COMMUNITY FOUNDATION STAFF

SHARON MORTENSEN

President & CEO

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Sharon Mortensen joined MACF in June of 2012 as the President/CEO. She has called Midland home for nearly 20 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in communications from Defiance College and a Master’s Degree in counseling from the University of Texas, Permian Basin. Her responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of operation for the foundation. She works to provide philanthropic leadership to strengthen our community by fostering collaboration and giving today and in the future. She loves doing all she can to enrich and improve the quality of life in Midland. As well as her work at the foundation, she is active in many community organizations, boards and in a Christian ministry. She believes that the greatest joy in life comes from giving and serving and seeks opportunities to do that.

Favorite things: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens - Okay, seriously - spending time with my husband, our family and friends, being outdoors, running, exercising, baking/cooking , playing the piano, crafts, reading the Bible, enjoying our community!

Favorite place in Midland County: Our backyard – we live on the Chippewa River and it is beautiful to watch the seasons change.


HEATHER CROWL

Accounting Clerk & Scholarship Coordinator

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Heather Crowl began working at the foundation in September 2002 as the Accounting Clerk.  In 2010 she took on the role of Senior Christmas Dinner Coordinator and in October 2011 became the Scholarship Coordinator.  She wears many different hats at the foundation and enjoys her work.  Heather is married and has two beautiful daughters.

Favorite things: Camping, morel mushroom picking and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Taking my daughters to Riverdays in July every year for a free weekend of fun and amazing fireworks!


LAURA DITTENBER

Administrative Assistant

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VALERIE GERHART

Career + College Access Network Coordinator

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Valerie joined the Foundation in August, 2014, serving as coordinator of the newly created Midland County Career & College Access Network.  She and her husband, Bruce, have lived in Midland for 30 years and have raised two children, Jenny (Jae) and Paul.  

Valerie is a retired educator, beginning her career as a home economics teacher in Frankfort, Michigan and serving as a school counselor since moving to Midland.  She has worked at HH Dow, Bullock Creek, Northeast, and the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center.   During her tenure in education, she created many programs to address the needs of the community within which she was serving.  Her passion has been to assist young people in identifying and preparing for careers that fit their personalities.  Transitioning from public education to the Career & College Access Network was a natural fit for Valerie to continue to impact the dreams and aspirations of young people with leaders in business/industry, government, non-profits, higher education, and K-12 education.

Favorite things: Cycling with my husband and kids, canoeing our wooden canoe in wilderness areas or across the lake for breakfast, spending time with my elderly dad, getting my hands dirty working in the woods with my son or on the farm with my daughter, and creating dinners with local/organic food to enjoy with friends over long conversations.

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Meet a friend at a coffee shop or cycle the Chippewa Trail with my husband.

 


DAVE KELL

Director of Finance

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Dave Kell joined MACF in July of 2007 as the Director of Finance.  A Midland native, he graduated from Central Michigan University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.  His responsibilities include overseeing all financial services including accounting, financial planning and budgeting; monitoring of investment and custody services; development of financial and administrative systems; and employee benefits administration; and maintaining the general operations of the Foundation.

Favorite things:  Spending as much time as possible with his boys and traveling with his family.  Fishing, golfing and a good bike ride are also some of his favorites!

Favorite thing to do in Midland County:  I always enjoy a Great Lakes Loons baseball game!


MELISSA KESTERSON

Program Officer

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Melissa Kesterson began her role at MACF in June of 2015. Kesterson graduated from Southern Illinois University and worked in the broadcast industry for several years before relocating to Europe with her family. Returning to the US, she re-directed her career with a focus on literacy, access to healthy foods and community development. She is a Master Gardener and spearheaded the creation of the community garden located at the Greater Midland Community Center, where she serves as the garden’s program director. She will be responsible for managing the community foundation's grantmaking process as well as several community projects.

Favorite things : Visiting and spending time with family and friends while we hike or cross country ski Michigan’s lovely trails, canoe and kayak the beautiful rivers, swim in the lakes and explore by bike.  Next to reading, gardening is right at the top of my favorite things - right up there with cooking the produce I grow in my garden!

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Given the time of year it could be going to the Midland Farm Market, walking at Pine Haven County Park, gardening at the Greater Midland Community Center’s community garden,  floating on Lake Sanford, going to a show at the Midland Center for the Arts or having a family Christmas Eve ski at City Forest.


EMILY SCHAFER

Development Officer

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Emily Schafer joined MACF in February of 2014.  A Saginaw native, she graduated from Swan Valley High School in 2002 and from Central Michigan University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her responsibilities include managing, developing and enhancing donor services through the cultivation and expansion of new and current donor relationships and services, as well as through quality relationships with all constituents of the Midland Area Community Foundation.

Favorite things: Spending time with my family, especially, my nephew Gibson. Being outdoors biking, kayaking, picnicking and skiing. Attending concerts and sporting events. Volunteering for a variety of non-profits including Big Brothers Big Sisters, North Midland Family Center and also being a part of the Leadership Midland steering committee.

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Riding my bike to the farmers market on a Saturday morning in the spring which would take me to the Tridge, downtown Midland and also the Chippewa Nature Center. A great way to end the Saturday would be to attend a Loons game that same evening.


BEN TIERNEY

Communications Officer

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Ben Tierney joined MACF in February of 2012.  A Midland native, he graduated from Northwood University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing/Management.  His responsibilities include managing the communications, marketing & public relations projects and implementing appropriate pieces of the foundation’s strategic plan.

Favorite things: A good novel, northern MI, camping, photography, instructing kickboxing classes, watching football, engaging youth and spending time with family.

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Visiting any of our park and recreation opportunities, especially City Forest in the winter and the Tridge area in the summer!


NICOLE WILSON

Youth Action Council Coordinator

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Nicole Wilson joined MACF in August of 2010 as the Youth Action Council Coordinator.  A Midland native, she graduated from Midland High School (Go Blue!) in 2000 and from Western Michigan University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning / Non-Profit Management. Her responsibilities include management of the Midland County Youth Action Council and their respective Educator Mini Grant Programs, co-coordination of the annual Riverdays Festival and administration of the Dow CommunityGives Youth Service Program.

Favorite things: Detroit Tiger baseball, West Michigan, camping, crafting and spending time with her husband, Brent and their children, son, Porter and daughter, Callerine.

Favorite thing to do in Midland County: Bike riding through the neighborhoods, hanging out at the library, Dow Gardens or the Gerstacker Sprayground.