President, Rama Khlasa, Ph.D.

Rama is a psychologist and has worked in public mental health and health care for 35 years. She is currently the County Health Director and has focused on improving care to the uninsured and underinsured residents of the County. She has been a long term supporter of quality end of life care and experiences and serves doing direct care as well as providing support to the Steering Committee for Tara Home.

Vice President, Lennie Kronisch

Lennie is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s degree in Psychology. Her career has spanned birth to death, with mental health and holistic health included. She has been a childbirth educator and assistant, a psychiatric nurse, was a founder of the Holistic Health Institute in San Francisco and spent the last seven plus years of her employment with Hospice of Santa Cruz County. 

After her retirement in 1998, she devoted herself to the development of Tara Home, a guesthouse for terminally ill people at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, providing around-the-clock care by a team of trained volunteers. She also frequently leads Buddhist meditations and talks for Road Scholars (formerly Elderhostel) groups. 

Lennie has been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism since 1975, has three children and four grandchildren and lives in Capitola. 

In 2005, she was personally honored by H.H.Dalai Lama as an 'Unsung Hero of Compassion' for her work in creating Tara Home.

Treasurer, Truus Philipsen

Truus is a founding member of Tara Home. She has deep knowledge of and has assisted with all aspects of the program, and has provided back up and on-call services to make sure all residents and volunteers are well-supported during their stay at Tara Home. Truus is a strong supporter of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vision for LMB as a Universal Education (birth to death spiritual support) center, citing the importance of the common values of the world’s wisdom traditions.  She has a deep commitment and interest in the well-being of the individual, interpersonal communication, the importance of taking personal responsibility, community building, interfaith coordination and outreach; and the sharing of these ideas and inspirations with others.

Truus is the lead for the financial coordination of Tara Home; and handles numerous other activities to ensure that each resident’s unique requirements are met during their stay, including providing hands-on care. Truus manages incoming messages and inquires for admission, assists with admissions, shows Tara Home to prospective guests, assists with vetting potential volunteers, organizes and assists with volunteer trainings, assists with operations, and serves as care manager on a rotational basis.      

Secretary, Majel Jordan

Majel Jordan is a founding memeber of Tara Home. She has worked in the human services field in Santa Cruz County for over 35 years, beginning in 1974 as a grant writer and program developer with the Community Action Board. She then began working with and developing programs in the field of aging and in 1981 was the founding director of Elderday Adult Day Health Center. In 1992 she founded The Gardens Residential Care Facility that was designed especially for elders with Alzheimer’s disease and those with mental health problems. Both Elderday and The Gardens received national recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Alzheimer’s Association for quality and innovation. 

Over the years, Majel has served on many community boards and commissions, all of which are designed to provide services to those in need in our community.  She has also served on the Community Bridges Board of Directors. Majel serves Tara Home as an administrative advisor, and provides hands-on care.


Program leaders

Gan Neh Na Downing, RN, Outreach

Gan Neh Na is a Registered Hospice Nurse.  Gan Neh Na supports outreach activities, and provides hands-on care for Tara Home.

Debra Heavens, RN, Outreach

Debra is a Registered Nurse who spent twenty years as a Cardiac Nurse and five years as a Hospice Nurse.  She is a passionate advocate for Palliative and Hospice Care.  In addition to outreach, Debra assists with volunteer training and resident admissions, and provides hands-on care for Tara Home. 

Alicia Kennedy, RN, Part-time Director & Care Manager

Alicia Kennedy, RN was one of the founding members of Tara Home and has served as a lead helping the admissions committee, scheduling and training of volunteers. She has spent her career in the field of nursing in a variety of settings and has supported the core services for Tara Home with dedication, creativity, and wonderful clinical skills.

Maura Noel, Grant Writing and Fundraising

Maura left a career as a project manager for a large computer company to study Patient Advocacy.  Maura is on the Steering Committee for the Zero: 180 program in Santa Cruz, a nationwide effort to end homelessness. She also serves as President of the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club, and is a board member of Friends of the Rail Trail. Maura has extensive experience in fundraising for nonprofits and grant writing.  Maura serves Tara Home as a grant writer and fund raiser, social media outreach, assists with business plan visioning, and provides hands-on care.

Dawni Pappas, Program Support

Dawni is a Spiritual Practitioner of Higher Consciousness, graduating from Inner Light Ministries Formal Curriculum in 2012. She is trained in spiritual leadership, prayer support, pastoral care, and developing cross cultural awareness and compassion. Dawni has also enjoyed many years of giving in home health care support, business and spiritual group marketing, fundraising, and working with others through deep and transformative life changes.  Dawni assists with volunteer recruitment, and provides hands-on care.

Leslie Stewart, Outreach & Fundraising

Leslie has 30 years of experience in interior and architectural design, and property and facilities management.  She was introduced to Tara Home as part of the friends and family team of and designated power of attorney for a Tara Home resident.  Leslie supports outreach and fundraising activities at Tara Home.  

Jackie Young, AICP, Operations & Business Planning

Jackie has been in private-sector construction management and public sector land use planning for more than 25 years.  Her advanced planning work in historic preservation, development design review, master planning, and housing has been recognized and/or certified by the American Planning Association, California Governors’ Office, and California Departments of Historic Preservation and Housing and Community Development.  Jackie has also participated on Task Forces and in programs for regional planning and inter-agency collaborative planning for issues including green building regulation, housing, climate action plans, transportation-oriented development, and open space and habitat preservation; for organizations including the Association of Bay Area Governments, Joint Ventures Silicon Valley, Mid Peninsula Open Space, California Fish and Wildlife, and various county-wide planning collaborations.  Jackie provides operation and business planning support, handles communications with LMB and FPMT, and has been a hands-on care volunteer since 2005.