as president of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies based in Milan, Italy, and is co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.

Marian Edmonds Allen

Marian is Executive Director at Parity, a national LGBTQ faith-affirming nonprofit is a co-founder of the LGBTQ Youth Continuum of Care, and has previously served as executive director to the OUTreach Resource Centers and the Utah Pride Center. She has been recognized for her decades of work with and for LGBTQ youth, including as a Petra Fellow and the 2014 Q Salt Lake Person of the Year.

Tina Ramirez

Tina is the founder of Hardwired Global, which trains indigenous leaders how to defend themselves and those around them. She has also served as a policy researcher at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, as director of international programs at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and as a foreign policy advisor for various members of the U.S. Congress where she helped found and direct the bipartisan Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus.

Gayle Ruzicka

Gayle is the founder and President of the Utah Eagle Forum, the standard-bearers for conservative principles in Utah for nearly 30 years. Known for working with Phyllis Schlafly to stop the ERA, having homeschooled her twelve children in the galleries of the state legislature, and her ability to mobilize thousands across the state with a single phone call, she was named “Utah’s #1 Dealbreaker” by the Deseret News.