Community Stories

Board Farewells and Warm Welcomes

We invite you to join us in expressing our thanks to three departing board members and extending a warm welcome to five new members!

Year after year, the Community Foundation has a profound impact in our community thanks to many caring people who cultivate our deep roots and contribute to our flourishing. We are fortunate to have counted three departing board members—Janet McLane, Jim Morrell, and Kelsey Hulse—among them. We sincerely appreciate the three of you and send you off with our gratitude as you move on to your next adventure!

As Janet, Jim, and Kelsey depart, we are pleased to welcome an exceptional cohort of five new board members to guide our organization and community work. These newest board members bring a diversity of lived and professional experiences as well as a shared commitment to the well-being of all people in our communities. We look forward to the way their various perspectives and strengths will add to the wisdom and leadership of our current board, increasing our organization's ability to fulfill our purpose on behalf of those we serve.

We invite you to learn more about each of these remarkable community leaders and to join us in welcoming them to their new roles with the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound’s Board of Directors.

Alejandro Sanchez (he/him) brings a lifelong commitment to public service and extensive community-centered leadership experience to our board. Alé is an attorney with insight on tax law, policy, the unique legal needs of underserved communities, and immigration. As special assistant to Governor Inslee, he was instrumental in supporting Washington communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding the health and safety of farmworkers and co-leading development and implementation of the Washington Immigrant Relief Fund. He currently serves as deputy director for the WA State Department of Licensing, where he remains a steadfast advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility.

Alejandro has been a member of our South Sound Community for over ten years, and he is now firmly rooted here along with his family. Reflecting on our community, he shares, “I love that the people in this area cherish the land and our diversity and take seriously the privilege of being at the heart of state government in the Great Northwest.”

Having witnessed the creativity and importance of small organizations and grassroots groups over his years of state service and nonprofit volunteerism, Alé looks forward to supporting the Community Foundation’s role as a broad and diverse funding partner for local nonprofits. We are delighted to have his leadership on our board to ensure the needs of our community remain front and center in our work.

Austin Ramirez (he/him) is a servant leader who adds a wealth of professional and lived experience to the Community Foundation’s board. Austin is the economic development manager for the city of Tumwater, where he is committed to bringing equitable economic opportunity and improving quality of life for everyone he serves. Through his professional work as an economic developer, he has gained valuable insights into the needs of urban, rural, and historically underserved communities.

A person of color and first US-born child of immigrants from Mexico and the Philippines, Austin’s lived experience is invaluable. Witnessing systemic inequity first-hand instilled a passion for public service and a commitment to systemic equity into his daily work. He shares, “As community leaders, I believe we have a responsibility to be generous and kind with the resources we are privileged to have. Whether it is time, expertise, or money—the greatest service we can provide is to generously share our resources for the betterment of our community.”  

The Community Foundation had an opportunity to experience Austin’s generous spirit, strong values, and unique perspective in 2022 through his service on one of our grant review committees, and we are thrilled that he is extending his commitment to leadership on our board. His equity-centered and trauma-informed approach will be an incredible benefit to the Community Foundation, boosting our organization’s ability to meet local communities where they are and serve them well.

Courtney Prothero (she/her) is a passionate advocate for children and families who believes equity work is crucial to ensure every member of our community has what they need to thrive. She is the mother of three children and currently serves as the Tumwater Community Schools manager at Tumwater Middle School, Tumwater Hill Elementary, and Michael T. Simmons Elementary.

Courtney’s deep commitment to our community is fueled by hope. Reflecting on her experience here, she shares, “Members of this community have an enduring spirit of generosity that continues to amaze me. Never once have I encountered a refusal to help; instead, there is a steadfast dedication to supporting those in need.” Her own contributions to our community reflect the same generous spirit she sees in others. She is board president with 4 The Love Foundation, has served on advisory boards and PTOs, volunteers as a mentor and with her local food bank.

The Community Foundation is thrilled to welcome Courtney to our board. We believe having her unique perspective and leadership, willingness to have hard and meaningful conversations, and commitment to systems change will keep our work aligned with our values as we partner with others in support of the unlimited potential of children and families across the South Puget Sound.

Katya Miltimore (she/her) brings deep nonprofit experience to our board, including collaborative partnerships, community engagement, fundraising, strategic planning, legislative advocacy, fundraising, and organizational leadership. She currently serves as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of WA State Association & Alliance. In this role, her visionary leadership around collective impact has led to growth in advocacy, philanthropic partnerships, and new statewide programs addressing critical issues facing Washington’s youth.

Originally from Russia, Katya is a first-generation immigrant and English as a second language speaker. She has been a member of our Thurston County community for over fifteen years, serving in several nonprofit leadership roles on behalf of local communities. She is president-elect of the West Olympia Rotary Club, a Nonprofit Association of WA board member, and volunteers her time through pro bono consulting and in various advisory or governance roles.

The Community Foundation is pleased to welcome Katya and her leadership to our board. We look forward to the way her presence and perspective will deepen our community relationships, strengthen our own organization’s capacity, continue improving the way we show up in our nonprofit partnerships, and ensure that we can respond effectively to needs and opportunities across our communities.

Nicole Miller (she/her) brings the valuable perspective of a Lewis County resident as well as expertise in project management and organizational development to our board. She has spent the last two years working with the Lewis County Autism Coalition and its sister program, Cultivating Inclusion. As owner of Free Bird Projects, LLC, she has also worked on projects related to workforce and economic development with organizations, including the Port of Chehalis and the Economic Alliance of Lewis County. Deeply committed to the economic resilience and wellbeing of her community, Nicole also serves as co-chair of Lewis County Young Professionals.

Asked about what gives her hope locally, Nicole shares, “I have been so inspired recently by the growing number of people, especially younger people, who have taken an interest in philanthropy, community, and social issues. It truly inspires me to see the next generation get involved and become passionate leaders. It’s so important to boost the ‘next generation’, and I hope that some of the work I do can contribute to that effort.”

The Community Foundation is thrilled to increase representation for Lewis County through Nicole’s leadership and advocacy. Her understanding of and care for the unique needs of many different people—young people, the autism and disability community, economically distressed communities, and others who have experienced systemic barriers and marginalization—will be invaluable to the foundation and everyone we serve.

Thank you, Alé, Austin, Courtney, Katya, and Nicole for your generosity and leadership. We are already so grateful for each of you!

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