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Bayside, CA (Sept. 13, 2022) -- The Redwood Region Climate and Community Resilience Hub (Redwood CORE Hub) has selected Katerina Oskarsson, Ph.D. to lead a groundbreaking collaborative effort to help attract new resources to the Redwood region to reduce the many impacts of climate emergency, while lowering the emissions that cause climate change.
In this newly created role of executive in residence, Oskarsson will engage with rural and tribal communities in the region around a bold goal: to become the first proven carbon-sequestering rural region in the U.S. by 2030, with improved decarbonized resilience across built and natural systems.
"Katerina is a national expert in this work," said Sara Dronkers, Chief of Staff for the Humboldt Area Foundation and the Wild Rivers Community Foundation. "When we were dreaming of a way to ensure inclusive community participation toward our goal of healthy ecosystems and environment, her experience was the example we turned to for inspiration. We are fortunate to have this expertise in our region."
The Redwood Coast of Northwestern California is home to ancient old-growth and second-growth redwood forests that are estimated to absorb more than 600 million metric tons of carbon — roughly 10 percent of the United States' carbon emissions.
Now in jeopardy due to heat gain, fires, and other climate-amplified threats, the forest embodies our global challenge: the need to mitigate, adapt, and absorb in recognition that climate change is upon us.
Formed in the fall of 2021, the Redwood CORE Hub aims to meet this challenge by facilitating healthy civic dialogues, deploying resources for capacity and technical assistance, and promoting a climate-smart future that also leads to a just and thriving economy.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Oskarsson moved to the region from New Orleans and Tidewater, Virginia, two of America's most at-risk areas for climate change impacts. Both communities are also emerging hubs for offshore wind development.
Oskarsson most recently co-led incubation and served as chief strategy officer of a regional coastal resilience innovation hub called RISE. In that role, she helped urban and rural communities pilot novel processes and technologies to reduce their climate vulnerabilities, turning these into opportunities to drive innovation and job creation.
Previously, Oskarsson served as deputy chief resilience officer for the City of Norfolk, where she developed and implemented the city's resilience strategy and created the city's resilience department to secure new resources and help it adapt to climate impacts in ways that maximize community benefits.
Prior to this, Oksarsson facilitated partnerships and information sharing between military and civilian entities working on complex natural and man-made crises at the NATO Civil-Military Fusion Center. Oskarsson received her doctorate in International Studies from Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she served as an adjunct assistant professor, focusing her research on energy security.
"I'm both excited and humbled to be given the opportunity to make a positive impact in this beautiful community that I fell in love with three years ago," Oskarsson said. "I hope to bring my skills and experience to help protect and strengthen this profound place, its people, and ecosystems."
About the Redwood CORE Hub
The Redwood CORE Hub is a community organization currently being incubated by the Humboldt Area Foundation and the Wild Rivers Community Foundation with offices located in Bayside, Calif., with a mission to help solve the climate emergency, and act with urgency to transition our built and natural systems to become both decarbonized and resilient at the same time. To do this important work, Redwood CORE Hub supports deep community engagement, expert technical assistance, and centers equity by ensuring benefits accrue to underrepresented and marginalized communities first and to the greatest extent. Learn more at redwoodcorehub.org/.
Photo caption: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has designed an area off the coast of Humboldt Bay, seen here, as the Humboldt Wind Energy Area. The agency formally announced the designation in July, 2021, and is currently conducting a required environmental review of the area.
A new initiative, the Redwood Region Climate and Community Resilience Hub (“CORE Hub”), has launched from the Humboldt Area Foundation/Wild Rivers Community Foundation to help improve local resilience across built and natural systems. By deepening regional cooperation the CORE Hub is poised to develop equitable solutions to address growing climate emergencies.
The CORE Hub formed to help bring new resources to this region to reduce the many impacts of the climate emergency, and lower the emissions that cause climate change at the same time. An overall goal of the CORE Hub is to investigate how the Redwood Region can become the first proven carbon-sequestering rural area in the U.S. by 2030, while increasing equitable outcomes as progress is made. This 8-year initiative will align emission reductions across tribal and local governments’ activities, public and private land and resource use, built and natural systems, and other sectors.
By prioritizing communities that are under-resourced to more fully participate in solutions and decisions, the CORE Hub hopes to accelerate broad resilience across the Redwood Region, including transitions to clean energy and transportation.
An immediate CORE Hub project is a series of briefings on offshore wind (OSW) energy development, prioritizing under-represented, under-resourced communities with supports to participate. This follows a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the process to license offshore wind production on the Pacific Coast. The CORE Hub will devote funding, coordination, research, and other community participation resources to help investigate offshore wind energy development in the region.
Photo caption: Floating wind turbines like these off the coast of Portugal could be part of an offshore wind power installation in the waters off of Humboldt Bay, California. Photo courtesy of Principle Power.
This project has received the support of U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman, who believes the hub is a “powerful example of the community’s desire to move away from fossil fuels — and I’m looking forward to it shaping this development process.”
The region is home to many Native American sovereign tribal nations and indigenous cultures, and the CORE Hub specifically invests in tribal expertise, to increase partnerships with tribes in climate and community resilience. The CORE Hub has begun dialogues with the region’s Native American Tribes and communities to seek their direct input, sovereign decision-making, and increased collaboration in offshore wind energy and overall climate resilience.
“The Biden Administration’s efforts to pursue offshore wind energy development is a tremendous opportunity for the North Coast — and can only be achieved with frequent and robust community engagement,” Huffman said.
Mike Wilson, Humboldt County Supervisor for the Third District, and CORE Hub advisory council member views the CORE Hub work as essential to the resilience improvements the region needs to undertake. “Our need is to collectively increase our understanding of the situation we are in with respect to climate change, the emergencies we are facing now, and the impacts to come, and work together on what we can do about it,” Wilson said. “We need resources to dedicate time to talk with each other with access to information that makes that talk – and the decisions that come out of it – well informed and more productive.”
CORE Hub co-founder Bryna Lipper, and CEO of the Humboldt Area Foundation, said the formation and mission of the CORE Hub fits perfectly into HAF’s decades-long legacy of intensive community and social development initiatives in the region. “These investments spur collaboration and local leadership, and promote the extraordinary innovation of our region,” Lipper said. “The CORE Hub initiative continues this legacy and is a deep commitment toward HAF’s new goals of Healthy Ecosystems and Environment, Racial Equity and A Just Economy.”
The CORE Hub helps locate and deploy resources for capacity and technical assistance for tribal and local governments, community-based and non-profit organizations, and others to help accelerate implementation and collaboration across the region’s portfolio of climate and community resilience initiatives. The CORE Hub also facilitates access to trusted experts, data, and research. The technical analysis for the 2030 carbon negative goal will include equity metrics, carbon lifecycles, and research of opportunities for additional sequestration of carbon in land management, in building materials, and by other means. Where applicable, it will draw from existing regional and local planning efforts and climate goals. From there, the effort will create a replicable recipe for rural areas to assess their regional carbon sequestration profile, with methods to prove climate goals and make decisions about how to achieve them.
“The Biden Administration’s efforts to pursue offshore wind energy development is a tremendous opportunity for the North Coast — and can only be achieved with frequent and robust community engagement." - Rep. Jared Huffman, Calif.
“Engagement efforts include funding for convenings, workshops, and the sharing of knowledge, ideas and goals,” said CORE Hub advisory council member Arne Jacobson, who is also director of the Schatz Energy Research Center and a professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. “Over the coming decade, our region and the world need to make a rapid transition to an energy system that is clean, resilient and more equitable,” Jacobson said. “To navigate this transition successfully here, we will need to engage in inclusive and informed dialogue across the region’s multiple communities.”
Other developments are underway in the region, including Humboldt State University’s proposed transition to become California’s third polytechnic university which expands research and educational opportunities and new housing, a large-capacity broadband cable connecting the North Coast to Asia and other areas of the U.S., with corresponding implications for economic development, and related businesses such as data centers, and Humboldt Bay port revitalization, which could include becoming a West Coast hub for offshore wind, among many others. All these have climate and community resilience intersections and emissions profiles.
These new developments take place in one of the world’s most significant ecosystems. For example, the region’s ancient old growth and second growth redwood forests are estimated to absorb more than 600 million metric tons of carbon, or the capacity to sequester nearly 10 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions. However, these forests — and surrounding communities — are now in jeopardy because of heat gain, wildfires and other climate-amplified threats.
At the same time, the region is managing the fastest rate of sea level rise in California, recorded at three times higher than the global rate (due to land subsidence), with associated groundwater inundation. It also experiences high earthquake and tsunami risk, and tenuous connections to both electrical and natural gas grids.
Central to managing the climate crisis while strengthening the economy and infrastructure is supporting well-informed community collaboration that guides projects and policies at their earliest formative stages and throughout their life cycles. “Addressing the climate crisis is a major technological challenge, but we also have to develop and implement a range of powerful community, economic, and social systems and solutions if we are to be successful in advancing this effort with the urgency required,” said Matthew Marshall, CORE Hub Advisory Council member, and Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority. “The CORE Hub is just the initiative needed to engage our entire community in a broad and meaningful way to catalyze and accelerate our transition to an equitable, prosperous, and sustainable clean energy-based future.”
This region has launched other sustainability innovations, including tribal cultural and prescribed fire to reduce wildfire risk, solar energy, electric and hydrogen transportation, salmon stronghold watersheds, long range water planning, forest carbon sequestration projects, climate action planning, sea level rise analysis, early and ongoing OSW research, and robust community engagement. “Significant efforts to mitigate climate and regional risks, make our infrastructure more resilient, and transition to be emission-free or carbon-absorbing are already underway,” said Jana Ganion, CORE Hub advisory council member and Sustainability and Government Affairs Director for the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. “The CORE Hub was formed to help further de-silo and align these efforts, include more under-represented communities in the process, and accelerate progress by working together.” Ganion is serving as the launch lead of the initiative, bringing policy and partnerships experience in energy and climate resilience sectors to help achieve CORE Hub objectives.
For more information, please visit redwoodcorehub.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humboldt Area Foundation board chair Kathryn Lobato announced today that the board has chosen Bryna Lipper as its new chief executive officer. The decision came after a six month hiring process which saw more than 90 candidates apply from across the country. Lipper was one of six candidates invited to visit and interview with staff in Bayside and at the Wild Rivers Community Foundation in Crescent City.
“Lipper was the candidate most qualified to take Humboldt Area Foundation to the next level,” said Lobato. “Her presentation to the board included very deep and strategic thinking about the Foundation and how we work. Her energy, enthusiasm and experience in managing complexity will be great assets to the Foundation.”
Lipper holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her previous experience in philanthropy includes co-founding the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative and serving as the initiative’s senior vice president from 2013 to 2018. Prior to that Lipper served as acting director for the Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lipper has stated that she is looking for her “forever home” where she can make a long-term commitment and positive impact.
Humboldt Area Foundation’s board of directors worked closely with staff, community members and local consultants throughout the hiring process, eventually reaching a unanimous decision to hire Lipper. Lipper will be moving from the Boston area to Arcata next month and start at the Foundation August 1.
Patrick Cleary, who served as Executive Director of the Foundation for the past six and a half years, will stay on part-time as Director of Community Prosperity and Investments. This new role will involve overseeing investment portfolios and advising and managing complex gifts.
About Humboldt Area Foundation:
Vera Vietor established the Humboldt Area Foundation in 1972. Since then, more than $80 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded in Humboldt, Del Norte, Curry and Trinity Counties. Humboldt Area Foundation promotes and encourages generosity, leadership and inclusion to strengthen our communities.
For more information on services provided by the Foundation please visit the Humboldt Area Foundation website at hafoundation.org or call (707) 442-2993.
Image: Headshot of Bryna Lipper.
Offshore wind energy in the Pacific took a leap forward this week, as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the Final Sale Notice (FSN) for commercial wind energy leasing on the outer continental shelf in offshore Central and Northern California. This is the first-ever lease sale proposed on the West Coast and will open up five lease areas for auction – three off Morro Bay in Central California and two off Humboldt Bay in the North Coast region. The FSN includes a list of the 43 companies qualified to bid for an offshore wind lease, with an auction scheduled for Dec. 6, 2022.
Offshore wind development on the North Coast is pivotal to meeting state and federal climate goals and can provide vital energy reliability and climate resilience benefits to the region. However, past boom and bust industries in the North Coast have harmed Tribal Nations and precious ecosystems, and the region is still recovering from a legacy of underinvestment. Today, many communities in the region lack reliable electricity, broadband, transportation, and housing, as well as access to childcare and other services – pivotal services that are needed to host this new industry.
“Far too often in our region, racialized and extractive natural resource industries have a significant cost in terms of collateral damage to underserved and marginalized communities,” said Bryna Lipper, CEO of HAF+WRCF. “Today, North Coast Community Benefits Network aims to rewrite that script as it relates to offshore wind by advocating for community-driven development approaches.”
In comments submitted to BOEM this summer, the Network recommended a 50 percent bid credit package to be dedicated to Tribes, Tribal Fisheries, local communities, and environmental research and monitoring. This means that 50 percent of the federal revenues from the lease sale that would otherwise go to the federal government would be used locally instead. The Network additionally proposed safety and protections for Tribal Nations and the environment and targeted commitments to building a local workforce around construction, operations, and science. The State of California submitted similar comments to BOEM, including a recommendation that the federal government direct 50 percent of the revenues to communities that will host the budding industry.
BOEM’s offshore wind Final Sale Notice offers a pathway towards achieving community benefits but ultimately falls short of providing the investments required for equitable wind energy development. Notably, the FSN included bid credits to incentivize developers to invest in the local workforce and domestic supply chain development and enter into community benefits agreements with ocean users and onshore communities. It also strongly encourages wind developers to enter into construction project labor agreements, which is key to ensuring good jobs and worker safety and improving marine resource protections. Unfortunately, the FSN fails to include necessary protections and benefits for Tribal Nations, the environment, Environmental Justice Communities, and Tribal and commercial fisheries, which are all critical to sustainable and equitable development in the North Coast region.
“Offshore wind energy can be a catalyst to meet energy equity, reliability, and lower pollution goals of all kinds to help solve the climate crisis and improve our communities. The specter of harm done by past energy and extractive industries looms over this, though. We need to be wise about the regulatory guardrails, capacities in host regions, and developer and community strategic partnership deployments to make sure this set of energy industries is done far better this time,” said Jana Ganion, Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs at Blue Lake Rancheria and CORE Hub Senior Advisor.
“The communities of the Samoa Peninsula include some of the neighborhoods most likely to be changed by offshore wind development,” said Natalie Arroyo, Natural Resources Projects Coordinator for the Redwood Community Action Agency. “The Peninsula Community Collaborative, composed of residents and small businesses in Manila, Samoa, Fairhaven, and Finnetown, wants to ensure that local voices are heard, and that important infrastructure is sustained. The historic boom and bust cycle of resource extraction around Humboldt Bay has left a lasting impact, and the Peninsula community wants to ensure that energy development takes a more sustainable path.”
About the Redwood CORE Hub
The Redwood Region Climate And Community Resilience Hub (CORE Hub) is a community organization dedicated to solving the climate emergency through actions that result in more resilient communities and ecosystems.
The CORE Hub was established by regional leaders in climate resilience, mitigation, and adaptation and is based at the Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation, serving the California counties of Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity, as well as Curry County in Oregon. The CORE Hub’s service area includes 27 Tribal Nations and Indigenous Territories. The CORE Hub’s goal is to help the region become the first proven carbon-sequestering rural and Tribal region in the United States. The CORE Hub acts toward this goal through planning and policy guidance; facilitating healthy civic dialogue; taking action for equity; promoting accurate, accessible public information; providing research, analysis, and technical assistance; project acceleration; promoting traditional knowledge and multi-generational values; and conducting rigorous tracking to document progress and ensure accountability.
To learn more about the CORE Hub’s work and community partnerships, visit https://redwoodcorehub.org/about/.
Click here to learn more about supporting the Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) Crisis Action Fund
Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation are standing with Tribal communities in the Pacific Redwoods region to mark Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s (MMIP) Awareness Day.
Homicide is the third leading cause of death for Indigenous women and girls. In some Tribal communities, indigenous women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average.
These rates are disproportionately high in the Pacific Redwoods region, which accounts for two-thirds of California’s MMIP cases. California is home to the nation’s fifth-highest number of MMIP incidents.
MMIP Awareness Day, which takes place on May 5, is a national effort to draw attention and resources to address this devastating pattern of violence and injustice.
The Foundations, which are supporting Native leaders’ efforts to end this tragedy, today announced that they are launching The Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) Crisis Action Fund with seed funding from individual donors and the Foundations’ discretionary fund.
The fund will support regional research, policy advocacy, crisis response and recovery, and will aim to close technical assistance gaps. It will also allow for the Foundations’ continued partnership with Tribal leaders and Indigenous experts to facilitate community support and address the root causes of this public safety threat.
“The national tragedy of MMIP has been all but ignored by philanthropy,” said Bryna Lipper, CEO of the Humboldt Area and Wild Rivers Community Foundation. “These are our girls, our friends, our community. Their absence is devastating to us all. Today, and every day until it is no more, we are called to face the crisis that is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. We can do something to end this now.”
California’s most populous Tribe, the Yurok Nation, has developed internationally recognized MMIP justice efforts, working with the region’s Inter-Tribal Court to advocate for public and philanthropic resources, elevate research, and help bridge barriers to services. Some of those barriers are a result of legal and jurisdictional issues arising from a 1950’s era Congressional Act known as Public Law 280 (or PL 280), which applies to California and five other states. Tribes were neither consulted nor consented to the sweeping change.
This law has been used as justification to deny law enforcement funding to Tribes and has “dramatically altered criminal justice in Indian Country,” according to the Department of Justice’s Institute for Justice.
"We, all of those who are left behind, are failing. Our people are going missing. They are being trafficked and murdered," said Judge Abby Abinanti, Yurok Tribal Court Chief Justice. “We will not stop fighting for a fair and reasonable share of resources for our region, for our people, and our justice partners. Failures are mounting and we must unite and ensure justice as the right of all.”
You can help by getting involved in Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s Awareness Day on Thursday, May 5. Community members are invited to:
“The Foundations will continue to support and partner with Tribal and community leaders to advocate for awareness and healing. We will also champion efforts to advocate with our elected leaders and educate the public about the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous victims,” said Paula (Pimm) Tripp-Allen, Senior Advisor to the Humboldt Area Foundation. “With sustained efforts of philanthropic support and public action, we can begin to work together to forge a path of healing and prevention of this national and local crisis.”
For more information on how to support Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day and the Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) Crisis Action Fund, please visit the HAF+WRCF Giving Page.
About Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) Crisis Action Fund
The epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people (MMIP) is a national humanitarian crisis, with California ranking fifth in the nation for incidents of MMIP, and the far north of the state accounting for most cases. The Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People’s Crisis Action Fund supports prevention and response to violence against Indigenous people in our region. Your investment in the Pacific Redwoods Missing & Murdered Indigenous People’s Crisis Action Fund supports regional research, policy advocacy, crisis response, recovery, and more. Funds allow for our continued partnership with Tribal leaders and Indigenous experts to facilitate community support and address the root cause of this public safety threat.
About Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation
The Foundations serve the residents of Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte Counties in California and Curry County in Oregon, along with 26 Tribal Nations and Indigenous territories by promoting and encouraging generosity, leadership and inclusion to strengthen our communities. We envision a thriving, equitable, healthy, and just region for the generations ahead.
Bayside, Calif.—The Humboldt Area Foundation and its regional affiliate, the Wild Rivers Community Foundation (HAF+WRCF) and the Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) are partnering to launch the Public Investing and Innovation Project (PIIP) to grow our region’s capacity for public investment. Amplifying this new effort, The California Endowment (TCE) also committed generous start-up funding for the PIIP.
To guide the implementation of the project, AEDC has announced the corporation is accepting applications for a new joint executive position, the Public Investing and Innovation Initiative Director, with the position officially opening to applicants on Feb. 17, 2022. You can view the full job description here at the AEDC website.
The PIIP is a partnership with HAF+WRCF, AEDC, and TCE to develop ways to build capacity within partner organizations to leverage stacked public and philanthropic funding opportunities, including unprecedented federal funding for pandemic recovery and increased California State resources. Future partnerships are envisioned to include organizations such as Tribal and municipal governments, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, and other mission-driven investors. The partnership aims to seek and blend these public resources with philanthropic and private funding for the greatest impact.
Currently, the Redwood Region has no formal collaborative effort to prioritize, develop a pipeline of projects, and leverage funding opportunities. In combining the experience of the region’s community foundation (HAF+WRCF) and the region’s largest community development financial institution (CDFI) through AEDC, the new partnership can make significant regional impacts as public funding for climate mitigation, economic development, and equity increases.
“This new partnership with the Humboldt Area Foundation and The California Endowment is a great moment for our region. AEDC and HAF’s combined decades of experience providing funding to community projects can uniquely support this region as we grow our capacity to attract Public investment. Together, we can create a strong coalition to identify and fund critical projects in our Northern California Community communities,” says Ross Welch, executive director of the AEDC.
The Public Investing and Innovation Project draws from Capital Absorption, a framework developed by the Center for Community Investment that measures and assists the ability of regions to attract and deploy capital in support of low- and moderate-income communities.
Through the capital absorption framework, communities like the North Coast gather to articulate their priorities, establish a pipeline of feasible projects, and create an enabling environment that connects community investors with community needs. Moreover, a fundamental component of the framework is navigating the policies, barriers, interests, and environments in which those projects will be implemented.
Capital Absorption empowers communities to assess their own economic development needs. According to the publications from the Center for Community Investment, the framework positions communities to be ready to engage with potential investors, whether that's public or private investors. The capital absorption framework also helps communities answer questions like: ‘where would we invest a large sum of money, who is equipped to manage it, and how does it support our community’s priorities?’ By using this framework, communities generate projects that are both ambitious and actionable because we know they are in support of community values and needs.
“The Public Investing and Innovation Project (PIIP) can empower the region to attract significant public and private investment while providing the infrastructure to absorb funding and distribute its equitability into systems. By building a case for economic development that’s based on community values and input, the capital absorption framework centers issues of racial equity, just economic development, and environmental and climate remediation at the outset of major development projects,” says Bryna Lipper, chief executive officer of HAF+WRCF.
As part of the partnership with The California Endowment, AEDC and HAF+WRCF will develop a learning and reporting model as part of the project’s initial development. Early learnings and organizational changes from both the AEDC and HAF+WRCF will be shared with TCE and other funders and financial institutions in order to evaluate how the shared-executive and partnership model effectively support community development.
“Investing in this project in Northern California is exciting. This innovative CDFI and Community Foundation partnership model has the potential to increase health an racial equity through a formal, values based investment collaboration that generates an enabling environment for more just economic development. During this unprecedented time we have an opportunity to reimagine how we can begin to address structural inequities that were laid bare over the course of the pandemic,” says Annalisa Robles, senior program officer for The California Endowment. “The multi-sector partnerships that focus on building and strengthening alliances that span racial, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries can identify the many opportunities for development on the North Coast and beyond, while also raising awareness to the barriers and systemic inefficiencies that hinder community investment. The Endowment is also eager to learn about this model and share its successes and learnings with the philanthropic and development communities,” she adds.
The Humboldt Area Foundation and its regional affiliate, the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, serve the residents of Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties in California, and Curry County in Southern Oregon. Annually, the foundation invests more than $6 million in our community through grants, loans, scholarships, and more.
About the Arcata Economic Development Corporation
AEDC is the region’s largest Community Development Financial Institution and is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization. Since 1978, AEDC has provided financing for business opportunities in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, Siskiyou, and Trinity counties in Northern California. AEDC and HAF+WRCF have worked together to fund complex community development projects, including jointly providing more than $8.4 million in grants and loans for economic recovery during the COVID-19 response.
About The California Endowment
The California Endowment is a private non-profit, statewide foundation that works to make California a healthier place for all. Created in 1996 when Blue Cross of California acquired the for-profit subsidiary WellPoint Health Networks, today TCE is the largest private health foundation in the state with more than $3 billion in assets. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded more than 22,000 grants totaling over $2.9 billion to community-based organizations throughout California.
HAF+WRCF announces the addition of three new board of directors: Alex Ozaki-McNeill, Alan Nidiffer and Dr. Keith Flamer.
The three new board directors join current directors Raquel Ortega, secretary, Charlie Jordan, board chair, David Finigan, vice chairman, Judge Abby Abinanti, Christina Huff, Mary Keehn, Dina Moore, Marylyn Paik-Nicely and Dennis Rael.
“Bringing voices to the board from all of the communities we serve is essential for true representation,” said Board Chair Charlie Jordan. “Additionally, adding members with experience and skills that enhance the foundation’s ability to serve makes us a stronger organization.”
Alex Ozaki-McNeill, raised in Arcata and educated at Cal Poly Humboldt, is the current Director of the North Country Fair and works as a compliance manager and HR for the cannabis-related business Flower Co. in Arcata. Prior to that she led Brio Baking Inc.'s direct public offering in order to finance improvements through community investments. Past and present non-profit and community group involvement includes Equity Arcata, Cooperation Humboldt, Humboldt Asian and Pacific Islanders (HAPI), and Eureka Chinatown Project.
“Growing up in the Humboldt area fueled my love of nature, arts, and community involvement. I am a new mom and am eager to raise my daughter in the same community that helped shape me into who I am,” Ozaki-McNeill said.
Alan Nidiffer, a long-time resident of Brookings, Oregon, graduate of Oregon State University, is a New York Life Insurance Company agent who served on the advisory board of Wild Rivers Community Foundation for two years before joining the Humboldt Area Board of Directors. Previously, Alan served as executive vice president/chief information officer for C&K Markets Inc. and Ray’s Food Place. He also worked as a senior programmer for Weyerhaeuser and Willamette Industries.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join the Foundation’s board because it is known to have a tremendous impact in our region,” Nidiffer said. “And I am excited to help contribute to its mission of supporting youth and families, healthy ecosystems, racial equity, and regional economic development, especially in Curry County.”
Keith Flamer, president and superintendent of College of the Redwoods arrived in Humboldt County in 2006 from Chicago, Illinois. He is a senior-level executive with a PhD degree in Educational Leadership and more than 25 years of leadership experience in higher education, including navigating the operational and political aspects of college funding, and experience with securing government and institutional funding. His community endeavors include being a member of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, board director for the Boys and Girls of Humboldt County, member of the League of Women Voters of Humboldt County, and the Rotary Club of Eureka.
“The opportunity to join the Foundation’s board provides me a way to give back to my community and serve with colleagues whose values and commitments reflect my own,” Flamer said.
Foundation CEO Bryna Lipper welcomed the new board directors, saying, “Since I arrived in this region, Dr. Flamer, Alan, and Alex have provided me personally with strategic counsel, guided about underserved and marginalized communities, and demonstrated brave leadership in their respective fields. I am confident that their appointment to the foundation’s board will amplify these values and our commitments to a just, thriving, healthy and equitable region.”
In 2021 The Foundation’s board announced a new region-wide strategy focused on building a “Just Economy, Healthy Ecosystems and Environments, Thriving Youth and Families, and Racial Equity.” The Board also affirmed the Foundation’s commitment to serving Trinity, Del Norte, and Humboldt counties in California, and Curry County, Oregon, as well as the 26 Tribal Nations and Indigenous Territories across this region. The Foundation’s board oversees affiliates such as the Humboldt Health Foundation, the Native Cultures Fund, the Redwood Region CORE Hub and other major initiatives.
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