Our Mission

The mission of the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Foundation is to continue Nina's dream of fostering sports opportunities for young women in the Middle East by supporting running programs in Jordan to encourage healthy living, expand participation in the sport, and promote women’s empowerment. The foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit registered in Washington, DC.

The life and legacy of Nina Brekelmans are defined by her tireless dedication to high achievement and community engagement on a global scale. Nina’s passions were many, and she consistently sought opportunities to combine her interests in the Arabic language, distance running, public service, and women’s empowerment. The Nina Brekelmans Memorial Foundation was formally established in September 2016 to carry forth these ideals and support running programs in the Middle East aligned with Nina’s vision. The foundation provides a formal structure and financial support to expand the scope and impact of legacy programs in Amman, Jordan, including the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls and Nina Brekelmans Race for Girls.

In 2017, the foundation hopes to expand on the successes of the 2016 camp and race to enable greater participation of girls from a cross-section of Jordanian society, particularly the refugee community. Through a combination of grants and private donations, organizers aim to double both the size of the camp and race. Both programs were organized in 2016 with a budget of $1,500 USD.

Board of Directors

President - Mary Grace Pellegrini

Secretary/Development Chair - Dickson Mercer

Treasurer - Emily Gallagher

Board Representative - Gail Brekelmans

Board Representative - Nico Brekelmans

Board Representative - Rob Brekelmans

Advisory Board

Communications Chair - Kelly Kurkjian

Legal Counsel - Katherine Gomer

Advisor - Afaf Al-Khoshman

Advisor - Michael Brill

Advisor - Craig Browne

Advisor - Lilly Frost

Advisor - Summer Forester

Advisor - Alice Gissinger

Advisor - Phillmon Haile

Advisor - Matt Liston

Advisor - Maddie Ulanow



Jordan-based Team

Head Coach and Jordan Team Lead - Rawda Hamadneh

Head Coach and Jordan Team Lead - Ru'a Al-Abweh

Jordan Program Coordinator - Sophie Zinser 

2018 Fulbright Leadership Team

Hayden Bates

Nicole Khamis

Sophie Zinser

Amanda Swenson

2017 Fulbright Leadership Team

Lilly Frost

Lena Hamvas

Matthew Liston

2016 Fulbright Leadership Team

Summer Forester

Emily Gallagher