Volume XVI | Issue 2 | Fall 2016

Foundation team grows

Six newly created positions

Our team is growing. Six new employees have filled newly created positions. 

Kathleen Flanagan is a program officer for Community Economic Development. Flanagan comes to the Foundation from the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Oregon, where she was the business development manager for 17 years. As a program officer, Flanagan will focus on workforce development, business financing, entrepreneurship, community economic development and promoting family economic success.

Ford Family Foundation Opportunity Scholarship alumna Robin Hill-Dunbar is now a program officer for Children, Youth and Families. Previously, Hill-Dunbar worked for the Maternal Child Health Section of the Oregon Health Authority/Public Health Division. As a program officer, she will help shape and execute the Foundation’s strategies to support strong families and healthy children. She is a master’s degree candidate in Early Childhood at Portland State University, has a graduate certificate in infant-toddler mental health from PSU and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon. She received an associate’s degree from Umpqua Community College. 

As the first manager of Scholar and Alumni Engagement, Bonnie Williams is responsible for programs that engage a network of nearly 3,500 alumni and 1,000 current Ford Family Foundation scholarship recipients. Before coming to the Foundation in 2015, Bonnie worked at the University of Oregon School of Law as the associate director for the Center for Career Planning and Professional Development. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from the University of Alaska in 1998 and a law degree from the University of Oregon in 2004. 

New field coordinators

Three community leaders have been hired to serve in field-based positions for the Foundation. The three new field coordinators will represent the Foundation in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, to support the Foundation’s work at the community level. They are: Crystal Aston, Mt. Shasta, California; Denise Bacon, Newberg, Oregon; and Maurizio Valerio, Union, Oregon.

Crystal Aston has worked at the nonprofit Great Northern Services in Weed, California, for 11 years, most recently as the community services manager. She was instrumental in growing the community food program and played key roles in providing assistance to the survivors of the Boles Fire of 2014. Aston has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from California State University Chico. 

Denise Bacon is a lifelong community builder, and she currently serves as city councilor for the City of Newberg, Oregon. Her public service also includes helping to create a program to house Newberg’s homeless during severe weather, working with the community to create solutions for affordable housing. She is a Ph.D. candidate in public policy and administration at Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a master’s degree in public administration from Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and government, also from Ashford. Bacon is a graduate of the Ford Institute Leadership Program.

Maurizio Valerio comes to the Foundation from Rural Development Initiatives where he facilitated leadership programs for nine years and recently piloted a coaching program for rural organizations and individuals in Eastern Oregon. As a ranch owner in Northeast Oregon he has managed a horse and cattle operation; he is currently involved in a long-term forest stewardship plan. Valerio has a Ph.D. from the University of Parma, Italy, in natural sciences, and a master’s degree in zoology from the University of California Berkeley. Valerio is a graduate of the Ford Institute Leadership Program. 

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