Community Stories

2023 Board Updates and Gratitude

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to four new Community Foundation Board members and in recognizing our departing members with gratitude for their service.

Board leadership is vital for a nonprofit organization to fulfill its purpose, and the Community Foundation is no exception. Our board members hold our strategic vision, keep us accountable to our mission, help shape our culture, and ensure we act with integrity. We could not fulfill our work to strengthen our communities and inspire local philanthropy without them!

Today, we are honored to recognize three departing members and are happy to announce the addition of four new members to our beloved Board of Directors. We invite you to learn more about these community leaders and to join us in welcoming them.

Welcome New Board Members

John Stormans joined the Community Foundation because he cares deeply about our region and wants to be part of the place-based difference we are making here. John is a managing broker/realtor with Greene Realty Group and comes from a family of small business owners with deep roots in Thurston County. He is a graduate of Seattle University who majored in business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. We are thrilled to have John on our board and know his ideas will be invaluable for ensuring our organization and communities thrive.

Reflecting on community and generosity, John shares his appreciation for how welcoming our community is to people of all walks of life and the way we celebrate people’s differences. “I know how blessed I have been in my life,” he says, “and I also realize that everyone doesn't always get the opportunities that I have had. Generosity is important because it allows me to give back to a community that I love, that has provided me with a life that I am grateful for. I believe that the more generous I can be, the more chances I have to create those same opportunities for someone else.”

Julie Cooke is a broker with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, where she serves Lewis, Mason, and Thurston counties. She loves spending time outdoors, has deep local roots, and is an Evergreen State College graduate. Julie’s perspective is also shaped by a decade of nonprofit experience. In fact, we first connected with Julie through our past grantmaking work in her previous role as co-founder and deputy director of Nature Nurtures Farm. We have always appreciated her passion for community and collaborative spirit. It is crucial to have voices on our board who understand the impact of our grants and can speak to the challenges and needs of local nonprofits. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue working together in her new role with the Community Foundation board.

Reflecting on what she loves about the South Sound, Julie highlights our region’s natural beauty, diverse and eclectic communities, and local leaders. “The opportunity to be with and learn from folks of all different perspectives is part of what makes our community so rich,” she shares. “We are never far from water or a beautiful place to walk in the woods, and we are blessed with many grassroots changemakers and passionate people doing much needed work!”

Robert Bradley was inspired to join our board out of a desire to serve and connect with South Sound communities. He is a retired CPA and family office CEO who brings extensive financial and philanthropic knowledge to our work. Through his 30 years of experience handling tax, investment, and financial matters for wealthy families, he saw firsthand how vital community foundations are in our role of bridging charitable organizations with donors to support thriving communities. He serves on a number of nonprofit boards aligned with his passion for education and the environment. As residents of Mason County, he and his wife, Patti, support many great local nonprofits as well.

Reflecting on a few values he holds that align with our work, Robert shares how generosity, which springs from gratitude, is an important value that guides his life. He also highlights the Community Foundation’s core value of integrity, saying, “Everything that flows from an organization—what it does, the people it hires, the impact it has on the world—is made better when founded in trust and integrity.”

Todd Shobert is VP of investments and insurance with WSECU, where he serves our community daily by helping people move toward their financial goals. Todd is passionate about giving back outside of work as well. Having worked with local nonprofits, including board service with the Child Care Action Council (one of our wonderful nonprofit partners), he knows the effort it takes to raise and manage money to fund important missions. Todd looks forward to being part of the Community Foundation’s work to support and fund local nonprofits; and we look forward to benefiting from his understanding of investments, strategic leadership, and nonprofit boards.

Reflecting on the importance of generosity in his life, Todd recalls his lived experience of being able to rely on the community as he grew up in a household headed by a single mother. “I want to give back,” he shares, “and hope I am able to help others when it may be a difficult time.”

Thank you, John, Julie, Robert, and Todd, for your dedication and care for local communities. We know our organization and local communities will be stronger because of you!

Appreciation and Farewells

The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound makes a meaningful difference today due to the many caring people who have cultivated our deep roots and contributed to our flourishing over the past three decades. We are fortunate to have counted our departing board members—Brent Dille, Mary Williams, and Melanie Bakala—among them. We deeply appreciate you all and send you off with our gratitude as you move on to your next adventures.

The Community Foundation gives special recognition to Mary Williams, who served on our board for 13 years! Mindie Reule, president & CEO, shares that, “Mary’s insight and expertise have been invaluable in guiding the board's decisions, and her willingness to take on any task, no matter how big or small, is a testament to her dedication to our mission. Personally, Mary was a huge support to me as I transitioned into the CEO role just before the pandemic, providing much-needed advice and wisdom.”  

Mary’s legacy of service will impact the organization for years to come, and we are grateful for her many contributions. While we will miss her on the Board, we know she will remain engaged with the Community Foundation as a fund advisor and friend of the organization. We are so grateful for the many ways in which she has helped to make our organization stronger and more effective.  

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