(Tiverton, RI October 25, 2021) The Board of Directors of Herren Project, a national nonprofit organization committed to helping those affected by substance use disorder, voted unanimously to promote from within, appointing former Director of Advancement Bonnie Sawyer as its new Executive Director. The appointment comes as Herren Project celebrates its 10th anniversary. It has grown organically from a grassroots organization to one with increasing ambitions to move the needle on addiction, especially in New England. This year heralds a new trajectory of growth for the organization as it aims to maximize its potential impact in responding to an addiction crisis that just won’t quit. We are confident that Bonnie will bring her passion, hard work, and vision to lead the organization through its next growth stage.

Ms. Sawyer is a long-time Rhode Island resident who has raised a family in Rhode Island and has experience with addiction in her family. “About one in ten Americans has a family member struggling with addiction, and there are barriers to treatment that need to be broken down.” Sawyer brings with her over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience. She was the Director of Development for West Bay Christian Academy before taking on an active role for Herren Project. Over the past nine years, she has worked tirelessly to grow the organization into one poised to take a more significant leadership role in the addiction space.

“I was first touched by Chris Herren’s story,” explains Sawyer, who reached out to Chris Herren in the early days as he was establishing his recovery. “I loved the message Chris brought about helping others in a time of need. It resonates strongly with my belief system. If we all do a little more to ease the burden of our neighbor, the world can be a better place.”

Staff recently sat down to interview Bonnie on her experience and vision for the organization.

What have been your proudest accomplishments?
“This is a sector where we learn to be humble, so I do not take personal credit for the good work. It is a privilege to be a part of a grassroots movement with a team that cares about all people and brings a message of hope. Together, with the people that make up Herren Project, we have changed lives in profound ways. But there is still much work to be done.”

What are your hopes for the future? 
“A world where we are no longer losing a generation to addiction. A world where people affected by addiction do not have to live in shame and judgment. A world where people in recovery from drugs and alcohol can stand proud. Everyone deserves to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Herren Project will continue to bring positive awareness to the disease of addiction to influence the hearts and minds of those in a position to bring about change. One person can make a difference if they act in concert with others. We hope to bring our message to key players in our communities to be a collaborative partner for collective change. I believe we can inspire a new paradigm. I hope for Herren Project to be a convener and catalyst for change. We want to stand for something bigger than all of us.”

What is your favorite tagline? 
“’One person, one family, one community at a time.’  We are one, and we celebrate our unique differences in diversity, but we help one another because it is the right thing to do, and we are stronger together.”

“We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Bonnie Sawyer as the new executive director of the Herren Project. Over the last ten years, we have accomplished so much, but there is still more work to be done as we endeavor to change the trajectory of individuals and families who are impacted by substance use disorder. Bonnie’s passion and commitment to our mission will enable us to reach new heights as an organization as we can continue to support, inspire and empower,” Ryan Connolly, President, Board of Directors.