Our Board

Cathy Wahlin,  president

Born in Eugene, Oregon and raised in Kirkland and Redmond, Cathy graduated from Redmond High School and Washington State University.  She lived with her family in the Kent/Covington area for  over 22 years before moving to West Seattle in 2015.  Cathy works as a full-time residential realtor since 2004 for Windermere Real Estate.  Cathy enjoys being involved in the community by being an ambassador for the Covington Chamber of Commerce, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and various PTA’s in the Kent School District.  Cathy has been involved with Kent Community Foundation since 2007, currently serving on the board of directors.

Han Kirkland, vice president of Community Connections & Partnerships                                     

Works for Waste Management,  moving to the private sector after a 19 year position with the City of Tukwila.  After emigrating to the US from Vietnam in 1978, Han has spent over 30 years in Kent .  She is actively involved in the Kent community, having served on the Kent International Festival Steering Committee for a few years and with local PTA’s at the elementary and high school levels.  She loves her community and looks forward to supporting the Kent Community Foundation thrive through partnerships and philanthropy.

Kim Walley, vice president of scholarships

Community advocate, volunteer and incoming president of the Rotary Club of Kent.  Kim has a vision to increase the annual number of scholarships and dollars awarded to Kent School District students.

Lori Paxton, secretary and liaison with Kent School District

Lori grew up in the Kent area and has been a teacher, instructional coach, coordinator, and currently serves at the Career & Technical Education Director for the Kent School District. She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education.

Brenda Farwell, past president

Since moving to Kent in 2008 Brenda Farwell has helped establish the Thunderbird Community Sports Foundation as strong support for Youth Sports in the greater Kent area giving over $1,000,000 in grants.  Studied Business in College, owned and operated a landscape products/manufacturing company in Medicine Hat Alberta until moving to Washington in 1989 with her husband Russ.  Brenda joined the Kent Community Foundation Board in 2011, served as vice president 3 1/2  yrs and 3 1/2 yrs as president.  Working with the foundation board to “Strengthen and support our community through philanthropy and partnerships” is an honor and a pleasure”.

Brandy Fisher, treasurer

The Kent Community Foundation is fortunate to have Brandy as our new Treasurer.  She is the finance manager for the Seattle Thunderbirds Hockey, and has extensive college and community nonprofit experience.

Zana Abdulaziz, board director

Is the newest Kent Community Foundation board member, joining in September 2021.  Born in Kurdistan and immigrated to Washington state as a youth.  Zana graduated from Kentwood High School and studied at Green River College.  As a co-owner of Olive Tree Mediterranean Restaurant Zana is proud to share his culture and native cuisine right here in Kent.  

Allyson Johnson, board director

Allyson Johnson joined the Kent Community Foundation in August 2021 after a year of helping to coordinate the food distribution efforts for the Kent Community Partners.  Allyson and her husband Carl have raised 3 children in the Kent School District; all three have graduated from Kentridge High School. Allyson has volunteered in many capacities over several years from elementary, middle and high school PTSA President, Kent Area Council President, Washington State PTA Region 9 Director and lots of different PTSA committees. Several years she has volunteered with Citizens for Kent Schools and a year as a mentor with Communities for Kent Schools. She works for the Kent School District as a Health Tech and Administrative Assistant at a local elementary school. Allyson has been involved with the Kent Schools Foundation for about 6 years.

Dave Mitchell, board director

Dave joined the foundation in July of 2021.  He has previous experience with Kent Community Foundation, KentHOPE, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and currently serves professionally with Team Marti – John L. Scott real estate.  Dave is well known in the greater Kent community.  He was a key leader for the 2020 emergency food distribution by the Kent Community Partners.  He has previously served on the board of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, is active in Rotary, and served on the Kent Police Department’s Diversity Task Force. In addition to emergency food, Dave has also been an active in other Kent Community Foundation initiatives including The Little Free Pantries, scholarships, grant committee and facilitating Refugee Resettlement session and other discussions supporting the Kent Community Partners.

Roger Nakamura, board director

Roger has lived in Kent for the past 20+ years and
grew up in neighboring Renton.  He and his wife Lisa have two children that attend Kent schools.  Roger has served on several Kent School District committees including the past two boundary committees and citizens budget review.  He also has been the parent representative for the Panther Lake Elementary leadership team.  He has been in the education market for the past 30 years providing IT programs for school districts across the nation.  He is currently the Western Region VP for Graduation Alliance a company that helps school districts recover dropouts and get them on their way to earning a diploma or industry credentials that lead to living wage employment.  Roger joined the Kent Community Foundation as board member in 2015.
 
 

Jordan Straughan, board director

Graduated from Tahoma High School and attended Western Washington University.  Jordan teaches and coaches at Kentlake High School.  

Carolyn Tolas, board director
 
Carolyn is a founding member of the Kent Community Foundation board.  She rejoined the board to continue advocating for scholarships and to help educate the community of the new roles that the Foundation has taken on.   Carolyn is a past Kent School Board member, and Washington State Board of Education member.
 
 
Dino Traverso, MS,CPA – board director and advisor

Dino graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor degree in Accounting in 2000. He obtained his CPA license in 2002. Dino obtained his Master’s degree in Taxation from Golden Gate University in 2004.

He began working in public accounting in 2001 and opened his own practice in 2007. He has accounting experience not just in public accounting, but private accounting as well, when he worked as a staff accountant from 1996 until 2000.

Dino has served as Treasurer for several non-profit organizations, as a board member for various businesses and other entities, and has done volunteer work for the Washington State Board of Accountancy. He is an active member of the Washington State Society of CPAs and the America Institute of Certified Public Accountants.