Staff


Photo of Cliff Jones

Cliff Jones | Interim Executive Director

Cliff@mrgf.org

Cliff Jones is the Interim Executive Director for MRG Foundation. He has over 30 years’ experience in social services, community education, and human rights advocacy. Cliff is co-founder of Tools for Diversity, a comprehensive curriculum led by a multi-cultural team that addresses problems caused by discrimination and prejudice and supports building culturally competent organizations.  His wide range of organizational experience includes skill-building for boards and supervisors, planning, mediation, workplace diversity, multicultural alliances, conflict resolution, and group facilitation. Cliff has also served on MRG’s Board of Directors and Grantmaking Committees.


Photo of Kelley Weigel

Kelley Weigel | Interim Deputy Director

Kelley@mrgf.org

Kelley Weigel is Interim Deputy Director for MRG Foundation.  She left her role as Executive Director at Western States Center in the fall of 2017. Previous to her role as ED she served as Associate Director and started out as the Western Progressive Leadership Program Director.  Kelley has also worked on the staff of Rural Organizing Project and Community Alliance of Lane County.  Kelley’s first Board of Director service was with MRG Foundation and she has also been Grantmaking Committee Chair.


photo of Lindy Walsh

Lindy Walsh | Finance and Operations Director

Lindy@mrgf.org

Lindy brings to MRG more than 30 years of experience in non-profit finance and administration.  She served on the MRG Board of Directors, Grantmaking Committee and has volunteered and worked for organizations that have received funding from MRG for much of her work life.  Prior to joining our team, Lindy worked at the Community Cycling Center, Partnership for Safety and Justice, and River Network.


Cheryl Gunnell | Administrative Assistant

Cheryl@mrgf.org

A recent St. Louis, Missouri transplant, Cheryl brings her passion for making a difference in the lives of others to MRG Foundation. As our temporary Administrative Assistant, she happily utilizes her 20 plus years of general office, customer service and organizational skill to assist us in our commitment of working for a diverse, inclusive society where justice and equity is a reality for all.


Consultants


Abel Valladares Flores | Democracy & Rights Organizer

abel@mrgf.org

Abel is originally from Querétaro Mexico.  He is a graduate of Western States Center’s WILD program and worked in the PCUN network since he was 15.  He currently attending college.  Abel loves passionate discussions about race, gender, class and food.

 


Nafisah Ula | Democracy & Rights Organizer

Nafisah Ula has been an organizer and campaigner since she was a teenager in Laramie, Wyoming. Her years in campaigning and movement building have instilled a deep commitment to using the strengths inherent in our communities by organizing in the most strategic ways possible.

Nafisah has worked with the domestic trade union movement since 2009. She hopped all over the country for the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research, built campaigns with SEIU and kicked butt in the public sector with AFSCME. In the last few years, Nafisah has been devoting her time to experimenting with new models of building worker power. Most recently she worked with National Guestworker Alliance, as their Research Director.


Katie Sawicki | Capacity Builder

katielsawicki@gmail.com

Katie Sawicki helps projects cross the finish line from planning to completion.  She provides individualized support to organizations, coalitions, community groups seeking to advance racial and social justice work. This includes strategic planning; policy platform and campaign development; research and policy briefs; policy advocacy; building organizing capacity; and/or organizational development that centers on communities most impacted by social, economic and health inequities. She worked at Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services in New York City for ten years and in the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Department at the Urban League of Portland for 8 years.

 


YeeWon Chong | Capacity Builder

yeewon@yeewonchong.org

Yee Won came to the United States about two and half decades ago searching for asylum based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and political opinion. He uses this lived experience and community organizing background to surface commonalities among people and galvanize collective power in search of a just society.  His consulting practice focuses on advancing social, economic, and environmental justice. He helps organizations increase their abilities to fulfill their purpose and create inclusive organizational culture.

Before becoming a consultant, Yee Won held staff positions at Western States Center, United for a Fair Economy and Haymarket People’s Fund. He serves on the board of Forward Together and Center for Story-based Strategies.


Stephan Herrera in front of a wall of pictures

Stephan Herrera | Capacity Builder

stephan@mrgfoundation.org

With more than 14 years of experience across Oregon’s social and racial justice movements, Stephan brings a thoughtful analysis, deep passion, and incredible skills to MRG. Stephan most recently served as Urban League of Portland‘s Organizing Director. Prior to his time at the Urban League, Stephan managed the Sylvania Diversity Grant Fund and supported the retention of students of color at Portland Community College. Stephan was a founder and former chair of Portland Black Pride. As Capacity Building Director, Stephan leads MRG’s Capacity Building Initiative, providing training and multi-year funding to help grassroots social justice groups grow to scale. Learn more about Stephan’s background and passions!


Kathy Wai | CBI Consultant

Kathy has over a decade of experience working with communities of color in various organizing, direct service, and advocacy roles. She has worked for the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), 211info, SEIU 503, and most recently at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) where she convened and trained a network of community-based organizations to build political power statewide. As an immigrant from Myanmar (Burma), she came with her family as a child and lived in the Bay Area and Oregon. She became politically engaged while working with refugee families and youth, and have been advocating with communities of color on social and economic justice issues for the past 10 years. In 2016, Kathy became the youngest and only woman of color to be elected and serve on the North Clackamas School Board. She also serves on Naral Pro-Choice Oregon PAC Board and was recently appointed to the TriMet Board of Directors by Governor Kate Brown.