Kent Community Foundation

Supporting education and the cultural arts in the greater Kent area.

Board Member Bios


Dana E. Neuts, President

Dana E. Neuts, owner of Virtually Yourz, is a freelance writer, editor and marketing professional. She is also the publisher of iLoveKent.net, an award-winning hyperlocal blog focused on Kent, Washington. Neuts is a member of Kent Downtown Partnership, the Kent Community Foundation board, and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ and Sigma Delta Chi boards. She served as national president for the Society of Professional Journalists in 2015-16.   

 


Brenda Farwell, Vice President
    
Since moving to Kent in 2008 Brenda Farwell has helped establish the Thunderbird Community Sports Foundation as strong support for Youth Sports in our community giving over $500,000 in grants.  Served as Co-President of Kiwanis Club of Kent in 2015.  Brenda was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and has lived and travelled extensively in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia.  Studied Business in College, owned and operated a landscape products/manufacturing company in Medicine Hat Alberta until moving to Washington in 1989 with her husband Russ.  Brenda has two children (Kristine and Steven) and as they have grown up she has volunteered in her children’s classrooms, library and served as  grant committee chair of the Wellington Elementary PTA for 2 years. 



 


Harry Smith, Treasurer
    
Harry was born and raised in the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania.  He also resided in Grand Rapids Michigan prior to moving to Kent in 2003 with his wife Maria and two children (Jenna and Daniel).  Harry worked for UPS for over 26 years and was the Controller / Director of Finance for Washington and Alaska prior to leaving in 2010.  He owned a small business in Kent for five years prior to accepting his current position as the Controller for Lloyd Enterprises Inc.   Harry graduated from Temple University with a degree in Accounting and has a Logistics Certificate from Penn State University.  Harry is currently a volunteer coach with Kent Valley Hockey Association.  Harry became a Kent Community Foundation Board Member in March 2015 and assumed the Treasure Position in January 2016.  

 


Lew Sellers, Secretary

Born and raised in the Grays Harbor area, Lew and his wife Karen, daughter Tammy and son Bob, moved to Kent from Olympia in the mid-seventies.  Both children attended Kent Schools and graduated from Kent Meridian High School.  Lew retired from a 44 year career in Government Information Technology in 2006.  He has served in a volunteer capacity as Director of Communications for Kent Valley Ice Centre and as President of the Kent Valley Hockey Association since 2006, and is a 39-year veteran Western Hockey League Off-Ice Official with the Seattle Thunderbirds Hockey Club.  Lew served as an Off-Ice Official for the Hockey Venue at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  Lew also serves as a board member on the City of Kent’s Public Facilities District (ShoWare Center), is a member of the City of Kent's Financial Sustainability Task Force (2015/2016), is a member of the Thunderbirds Community Sports Foundation board of directors, serves on the Kent School District Civic Advisory Team and serves as a Citizen Advisor with the Kent Regional Fire Authority.  He joined the Kent Community Foundation Board in early 2009 and served several terms as Secretary, Vice President and President.

 


Dee Klem, Board Member

Dee was born in Indiana and spent time living in Mexico City as a child. She moved to Washington in 1990 and has lived in Kent for almost 20 years. She and her husband, Steve, are parents of 2 children who attend Kent schools and they serve as a billet family for a Seattle Thunderbird hockey player. Dee was a successful print sales representative prior to having kids and is now the Mentoring Services Manager of Communities In Schools of Kent. Her community/school involvement includes 6 years on the board of Kent-Meridian Co-op Preschool and 5 years on her PTO Board both in various positions including 2+ as President. Dee also has served on the Kent School District Citizens Budget Review Committee and the Kent Downtown Partnership Board. She joined the KCF Board in 2009.

 


Gary Lee, Board Member

Gary is a retired engineering manager of The Boeing Company.  He has been a resident of Kent for over 37 years during which time he has served on numerous education committees in South King County school districts, has directed the Boeing Education Affairs in South King County and been on Kent Chamber of Commerce Education Committee.  He has been a Foundation Board member since 1998 and served as the Foundation's Treasurer for several years.

 


Jim McGinnis, Board Member

Jim was raised in Montana (with a fly rod in his hand) and graduated with an engineering degree from Montana State in 1960. He worked for Boeing for 35 years most of the time in the test business, retiring in1995. He originally joined the Foundation in the early 90's as the Boeing representative. He re-joined the Foundation in the early 2000's and has served as vice president, scholarship chair, and currently as president. He has been involved in several community and church leadership volunteer roles. His wife retired in 1996 as an elementary teacher in the Kent School District. Their sons both attended school in the District, graduating from Kent Meridian High.

 


Roger Nakamura, Board Member
    
Roger has lived in Kent for the past 20+ years and grew up in neighboring Renton.  He and his wife Lisa have two children that attend Kent schools.  Roger has served on several Kent School District committees including the past two boundary committees and citizens budget review.  He also has been the parent representative for the Panther Lake Elementary leadership team.  He has been in the education market for the past 30 years providing IT programs for school districts across the nation.  He is currently the Western Region VP for Graduation Alliance a company that helps school districts recover dropouts and get them on their way to earning a diploma or industry credentials that lead to living wage employment.  Roger joined the Kent Community Foundation as board member in 2015.

 


Matt Ryan, Board Member
 
Matt graduated from the University of Oregon, is a member of the Kent Afternoon Rotary Club.  He is a Financial Advisor with LPL Financial of Kent and has been working in Kent since 2009.

 


Cathy Wahlin, Board Member

Born in Eugene, Oregon and raised in Kirkland and Redmond, Cathy graduated from Redmond High School and Washington State University.  She lived with her family in the Kent/Covington area for  over 22 years before moving to West Seattle in 2015.  Cathy works as a full-time residential realtor since 2004 for Windermere Real Estate.  Cathy enjoys being involved in the community by being an ambassador for the Covington Chamber of Commerce, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and various PTA's in the Kent School District.  Cathy has been involved with Kent Community Foundation since 2007, currently serving on the board of directors.

 


Marge Williams, Board Member


Born in Seattle, raised in King County and always glad when I return.  I graduated from Highline High School in 1956, attended Central Washington University. In 1957, employed at the Boeing Company as a Corporate Secretary. Married at 19 and bore 3 beautiful children by 26. I was a happy stay-at-home mom until 1972 when I joined the Nordstrom community as a Visual Merchandising Manager.

Winning numerous awards for window and interior design, I was invited to the Nordstrom Corporate world of new store openings where I supervised the buying and installation of fixtures for all new store openings. However, with 3 teenagers, I made a significant move within the company. I joined the Washington-Oregon Buying Team as fragrance buyer with a substantial budget and coordinated corporate events. I retired from Nordstrom in 1993 after 27 years!!(when fashion was still fun and Nordstrom was the “place to shop”).

With years of merchandising experience, I was asked to join Giorgio of Beverly Hills, Fragrance Division as a fragrance representative covering Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Corporate traveling opened many doors for me, one…I recognized a huge desire to travel.

Since, I have been fortunate to travel to Fiji, Soviet Union, Israel, the Holy City, Jordan, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal between 1979 - 2000. I have loved every moment of discovery.

In 2009, I was invited to submit a letter of employment to the Kent Chamber of Commerce and was hired immediately as their Administrative Assistant. I was an integral part of the team with varied responsibilities which included first impression of the chamber at front desk, interfaced with prospective members, Chamber staff, Board members, City staff and all functions of office procedures. I played a significant role in the success of all major corporate events for my success in providing sponsors.

I left full time employment with the Chamber in 2015 but realized that I have more to give to my community. I am a 15 year member of the Rotary Club of Kent-Sunrise and a Board Member of the Kent Community Foundation. My passion is education with an emphasis on vocational opportunities for our KSD students that seek help finding their future.

Now with ample time, I look forward to seeing our United States from shore to shore.


 

Ex-Officio Board of Directors


Lori Paxton, Kent School District Liaison
   
Lori grew up in the Kent area and has been a teacher, instructional coach, coordinator, and currently serves at the Career & Technical Education Director for the Kent School District. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education.

 


Mark Hendrickson, Kent Parks/City Liaison

    

Mark is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound.  Following graduation, he was a summer intern in the Cultural Programs Division of the Kent Parks Department.  At the conclusion of the internship, Mark became the Aquatics Director at the Lakewood YMCA in Lakewood, WA and continued to volunteer at special events for the Kent Parks Department.  In 1998, a fulltime position in the Cultural Programs Division became available and he has been there ever since.  His primary role includes producing all of the special events for the City of Kent.  He serves on several boards including the Washington Festivals and Events Association, University of Puget Sound Logger Club and Kent Community Foundation. 


 


Ronda Billerbeck, Kent Parks/City Liaison

Ronda Billerbeck is the Cultural Programs Manager for the City of Kent.  In this capacity she oversees the City’s Arts Commission and their activities including an active performing arts program, several special community events, a variety of publications and the City’s Public Art Program and collection.  

Ronda earned a Masters of Not-for-Profit Leadership from Seattle University in 2000.  She received her Bachelors degree in Communication from Oregon State University in 1994.  Ronda’s previous experience includes the coordination of special events and fundraising programs at the American Heart Association and Oregon State University
 



Friends of the Kent Community Foundation


ReBecca Alstrom, Past President

Education is ReBecca Alstrom's passion.  Since 2003 she has worked with programs which help non-traditional students plan and prepare for college.  She is active with Kent Rotary and the Seattle Jaycees.  Additionally she is a mom, wife and community volunteer living in Kent, Washington. She was raised in the Yakima Valley, where she lived until 2008.  She holds a degree from Central Washington University in Community Health Education. ReBecca's hobbies include reading, cooking, music, community service and crochet. She considers herself a lifelong learner, and encourages others to continue their learning.

 
Ed Booth
   
For twelve years, Ed did nonprofit work in organizations controlled by J. Irwin Miller in what is now called venture philanthropy. In 1980, he joined the Miller-controlled Cummins Company and became a business entrepreneur in a variety of assignments. Over 15 years later, Ed led several software companies to success in the Minneapolis area. Ed has served as board member to a number of organizations including Shorebank, Cooperative Assistance Fund (a foundation for Program Related Investments), Cybermetrics (a woman-owned and -led high-tech engineering company), 21st Century Fund (developing world community-based economic development) and others. He has been involved with the Center for Community Change since the 1970s, joining the board in 1988 and involved in a variety of roles since, including a stint as Chair of both the Center and its Endowment. Ed went to Williams and Stanford, is married to Jan, and has four children and eight grandchildren. He is the father of Board member Dee Klem and has been a champion and friend of the foundation since she joined the Board in 2009.

 
Linda Cattey

Linda, a native Washingtonian, has lived and volunteered in the Kent area for over 30 years.  Her husband, George, is a retired Boeing engineer.  Their grown children, Edward and Cindy, are graduates of Kentridge High School, Gonzaga University and Washington State University.  Always active in the community, Linda served in various PTA positions including President of the Kent Area PTA Council and Kent School District committees.  Her current involvement includes: Kent Guild of Children’s Hospital, Kent Youth and Family Services Board, Kiwanis Club of Kent.  She has served three terms as president, initially in 1993-95.

 
Ina Balash
    
Cynthia "Sam" Calhoun

Al Orwiler
  
Christine Sellers

Cheryl Reed