Esther Kim | Grants Coordinator

Esther is a recent arrivant to Portland from Salt Lake City, UT where she was a long-time youth, student, and community organizer with the Voices of Diversity, Asian American Students Association, Queer Students of Color, and Organization of Chinese Americans. Her work centers queer and trans folks of color, fats, femmes, sick and disabled folks, poor and working class folks, immigrant and diasporic identity, non-coastal organizing and the abolition of the prison industrial complex. As the Program Associate, Esther provides administrative and project support for Grant Making, Development, and Communications; and oversees the Travel and Critical Response grant programs. In her down time Esther plays ukulele, make textiles, and likes to go for soaks at the local hot springs.

Roberta Phillip-Robbins, J.D. | Executive Director

Roberta comes to MRG from local government where she worked as a policy adviser and program expert on racial and social justice issues. She is a native of Trinidad & Tobago who arrived in New York City with her family as an undocumented immigrant in 1989.  Roberta left teaching high school Biology to pursue her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School with the goal of positively affecting the lives of young people and families through systems-change. As MRG’s Executive Director, Roberta will serve as a passionate and determined advocate who strives to live and lead wholeheartedly. Outside of MRG Roberta enjoys exploring the beautiful Oregon landscape with her partner and daughter.

Brooks Nelson | Finance and Operations Director

Brooks has lived in Portland since 1986 and been involved in a variety of social justice issues over the last 30 years. His work has focused on queer rights, economic justice, anti-domestic and sexual violence, unlearning racism and other related issues.  Brooks brings experience in both corporate and nonprofit management to MRG and is excited to get other folks excited about finance and operations. Outside of work he is a woodworker and videographer, most recently sharing his award-winning documentary Switch: A Community in Transition, with audiences across North America.

MRG Capacity Building Director Stephan Herrera

Stephan Herrera | Capacity Building Director

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!

Carol Tatch | Development Director

Carol has over 27 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Since moving to Oregon in 2007, Carol has served in fundraising roles with organizations that serve the environment, higher education, international aid and relief services, arts and culture, and social justice including at the Hoyt Arboretum Friends Foundation, Marylhurst University and, just prior to MRG Foundation, Mercy Corps International. Carol has a passion for social and racial equity in Oregon and is excited to work at MRG, where she can put those values into action. At MRG Carol provides the strategic vision and leadership for MRG’s major donor program and cultivates individual gifts that have transformative impact on MRG and the communities with which we work. Ca​rol’s passion for knowledge and truth fuels her ever-evolving love for people and their cultures.

Edith Casterline smiling at the camera with art in the background

Edith Casterline | Office Manager

Edith first heard about MRG Foundation in 2002 while reading a newspaper article about MRG’s work that made her think, “What a great place!” She joined MRG’s staff soon after and is now the longest-serving member of MRG’s team. Edith manages our database, accounting, and internal operations and enjoys working behind the scenes in support of the great work of MRG grantees across Oregon. When not at MRG, Edith keeps busy as a parent, activist, and artist. Edith lived in Japan from ages 9-18, and likes to return as often as possible to visit family.