Meet Our Team

Our staff brings a multitude of talent and passion to serve the North Raleigh Community.


Donna Pygott
Executive Director
Donna Pygott brings more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in executive leadership, fiscal management, and operational strategy. Ms. Pygott is a strengths-based leader with extensive knowledge in balancing programs with a sound and sustainable infrastructure. Her success comes from her ability to unify staff, volunteers, teams, and board members around a common goal: to make a difference in people’s lives. Prior to accepting the Executive Director position at North Raleigh Ministries, Ms. Pygott served as Vice President/CFO for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina where she oversaw all aspects of operations as well as program development, grants and contracts, resource development. Ms. Pygott holds an accounting degree, which she applies to organization budgeting and fiscal management to ensure viable service delivery. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs, entertains friends, volunteers, and enjoys traveling.
Lesley Franciscy
Director of Programs

Lesley Franciscy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 15 years of experience in case management, family therapy, supervision and program development. She has done extensive work with individuals and families with immediate crisis needs as well as developed prevention programs for at-risk populations which have obtained measurable success outcomes. Most recently Lesley was the National Director of Treatment Services and Outcomes for The Bair Foundation Child and Family Ministries. Lesley is excited about incorporating staff, volunteer, board member, stakeholder and direct neighbor input into developing our new programming.
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Rev. Brent Murphy

Case Manager

Reverend Brent serves as our Case Manager here at North Raleigh Ministries. He is from Johnston County, NC but has spent most of his life right here in Raleigh. He is currently the Senior Pastor at New Birth Church and has attained his Masters of Divinity at Duke University Divinity School. He was previously a Social Studies teacher for Wake County Public Schools and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History & Philosophy from North Carolina A&T State University. He is passionate about helping those in need and sharing spiritual insight with others and enjoys spending time with his wife!
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Zach Palmer

Harvest Plaza Thrift Shoppe Manager

Zach is originally from Asheville, NC but grew up in Raleigh. He started volunteering at North Raleigh Ministries in 2014 and he currently serves as the Store Manger with NRM Thrift Shoppe. Zach attends NC State University where he is pursuing a degree in Business Administration. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and working on cars. Zach loves working with people and serving the community.
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Micah Ray

Stony Brook Thrift Shoppe Manager

Micah was born and raised in Raleigh. He started his journey at North Raleigh Ministries as a production employee in 2018 and worked his way up to store manager at our Stony Brook location. He previously worked at Harris Teeter as a cashier where he started his retail career. He enjoys spending time with his family, attending sporting events, and cars.
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Michael Olesen
Development Strategist

Michael Olesen is a retail manager by trade and most recently worked for Lowes Home Improvement as a department manager. He also worked in management at other large retail stores such as Home Depot and World Market where he established his abilities to develop retail operations for efficiency and profitability. After leaving his 7-year career as a store manager and committee member for Goodwill of Central Arizona, Michael moved to Raleigh to be closer to family. In addition to retail management, Michael is a regular outdoors-man who enjoys camping, mountain bike riding and other outdoor sports. Most recently, helped to open and develop the TROSA thrift store in Durham, N.C. Currently, he resides in Cary with his daughters, Margot and Maryanne.
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Caroline Sagaon

Administrative Assistant

Caroline has worked in the non-profit setting for over five years now. She grew up in sunny Florida where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is passionate about making an impact in people’s lives. Most recently, Caroline worked for House of Hope of NC, which is a Christian therapeutic school, home, and counseling center for hurting and troubled girls. She enjoys the being outside, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with her husband and family.
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Jennifer Comer

Financial Director

Jennifer is a finance professional with over 30 years of experience in Accounting and Finances. She most recently worked as a Finance Manager with Pitney Bowes Management Services. She joined North Raleigh Ministries because it was in her heart to be a part of a non-profit that serves the community and helps others. She holds a B.S in Finance from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She enjoys playing tennis, DIY projects, and spending time with her family and fur babies.
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Elizabeth Ballard

 Program Assistant

Elizabeth Ballard holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s degree in biblical counseling. She is most passionate about walking with people through difficult circumstances and pointing people to the truth and hope of Christ through the beauty of God’s creation and human creativity. She spent two years teaching English and working with an evangelical church in Italy before pursuing a master’s in counseling. Her nonprofit experience includes two years serving as a session leader and scheduling coordinator at Hope Reins, an organization that pairs rescued horses with hurting children to provide opportunities for hope and healing. She enjoys long walks, all things artsy, and being married to the love of her life!
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