Community Foundation of NCW Welcomes New Methow Valley Fund Advisory Board Members

The Community Foundation of NCW selected new members for the Methow Valley Fund Advisory Board: Don Linnertz, Sara Steele, Kelly Wiest, and Jacob Young.

The Methow Valley Fund was established in 2006 by donors who wanted to support the charitable causes that make the Methow Valley a thriving community. The Methow Valley Advisory Board was created, comprised of local residents, to help inform grantmaking decisions through the fund.

Last year, the Methow Valley Fund received charitable bequests by Ken Westman, Mike Real, and David Walter that significantly increased its capacity for grantmaking and opportunities for making a impact in the community. “With the growth of the fund comes new opportunities and new work for the Methow Valley Fund and the Advisory Board decided it was the perfect time to grow its membership and invite new voices to the table” said Claire Oatey, director of community grants. “We were blown away by the response to our call for new volunteers! With so many wonderful applicants, the Advisory Board worked to bring on members that bring a broad and diverse representation of the community.”

The MVF Advisors agree to serve a term of 3 years to provide leadership and input, evaluate applications and attend site visits to select grant recipients, and act as an ambassador with donors, nonprofit partners, and the community. As members term off, the Foundation will seek to fill those roles from other members of the community.

New MVF Advisory Board Members

  • Don Linnertz is the former Executive Director of TwispWorks, where he created a sustainable business model for the facility, forged several partnerships with local nonprofits, and is known for his collaborative spirit. He helped established the Methow Housing Trust, has served on the board of Methow Recycles, and serves on several other boards in the Valley and Okanogan County. “Being a member of the MVF Advisory Board is an honor and the perfect way to continue serving the Methow Valley community and nonprofits”, Don shared.
  • Sara Steele is a documentary filmmaker and experienced in nonprofit communications. She works with many national, regional, and local organizations. One of her favorite recent projects was creating films for the Methow Headwaters campaign. She has served on the boards of Little Star and Blue Earth and is a Clean Air Ambassador for the Methow Valley Citizen’s Council. “My family benefits from our local nonprofits in countless ways, from the preschool my son attended, to the trails that kept us sane during the pandemic, to the clean air we breathe. And I’m inspired to do more!” Sara shared in her application.
  • Kelly Wiest has been an educator in the Methow Valley for over 15 years and now has two roles at Methow Valley Elementary: she teaches fifth grade and acts as the Program Coordinator for the International Baccalaureate-Primary Years program. Before taking on this coordinator position, she spent two years as an educator in India. “I’ve lived in the Methow Valley for 22 years. I care deeply about this community, its citizens, and the stewardship of this special place we call home.”
  • Jacob Young is the General Manager of the Old Schoolhouse Brewery. Having lived all over the world, Jacob has chosen the Methow Valley as his home along with his wife and two children. He has extensive experience in event management, logistics, and planning and guiding luxury cycling vacations. He enjoys working together creatively to find solutions. He volunteers with the Methow Housing Trust Policy Committee and the Winthrop Riverwalk Committee. “I am excited about working more closely to help the many wonderful nonprofits in this wonderful place we call home” he shared.

These new members join a team of current advisors that include: Sarah Brooks, Betsy Cushman (Chair), Jane Gilbertsen, Jay Lucas, Don Miller (Vice Chair), and Barry Stromberger. The next call for new advisor positions will be in 2023.

For more information on the Methow Valley Fund, visit

Don Linnertz Sara Steele Kelly Wiest Jacob Young


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Xitlali Cruz


I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at Stanford. Since the beginning of my freshman year I have been involved with clubs such as Stanford’s Space Initiative (SSI) and the Society of Latinx Engineers (SOLE). In SSI I built a rocket and launched it.


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Chelan Douglas Volunteer Attorney Services


The grant provided funds to hire a Housing Justice and Outreach Coordinator to visit rural and underserved areas. Rosie’s bilingual and bicultural skills and experience have increased equity of service. Rosie is building partnerships with local organizations through events such as the Columbia Valley Community Health’s Back to School Drive, as well as posting yard signs.

Tenoch Mandujano

Tenoch Mandujano

Scholarship Recipient

My father was a migrant agricultural worker who eventually started his own cherry and apple orchard. He told me if I wanted to live a better life, I had to get an education. I plan on starting a career with the Chelan PUD with a passion for renewable energy and in turn give back to my parents and community for supporting my dreams.

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