New York

Nicole Pagourgis
Executive Director

After obtaining marketing and communications degrees from Babson College, Nicole began her career in advertising in New York City, working at Wells, Rich, Greene and Saachi & Saachi for seven years. After moving to Los Angeles and getting married, she decided to follow her heart again and founded a nonprofit organization, On Your Feet, which supported homeless families and singles throughout LA County with move-in or eviction prevention funds. While she served as Executive Director for 18 years, the organization grew from 1 to 20 employees with the budget over $1.5 million at its height. Most recently, she moved back to NY and was Development Director of Nazareth Housing, which provides a full service program for the homeless.
When Nicole visited Lao Friends Hospital for Children earlier this year as a volunteer consultant for their development programs, she commented “After five minutes at LFHC, I knew I found a new calling.” As a mother of four children, children’s health issues and rights have played a major role in her life. She has been Executive Director of Friends Without A Border since March of 2017.
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Akiko Arai
Chief Administrative Officer

Akiko Arai

After moving from Japan and graduating from the International Center of Photography in New York, Akiko started working as a photography assistant for photographer Kenro Izu in the early 1990s. In 1996, when Kenro decided to found a nonprofit organization to build a pediatric hospital in Cambodia, she offered her administrative and clerical skills and gradually shifted her time from the photography field to NGO work, as Friends continued to grow and gradually expand. Akiko is a founding board member and Chief Administrative Officer of the organization.  
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Gary Kane
Manager of Communications and Development

During the past 25 years, Gary has worked for several print and online news organizations. He moved to New York City in 2006 after accepting a position as an editor on the National News Desk of The Associated Press. Prior to that, he worked several years as an investigative reporter and later as an Assistant Metro Editor at the Palm Beach Post newspaper in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has also shot and edited several short documentaries and one feature-length documentary, “The Muck Bowl,” about high school football in the Florida Everglades. His documentary, “Graves of Arthur Kill,” was an official selection of the 2014 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Gary is an accomplished guitar owner.

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