Welcome New Board Members

December 8, 2016

Philanthropy Northwest proudly welcomed three new board members at our December 2016 board meeting, representing organizations committed to vibrant, healthy communities in Alaska, Oregon and Washington: Nichole Maher of Northwest Health Foundation, Aleesha Towns-Bain of Rasmuson Foundation and Huong Vu of The Boeing Company.

Nichole June Maher, President, Northwest Health Foundation (Oregon)

The youngest president of a major foundation in the Northwest, Nichole has led Northwest Health Foundation through a significant transformation to better serve Oregon and southwest Washington. She currently serves on several national boards, including Grantmakers in Health, Comcast NBC and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition; this is her first opportunity to serve on a regionally-focused board. Nichole holds a masters degree in public health from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and two bachelors of science, one in public health and one in American Indian studies from Oregon State University. In 1999, she completed a fellowship at Harvard Medical School, as well as the Robert Wood Johnson Minority Medical Education program at Yale Medical School in 1998. She has received numerous leadership and industry honors, including Oregon’s 50 most powerful people, Oregon’s top 40 under 40, Portland’s 50 most influential people, as well the Oregon Women of Distinction award. Born in Ketchikan, Alaska, Nichole attended school on the Siletz Indian Reservation in Oregon and is a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Southeast Alaska. She is a proud mother of three young children.

Aleesha Towns-Bain, CP/COO, Rasmuson Foundation (Alaska)

In her role at Rasmuson Foundation, Aleesha oversees external affairs, government affairs and events. She also works on Recover Alaska, a collaborative aimed at reducing harms associated with excessive alcohol consumption in Alaska. She is a graduate of Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s Training Without Walls Program, designed for emerging leaders. In 2012, she was selected as one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40. In 2013, she graduated from the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Project for emerging philanthropic leaders. She recently served on the board of Native Americans in Philanthropy. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2008, Aleesha was the editor of the Crested Butte News, a weekly newspaper in Western Colorado. Aleesha has a Bachelor of Arts with concentrations in journalism and Native American studies from The Evergreen State College and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Huong T. Vu, Community Investor, The Boeing Company (Washington)

For two decades, Huong Vu has directly managed up to $100 million in philanthropic investments for foundations, corporate giving and national regranting programs, including investments in programming, arts education, capital campaigns, capacity-building, technology, creative placemaking, economic development, and training grants. She currently oversees Boeing Commercial Airplane’s Pacific Northwest Region arts, culture and civic engagement grants portfolio. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Seattle University in the MFA Arts Leadership Program, teaching advanced fundraising strategies. Prior to Boeing, Huong was the senior arts program officer at The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, guest curator at contemporary performance center On the Boards, director of grants programs at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts and an organizer of visual arts exhibitions. Huong also serves on the boards of the Seattle Parks Foundation and Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Past board service includes Seattle Arts Commission, Grantmakers in the Arts and the National Performance Network. Huong is the co-chair of the Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands' successful capital campaign to raise $2.8 million to address food security in underserved communities; community partners include the Seattle Parks Foundation, Seattle Tilth, Friends of the Rainier Beach, and City of Seattle. Improvements will potentially increase food production from 5,000 to 20,000 pounds per year at the 8 acre organic farm; this public-private initiative with the City is the largest community farm in Seattle. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and a philanthropy executives program certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Chaired by Kevin Walker of Northwest Area Foundation, Philanthropy Northest's board represents our network of family funds, foundations and corporate giving programs investing in vibrant, healthy communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.