People in the News (1/03/16): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (1/03/16): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The Rasmuson Foundation has announced a reorganization of its management team, including the promotions of SAMMYE POKRYFKI, previously senior program officer, to the role of vice president of programs; program officer ALEESHA TOWNS-BAIN to the position of vice president and chief operating officer; and communications director CASSANDRA STALZER to the job of vice president of communications. In addition, the foundation announced the recent hire of DEBORAH BITNEY as vice president and chief administrative officer. Bitney’s thirty years of experience as an administrator across several sectors most recently includes the role of administrative services director at the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and before that she was director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division. The foundation also announced the election of JASON METROKIN to its board. Metrokin, president and CEO of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, chairs the ANCSA Regional Association, which represents the top executives of the twelve Alaska-based Native regional corporations, while his community involvement includes service on the boards of United Way of Anchorage, the Alaska Community Foundation, Alaska Regional Hospital, Alaska Pacific University, and the Alaska Native Professional Association.

The Children's Scholarship Fund has announced the hire of KATE BAKER as head of its New Hampshire operations and KATHY LAUER RAGO as program manager. Baker and Rago currently serve, respectively, as executive director and program manager of the Network for Educational Opportunity, a scholarship organization serving families across New Hampshire. Pending state approval, CSF will administer education tax credit scholarships formerly managed by the Network for Educational Opportunity. "Children's Scholarship Fund welcomes our New Hampshire partner...and looks forward to giving expanded educational opportunities to many more New Hampshire families,” said CSF president Darla M. Romfo.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has announced the appointment of ANTONIA HERNANDEZ to its board. Hernández, currently president and CEO of the California Community Foundation, earlier served as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice and served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  At the community level, Hernández sits on the boards of several institutions, including the American Automobile Association, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Council on Foundations, and Grameen America. She also is a member of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the JFK Library Foundation Profile in Courage Award committee, and the University of California-Los Angeles advisory board.

The Mid-America Arts Alliance has announced the election of ED CLIFFORD as board chair. Clifford, who has served on MAAA's board since 2007, retired from a management career at Walmart Stores in 2001. Currently, he serves as CEO of the Jones Trust in Springdale, Arkansas, sits on the Northwest Arkansas Business Council, and is a founding member and chair of the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. Clifford will succeed KEN FERGUSON, who is immediate past chair of both Americans for the Arts and MAAA.

In other news, PND notes the passing of TA CHUN HSU, president emeritus and director of the Starr Foundation, at the age of 97. Hsu worked for both the newspapers and banking companies owned by Cornelius Vander Starr, who brought him to America to finish his college education after his father, one of Vander Starr’s earliest backers, was killed in World War II. Hsu was president of the Starr Foundation from 1968 to 1999 and remained an active director of the philanthropy until his death.

PND also notes the passing of Santa Fe businessman and philanthropist EDDIE GILBERT four days shy of his 93rd birthday. Gilbert, a real estate magnate, owned properties in twenty-eight states and founded the BGK Group. Although he twice ran afoul of federal law and was convicted of white-collar crimes involving stocks and public companies, he cleared his name, restored his business reputation, and received statewide clemency from former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. Through the Garfield Street Foundation, Gilbert and his wife, Peaches, supported several institutions, including the Santa Fe Symphony, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, and Assistance Dogs of the West, and provided cash grants to needy individuals.

"Foundation Announces Promotions, New Hire and New Board Member." Rasmuson Foundation Press Release 12/23/2015. "Kate Baker Named to Head Children’s Scholarship Fund’s New Hampshire Office." Children’s Scholarship Fund Press Release 12/23/2015. "Hernández Joins Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Board of Trustees." Colonial Williamsburg Press Release 12/28/2015. "Mid-America Arts Alliance Board of Directors Elects New Chairman Ed Clifford." Mid-America Arts Alliance Press Release 12/17/2015. "Ta Chun (T.C.) Hsu, President Emeritus and Director of The Starr Foundation." Starr Foundation Press Release 12/29/2015. "Eddie Gilbert, Real Estate Magnate and Philanthropist, Has Died at Age 92." Albuquerque Journal 12/29/2015.