Melissa Williams, CFRE
Director of Development—Camp Fire Alaska
Melissa currently serves as the Director of Development at Camp Fire Alaska. After graduating from California State University, Sacramento, with a BA in Communication Studies, Melissa made the move from California to Alaska in 2014, to serve for one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Food Bank of Alaska. It was in that year of service that she discovered her passion went beyond general communications, into the field of Development and Donor Relations. When her year of service came to an end, Melissa, to the surprise of most who knew her, chose to stay in Alaska and continue following her passion, connecting people to causes they care most about.
Melissa grew up in California, experiencing the best of the ocean and the mountains. She prefers the mountains and loves the Alaska summers. Some if her favorite things include getting cozy with a good book and a cup of tea, going to brunch with friends, watching movies, kittens, family time, traveling, and spending time with her husband Tyrel.
Peter Host, CFRE
Development Manager—Alaska Public Media
Peter is the Development Manager for Alaska Public Media. Before entering fundraising, his primary background was in children’s behavioral health, having risen in the field from direct service provider to a Director of a remote branch of a statewide organization. He attained an Associate’s in Accounting while serving the organization in this capacity. He is a recipient of the Foraker Certificate in Nonprofit Management and a recent Veritus Scholar.
Over the past seven years, Peter has participated as Secretary of the Mat-Su Agency Partnership Board, Member-at-Large of the Anchorage Waldorf Board of Trustees, and Policy Committee Co-Chair for R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Children with Kindness) Mat-Su, and currently, as a member of the Winterberry Charter Council at his children's school.
This is his first year leading the Membership Committee after four years leading the Education Committee for AFP Alaska Chapter. He believes that lacking great skill and expertise does not excuse him from the responsibility of service above self, and that humility, dedication and curiosity have been his most helpful tools in supporting his community to the best of his ability.
Peter is a voracious consumer of audiobooks and podcasts and suggests the books The Kingkiller Chronicles as well as anything by NK Jemisin, and podcasts More Perfect, Revisionist History, and Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend. Peter is the father of two beautiful little girls, Sophia (12) and Violet (9), and the husband of another rare beauty, Alicia (age not provided ;^).
“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.” – Mister Rogers
Dr. Sandra Ehrlich-Mathiesen, CFRE
Immediate Past President
Professor, Management and Marketing—UAA College of Business and Public Policy
CFRE Ambassador for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest
Sandra is a full Professor of Management & Marketing at the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a management, leadership, and fund development consultant with more than 35 years of increasing responsibility in the private and public sector.
As a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in Alaska, Sandra has successfully raised more than $50 million for national and local nonprofits. For her vital contributions and exemplary leadership in the nonprofit sector, she received the coveted Outstanding Professional in Philanthropy award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Alaska Chapter in 2018.
A transformational nonprofit leader, she is the Board President of the Friends of Talkeetna Library. She and her leadership team has raised $5.4 million to build a library and community resource center and lead an endowment campaign in her hometown, Talkeetna, Alaska.
A dedicated nonprofit advocate, Sandra is a catalyst for excellence. She is the Immediate Past President for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, AFP Alaska Chapter. One of five AFP Master Trainers in Alaska, she facilitates the Fundamentals of Fundraising, Donor Retention, and CFRE Refresher workshops. Nationally, she delivers presentations at fund development conferences, webinars, and workshops.
For her exemplary commitment and dedication to teaching excellence, she received the UAA CAFÉ Faculty Excellence Award, as well as the College of Business and Public Policy Teacher of the Year award.
Assistant Director of Advancement for Donor and Alumni Relations—Alaska Pacific University
Chris grew up in Chattanooga Valley in northwest Georgia. Following high school and graduation from Alaska Pacific University in 2014 with Bachelors of Science he served in the U.S. Army as a logistician. At the end of his service, he received his MA in International Relations from American University.
During his graduate work, he worked with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences to help strengthen the bilateral relationship between the universities. Following his graduate work, Chris adopted his son and moved back to Alaska to work at APU in their Office of Advancement to help revitalize the department.
Development Officer for Scholarships—University of Alaska Anchorage
KaLynn is the development officer for scholarships at the University of Alaska Anchorage and previously worked as a donor relations officer for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. With a total of 18 years at the University of Alaska, she has work in many aspects of development from gift manager, to drafting fund agreements, planning donor events, and fundraising. An alumna of UAF, KaLynn will now earn a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in digital journalism. KaLynn is honored to also serve as a board member with Katie’s Handprint.
Originally from Seattle, Washington, KaLynn’s first years in Alaska were living remotely while working in Cordova, Alaska, and at salmon hatcheries around Prince William Sound. KaLynn has made Alaska her home for the last 30 years.
Jennifer Brown, CFRE
VP Membership and Engagement
Development Manager—Standing Together Against Rape (STAR)
Jennifer has been working for STAR (Standing Together Against Rape, Inc.) in Anchorage since November 2017. Prior to that, Jennifer worked in various roles for Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska for 15 years. As STAR’s Development Manager, Jennifer oversees all fundraising activities including individual donors, corporate sponsors, workplace giving and foundation relationships. She also manages all fundraising events as well as social media and marketing for the organization.
Born and raised in Anchorage, Jennifer has had two failed “escape attempts” - one to Palm Springs, California and another to Seattle, Washington. Lessons learned; Alaska is her forever home. Jennifer loves spending time with her friends and her family, which includes three sisters and their families and four grown kids – Tayler (27), Cameron (25), Triston (23) and Emily (21) – and her “youngest” Moxie the chihuahua. She also enjoys her side-gig as the lead singer of the local cover band, Danger Money.
Julia Martinez, CFRE
VP of Philanthropy and External Affairs—Alaska Children’s Trust
Julia currently serves as Vice President of Philanthropy and External Affairs for the Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT). She brings more than 20 years of development, nonprofit management, communications and public relations experience to ACT and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).
Prior to returning to Anchorage, Alaska and joining ACT, Julia lived and worked overseas in the United Arab Emirates as the Director of Advancement for the American School of Dubai. During her six-year tenure in Dubai as their first-ever Director, she launched comprehensive programs in strategic communications, marketing, fundraising/development, community relations and alumni relations. Earlier in her career Julia served in Advancement at the University of Alaska Anchorage in a variety of capacities, most recently as Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.
Her deep sense of commitment and passion for nonprofit management and fundraising has led to a variety of credentials, including CFRE since 2008, a Masters of Arts in Philanthropic Studies and graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Purdue University Indiana (IUPUI), an MBA from the University of Denver, a BSBA degree in marketing from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa and teaching credential from the University of Houston, Texas.
Julia previously served on the Alaska AFP board from 2010-2012 and is excited to return. again. She is a year six graduate of the Alaska Humanities Forum Leadership Anchorage, member of Downtown Rotary and founder of the Alaska Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.
VP External Affairs
Individual & Corporate Giving Manager—Anchorage Museum
Kirsten Swanson is the current Individual & Corporate Giving Manager for the Anchorage Museum. As well as helping run her family foundation, she has been working/volunteering in nonprofit for over ten years, and recently completed her Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. She feels very lucky to have had many wonderful mentors in the field, and is enjoying being able to be that for up and coming fundraisers.
Born and raised in Alaska, Kirsten loves getting outdoors and exploring her amazing state. When not out adventuring with her pups, you can find her doing trivia nights or in the local theatre scene.
Development Director—Alaska SeaLife Center
Nancy is the Development Director at the Alaska SeaLife Center. She and her family moved to Seward in 1992. Nancy spent 10 years working for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as the School Secretary at Seward Elementary. In 2005, she was hired by the Alaska SeaLife Center as the Executive Assistant. This position introduced her to work in the non-profit sector. In addition to other traditional assistant duties, she began building her own set of relationships with the organizations that interacted with the Center. She also assisted the development and events departments with various fundraising activities.
In 2014, Nancy transitioned into the Center's development lead position, and the role of fundraising and relationship building began full-time. It has been a rewarding change of duties as she has leveraged her knowledge and passion for the Center and its mission into a more finely-tuned, successful program. As Senior Development Manager, Nancy understands the value of a team dynamic, and often promotes everyone on staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center, as well as ASLC Board members, as part of “Team Development.”
Becky Chambless, CFRE
National Philanthropy Day Chair
President & Owner—Ember Consulting, LLC
Becky is an experienced Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) with a demonstrated history of creating long-term, sustainable, relationship-based funding in the nonprofit sector, as well as corporate community relations strategy in the for-profit sector.
Becky is the President and Owner of Ember Consulting, LLC, a multi-faceted consulting firm specializing in fundraising and philanthropy consulting, corporate community relations strategy, communications, training, and public relations. She spent almost a decade in the nonprofit sector leading fundraising and donor development programs for AWAIC (Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis), Alaska Pacific University, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska. She was also the Vice President of Community Relations for Wells Fargo in Alaska.
In addition to her role as Vice President of External Affairs with the AFP Alaska chapter board, Becky also serves as the Board President of Beacon Hill and as a planning committee member of 100+ Women Who Care Anchorage.
Becky received her B.A. in Business Administration and Management with a Nonprofit Management Emphasis from Alaska Pacific University. She earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation in March 2016.
A lifelong Alaskan, Becky currently resides in Anchorage and spends her free time volunteering, traveling, attending performing arts productions, camping, hiking Alaska’s beautiful mountains, and spending quality time with her husband James and their son Logan.
Jenny Di Grappa
Government Affairs Chair
Chief of Philanthropy and Community Relations—Food Bank of Alaska
Jenny currently serves at the Chief of Philanthropy and Community Relations at the Food Bank of Alaska. She has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for over 17 years, focusing her efforts on organizations that serve Alaska’s youth. She received her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
She was born and raised in Fairbanks, where she grew up helping her mom train for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest. Jenny is currently an honorary commander with the 673 CONS unit on JBER and serves as Assistant Director for the Alaska Ski for Women. She also serves on the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness Advisory Council, ASD School Business Partnership board, Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific Advisory Committee and helps grant wishes for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
External Communications Chair
Annual Giving Director—Catholic Social Services
Celeste currently serves as the Annual Giving Director for Catholic Social Services in Anchorage, Alaska. She has worked for and volunteered with non-profits for over 10 years. Raised on the lands of the Dena’ina Ełnena, she graduated with a BA in History and Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Telling stories and making people laugh is one of her favorite pastimes as well as getting outside to enjoy the vast beauty of Alaska with family and friends.
You can usually find her running on the coastal trail or unsuccessfully training her cat Artemis to walk on a leash.
Director, Anchorage—American Cancer Society
Charissa Habeger is the Director of Anchorage for the American Cancer Society. She has been with the organization and in Alaska since 2015. Her work in the field of cancer philanthropy has spanned over a dozen years and across international borders. She lives in Anchorage with her husband and young son, and is grateful to continue doing the work that means so much to her here in the Last Frontier.
VP of Development—Alaska Humanities Forum
VP of Rachael McPherson is currently working as the Vice President of Development at the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Rachael grew up in Fairbanks, then attended The University of Montana where she received a bachelors in Journalism. After some time working in TV news, she decided it wasn’t for her and moved to Laramie, Wyoming where she received a Masters of Public Administration.
Returning to Alaska she started working in development and has been with Girls Scouts of Alaska and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rachael spent 5 years working with Planned Parenthood in Alaska, raising funds and community support with major donors and events in Anchorage and across Alaska. Rachael believes philanthropy is about connections and creating stronger communities and is so excited to see what can be achieved.
Rachael and her spouse, Iain, have 2 young kids and family throughout Alaska and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Lynne Johnson, CFRE
Membership At Large Member
Director of Development and Alumni Relations—University of Alaska Southeast
Lynne was born in New York City but moved to Alaska in 1980. She spent her first summer in Nome and then went on to Fairbanks where she attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Lynne began her professional work with fundraising at the University of Alaska Foundation in July 1989.
Her fundraising experience also includes positions as Campaign Director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nikiski Pool Foundation (including a $3 million capital campaign) and Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula United Way. She has been at the University of Alaska Southeast, serving as Director of Development and Alumni Relations, since January 2000. She has been a CFRE since 1991.
Tammy Tragis-McCook, CFRE
Statewide Engagement Chair
Director of Development and Outreach—UAF School of Management
Tammy has a breadth of experience in the UAF system including time as Director of Orientation & First Year Students, and Marketing and Communications Manager for KUAC public broadcasting. Since 2009, she has been part of the UAF School of Management team as the Director or Development and Outreach, facilitating relationships with students, businesses, alumni and donors. Tammy achieved her CFRE in June 2011, and in addition to her staff position, teaches marketing and social media marketing.
It’s not all work and no play for Tammy; she makes time to ATV in the summer, cross country ski in the winter and practice yoga and cook healthy meals year-round.
Ken Miller, CFRE
President—Denali Fundraising Consultants