Board of Directors

Chair

Paul Christensen

Paul is the president and principal stockholder of Realvest corporation which he formed in 1969 with the concept of specializing in the management and development of larger apartment complexes. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from Episcopal Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California and a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of Washington.  He is a licensed real estate broker in both Washington and Oregon and currently serves on the boards of Identity Clark County, Fort Vancouver National Trust and The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He is the founder and past Chairperson of the Hough Foundation established in 1992 to support the Hough Elementary School and neighborhood. As a result of his vision and community leadership, Mr. Christensen was selected as Vancouver’s 1998 First Citizen.

Executive Director

Kathy McDonald

Kathy is an experienced principal with a demonstrated history of working in the government relations industry.  She is skilled in major donor development nonprofit organizations, grassroots organizing, crisis communications, and team building. Kathy’s focus is on policy, political strategy, investment strategy and development.  Under her direction her team turned the VSO around from a deficit budget and expanded the number of concerts and added a series of chamber concerts. Kathy has an extensive background in running successful turn-around campaigns locally.  She drove the original kick off campaign for Seton Catholic High School, where she branded the campaign, raised the initial $2,000,000 and set the school on a path to success.  She ran the successful library bond campaign that resulted in the two new state-of-the-art libraries in the FVRL district.  She was also co-leader for the “Save C-TRAN” campaign in 2005.  She has a passion for the arts and this community where she has chosen to take on the leadership role of building the center for the arts for the SW Washington region.  Kathy and her husband have lived in Vancouver since 1994.

 

Community Volunteer

Jeannie Hix

Jeannie was born and raised in the Seattle area, married a US sailor and was a navy wife for 14 years and has enjoyed living in Clark County since 1990.  Jeannie has been a manager of art gallery, coordinating partner in a construction business (H & H Contractors), worked as the advertising assistant manager for a newspaper in South Carolina, served on the arts commission in Centerville Ohio, and owned a retail clothing business for six years in Portland, Oregon.  She served on the Oregon Symphony Board for nine years and has been an active member of the children’s trust in the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. Jeannie helped found the Women’s Foundation in Vancouver Washington, served on the development building board for the new Clark County food disbursement center and served as the co-chairman of fundraising for Building for Innovative Services Northwest.  She has worked with many national companies including Nike and national broadcasting networks ABC and NBC.  She has also been a rotarian nearly 20 years, serving on the committee for peace and conflict resolution.  Jeannie has been married 57 years, blessed with two wonderful daughters, five grandchildren, two great grandchildren. 

PhD

Ann Donnelly

Dr. Ann Donnelly has lived in Vancouver for 25 years.  She has served on the Boards of Directors of Clark College Foundation, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library, Columbia River Mental Health Foundation, and NAMI Clark County.  She has also contributed to the political life of Clark County as chair of Clark County Republicans and writes a monthly opinion column for The Columbian.  In her professional life, she has more than 35 years of experience in the energy business and has been employed as a consultant to the energy industry since 1990.  Dr. Donnelly graduated from Stanford University with a B.Sc. (Honors) degree in Geology, holds an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chief Executive Officer, Columbia River Mental Health

Craig Pridemore

Craig has been Chief Executive Officer for Columbia River Mental Health Services since December 2014.  Craig is a former Washington State Senator representing the 49th Legislative District in Vancouver and a former Clark County Commissioner.  Throughout his political career, Craig championed programs to provide treatment for individuals suffering with mental illness or chemical dependency.  Craig is a graduate of the University of Washington and serves on the boards of NAMI Southwest Washington, Bridgeview and Friends of Clark County.

Vice President of Investor Relations, Vesta Hospitality

Elson Strahan

Elson served for 12 years as President and CEO of the Fort Vancouver National Trust.  Prior to that he spent 19 years as President of the Clark College Foundation. In both capacities Elson had overall responsibility for generating financial support including extensive involvement in a variety of property transactions. Under his leadership, assets at the Clark College Foundation increased from approximately $1 million to a benchmark of $63 million, ranking it nationally at the top of community college foundations.  Several major property acquisitions were incorporated in this asset growth. During his tenure at the Trust, the organization executed a master lease with the City of Vancouver to manage and renovate approximately 40 former US Army officer homes.

Ginger Metcalf

Ginger’s husband John called her a professional volunteer. As such, she lives by her personal motto, “What have you done for your village today? You CAN make a difference.”
Having served as Executive Director for Identity Clark County for 20 years, she believes there is one major piece missing from the community and economic development of southwest Washington and that is a premier place to showcase the many arts related talents of those who live here and visiting performers. She says, “It’s a huge piece and such a vital piece of any community. A performance center is the last piece of the puzzle that would demonstrate we are a community that values the arts . . . the piece that identifies us as ‘world class.’”

 Secretary

Robin Bradford

Robin is the corporate secretary at Realvest Corporation a fully integrated investment/development and property management company in the Pacific Northwest. She oversees Realvest & #39’s community fund established many years ago to support local non-profits that positively impact our community. Robin has a B.A. in Humanities degree from Washington State University Vancouver. She serves as an officer on the board of directors of the Hough Foundation and is an active member at her church. A native Californian, Robin has lived in Vancouver with her husband since 1979. She enjoys birding, being a grandparent, and vacationing in sunny locales.

SUPPORT STAFF

Administrative Assistant

Alicia Nilo

Alicia Nilo, from Boise Idaho, began her early career as an art teacher at a local community center. After earning a Bachelor in Arts at George Fox University, Alicia continued teaching at 8 public elementary schools and a private arts high school. She soon entered the nonprofit field and served as the Education Coordinator at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon. In this role she discovered her passion for designing and implementing education initiatives while establishing partnerships that serve the community. After working with the Cultural Center for two years, Alicia moved to Vancouver, where she continues her work in helping to build a thriving arts community.

 Marketing Design Advisor

Jean LaCrosse

Jean LaCrosse was born and raised in Eastern Oregon. After finishing her BFA at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Jean worked as an art director for ad agencies and design firms in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. She has partnered in and owned two design firms, a fine-art business and a music and hi-fi magazine currently in its 13th year with worldwide distribution. Some of Jean’s past clients include: Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale Memorial Health Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Bombardier Canadair. Jean currently serves on the board of Artstra, a non-profit arts organization advocating for the arts in Southwest Washington, and Vancouver’s City Public Art Committee.

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