Board of trustees


Norm Passmore, President 

PaNorm (1)ssmore is a dentist in Dayton, and has lived in the Blue Mountain area from childhood. Active in many community service capacities, especially in the development of Dayton, he also currently serves on the Board of the Touchet Valley Arts Council that runs the Liberty Theater. He recently served as board chair for Community Council.





Sandi Blackaby, Vice-President

SandiBlackaby, a retired community college educator, was born in California, raised in Oregon and moved to Walla Walla in 1985. Her degrees from the U of Oregon and WSU influence her interests in education and community service, such as Camp Fire, Altrusa and tutoring at Farm Labor Homes. She is married to Earl and has a son, daughter and a granddaughter. Family and friends are the focus of her life, with travel and golf squeezed in to her free time.




Sherilee Coffey, Secretary 

SherileeCoffey, raised in British Columbia, is a graduate of Walla Walla University. She works at Coffey Communications, has one son and is married to Alan. Sherilee also serves on the board of Home Team, is a trustee of Children’s Home Society of Washington and is a member of The Exchange Club of Walla Walla. She also serves on the Scholarship Committee.





Gary Ponti, Treasurer

GaryGary Ponti is an attorney with the law firm of McAdams, Ponti, Wernette and Van Dorn, P.S. He was born and raised in the Walla Walla valley and attended DeSales High School. He graduated from Gonzaga University, spent four years in the U.S. Navy and then returned to law school at Gonzaga. While attending law school he met his wife Marilyn, who is currently the Director of Financial Aid at Whitman College. Gary and Marilyn have two sons, Mark and Bryan. Gary is currently a member of Walla Walla Exchange Club and is on the Audit and Development and Marketing Committees. 



Shannon Bergevin

ShannonBergevin is a graduate of Walla Walla High School, Bergevin and her husband, Robert, returned to Walla Walla to raise their family. She is the owner of Express Employment Professionals and serves on the boards of the United Way and the Chamber of Commerce. She joined the Foundation’s Board in January, 2011.





Tony Billingsley

TonyBillingsley, an emergency room physician at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, was born and raised in Walla Walla. The father of four joined the Foundation’s Board in January, 2011, and also serves on the board of Walla Walla Community Hospice.







Bertha Clayton

BerthaBertha J. Clayton grew up on a small farm in Waitsburg, Washington. She graduated from Waitsburg High School in 2004 and Washington State University in 2007. Prior to attending law school at the University of Idaho, Bertha worked as a paralegal and taught ESL and GED classes in the evenings at WWCC, She graduated from law school in 2013 and holds law licenses in Washington and Idaho. Bertha practiced law in Walla Walla for three years and in 2016, was hired as the State Monitor Advocate for the Employment Security Department monitoring the agency's regulatory compliance in its service delivery to Migrant Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs) and advocating for MSFW interests within the agency and the agricultural industry. Bertha and her husband live in Walla Walla with their toddler. She serves on the scholarship committee.



Chris Drabek

ChrisDrabek is the SPED, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director of Davis Elementary in College Place. A graduate of Walla Walla High School and Whitman College, he returned to Walla Walla in 1999 to raise a family with his wife Marquita--they have two daughters. He also serves on Walla Walla University's Professional Education Advisory Board, the WWCC Early Childhood Education Advisory Board, and the Exchange Parent Aide Advisory Board.




Tim Kennedy


Kennedy was born in Pendleton, Oregon and raised in Athena, Oregon.  He is a graduate of BMCC with a AA degree in Electronics Engineering.  He served four years in the U.S. Navy serving in South Korea where he adopted his oldest daughter, Cari.  He has two other daughters, Heidi and Shylah.  Kennedy is the founder of Tim’s Cascade Potato Chips.  He has had business ventures, in Russia, Estonia and China. Kennedy and his wife, Lori own and operate Don Carlo Vineyard and Estate Winery in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.  Kennedy has served on numerous boards and commissions, including Association of Washington Business, Seattle King County Workforce Development Council, Foundation for Russian American Economic Cooperation, Oregon Wine Board and Milton-Freewater Chamber of Commerce. Kennedy serves on the Scholarship Committee and newly formed Umatilla County Fund.



Kevin Michelson

KevinMichelson is Chief Executive Officer of the Walla Walla Clinic. Born and raised in Walla Walla, he returned to the community in 2009. Kevin and his wife, Heather, have three daughters. He also serves on Providence St. Mary Medical Center’s Community Ministry Board and enjoys golf, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. Michelson serves on the Investment Committee.




Mindy Nelson


 Nelson, a former community college administrator was born and raised in Walla Walla. Mindy is active throughout the community, serving on boards including Camp Fire, Visit Walla Walla and is a member of Rotary Walla Walla. She serves on the Development and Marketing committee.







Thomas P. Sawatzki

TomTom is a CPA and forensic accountant whose career began with Price Waterhouse, and includes stints in the communications industry and wine industry. Tom specializes in litigation support and business valuations. He is a long-time member of the Audit Committee of which he is Chair.   He is a graduate of Walla Walla High School and Eastern Washington University. Tom has served on a number of not-for-profit boards in the area. His children are grown so he has time to volunteer as an assistant coach for the men's and women's tennis teams at Whitman College. 






Mark Sherry 

MarkSherry, born and raised in Walla Walla, is a graduate of Walla Walla High School and University of Washington. Mark, along with his wife Debbie, daughter and son, operate the family dry land wheat farm. He is a past board member for the Northwest Grain Growers. He enjoys travel, sports, family and friends. Mark serves on the Community Foundation's Investment and Farm committees.





Jay Takemura

JayTakemura is a retired wheat farmer from Columbia County and has spent the last eight years working as the Community Relations Coordinator for Puget Sound Energy and Portland General Electric with the permitting and construction of the new wind turbine facilities in Columbia and Garfield counties. Jay is a graduate of Washington State University where he met his wife, Kris. He is active in the Dayton community including serving as a board member for the Dayton/Columbia County Washington Fund. He enjoys traveling, golf and spending time with his two grandchildren.



Anne Walsh

AnneWalsh is a Senior Environmental and Communications Manager for Puget Sound Energy in Dayton, Washington. A past president of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce, Walsh is very active in community affairs, including Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation. She also enjoys raising her two sons, with husband Jim, in Waitsburg, Washington.





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P.O. Box 603
22 E. Poplar St.
Suite 206
Walla Walla, WA 99362