board Members

Johnny Mira- Knippel


Johnny Mira-Knippel is the President and Founder of Força Foundation.  Throughout his life, he has always had a desire to make the world better place.  He, and his wife Karmen, decided that the best way to repay the world for the opportunities they have had is to work with other likeminded people and spend the second half of their life giving back to the world and started Força Foundation in the process. Johnny graduated college with a business degree from UNC Chapel Hill, where he later also earned his MBA.  His entire career has been spent at TekTone Sound  & Signal Mfg., Inc. where he currently serves as President and CEO.  He started work there in sales and marketing and moved up to his current position over a 20 year period.  He also serves as Chairman of the board of Angel Medical Center in Franklin, NC, where he has been a board member for 13 years.  In addition he has served in various capacities with the National Electronic Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Macon County NC Economic Development Council, First United Methodist Church of Franklin, and the Macon County Schools Advisory Council. In his personal life, Johnny has four children, three of which are in college and one in high school.  When not spending time with their kids at either a sporting event or visiting them, he and Karmen enjoy traveling, sailing, skiing, and generally being outdoors whenever possible.   Johnny also enjoys scuba diving with his kids.  They also have three dogs that want their attention as well.

Teresa Mira-Knippel

CFO/ Treasurer

Teresa Mira-Knippel serves in the role of treasurer for Força Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and her MBA while working at TekTone as Chief Financial Officer and raising two incredible children, Johnny and Melissa, followed by even greater grandchildren (a little prejudice here). In addition to her career, she has long been part of many non-profit organizations; therapeutic riding programs, mission trip to Columbia, finance director of two different churches, and as a Sunday school teacher. Teresa is honored to be involved with Força and use her skills in accounting and passions to support important causes around the world.

Michael Piet

Board Member

Mike joined the Força Foundation board in January 2021 at the invitation of his best friend since college, Johnny Mira-Knippel, the Board President, but ultimately because he fundamentally believes in the Foundation’s guiding principle to make the world a better place, one person at a time.  In addition to being on the Board, Mike serves with Força in the field as the Team Lead for the Foundation’s efforts to provide advanced pre-hospital medical training and equipment to Ukraine.  Força has been actively involved in Ukraine since July 2023, when it was clear that the needs for the type of training the team provides were not being met.  Mike is a Colorado-based paramedic who has worked in pre-hospital medicine since 2020.  From 2002-2018, Mike served with the US Government in both civilian and contractor roles, deploying multiple times into theaters of active combat. Mike has also done medical deployments to New York with the NY COVID Task Force in April 2020, Navajo Nation in December 2020, and was part of the Texas COVID response.  Mike has degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (BA) and Georgetown University (MA) and is a Licensed Paramedic.  He lives outside of Boulder with his partner, Emily, their rescue pitbull Cairo, and cats Oliver and Luna.  

Our History

In early 2020, Johnny & Karmen Mira-Knippel had just completed their second trip to Puerto Rico to help rebuild houses that had been destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017.  They were shocked that 3 years after the hurricane, there was still so much damage and work to be done and that both the government and the “big” non-profits were not effectively getting boots on the ground to ensure that the people in real need were getting help.  In Vieques, they saw an island that had their only hospital destroyed and despite promises that it would be rebuilt, it never was.  Now their inhabitants must travel 4-8 hours by bus, boat, bus, if the weather allows it, to the nearest hospital on the main island.  With this recent experience, combined with Johnny’s experience running a large manufacturing company, they decided that if they surrounded themselves with likeminded people with a strong desire to change the world, the impact could be tremendous.  


Thus the idea of the Força Foundation was born.  

Força means strength and determination in Portuguese and exemplified the characteristics that would become the foundation of the organization.  The board of directors was chosen to include people from various disciplines but that had the single goal of making the world a better place.  The organizations’ purpose was kept broad so that it was able to meet the changing needs throughout the world.  Johnny & Karmen agreed that they would fund the operational costs of the organization for a minimum of 10 years so that donors knew that 100% of their donations were truly going to the people in need.  


In only a short time, Força has established a strong presence in Ukraine providing frontline medical training as well as in Uganda, providing scholarships and funding for new schools to be built.  The generosity of humanity has been humbling and we are excited to continue to grow with the purpose of truly providing support to the underprivileged of the world. Thank you for joining us in our mission and know that together, we can make the world a better place.