Foundation hires three Field Coordinators

Will work in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif.

May 18, 2016: The Ford Family Foundation announced today that it has hired three community leaders to serve in field-based positions for the Foundation. The three new Field Coordinators will represent the Foundation in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., to support the Foundation's work at the local community level. 

The three Field Coordinators are: Crystal Aston, Mt. Shasta, Calif.; Denise Bacon, Newberg, Oregon; and Maurizio Valerio, Union, Oregon.

"We are delighted to have these three leaders join our team," said Roque Barros, director of the Ford Institute for Community Building. "Crystal, Denise and Maurizio will work in communities in their areas to improve conditions and outcomes for local residents. They will support sustainable local action and help communities connect to resources from the Foundation and other sources."

"Their work will be critical as The Ford Family Foundation aligns its work around community-building principles and practices," said Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation. The Field Coordinators will begin work at the Foundation on June 6, 2016.

Crystal Aston has worked at the nonprofit Great Northern Services in Weed, Calif., 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. She has extensive experience in obtaining grant funding from federal and private sources. Her work included maintaining relationships with local governments to make sure services were not duplicated; she analyzed proposed legislation and regulations to determine how agency services could be impacted. Her responsibilities also included administering and securing funding for the Senior Snow Removal Program, Drought Emergency Food Assistance Program, Mt. Shasta Fresh (improved access to fresh produce), and other programs. Aston has a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from California State University Chico. 

Denise Bacon is a life-long 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, and sitting on the city’s budget committee. Bacon has served as the exchange student coordinator for NW Services, Inc. Peace Program for seven years. Her work included helping students achieve familiarity with life in the United States while creating a cultural experience for the host families and the community. In addition, Bacon has managed a restaurant for Travel Centers of America that averaged $1 million in annual sales. She is a Ph.D. candidate in public policy and administration at Walden University, Minneapolis, Minn. 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 (RDI) where he facilitated leadership programs for nine years and lately piloted a coaching program for rural organizations and individuals in Eastern Oregon. Prior to his work at RDI, Valerio founded and managed Top Rated Adventures, a book/web publishing company that created a consumer-rated system for outdoor adventures and taught cultural tourism at the University of Verona, Italy. 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. He was appointed by the governor of Oregon to serve on the Oregon Arts Commission and is a volunteer hunter education instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Valerio is a graduate of the Ford Institute Leadership Program.

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