U.S. Staff - Portsmouth NH

Tug boats in the Portsmouth Harbor

Bess Palmisciano

Founder and Executive Director

Bess Palmisciano went from West African tourist to partner when she founded RAIN in 2001.  Previously an attorney, Bess has spent the last decade dividing her time between Niger and the Seacoast area of New Hampshire. She was named by New Hampshire Magazine as one of the state's "Remarkable Women of the World" for 2011.



Bonnie Welch

Director of Individual Giving

RAIN is thrilled to welcome Bonnie Welch as Director of Individual Giving. Bonnie comes to us with a global dossier, starting with a successful career in healthcare management. She relocated to Nigeria in 1993. The poverty she observed there inspired her to apply her leadership, fundraising and organizational skills to assist humanitarian organizations. Bonnie then worked with a USAID funded agency, served as President of the American Women’s Association, and founded Small World, the largest fundraising event in West Africa, bringing 50+ countries together on International Women’s Day to promote peace and raise funds for Nigerian NGO’s. Back in the U.S., Bonnie has worked with CARE USA, among other organizations, as a Major Gift Fundraiser. We’re truly fortunate to benefit from her leadership as we enter an exciting new phase of RAIN’s history.

Whitney Fleming

Communications & Project Manager

Whitney holds her BA from Goddard College and has a Masters in Culture and Development. She caught the travel bug early in life and enjoyed living in Asia and Europe for 15 years. After settling down in the Philippines she launched an international school and began a social enterprise that makes jewelry out of recyclable materials that continues to flourish today. She is happy to settle down in the Seacoast where she grew up with her husband and energetic lab. 



Christine Mont-LaButte


Christine Mont-LaButte is an Administrative Specialist who has been personally and professionally involved with non-profit organizations since 1997. In 2008 she became the Wholesale Coordinator at HandCrafting Justice and oversaw the implementation and management of a new fair-trade wholesale department. In 2013 she worked at Education For All Children as the Assistant of Operations, where she was involved in various aspects of operations and development. Christine holds a BA in English from Marquette University. She is very excited to be a member of the RAIN team and continues to be passionate about the issues of fair-trade, youth education and global trafficking. 




About RAIN

“Sahel” comes from the Arabic word meaning shore -- the coast between the sands of the vast Sahara desert and the wetter savannah lands to its south.
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RAIN for the Sahel and Sahara is a nonprofit 501(c)3 working to make a lasting difference in Africa.

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