Goodbye and Q&A with Eduardo Moreno, NWHF Community Engagement Officer

A photo of Eddie in  the Oregonian , holding a sign at a Yes on Measure 88 rally.

A photo of Eddie in the Oregonian, holding a sign at a Yes on Measure 88 rally.

Eddie has helped transform who we are as a foundation, how we work and how we engage with community. Eddie brings graciousness and presence to everything he does, making sure everyone feels welcome and connected to each other. Eddie also brings joviality and curiosity, is quick to laugh, is game for the mundane and the novel, and is dogged at getting resources to the communities that deserve it most! He naturally sees the ways our local funding community can work together differently to better serve community-based organizations and encourages us to work harder to build those connections.

Through The UnWind, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Community Fund, Eddie gathered leaders from across our region to come together, build relationships and learn about sustainable practices for social change organizing.

Eddie helped build the Health & Education Fund, convening five regional funders (no small feat!) to find shared values and develop a strategy focusing on the resilience and strength of parents and families, challenging our assumptions and pushing us to learn and fund in different ways.

We hope we can carry on his approach—centering people, honoring the power of relationships and building trust through working together.

Eddie will be deeply missed. We wish him the best on his next adventures!

Q&A with Eddie

A. What are you most proud of having worked on during your time at NWHF?

Q. This a tough one to answer, because I love every aspect of my work. The Health & Education Fund, Oregon Active Schools and the Momentum Fellowship are all prime examples of how diverse and unique our work at NWHF is, but when I started working here in 2012, we used to host community dinners where I had the opportunity to engage with familiar faces and meet rising community leaders from around the state. Spending that unstructured time over a meal to learn about one another helped inspire what I think my answer is…. The UnWind. From inception to implementation, I worked with our friends/partners at Kaiser Permanente Northwest to design a people-focused investment. I am proud of the two fearless facilitators and the 19 incredible community-based organizations who understood our vision and brought this program to life. I hope they continue to support one another and teach others in our sector the importance of unwinding.

Q. What’s something you’ve learned at NWHF that you’ll carry with you?

A. Relationships matter. Go where community is. We all have conflicting personal lives that sometimes limit our ability to travel, but our team at NWHF (board and staff) often plan tirelessly to bring our foundation to people and places outside of the Portland metro area. This is something I will continue to advocate for, and if you don’t believe this is effective, check out how our grant giving and community partnerships have changed over the years.

Q. What’s something that you contributed to NWHF that you hope will continue after you’ve left?

A. Work hard and have fun. We live in a topsy-turvy world, so let’s not burn ourselves out or think we are in this alone. I hope that NWHF will continue to invite our close friends and family to visit community. Sometimes it takes a little more time and energy, but in the end we all have a shared fate, and we need to include our loved ones in sharing both the good and the tough moments in our NWHF lives.

Eddie, former NWHF President Nichole June Maher, and Eddie’s Nana and Tata at Native Professionals Night.

Eddie, former NWHF President Nichole June Maher, and Eddie’s Nana and Tata at Native Professionals Night.

Q. What will you miss most about NWHF?

A. Hands down, the NWHF family. I look forward to working every day, because the NWHF family extends beyond those who work here. Every day I interact with many thoughtful and hardworking leaders from community groups, philanthropy and government dedicated to making our region a better place to live for every person who calls Oregon and Southwest Washington home.

NWHF staff, Health & Education Fund consultant Dani Ledezma, and Parent Voices Oakland Executive Director Clarissa Doutherd.

NWHF staff, Health & Education Fund consultant Dani Ledezma, and Parent Voices Oakland Executive Director Clarissa Doutherd.

Q. What advice do you have for the philanthropic sector?

A. Nothing is set in stone, and it’s time to evolve. Don’t let made up (sometimes archaic) rules get in the way of advancing your mission. Our community partners seek strong and unapologetic leadership in the philanthropic sector. The sector needs to continue to partner with community and step up to take risks when there are opportunities to do so.

Q. What’s next?

A. Wouldn’t you like to know?

Eighteen years ago I left El Centro, California and moved to this beautiful city. That meant I had to leave behind a loving, supportive family network I miss every single day. Today, I’m still fortunate to have five generations of Moreno-Araiza’s (that’s right, my grandparents are also great-great-grandparents) excited to reconnect and spend some much-needed uninterrupted quality time together. That’s about as much as I will share for now, but if you are in the SoCal area these next few months feel free to reach out and who knows… I may have mastered my Nana’s empanada making skills by then.

What’s Waiting for me in SoCal! [Eddie taking a selfie with ten of his family members.]

What’s Waiting for me in SoCal! [Eddie taking a selfie with ten of his family members.]

A Look Ahead: Changes at Northwest Health Foundation

There are few institutions more privileged than philanthropy. Such privilege can make us think we have the luxury of time and an infinite amount of resources. We know neither are true. 

We recognize that when it comes to health, too many of our friends, family and neighbors don't have the luxury of time. Historic and current injustices mean Indigenous and Black people, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, and many others face the biggest barriers to wellbeing and have for far too long already. NWHF has been evolving to focus on the bold steps needed to truly advance health for everyone in our region. 

We’re also evolving because we know our cash assets are not infinite and, in our minds, they don’t belong to us. They belong to our mission. Since 2012, this has meant making structural changes to manage our endowment for perpetuity while still increasing grantmaking. It also means, as I first mentioned back in January, further staff changes as we wind down grant programs that we've managed in partnership with other contributors.

This isn’t news to us, as we’ve been preparing for these changes over many years. But it might be news to you. Over the next ten months, we will reorganize our team. We will say goodbye to beloved colleagues whose impact on our work will last well beyond their time at NWHF. We will also hire for some new roles. 

Regardless of how long we’ve been preparing, these changes are not without difficulty or sadness. We make them with our mission in mind and in our effort to remain a small but mighty foundation focused on action. 


Jesse Beason, President & CEO

Goodbye and Q&A with Laura Nash, our Communications Manager

A few words from Northwest Health Foundation President Jesse Beason:

Laura and Jesse hug. Laura has a blanket draped around her body.

This Friday, we bid farewell to our Communications Manager Laura Nash. Where is she headed? You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

From day one, Laura brought a keen eye for improving our communications. She helped crystallize our style to be more plain language and our approach to be supportive of our grantees, not self-congratulatory. But she expanded her role to be way more than we ever imagined. She brought her design savvy to our website and publications. She became integral to program planning. She helped lead our work exploring disability and disability justice, earning national attention in doing so. And she’s been a great friend to so many of us.

In her more than five years at Northwest Health Foundation, Laura has made a lasting impact and we will miss her dearly. But we are so proud of and excited for her next adventures!

Photo portrait of Laura smiling.

Q&A with Laura:

Q. What are you most proud of having worked on during your time at Northwest Health Foundation?

A. Our disability equity work. I’ve been part of Northwest Health Foundation’s disability equity journey since I first started working here in 2014, from Learning Together, Connecting Communities to Advancing Disability Justice. I assisted with meeting logistics to help bring members of disability communities together in person and virtually. I also contributed to our Striving for Disability Equity blog series, in which we owned up to our mistakes and shared our efforts to do better. And, with Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative facilitator Stacey Milbern, I supported members of the Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative to create a recommendations report for advancing disability justice in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Through communications, we held ourselves accountable to our word. We followed through on making our public meeting spaces fragrance-free, supporting disabled leaders of color and disability-led organizations, and introduced disability justice to community partners throughout our region. We also catalyzed other organizations, regionally and nationally, to examine their own practices and consider how they can do better by disability communities.

This work benefited me personally as well. Through learning and building relationships with disability communities, I realized that I feel at home with these communities. I realized that I am neurodivergent. And recognizing this has allowed me to examine my own internalized ableism and become more self-aware and self-confident.

Q. What’s something you’ve learned at Northwest Health Foundation that you’ll carry with you?

A. It would be impossible to name everything I’ve learned at NWHF, because I feel like so much of it has sunk into me and become integral to how I move through and think about the world. I’m not sure I could parse it all out. One lesson I can point to is how important it is for people to have a say in anything that affects their lives. It seems like common sense, but so many groups of people aren’t represented in decision-making positions. When our leaders reflect our communities, laws and policies will work better for all of us. I’ll hold on to this lesson and continue to contribute what I can to making reflective democracy a reality.

NWHF staff, all dressed in denim, stand in a line along a white brick wall with their backs to the camera. They all look over their shoulders.

Q. What will you miss most about Northwest Health Foundation?

A. I’m going to miss the work environment. I know I’ll find jobs in the future that feel satisfying, where I know I’m doing good work. But I’m worried I’ll never find a workplace as supportive or fun as NWHF. Everyone at NWHF believes deeply in health equity and puts so much thought and time into making that vision reality. But we also pause for silliness and enjoy spending time with each other. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to make a music video or organize an all-denim photo shoot with coworkers again.

Q. What’s your communications advice for the philanthropic sector?

A. Foundations and other philanthropic institutions should focus less on marketing themselves and creating shiny communications materials. As foundations, we of course need to put ourselves out there so people know we exist and what we’re about. We don’t need to be salespeople; grantees will come to us regardless. Instead, we should use our influence to tell truths, uplift our grantees’ stories, and educate and advocate on the issues we care about.

Q. What’s next? 

A. Grad school! I started a master’s program in fall 2018 at Pacific Northwest College of Art. In fall 2019 I’ll continue working on an M.A. in Critical Studies, and I’ll start working on an M.F.A. in Applied Craft + Design. That means I’ll spend the next two years reading, writing and making, three of my favorite things. I’ll also continue to do some freelance communications work. Oh! And wedding planning. My partner Teddy and I are getting married in 2020.

Announcing our New President

photo portrait of Jesse Beason smiling

On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Northwest Health Foundation, I'm excited to announce that Jesse Beason has been named, effective immediately, our new President and Chief Executive Officer. 

Jesse has been with Northwest Health Foundation since August 2013, most recently as Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs. He was selected to be our next president after a thorough national search conducted by Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group with guidance from the NWHF board of directors' Presidential Search Committee. NPAG connected with hundreds of community partners and potential candidates before developing a short list of finalists.

Jesse's experience and expertise in policy and electoral work, his established relationships with community leaders and organizations throughout our region, and his bold vision for the Foundation's future, among other qualities, distinguished him as the best candidate to lead NWHF.

As we start 2019, the board and staff of Northwest Health Foundation will follow and work alongside Jesse in pursuit of our vision of health for everyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington.



Phil Wu’s signature

Phil Wu, NWHF Board Chair


Updates on our Executive Search

August 22, 2018

As many of you know, Friday, August 3 was Nichole June Maher’s last day as Northwest Health Foundation’s president. In case you didn’t know, here’s our original post about her transition to a new role.

Since Nichole’s departure, we’ve received a lot of questions about what this means for Northwest Health Foundation. We’re writing this post to answer some of those questions.

1.     Do you have an interim president?

We do not. Our board and staff agreed on a shared leadership model during the transition. Our Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs Jesse Beason and Director of Programs Jen Matheson are leading program operations, and our Vice President of Finance Jason Hilton and Operations Manager Stephenie Smith are leading internal operations.

2.     How are you going about hiring a new president?

Northwest Health Foundation’s board of directors formed an ad hoc search committee to guide our search for a new president. The search committee solicited and reviewed proposals from executive search firms and selected Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group LLC. NPAG will conduct a search for NWHF’s next president with input and support from our board and staff.

3.     Are you accepting applications yet?

Not quite yet. Right now, the search firm is drafting and editing a new position description. They plan to open the position to applications in September and conduct outreach and interviews through December. [Now we are! Please see below. - 9/10/18]

4.     When will the new president start?

We hope the new president will start in early 2019.

We’ll continue to add updates to this post as we have them. Thank you for your patience as we work through this transition!


September 10, 2018

Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group is now accepting applications for Northwest Health Foundation's next president. The position description is available on their website.


November 19, 2018

The executive search is going well, and we hope to name our new president in early 2019.

January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! We’ll announce our new president on January 22.

January 23, 2019

Our new president and chief executive officer is Jesse Beason! Read the announcement from our board chair.

Our President & CEO Prepares for a New Role

Nichole June Maher from the shoulders up, smiling.

We are sad, proud and thrilled to announce that Northwest Health Foundation’s President and CEO Nichole June Maher has accepted a new position as President and CEO of Group Health Foundation.

Group Health Foundation was founded in 2015 and funded in 2017 with the profits from Group Health Cooperative’s sale to Kaiser Permanente. GHF is a 501(c)(4) with $1.72 billion in financial assets. Their mission is to shape and accelerate efforts to improve health equity and advance community aspirations for a vibrant, healthy future in Washington.

We know Nichole is the right person to lead GHF’s work. Over the last six years at NWHF, Nichole led the Foundation through a significant transformation. After years of giving to healthcare systems, mainstream nonprofits and research institutions, we shifted our approach to partnering with community-led organizations that focus on changing policies and systems. We increased our giving to communities of color, rural communities and disability communities significantly, and started to make better use of our 501(c)(4) resources.

We will miss Nichole so much, and we’re incredibly thankful for all that she’s accomplished in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Health stems from all aspects of our lives: education, economic opportunity, a sound environment, a connected community and loving family and friends. I have been so fortunate to experience all of this here in Oregon.

It is hard for me to leave Northwest Health Foundation and for my family to leave the place we’ve called home for so long. I also know that while a river may separate us, Washington and Oregon face many challenges in health equity together. I look forward to working on those challenges in my new role at Group Health Foundation. And I know that the many friendships I’ve forged, and community partnerships Northwest Health Foundation has created throughout our region, will endure. The staff and board at the Foundation are such an inspiration to me. I’ll miss them all dearly.
— Nichole June Maher

Nichole’s last day at NWHF will be August 3rd. Northwest Health Foundation’s board will work with an executive search firm to select a new president and CEO over the coming months. Please stay tuned for more information.

Putting ALL our money where our mouth is with a contracting policy

Chef Naoko describing the food at an NWHF board dinner at her restaurant Shizuku.

Chef Naoko describing the food at an NWHF board dinner at her restaurant Shizuku.

We are proud of everything we have done at Northwest Health Foundation to ensure our grant dollars go to the communities who have the most opportunity to create positive change for everyone in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Over 75% of our grant dollars go to organizations led by people of color. Half of our grants go to organizations outside of the Portland metro area. And one out of ten go to disability communities. It has taken long-term, intentional work to reach these numbers.

However, our budget is more than just grants. We spend quite a bit of money operating as an organization, hiring consultants to support our grantees, contracting with caterers and hotels, maintaining the Center for Philanthropy (our downtown Portland office space) and more.

In 2012, when Nichole June Maher took over as Northwest Health Foundation's president and chief executive officer, she requested an audit of our operating dollars. She wanted to know what percentage of our operating budget was spent on hiring racial/ethnic minority, disability, LGBTQ and Oregon-owned firms. We were deeply dismayed to discover that only one half of one percent went to minority-owned firms, and 100% of our paid consultants were white.

Eager to make a change, our leadership team and board immediately began to research philanthropic best practices around minority contracting. Unfortunately, at the time, they couldn't find a single example within our philanthropic network of an organization that had passed a policy to prioritize contractors from specific communities. 

A Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities gathering at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in Warm Springs, Oregon.

A Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities gathering at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in Warm Springs, Oregon.

So we drafted our own policy centering minority, disability, LGBTQ and Oregon-owned companies, as well as companies that pay a living wage and provide quality health insurance and paid leave. We became members of the minority-led chambers of commerce in Portland and began to build our own list of vendors and caterers.

We also set a goal. Given that Northwest Health Foundation existed for almost 20 years contracting with majority white-owned businesses, we decided we should spend at least the next 20 years with a focus on supporting racial/ethnic minority-owned businesses, with a secondary goal of supporting Oregon-based, LGBTQ- and women-owned businesses.

Five years later, we have made significant progress. 95% of our consultants are people of color, and many are people of color with disabilities. Approximately 70% of our controllable business expenses go to minority-, LGBTQ- and disability-owned firms. (That's not counting women- and Oregon-owned firms.) This includes our plumber, our painters, our auditors, our lobbyist, Tribally-owned hotels across Oregon, amazing caterers and restaurants, photographers... We could go on.

The most important lesson we have learned is it's not hard to meet these goals. There are plenty of incredible businesses out there owned and operated by people who reflect all of Oregon and Southwest Washington's communities and support our values. 

Now, we challenge you philanthropic organizations and nonprofits across our region. Adopt a similar policy. Leverage all of your resources. Join us in supporting Oregon and Southwest Washington's opportunity communities.

A few tips for success:

  • You must have a long-term strategy and long-term commitment. Work at it every day.
  • Every member of your team can be a leader in this work. While it is critical for your board and senior leadership to commit to this goal, it's the staff who really make it happen through their day-to-day decisions and the relationships they build.
  • Use all of your influence. For example, anytime anyone calls to reserve one of our meeting rooms, we encourage them to use a minority-owned and -operated caterer.
  • Don't think of this as charity. It's a good business practice. At NWHF, every aspect of our operations and customer services has improved with this shift.

We are hiring a facilitator to lead UnWind

The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation (KPCF) seeks a facilitator to lead UnWind. UnWind will convene two cohorts of leaders three times over a period of 18 months. These leaders will come from organizations that have applied to and/or been funded by KPCF and Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF). At the convenings, they will:

  1. Individually and collectively reflect upon movement longevity;
  2. Collectively identify and analyze challenges to collaboration, including both communications and relational challenges;
  3. Practice and develop the skills to address personal and organizational conflict in support of building unity, trust and a broader movement for change; and
  4. Build deep, trusting relationships across race, geography and disability.

To Apply: Submit responses to the questions asked in the Request for Qualifications (linked below) to Community Engagement Officer Eduardo Moreno at by 3pm on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Meet our new board members: Cyreena, Jorge and Mechele!

In December, we said goodbye to our board chair, Vanetta Abdellatif, and board members, Dr. Robbie Law and Carl Talton. They are incredible people. We can't thank them enough for their thoughtful guidance over the last eight years.

Fortunately, we have three promising new board members to take their place.

Cyreena Boston Ashby

Cyreena Boston Ashby

Jorge Gutierrez

Jorge Gutierrez

Mechele Johnson

Mechele Johnson

Cyreena Boston Ashby is Oregon Public Health Institute's chief executive officer. She's worked with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Governor John Kitzhaber, and most recently directed the Portland African American Leadership Forum.

Read more about Cyreena.

Jorge Gutierrez is the executive director of Lower Columbia Hispanic Council. He is involved not just with managing the organization but also participates in the day-to-day delivery of services.

Read more about Jorge. 

Mechele Johnson has served as a Shoalwater Bay tribal council woman and organized as a part of Willapa Bay Resistance, a grassroots cross-racial coalition that recruits candidates to run for office and builds the voices of low-income people of color and rural Washingtonians.

Read more about Mechele.

At Northwest Health Foundation, we believe the staff and board of an organization should not only be experts in their fields, but reflect the communities they serve. Cyreena, Jorge and Mechele are community leaders and strong advocates for health across Oregon and Southwest Washington. We look forward to the expertise and perspective they bring to our board.

In addition, board member Dr. Phil Wu will take over for Vanetta Abdellatif as board chair; Michael Alexander will take over as vice chair; and Donalda Dodson will serve as secretary.

We're making some staffing changes

We like to say that we are a small but mighty foundation. After a bittersweet goodbye to our friend and colleague Suk Rhee, we set about retooling some roles to make Northwest Health Foundation that much mightier.

Today, we're excited to announce those changes.

Jesse Beason

Jesse Beason

Jen Matheson

Jen Matheson

Eduardo Moreno

Eduardo Moreno

Jesse Beason is now our Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs. Jen Matheson is our Director of Programs, providing oversight for NWHF's grantmaking initiatives and programs. Michael Reyes Andrillon and Eduardo Moreno will be our Community Engagement Officers, and Laura Nash, Communications Manager, will increase her hours, joining us full-time to lend support to our program team.

We can't think of a better team of ten to drive our vision for health and our foundation for action!

Goodbye, Suk Rhee

Photo portrait of Suk Rhee, sitting in front of a window.

Friday, August 11, is our Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership Suk Rhee's last day at Northwest Health Foundation. Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly recently appointed Suk to direct the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and she begins her new job in two short weeks, on August 21.

Here at NWHF, we couldn't be more proud of and excited for our friend and colleague's next step. Suk is deeply committed to the health and well-being of everyone in our region; always asks difficult, big-picture questions; fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment wherever she goes; and understands the importance of community-led change. We know she will impact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and the whole City of Portland, in positive and meaningful ways.

Suk started working at Northwest Health Foundation in January 2005, more than twelve years ago. She's been a part of some big decisions and transitions here, as well as most of our favorite memories. We are sad to see her go, but we're happy she won't be moving far!

A few words from Suk:

When my family immigrated to this country, we landed in North Carolina. There are many reasons to love NC, yet, I never gained a sense of belonging or home there. This feeling is captured in a passage in The Moon and Sixpence (by W. Somerset Maughn): 

I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not...Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.

Suk and the rest of NWHF's Program Team take a selfie next to a river.

There have been a few places where I have found such rest. This region, its communities and the work we have pursued together through my many years here at Northwest Health Foundation have felt like home. 

I leave NWHF this month to join the City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement as its Director. Thank you to everyone who has walked some part of this journey with me—for the actions you have taken, the lessons you have taught me and simply, for being your brilliant self.  You have graced my time here with your leadership, humor and optimism, for which you have my endless gratitude and love.


Celebrating Local Social Justice Heroes

We know that community building happens in shared spaces. Here at Northwest Health Foundation, we are privileged to have large, well-equipped meeting rooms and excited to be able to offer these rooms on a daily basis to nonprofit organizations serving our region.

Recently, we realized we can do more to welcome and recognize the communities who use the Center for Philanthropy's spaces. With this in mind, we've renamed our meeting rooms after local social justice heroes. While the rooms' previous names (Bamboo, Jade, Orchid, Ming) nodded to the Center for Philanthropy's address in Portland's Old Town Chinatown district, the new names celebrate leaders who contributed to our communities' health in a big way.

These are the rooms' new namesakes:


Photo from The Oregon History Project

Photo from The Oregon History Project


Beatrice Morrow Cannady was a civil rights activist and founding member of Portland’s branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She used her position as editor of the Advocate, Oregon’s largest African American newspaper, to defend the rights of African Americans in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Read more about Beatrice.

Photo from

Photo from


Arthur Honeyman was a prolific essayist, poet, publisher and disability rights activist who did things his own way. Among his life adventures: running for Oregon’s state legislature twice on a platform of “Spastic Power,” shuffling his wheelchair from Portland to Salem along the freeway to protest the lack of disabled access on buses and springing his mother out of a mental institution.

Read more about Art.

Photo from The Oregon Historical Society

Photo from The Oregon Historical Society

IWAO OYAMA (1886-1952)

Iwao Oyama edited and published Oshu Nippo, the primary Japanese language newspaper in Oregon, from 1917-1951. On the afternoon of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Iwao Oyama was arrested and his printing press confiscated. Nevertheless, as soon as World War II ended, he returned to Portland and resumed publishing Oshu Nippo with a typewriter and mimeograph machine.

Read more about Iwao.




Melissa Sarabia was studying to be an immigration lawyer at Lewis & Clark Law School. She acted as an advocate for educational justice for undocumented youth and would often testify on behalf of DREAMers. Melissa’s family believes she was motivated to protect others’ rights and help them overcome their life obstacles due to her own experience with cystic fibrosis.

Read more about Melissa.

Photo from

Photo from


Reverend Ramona Soto Rank was an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes of Oregon and the first Native American woman to be ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As a leader in both American Indian/Alaska Native communities and the Lutheran Church, Ramona strongly supported Native American rights for sovereignty and self-determination.

Read more about Ramona.


We hope to see you at the Center for Philanthropy sometime soon!


Introducing Our New Board Member, Kenneth Hart

In 2017 we welcome one new member to our governing board as three step down. We are inexpressibly grateful to Leda Garside, Becky Graham and Helena Huang for their years of service and the mark they have made on Northwest Health Foundation. Needless to say, we are sad to see them go. However, we are also excited to welcome Kenneth Hart.


Ken Hart is a certified public accountant and President of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario. He is deeply involved in his eastern Oregon community.

Read more about Ken...

We look forward to learning more about Ken's perspective and the impact he will make on the Foundation!

In addition, board member Bill Thorndike will take over for Becky Graham as Treasurer, joining Chair Vanetta Abdellatif, Vice Chair Phil Wu and Secretary Michael Alexander as a board officer. 

Farewell, Fannie Black!

Our Grant Administrator Fannie Black will be moving on to bigger and better things at the end of March 2016. We are deeply sad to see her go and will probably shed more than a few tears on March 31st. However, we are also so excited for and proud of her; and we're looking forward to the opportunity to welcome a new person to our team!


A few words from Fannie:

It is so hard to believe that it has only been three years since I started working at the Foundation. As much as I have grown personally and professionally, and as much as I have learned over the years, I feel like I’m not the same person I was when I first stepped off that elevator and through those glass doors. Over the years, I have learned some amazing things about myself and the many communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington working toward a healthier region. I’ve learned about my ableism, what it means to be an ally, and the importance of community-based solutions led by the very people the solutions aim to serve.

From becoming a self-proclaimed food coloring master for gingerbread houses to learning how to be an ally to other marginalized communities, I have gained skills, knowledge, and personal and professional relationships that will last me a lifetime. I am so grateful for the opportunities and growth this experience has offered me, and if the next three years are anything like the last three, I can’t wait to see what this next journey will bring.

A few words from Suk Rhee

Every now and again, you have the honor of working with someone who is an exceptional person in the world, and you are the better for it. For the past several years, we and our partners at NWHF have had the privilege—and joy—of working with Fannie Black, who has served as grant administrator. As a leader within the NWHF team, Fannie has played many roles: the person who saves the day for community partners applying at the 11th hour; a champion of our equity priorities; the standard-bearer for fairness and transparency before, during and after the grant process; the patient teacher; and the social connector who shows us by example that we can all do more and better, together.   

At the same time, Fannie was pursuing her studies. This spring, Fannie earns her master of science in engineering and technology management at Portland State University. (Applause and congratulations!) Now, it is time for new adventures and the next chapter. On behalf of all of us who have worked, played and laughed with Fannie—we will dearly miss you. And, we are excited for the world to be transformed by you as you have transformed NWHF. Bon voyage!

We're Hiring a Grant Administrator

POSTED: January 20, 2016
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled OR 5pm, February 25, 2016
HOW TO APPLY: Submit cover letter and resume to

The Grant Administrator is responsible for working with Northwest Health Foundation staff and community partners to implement application processes, deadlines, reporting and other systems improvements to ensure consistent and accurate grants processing. The Grant Administrator works with the Vice President of Strategy & Community Partnership and members of the program team to ensure the smooth functioning of the applications, review, reporting and monitoring processes essential to Foundation operations. The Grant Administrator is additionally a liaison between internal departments and the public, and provides professional customer service to internal and external audiences.

Checking In with Nadia Alradhi, Our 2014 Intern

Selfie of Nadia in her scrubs.

What has Nadia been up to since she left NWHF?

Since leaving NWHF, Nadia graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College with a bachelor of science in nursing. After passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and becoming licensed as a registered nurse in the state of Oregon, Nadia has been working at Marquis Mill Park. This is a post acute rehabilitation facility: a place where people go to rehabilitate following a surgery, stroke, hip replacement, etc, and get stronger until they are able to go home.

What's next?

Nadia recently accepted a job at Legacy Health in the Family Birthing Center through their residency program for new graduates. (Congrats on the new job, Nadia! What an exciting opportunity!)

What are her goals for the future?

Nadia eventually wants to obtain a masters degree in either nursing or public health (She can't decide which!). According to Nadia, her experience at NWHF helped her think more broadly and in a more global way. She is inspired to continue to create change and advocate for equality wherever she goes. During her time at NWHF, she started to learn how to identify the needs of a community and address those needs with sustainable, realistic solutions. This type of thinking has positively impacted her views and values as a nurse. She's excited to see what her future holds, and to apply what NWHF taught her in new and innovative ways.

While Nadia was interning at NWHF, she helped our Community Engagement Officers plan outreach sessions about Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities throughout Oregon and SW Washington. She also made a video of kids talking about what health means to them.

Introducing our New Board Officers

Our staff leadership team and 2015 board, with a couple faces missing.

Our staff leadership team and 2015 board, with a couple faces missing.

NWHF is excited to announce its board officers!

Vanetta Abdellatif follows Rev. Mark Knutson as chair. Vanetta currently directs Integrated Clinical Services at Multnomah County Health Department. She served as vice chair on our board for the last two years. We know she will lead our board with aplomb!

Philip Wu, MD is our new vice chair. Phil is retired from Kaiser Permanente of Tualitin, where he worked as a pediatric obesity specialist. He's been with our board since 2012.

Michael Alexander, MSS follows Carl Talton as board secretary. After a varied career across sectors, Michael recently retired from the Urban League of Portland, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Rebecca Graham continues as the board's treasurer. Rebecca, a retired Certified Public Accountant, has proven her skills as a treasurer again and again!

If you haven't met the rest of our board, meet them here.

We are so honored and humbled by the great work of our board, and the work that each member does in our community. In 2016, as we embark on our first year of Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Collaborate; as we facilitate our last Kaiser Permanente Community Fund proposal process; as we dig deeper into conversations about our equity priorities of disability and geography; and as we foster existing and new funding partnerships, this is the board we want to lead us! 



Nichole Elected to Grantmakers in Health Board of Directors

Northwest Health Foundation President and CEO Nichole June Maher has been elected to Grantmakers in Health's board of directors. She will serve a three-year term starting in March 2016.

Grantmakers in Health (GIH) is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to helping foundations and corporate giving programs improve the health of all people. Its mission is to foster communication and collaboration among grantmakers and others, and to help strengthen the grantmaking community's knowledge, skills and effectiveness.

Nichole will join several other changemakers and foundation leaders on GIH's board. "I'm looking forward to building relationships with foundations across the U.S., sharing the good work and success stories of communities in Oregon and SW Washington, learning from my fellow board members, and contributing to the amazing resource that is GIH!" said Nichole.


photo portrait of Nichole.