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Women at the helm of local foundations
February 2, 2010 @ 2:02pm | Rodika Tollefson
Many of the Kitsap-based nonprofit foundations are run by women, who love their jobs as a way of giving back. Here are some of these successful women who work to make the community a better place to live:
Joan Hanten is the executive director for Olympic College Foundation, overseeing the foundation while managing its endowments, totaling more than $7 million. She works with the donors and sets up the gifts, and is one of three employees of the foundation, which has a 21-member volunteer board.
Hanten, who has been the director for more than seven years, has a law school degree and worked for an appeals court before she joined the foundation. She uses her legal background frequently for the many complicated transactions that involve the gifts. She says the most challenging part of the job is the ever-tightening oversight and regulations due to the changes in the financial world — and the additional time needed to comply with the complicated rules takes away from time working with donors. “Donors are incredible. I work with people who try to do some good, and they’re incredibly generous,” she says.
Hanten, who was honored as a YWCA Woman of Achievement last year, has been a member of Rotary for seven years and volunteers for Kitsap Legal Services.
Stephanie Cline is the executive director for Harrison Medical Foundation and serves as the development officer for Harrison Medical Center. Since taking the helm in 2002, she has successfully expanded the organization’s fundraising efforts from largely special events to major gifts, planned giving and an annual campaign. One the bigger initiatives was the launch in 2008 of an $8 million “Great Nurses for a Great Community Campaign,” the first such effort for Harrison in four decades.
Cline’s career in the nonprofit sector spans more than two decades. A communications and public relations major, she wanted to work with nonprofits. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate I fell into that early on and had no desire to leave. I’ve embraced it and can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says. “It’s so meaningful, that’s what’s been interesting about this career.”
Cline worked for 12 years for Children’s Home Society of Washington, and was Olympic College Foundation assistant director then interim executive director before joining Harrison Foundation. The foundation has eight employees, including two dedicated solely to volunteer support (volunteers run the hospital gift shops, among other things). Cline says it’s a challenging sector, especially in the current economy. But she feels it’s a privilege to work with organizations that have a lot of meaning in the community.
Kathy Nelson is executive director for Leadership Kitsap Foundation, which trains local emerging leaders through a 10-month curriculum program that includes hands-on community projects. Some current examples of these projects are a spring event benefitting homeless people, and an effort in collaboration with Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue to acquire pieces from the World Trade Center to be erected as a monument in Kitsap County.
Nelson’s role is to be a liaison between the class members and the board of directors, put the program together, fundraise and write grants. She’s also responsible for administrative and outreach efforts, and is the only paid employee. “I couldn’t do it without the board of directors,” she says.
Born and raised in Kitsap, Nelson previously owned a communications company in Seattle with her husband. She took the Leadership Kitsap class in 2004 and when the director position became open, was recruited for the job. When she’s not busy with her executive director duties, she spends time at the family business in Port Orchard, Pizza Factory. “In a nonprofit, although you have to be aware of the bottom line, it’s really about the people and the community,” she says. “The feeling you get from giving back and from the projects benefitting the community is wonderful — knowing that what you’re doing is benefitting the community at large.”
Bobbie Moore is the executive director of the Village Green Foundation (until recently known as the Kingston Community Center Foundation). The foundation’s major focus currently is to build a replacement community center, a multipurpose, multigenerational facility complete with a library, senior center and a Boys & Girls Club. The foundation is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise funds for the project, and is also supporting efforts to create a Metropolitan Park District that would help bring in money for the center.
Moore, in the job for 15 months, was on the foundation’s board of directors for seven years and was previously involved with park-development efforts in Kingston. She says she’d returned to Kingston, after living on the East Coast for a few years, because she and her husband felt this would be a place where they’d like to retire.
“I didn’t want to retire in a community that didn’t have a world-class library and a world-class park,” she says. So she became involved, doing her part to see those dreams through. Self-employed as a corporate trainer and staff development consultant in addition to working for the foundation, Moore says she became the director because she has a passion for the community. “I just really feel this is becoming a town where there will be great quality of life, and there are many people working on that,” she says.
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