Funding Rural Podcast

Funding Rural Podcast2024-02-19T01:29:54+00:00

Funding Rural Podcast Logo with a black boarder

National Center for Family Philanthropy

The Funding Rural Podcast is a project of the National Center for Family Philanthropy Fellows Program.

Cattle photo credit: The Photo Treehouse

Erin Borla

Podcast Host

Erin Borla (she/her) is an Oregonian— born and raised in Central Oregon and the granddaughter of Oregon’s own tough mother, Gert Boyle of Columbia Sportswear. For 20 years, she has worked with and for nonprofit organizations that support rural communities with innovative economic strategies. Her dedication to supporting rural spaces through listening, collaborating and open and honest sharing of ideas helps her elevate community partners throughout her work.

Borla holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Oregon State University and a master of tourism administration degree from The George Washington University. She completed her professional certificate in Tribal relations from Portland State University’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government in 2022 and was recently announced as a Fellow for the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

Borla currently serves as an advisor for Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a member of the Future Council for the Society for Environmental Journalists, a member of the advisory board for the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program managed through the Community Justice Commission of the State of Oregon and an advisory member of the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention program managed by the Oregon Health Authority. Throughout the past, she has served organizations such as OSU-Cascades, Sisters Park & Recreation District, Central Oregon Regional Solutions Committee, Oregon 4-H Foundation, OSU Extension Service in Deschutes County and others. She has been a trustee for the Roundhouse Foundation of Sisters, Oregon since 2014 and stepped in as the organization’s first executive director in early 2020 at a time of rapid growth for the Foundation.

The Roundhouse Foundation, founded by Borla’s mother, artist Kathy Deggendorfer, supports creative solutions across rural communities in Oregon including the nine federally recognized Tribes and 54 historic bands of Native communities that originally called this region home. The Foundation funds at the intersection of their four programmatic areas: arts and culture, environmental stewardship, education and social services.

When she isn’t road-tripping with her family, Erin enjoys riding her horse Dallas, hiking with her dog, Sherman, knitting hats for friends and family and enjoying the best new young-adult novel.

Podcast Guests

The Roundhouse Foundation is grateful to all the Funding Rural Podcast guests who generously shared their time, their stories, and their passion for rural communities on the show. Their perspectives are as diverse as the rural landscape. Host Erin Borla spoke with folks who work with Indigenous children, who work in linguistic academia, and guests who work the land. All of them opened their hearts and shared their voices so that the future of rural funding may be more trusting and more informed.

Lesli Allison
Lesli Allison
Lesli is a founding member and chief executive of the Western Landowners Alliance. She was also a founding member of the Chama Peak Land Alliance. For the past three decades, Lesli has worked extensively with private landowners and multiple stakeholders to advance conservation, sustain working lands and support rural communities.
Prior to Western Landowners Alliance, Lesli managed a large ranch the southern San Juan Mountains of Colorado. During her 16-year tenure, she implemented progressive conservation management through award-winning programs in restoration forestry, prescribed fire, grazing, stream restoration, hunting and wildlife management, and scientific research and monitoring. Lesli holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. from St. John’s College, Santa Fe.

Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett [he/him] works at the intersections of nonprofits, philanthropy, and the public sector with arts, culture, and comprehensive community development across rural, suburban, Tribal, and urban geographies. Jamie has worked at ArtPlace America, Columbia University, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Philharmonic, and United States Artists; and has volunteered with the HERE Arts Center, The Heritage Center (Itówapi Owápazo) of the Red Cloud Indian School (Maȟpíya Lúta Owáyawa), the Make Music Alliance, the David Rockefeller Fund, the NeuroArts Blueprint, and Weeksville Heritage Center. Jamie lives in Toronto, Canada and has been sober since 2009.

Zavier Borja
Zavier Borja

A first generation Mexican-American, born in Redmond, Oregon – grew up in Madras and has lived in Bend for the past 12 years. His passions include serving our youth, communities and getting them outside. Zavier has worked for various youth programs for the past ten years, including the Boys and Girls Club of Bend, Bend Parks and Recreation District (youth, sports & enrichment departments), and Education Outside in San Francisco. Lastly, working for Bend-La Pine School District, as a Mentor Specialist for at-risk youth at Summit High School. Zavi created a local chapter of the nationally recognized non-profit, Latino Outdoors here in Central Oregon. From that he has been able to make connections with local outdoor partners in order to work in a collaborative manner to create – Vámonos Outside.

Erik Brodt, MD
Erik Brodt, MD

Erik (Anishinaabe) grew up near Chippewa Falls, WI and spent summers with family in the rural areas around Bemidji, MN. Dr. Brodt earned his M.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and completed residency in Family Medicine at the Seattle Indian Health Board – Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, WA. Dr. Brodt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. He practices in the OHSU Hospital inpatient setting and Warm Springs Tribal Health clinic, while also serving as the founding Director of the OHSU Northwest Native American Center of Excellence.

Belinda Brown
Belinda Brown
Belinda provides leadership for Lomakatsi’s Tribal Partnerships Program and Chairs the Inter-Tribal Ecosystem Restoration Partnership. Her career highlights include expertise in intergovernmental affairs coordination with tribes, communities, and collaboratives.
Belinda works closely with Lomakatsi’s Executive Director and staff leadership to serve tribal communities in their efforts to restore forests and watersheds on tribal trust and ancestral lands. She serves as a community liaison, engaging with tribal elders, tribal councils, cultural resource monitors and tribal department staff. Belinda also works to establish and promote effective working relationships among the tribal community, Lomakatsi and federal agency and non-profit partners.
Cari Cullen
Cari Cullen
As the director of the Midwest Early Recovery Fund, Cari Cullen leads the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s early recovery work and the Native American and Tribal Recovery Program. During her 15-plus years of nonprofit management experience, Cari has directed diverse teams and projects. She has experience managing volunteers, fostering sustainable partnerships, developing curriculum and training, coordinating multi-state projects and leading national and international programming initiatives.

 Julie Garreau
Julie Garreau

An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Julie Garreau (Lakota name Wičhaȟpi Epatȟaŋ Wiŋ / Touches the Stars Woman) is chief executive officer of the nonprofit Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Since 1988, she has overseen CRYP’s evolution from a small youth center to a 5-acre campus that includes youth and teen centers, arts and culture institute, art park, garden, and social enterprises. In addition to completing several high-profile fellowships over the years, Julie has been recognized with such prestigious awards as the Bush Prize for Innovation, Spirit of Dakota Award, Presidential Points of Light Award, Tim Wapato Public Advocate of the Year Award, and Americans for the Arts’ Selena Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership.

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser
C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser

C’Ardiss “CC” Gardner Gleser is an advocate for social impact and racial justice work.
CC began her career in the tech sector, later transitioning to non-profit work to better fulfill her purpose and passion. CC moved from working in nonprofits to the funding side to increase her impact and is now entrenched in the philanthropic sector. CC was the first Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Satterberg Foundation, whose mission focuses on promoting a just society and sustainable environment. In 2021, CC left Satterberg Foundation and founded Black Ivy Collective, which provides consulting and advising services in the philanthropic sector, as well as provides healing spaces for Black artists, scholars, and social justice advocates in community.

Margi Hoffmann
Margi Hoffmann
Margaret, or Margi, Hoffmann is the Oregon State Director for the USDA’s Rural Development program. Hoffmann grew up on a small family farm outside of Steamboat Springs, CO. Hoffmann left Colorado and moved to Portland, Oregon, where she received a B.A. in English Literature.
Hoffmann’s professional career began working in natural resources management on federal lands. She has worked on public policy in the realms of public safety, health care, climate change, energy resilience and security, and land use. She has experience working for the public and private sector, as well as in non-profit management.
In 2012 and 2015, Oregon Governors John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown, respectively, appointed Hoffmann to serve as Energy Policy Advisor. In this position, Hoffmann developed the first-ever 10-Year Energy Action Plan for the State of Oregon and served as the Governor’s office liaison to the Oregon Public Utility Commission and Oregon Department of Energy.
Torsten Kjellstrand
Torsten Kjellstrand

Torsten Kjellstrand’s work as a journalist focuses on rural communities in the Midwest and West. He worked at small and larger newspapers for almost three decades and has made documentary films with Blackfeet, Sugpiat, Navajo, and Coeur d’Alene communities over the last decade, and has been National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, a Fulbright Scholar in comparative literature, and a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He is currently a Professor of Practice in journalism at the University of Oregon.

Kali Thorne Ladd
Kali Thorne Ladd
Previously, Kali Thorne Ladd was the co-founder and executive director of KairosPDX, a culturally specific organization dedicated to eliminating educational opportunity and achievement gaps for historically underserved children. Through that work, and as a visionary leader in multiple capacities in the region, Thorne Ladd has a long track record of working to transform early learning and healthy development for children and families in Oregon. This has included serving as the chair of the board for Portland Community College, serving on Governor Brown’s Early Learning Council, and serving on the board at the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation based in Portland.

Elizabeth Marino, Ph. D.
Elizabeth Marino, Ph. D.
Elizabeth Marino is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor of anthropology and sustainability at Oregon State University – Cascades. She is also the Director of the Laboratory for the American Conversation. Dr. Marino is interested in the relationships among climate change, slow and rapid onset disasters, human migration, and sense of place. She is also interested in how people make sense and meaning out of changing environmental and social conditions; and how people interpret risk. Dr. Marino is a lead chapter author on the Fifth National Climate Assessment and was a White House appointed Science Delegate for the Arctic Science Forum.

Tony Pipa
Tony Pipa

Tony Pipa is a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. Tony launched and leads the Reimagining Federal Rural Policy initative, and hosts the Reimagine Rural podcast. He also leads an initiative catalyzing local leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Barton Robison
Barton Robison

Barton Robison is the Program Director at Willamette Partnership, where he’s worked in some capacity since 2018. Driven by his own transformative experiences in nature, Barton’s personal mission is to ensure that everyone has equitable access to a healthy environment and its benefits. He received his Masters in Public Administration and a Certificate in Tribal Relations from Portland State University, and he currently lives in Portland with his husband, their geriatric dog, and too many houseplants.

Wynn Rosser, Ph. D.
Wynn Rosser, Ph. D.
Wynn Rosser joined the Lufkin, Texas based T.L.L. Temple Foundation as president and CEO on September 1, 2016. He previously served almost 10 years as the chief executive of Greater Texas Foundation. Prior to Greater Texas Foundation, Rosser worked 14 years at Texas A&M University in faculty, staff, and senior administrative roles. He is known for his commitment to cross sector partnerships and to improving life outcomes–especially for low income and rural residents–and for his regional approach to grantmaking and philanthropic leadership.

Allen Smart
Allen Smart

Allen Smart is a national spokesperson and advocate for improving philanthropic practice under his group –PhilanthropywoRx. Under the PhilanthropywoRx umbrella, he works with individual funders, Philanthropy Support Organizations, regional and national rural organizations and national non-profits on a wide range of strategy, writing/researching and staff coaching projects.

Brenda Smith, Ph. D.
Brenda Smith, Ph. D.
Brenda is the Executive Director of High Desert Partnership in Harney County, Oregon and has been since 2015. She has a Ph.D. in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Science in Agriculture from California State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and Management from the University of California.

Her deep interest in collaborative work started years ago when she trained in facilitation while teaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has had various professional experiences that range from starting and managing her own vegetable and cut flower business, conducting agricultural research,
starting a university on-farm internship program, developing outreach products for land managers.

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Explore the latest in rural philanthropy on the Funding Rural Podcast with show host Erin Borla. Coming soon!