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Meet The Lights On! Team

John Harrington

CEO – Microgrants, Lightson!

John Harrington, the former Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety for Minnesota, was appointed by Governor Tim Walz in January 2019 and served until January 2023. Before becoming the Commissioner of Public Safety, Harrington served as the Chief of the Metro Transit Police from 2012-2019, helping to create the Homeless Action team and increasing diversity from 5-50%. Commissioner Harrington is a former member of the Minnesota Senate who represented District 67, which includes the East area of Saint Paul. Harrington was the 39th Police Chief for St. Paul Police Department, serving from 2004-2010, where he began his police career in 1977. As St. Paul Police Chief, Harrington tackled some of the city’s most challenging problems, developing programs that significantly reduced domestic violence and gang involvement.

John grew up in Chicago, graduated from Dartmouth College, and earned a master’s degree at the University of St. Thomas. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and Harvard Senior Management Institute. He is also a founder of Ujamaa Place, a nonprofit organization in Saint Paul that serves African American men who are economically disadvantaged and have experienced repeated cycles of failure. He is currently working on his doctorate in Administration of Justice, focusing on the
George Floyd Riots.

Sherman Patterson

Vice President – Lights On!

Sherman leads the Lights On! program outreach efforts, and brings a long history of service to his community and country to the Lights On! role. Sherman served 21 years in the U.S. Army before obtaining his masters’ degree in Public Safety Administration from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota. Sherman went on to serve as the Public Safety Policy Liaison to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak for eight years, and initiated many innovative community service projects including founding the Annual Turkey Giveaway that provided Thanksgiving meals for thousands of families in North Minneapolis. In 2014, he started a social outreach program called Lead by Example, the mission of which is to reduce gun violence by working with young men to become leaders in dismantling the gun culture in their neighborhoods. Patterson received the 2008 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Living the Dream” Award, and was awarded a Bush Fellowship in 2014.

Becca Bijoch

Development + Communications Director

Becca is the Lights On!/MicroGrants development and communications director. She is passionate about supporting world-changing ideas and visionary leaders. She likes solving complex problems, and developing creative campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, travel and walking her dog.

Char Navarro

Lights On! Executive Administrator

Char joined Lights On! as a consultant in June 2022. She works directly with current law enforcement and auto shop partners, and provides information to potential new partners who may be interested in participating in the program. Passionate about the work Lights On! does, she enjoys learning about each partner she works with and helping to build and strengthen the community.

Based in Texas, Char previously served as a business consultant for another nonprofit. When not working, she enjoys learning about other cultures, being outdoors, spending time with others and volunteering.

Angie Toral

MicroGrants Executive Administrator

Angie joined MicroGrants in July 2021 and serves as the primary liaison between the organization and its partner agencies, while also overseeing office operations. She loves seeing people achieve their goals and is honored to be a part of that through her work.Born and raised in Chicago, Angie moved to Minnesota in 1997 and has been residing in South Minneapolis ever since. She has spent her career in the nonprofit sector, and when not at work she enjoys helping the community, volunteering, traveling, being outdoors and spending time with her family.

Terri Hunter

Lights On! Operations Administrator

Terri serves as the Operations Administrator for Lights On!. She processes invoices and other documents which are essential to keeping the Lights On! program running smoothly.
She is excited about the Lights On! mission because she believes in improving and uplifting our communities. She enjoys bringing her skills in organization and detail-oriented to the teams and causes she supports.

In her free time, Terri enjoys volunteering, spending time with her family & friends, paddle-boarding, hiking, and traveling.

Ami Gomez

Operations Manager

Ami joined Lights On! as a consultant in January 2023. She helps onboard auto shops who want to join the program. She reviews information for new auto shop partners and their client surveys and inputs them into our various systems and website. She enjoys seeing how the community and police officers work together to provide help for those who need it.

Raised in Tennessee, Ami moved to New York to volunteer at her religious headquarters. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and volunteering.

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100 North Sixth St, Suite 626B
Minneapolis, MN 55403


MicroGrants is the parent organization of Lights On! Our mission is to give a boost to motivated people on their journey to economic self-sufficiency. By providing cash, not loans, we meet the immediate needs of low-income individuals on their quest to start a business, finish their education, or acquire transportation for their job.

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