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.
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.”
Senior Vice President, Learning, Opportunities & Impact
“I believe philanthropy can be powerfully transformational for the giver, receiver, and facilitator.”
Sara Nichols Chiabai
Chief of Staff
“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.”
Vice President of Philanthropy
“Magic happens when your philanthropy and commitment to our community intersect. This is why Whatcom County is such a special place to live, work and play.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to making Whatcom County a better place for everyone.”
Director of Special Projects
“I am grateful to work with a team who believe it’s possible to make our community a better place, and who are committed to making a difference.”
Director of Engagement & Philanthropy
“Supporting my neighbors in making investments in our shared community is a dream come true.
I am incredibly proud to live in Whatcom County and honored to play a small role in ensuring all members of our community can thrive.”
Resiliency & Program Manager
“I love the PNW! I adore our piece of it and the people here in Whatcom County. I am honored to be doing my small part in such meaningful work for our community.”
Francisco Rios, Ph. D | 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.”
Flo Simon | Vice-Chair
Flo retired from her role as the Interim Chief of Police at the Bellingham Police Department in 2022, where she had served the community since 1989. 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.
Tasha Dewey | Secretary-Treasurer
Tasha 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.
Aaron Brown | Immediate Past Chair
Aaron 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.”
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 2008. 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.”
Kerry has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience serving as a volunteer, fundraiser, program staff, executive director, consultant and board member of various organizations. She now builds and facilitates networks of philanthropy professionals working across issues and geographies to increase their impact on climate issues such as wildfire and water. Kerry’s work as an organizer with the PICO National Network, as Executive Director at Housing Long Beach, and later as a consultant to NGOs and foundations has allowed her to work alongside diverse communities advancing racial and economic justice through housing and education reform, criminal justice reform, voter engagement and climate resilience, among other issues.
As a community organizer, Kerry learned one of her most important life lessons: the value of leading through listening, and to always center the voices of those most impacted by the issues we work to address.
Kerry grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California and attended Azusa Pacific University and Goldsmiths, University of London. She and her husband moved to Bellingham in 2019 and are growing their family here in our community.
Darrell is the Executive Director and Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions. “In the 1930’s my Great Grandfather, Frank Hillaire formed a Lummi song and dance troupe named, “Children of the Setting Sun.” Before passing, my great grandfather left these instructions to his descendants, “Keep My Fires Burning!” As my grandparents and parents before me, we continue to follow these instructions.”
Previously, Darrell held the role of Chairman of the Lummi Tribe and founded the Lummi Youth Academy. The 24-bed facility supports Native youth pursuing their high school education and beyond. Darrell says he founded Children of the Setting Sun Productions and Lummi Youth Academy to create opportunities to educate on issues of Treaty Rights, Historical Trauma, Racism, Indigenous Rights, and Salish Lifeways.
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 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.”
Lucas Gutiérrez Senger
Lucas Gutiérrez Senger is an educator and consultant. Lucas’ career began in the creative fields. His film projects have been awarded top honors at Tribeca International Film Festival, South by Southwest, Naples, Manchester and Seattle International Film Festivals among others. He has contributed production leadership to media projects that have been broadcast on Vice, MTV, Fuse and Sundance networks and platforms, and his projects have been featured by Rolling Stone, Spin, and Indiewire.
At Western Washington University, Lucas is a dually appointed, first-generation college going, Latinx, senior instructor. In the College of Business and Economics (CBE) he co-designed the CBE’s MBA Consulting Capstone, and teaches in the CBE’s Management department, and first year offerings. His teaching includes Western’s emerging Financial Literacy program; the goal of this program is to deliver sound personal finance teaching and learning to all students in the Western community. Senger is also appointed to the College of Fine and Performing Arts where he co-authored the Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation minor. Lucas is Co-Chair of WWU’s Social Justice and Equity Committee, Faculty Advisor to the Black & Brown Male Success Collective and co-produced WWU’s Community Anti-Racist Training series. Lucas is one of two Ashoka Change Leaders at Western, connecting the campus to a global network of change-oriented academic institutions.