Home > Blog > The Community Foundation of Western Nevada’s Proud History and Lineage

In 2018 we celebrated the Community Foundation of Western Nevada’s 20th year. As we have now moved on to the next 20, I’d like to celebrate some of the individuals who conceived of and led, the establishment and development of the Foundation. Perhaps the most esteemed leadership of any community foundation anywhere in history was the group that started our Community Foundation.

Led by Founder and Chair Jim Webster, partnering with Secretary Mark Knobel and Treasurer David Turner, the stage was set for high-level leadership. The other Founders included Nancy Fennell, Ron Zurek, Bob Armstrong, Hazel Van Allen, and Mary Ellen McMullen. In 1999 Marguerite Wattis Petersen made a generous financial commitment which allowed the Community Foundation to launch. We are forever grateful to her, the Petersen family and her attorney for their support.

To date, more than 90 people have served on the Community Foundation Board.

First in my mind is the group of individuals who have served as Chair. It has been my great privilege to work with them. Jim Webster was Chair for seven years, followed by Jennifer Satre for five years. Norma Webster then took up the mantle, followed by Linda Smith, Tom Hall, and Jim Pfrommer. We will shortly announce our incoming Chair and I can share that following in the footsteps of these leaders is considered a great honor by our nominee.

Serving as Vice Chair are many of the same who ascended to Chair, as well as Nancy Fennell, Sallie Armstrong, Butch Anderson, and Teresa Mentzer. Board Secretaries have included John Mulligan, Tom Hall, Butch Anderson, Matt Gray, and currently Tyson Cross. Board Treasurers have included Dick Barnard, Butch Anderson, Jim Pfrommer, Gail Humphreys, and currently Leslie Daane.

The growth and impact of the Community Foundation is a direct result of the Board leadership.

Does it sound boastful to say that we have the best Board in Nevada and perhaps the Country? I certainly feel that way.

I have in our records the first typed memorandum from Jim Webster dated June 24, 1996, addressed to “Community Foundation SWAT Team”, and the handwritten minutes of the first meeting dated August 9, 1996. At that meeting Jim Webster, Col. And Mrs. Bill Van Allen, and United Way committed $250k to help get the Community Foundation started. The SWAT team moved fast and held the official “organizational” meeting on October 11th.

We have formed another pivotal group comprised of the current Board Chair and all past Chairs that we call the Chairs’ Council. This esteemed, knowledgeable and committed group of leaders advise me and the current Chair to ensure we stay on course, and true to our mission. Please join me in celebrating our leadership and thanking them for bringing a Community Foundation to Northern Nevada. Their vision, energy, determination, drive, and generosity has forever changed and helped our region.

When you give through the Community Foundation you are joining a mission-driven organization led by the best.  Please give me a call if you would like to discuss your philanthropic goals.

Chris Askin, President, and CEO
775-333-5499
Connecting people who care with causes that matter.

1998 Founding Leadership Pictured above: Back Row Left: David Turner, Center: Robert Armstrong, Right: Ronald Zurek. Front Row Left: Gracie Bartholet, Center: Jim Webster, Right: Nancy Fennell

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