About us

Where we came from: In 1998, family therapist Philip Loydpierson was asked to create a rite-of-passage experience into manhood for his own godson, Joshua. The nearly two-year study and preparation for this event stoked a fire originally started by ancestors centuries before, and it was soon apparent that such an experience would clearly benefit all young men living in a culture that has forgotten a crucial aspect of growing into a man. It wasn't until 2002 when the first public outing took place. Since those first offerings, JP expanded into four seasonal weekends for men and young men, always emphasizing the coming-of-age of the next generation.

In 2015, Philip decided, in concert with his advisory council, to restructure the Joshua Project, reforming it as a non-profit entity. We are a group of men from different backgrounds, with differing life experiences and outlooks, who share in the vision and commitment to providing young men the opportunity to be seen, heard, challenged, and accepted by their elders as they journey from boyhood into manhood in our culture. We serve the greater southeast, with most of our community coming from Charlotte, Boone, and Triangle regions of North Carolina, but welcome brothers from everywhere.

The Joshua Project is a NC non-profit corporation, operating as a 501 (c)(3) organization under Internal Revenue Code.


Meet Us

Philip Loydpierson, MSW, Founder of The Joshua Project

Philip Loydpierson is happily married to Sandy Loydpierson and, with her, the proud parent of twins, Isaac and Amelia, who are now living amazing lives out in the big world. He is also godfather to two beautiful adult men: Luke McCollum, a JP alumni, and Joshua Dulken, for whom the program was originally created and named over 20 years ago. Philip works as a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice and has been counseling folks in and around Charlotte for over 35 years.

Eric Asch

I've been an active member of the Joshua Project since my oldest son started attending over 6 years ago, and board member for the past 5. I acknowledge that my first time attending a JP event over 9 years ago was what jump started my own journey of self discovery and growth, and I'm proud to be part of this fantastic group of men doing such amazing work.

I work in technology for a financial services company in Charlotte where I model heart centered leadership in the corporate world, and I love to spend time with my family going to the movies, hiking and traveling.

Jarod Brown

I was born and raised in Southern California by two Unitarian public-school teachers. They encouraged me to integrate and value integrity, social consciousness, environmental awareness , racial/gender orientation/status inclusivity, and the importance of education in its varied forms. My early adult life was spent wandering North America in a self-modified 1940 Ford gypsy truck. I have a deep interest in men’s group work, ethno-botany, origami, metal sculpture, fire keeping, storytelling, and creating private and public art. I am enjoying a seventeen-year marriage to Justine who shares her teaching skills and mentors me in my current and third career as a high school auto shop teacher/mentor. So far, my greatest calling and joy has been fathering a bright young man named Jaden. My commitment to fully fathering him led me to The Joshua Project. One JP retreat inspired me to become involved in this work, and I have found a home tribe with the other equally inspired men in this organization. Peace

Na'il Diggs

Na’il Diggs is a former NFL standout who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2000 in the fourth round. He played linebacker for Green Bay, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers for a total of 12 years.

After his career in athletics, Mr. Diggs sold his auto transport company and involved himself in the pursuit of community and business development. Na’il Diggs has served as Asset Builders’ Director of Outreach and Community Engagement. In this capacity, Mr. Diggs has assisted in coordinating Go4it! Youth Entrepreneurship Programs in Los Angeles and Charlotte. He currently serves on the Wisconsin-based CLIMB and ProSquared advisory boards. He also serves on the board of a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization, Youth Meditation.

In addition to his work with these groups, Mr. Diggs serves on the advisory board for Earnster Empowerment app and he is an investor in several other business development funds and projects while serving as a mentor/volunteer/speaker at Junior Achievement USA.

Mr. Diggs’ passion for financial education and youth development emanates from his personal experiences growing up in South Central LA, some of which are poignantly articulated in his owned words in an article entitledLife In The NFL Doesn’t Prepare You For Life After The NFL,which was published in Sports Illustrated’s online affiliate, the Cauldron.

Mr. Diggs studied Aviation Management during his years at The Ohio State University while obtaining his private pilots license. During his NFL career, he completed both Wharton and Stanford University NFL Business School programs. He has two children and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Derrick Hines

Derrick J. Hines does not remember his home planet but has enjoyed his time on this one. His experiences in human form have landed him in many bands, dance groups, a few plays, one commercial, and as an extra on two films and one television show. He is currently the father of a teenage son greatly benefiting from the Joshua Project. Derrick has been an active member since he and his son participated in their first King weekend almost four years ago. The Hines’ believe the Joshua Project is a much needed organization and will continue to do all they can to keep it going. ️


Brian Jenkins

I was born and raised in Missouri near the geodesic center of the United States. In my youth, I was intrigued by growth that starts from within but needed to be honed by interaction with life’s compassionate and selfless mentors. Whether this be growth of the mind, body or spirit, I was eager to learn how to use these tools to navigate my world. Having read the book ‘Blue Highways’ as a young man, I was further inspired to then travel and discover the world around me. Through these travels I came to witness the commonalities and differences we all share. When we are able to honor both, we can become something so much greater than ourselves.

My hope as being a part of the this community is to become a piece of the circle which fosters this type of growth in both my son and the others that attend. I can personally attest to the transformative effects experienced by the young and elder men after attending a JP gathering. These are both amazing and humbling. Time and time again I am reminded how much our world needs this community.

Tom Maxwell

Born on March 24th at Mercy Hospital in Charlotte; one of the few remaining natives in town. Educated at North Mecklenburg H.S.; AB from Davidson College; MA from Ludwig-Maximillians Univ. in Munich, Germany. Spent 4 years in the Army, learning more than in school. Married to a German girl I met in Munich, now for 40 years. We have a son, Ian, who went through the JP cycle long ago and now is 22 years old. He is studying at Embry Riddle Univ. in Daytona Beach, FL to be a pilot. My wife Tessa recently retired from a career in nursing, so my honeydo list has expanded. I have been in real estate for as long as I can remember and now do residential appraisals, with no intention of retiring. My hobbies include bicycling, hiking, photography and mischief.

Stephen McStravick

I spent the first part of my life growing up in rural Ireland, where I learned the values of hard work, integrity and the need for community. After leaving Ireland, I spent several years living and traveling in various countries around the world learning about cultures and engaging with them. In 2005 I landed in Charlotte where I currently reside.

After my my first JP I knew this had to be part of my journey as I saw the value of the healthy male and deep connections.

When my son is of age, I hope he will join us around the fire as we as elders and community welcome him into adulthood. Aho!

Marcos Roberts

Married, one daughter in college, one son in high school, and caregiver to a second young man in high school (both young men initiated in the Joshua Project program for two years.) Raised in Puerto Rico until age 10 (fluent in Spanish). Lived in NYC during adolescence. Charlotte resident since 1977. B.A. from UNCC,J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University. Founder of a men’s group and involved in men’s work since in 1989. Participant with the Joshua Project since 2012, board member since 2016. Committed to helping men distinguish the (mature) masculine in its fullness as well as the (immature) “shadow” masculine and to help connect men with their (emotions) “heart.”

Charles Thomas

I've been attending The Joshua Project since 2003. I first participated in my early 30s when I was questing to better understand myself, rites of passage, and manhood. Since then, my three sons have all participated in and completed the program. I have served as a board member for 4 years.


I work in philanthropy for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as the Charlotte Program Director. I lead a program of work focused on fostering and supporting equitable resident-led development in the Historic West End district.

I'm also a professional photographer and co-published a book of photography and stories with author Valaida Fullwood titled “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists.”

I live in Charlotte with my beautiful wife, Ayo, and our three sons.