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WCF / ABOUT / People


The Whatcom Community Foundation team is working to transform your generosity into change for what matters most to you. Together with our fantastic board members, we are on a mission to amplify the force of philanthropy – by connecting people, ideas and resources – so that communities flourish.


Connect by phone with any of our staff members by calling 360-671-6463.

Mauri Ingram

President and CEO
“Every day people here in Whatcom County make charitable gifts with one end in mind: to make this already wonderful place even better. Their investments make a difference.”

Pamela Jons

Executive Vice President
“I believe philanthropy can be powerfully transformational for the giver, receiver, and facilitator.”

Sukanya Paciorek

Director of Special Projects
“I feel enormously lucky to be living in Bellingham and working at the WCF with great colleagues on impactful projects. What a wonderful community and place to live!”

April Claxton

Director of Finance & Operations
April has a passion for place, and loves exploring, experiencing and sharing the beauty of her home here in the Pacific Northwest. 

Sara Nichols Chiabai

Senior Director, Philanthropy & Operations
“What I love most about the WCF is working with people who care so much about, and want to make a difference in, our community.  I am incredibly honored to be a member of the WCF and proud to be a part of our community.”

Missy Belles

Gifts & Grants Administrator
“Working here makes me feel so good about what I do for a living. I love our mission and our purpose.”

Shannon Elmendorf

Communications and Engagement Officer
Shannon administers our scholarship program and collaborates on other programs and projects.


Aaron Brown | Chair
Aaron Brown is the Senior Director, Alliance Experience Leader at RSM US LLP.  Aaron lives in Bellingham with his wife, Sarah and their 2 children.

“I am so impressed with the work the Whatcom Community Foundation is doing and its ability to collaborate with others to amplify their combined impact and achieve positive results in our community. I’m looking forward to supporting this effort as a member of the board and continuing to deepen my own knowledge of this community I call home.”

Francisco Rios, Ph. D | Vice-Chair
Francisco is Emeritus Professor of the Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University (WWU). He served as dean of the College at WWU from 2011-2017.  Francisco spent spring, 2005 as a Fulbright Fellow at the Pontifica Universidad Católica Valparaíso in Chile. In 2017, he received WWU’s Diversity Achievement Award. Francisco served as the Senior Associate Editor of Multicultural Perspectives, the Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education. He served as President of the National Association for Multicultural Education from 2014-2016.

The Whatcom Community Foundation lives its mission when we support and lead efforts to close gaps and open opportunities to those who have been traditionally and contemporarily marginalized in our communities.  I’m pleased to work with a community foundation committed to learning, advocating, and leading for equity and justice.”

Tasha Dewey | Secretary-Treasurer
Tasha Dewey is a Certified Public Accountant, business adviser, and a lifelong Whatcom County resident. After graduating from Western Washington University with a Masters degree in accounting she briefly worked as a financial analyst before joining Moss Adams’ Bellingham office in 2013.

When she isn’t working in public accounting or serving as a board member, Tasha enjoys traveling, cooking, silversmithing and exploring our many parks and trails with her husband, Steven, and their dog Cody.

Mike Bates
Mike is a Bellingham native who graduated from WWU and has always been involved in the local community in a variety of areas. Mike enjoyed coaching his sons in Youth Soccer, judging high school students at Future Business Leaders and DECA Marketing Association regional and state conferences, and currently connects with high school students by Chairing the Bellingham Bay Rotary Student of the Month committee and selecting scholarship recipients. He has been an active participant and chair of Unity Care NW, Interfaith Coalition, WWU Alumni Association, Whatcom Volunteer Center and Faith Lutheran Church Council. He also served as a member of Bellingham Dollars for Scholars, Whatcom County Youth Soccer Association, Visiting Nurse, City of Bellingham Board of Adjustments and Landmark Review Board.  Besides being actively involved in his community, Mike enjoys traveling, photography, sports and spending time with his family (wife Diane, and two grown sons).

Carol Dellecker
Carol began working with Foundation as a volunteer with Whatcom Dollars for Scholars shortly after moving to Bellingham. She has served on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County. She is also a classroom volunteer in the Bellingham Public Schools.

Carol has both an education and business background. She has a MEd in Supervision from the University of Colorado and was a teacher in her early career. She subsequently began work in the telecommunications industry, managing business integration projects at AT&T Wireless until she retired in 2010. Carol enjoys travel, walking and reading, and especially treasures time with family and friends. She and her husband Ray feel bountifully blessed to be living in this caring community of Bellingham.

“It’s a privilege to join the WCF Board. I admire greatly the work WCF does to strengthen Bellingham’s community so it can flourish. It’s like gardening – we must all tend to this beloved place we cherish.”

Tony Hillaire
“We have an inherent and sacred responsibility to take care of our home and each other. We all share in the vision of leaving this world a better place. I am very excited to be a part of the WCF team because for many years they have not only accepted this responsibility, but have taken positive action, creating a brighter future for us all.”

Born and raised in Bellingham and Lummi, Tony is a Husband to an amazing wife, father of 4 amazing children, Lummi tribal member, commercial crabber and lifetime Bellinghamster, Tony is an alumnus of Assumption Catholic School, Bellingham High School, and Western Washington University. Tony has deep roots in Whatcom County, where he and his wife are raising their 3 young children. He is currently the Chief of Staff for the Lummi Indian Business Council, previously working in Human Resources and Employment Training.

Karen Occhiogrosso
Born and raised in Whatcom County, Karen has been an active participant on many local boards and committees and feels that it is an honor to serve. “We are so very lucky to live in a community where giving of your time, treasure or talent is part of the overall culture.”

Karen has been with the Northwest Washington Fair since 2008 and though she wears many hats, serves as the sponsorship coordinator. She is a mom of three amazing young men, is a proud Washington State University Coug and currently resides in Lynden with her husband.

Chuck Robinson
Chuck works along side his life-long partner Dee as a consultant helping businesses and nonprofits thrive. In 1980, after teaching and consulting in education for ten years, Chuck and Dee founded Village Books in Bellingham, Washington’s Historic Fairhaven District, and two years later founded Paper Dreams, a card and gift store. In November of 2015 a second Village Books and Paper Dreams store was opened in Lynden, WA. In January of 2017 the entire business was sold to three employees. Chuck has been involved in dozens of community projects and has served on the boards of multiple organizations including Whatcom Community College, Sustainable Connections, and North Cascades Institute, just to name a few.

“Over the years I’ve been so impressed with all of the initiatives in which the Whatcom Community Foundation has been engaged to help build a healthy community and enrich the quality of life here. I’m so pleased, and honored, to be able to join in the work of the foundation, supporting the work of numerous nonprofits and encouraging and helping others to accomplish their philanthropic dreams.”

Flo Simon
Flo Simon has been with the Bellingham Police Department since 1989 and is currently the Interim Chief of Police.  Flo grew up in a military family and spent most of her childhood in Europe before settling in Lacey.  Flo’s passion for helping others led her to pursue a career in Law Enforcement.

Flo is a member of the Bellingham Bay Rotary where she serves as Sergeant at Arms and also serves as Treasurer for the Washington Chapter of the FBI National Academy.

Steve Swan
Steve has recently retired from serving as the Vice President for University Relations and Community Development at Western. The Division included Internal and External Marketing, Communications, Government Relations, Community Relations, Web Communication Technologies and the Small Business Development Center. He was also responsible for special projects as assigned by the President, including WWU’s Western Crossing development on the waterfront in Bellingham.

“I have a strong belief in the important role that community foundations make in enhancing the quality of life in communities across the country. After having a first-hand opportunity to see the impact of the Whatcom Community Foundation in our county, I knew this was an organization that I want to support with my time and resources. The WCF is a special organization and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”