setting ideas in motion

Who We Are

Board of Directors & Officers

Nelle Woods Jamison

Board Member – Chair
Community Volunteer

Pablo Cervantes

Board Member — Vice Chair
Affordable Housing Investor
Community Volunteer

Hank Woods

Board Member – Treasurer
VP Development, LINE Partners

Michael J. Tavlin

Assistant Treasurer
Managing Director,
Pacific Asset Management, LLC

Jay Conrad

Board Member
Community Volunteer

Suk Wortman

Board Member
Senior Director, Membership and Individual Engagement,
Arbor Day Foundation

Charlie Foster

Board Member
Counselor and Trainer,
Employee Assistance Program,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Kevin Abourezk

Board Member
Deputy Managing Editor,
ICTNews.org

Staff

Thomas C. Woods IV

President & Board Secretary

Joan Stolle

Operations Manager

Kathy Steinauer Smith

Senior Community Investment Director

Nicole Juranek

Community Investment Director

Former Board Members

Donna W. Woods

Chair Emerita

  • 2001-2019
  • Chair, 2007-2019

Michael J. Tavlin

  • 2000-2006
  • Chair, 2005-2006

Stephen Sands

  • 1999-2004
  • Chair, 2003-2004

Thomas D. Potter

  • 1997-2002
  • Chair, 2000-2002

Thomas C. Woods III

  • 1994-2000
  • Chair, 1994-2000

Michelle Suarez

  • 2018-2023

Ed Wimes

  • 2017-2022

Candice Howell

  • 2015-2020

Carl Eskridge

  • 2013-2018

Ernesto Castillo Jr.

  • 2012-2017

Orville Jones III

  • 2011-2016

Kathleen Rutledge

  • 2009-2014

Tyre (TJ) McDowell

  • 2007-2012

Jose J. Soto

  • 2006-2011

Ann Chang

  • 2005-2010

Lynn Roper

  • 2003-2008

Eugene Crump

  • 2000-2005

Susan Ugai

  • 1999-2004

Avery L. Woods

  • 1998-2005

Marjorie J. Woods

  • 1995-2000

Joel Gajardo

  • 1994-1998

Marilyn Johnson-Farr

  • 1994-1998

Marie Fischer

  • 1992-1996

Sydney Beane

  • 1991-1994

Sheila Griffin

  • 1987-1991

Kevin Abourezk

Board Member
Deputy Managing Editor,
ICTNews.org

Kevin was elected to the board in 2023.

A citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, he is a journalist and Deputy Managing Editor of ICTNews.org, which features Native American news and information. In his nearly 25-year career, he has written about Native American people and stories, and he has been an editor and reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star. He has received many national awards and been a mentor with several Native journalism and leadership organizations.

Kevin received a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Dakota. He has served on several community and national boards, including Lincoln’s Indian Center, Intertribal Spiritual Lodges, Lincoln Public Schools’ Native American Advisory Committee, and as a commissioner for the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights.

Charlie Foster

Board Member
Counselor and Trainer
Employee Assistance Program
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Charlie was elected to the board in 2022.

She is a counselor and trainer for the Employee Assistance Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has served as a Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and as Director of the University’s Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center and Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services.

Charlie received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Alabama in clinical psychology. She is the outgoing Vice President of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County. She co-founded the Big 10 Multicultural Student Affairs Network and is the adviser for the Afrikan People’s Union and two mental-health recognized student organizations at UNL.

Nicole Juranek

Community Investment Director

Nicole began working at WCF in 2017 and handles program review, grants management and public relations.

Before joining WCF, Nicole worked for Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters developing, managing and monitoring grants, coordinating events and drafting agency communications. She has worked and volunteered at several local nonprofit organizations in varying roles since 2001.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan

University in Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science.

Kathy Steinauer Smith

Senior Community Investment Director

Kathy has worked at WCF since 2012 and handles program review, grants management and public relations.

Before joining WCF, Kathy worked at the Lincoln Journal Star in several editing roles beginning in 2005. She also has worked in public relations for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been an editor at newspapers in Iowa, California and Nevada. She has volunteered with several Lincoln nonprofit organizations in varying roles since 2001, including as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln and a previous board member of the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table.

She received a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Joan Stolle

Operations Manager

Joan began working for WCF in 1990 and currently directs office management, information processing, systems development and business operations.

Previously, Joan taught in the public education system and just before joining WCF worked for the E.A. Mellinger Educational Foundation, a private scholarship foundation in Monmouth, Illinois. She has volunteered with several local nonprofit, neighborhood and community organizations.

She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an emphasis in Vocational Education.

Thomas C. Woods IV

President & Board Secretary

Tom began working for Woods Charitable Fund in 1999 and served as Senior Program Officer prior to his promotion to President in 2012.

Before joining WCF, Tom served as Program Associate at the Community Foundation Serving Coastal South Carolina (Charleston). He received both a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Certificate of Non-Profit Management from the University of Pittsburgh. He has volunteered with several local nonprofit and community organizations.

Tom is the great-great grandson of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.

Suk Wortman

Board Member

Senior Director, Membership
and Individual Engagement,
Arbor Day Foundation

Suk was elected to the board in 2020. 

Wortman is Senior Director of Membership and Individual Engagement at the Arbor Day Foundation, which has the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. She also worked in marketing and sales positions at financial tech, bio-tech and agricultural businesses in Nebraska and Illinois.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, in business communication management and legal studies in business. She is a member of the capital campaign committee of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and volunteers with the Food Bank of Lincoln.

Jay Conrad

Board Member

Community Volunteer

Jay was elected to the board in 2019.

From 1991 to 2021, he was Executive Director of Houses of Hope, which provides residential and support services for individuals impacted by substance use and related mental-health issues.

Jay has served on local boards including Gathering Place, St. Monica’s, CenterPointe, Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Cause Collective, Nebraska AIDS Project, and DHHS Board of Alcohol and Drug Licensure. He has worked at the national level to increase awareness and need for behavioral health services.

Pablo Cervantes

Board Member

Affordable Housing Investor

Community Volunteer

Pablo was elected to the board in 2018.

He is a consultant for affordable housing in Lincoln. Pablo has served on the Board of Directors of the South of Downtown Community Development Organization, Center for Legal Immigration Assistance and El Centro de las Américas. He is a freelance instructor of traditional Mexican folkloric dance.

Pablo is a licensed Realtor and currently serves as a board member on the Bryan Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Michelle Suarez

Board Member

Community Volunteer

Michelle was elected to the board in 2017.

Michelle served children and families in the Lincoln Public Schools as an elementary school principal and teacher for 34 years. Until her retirement in December 2019, she was the Early Childhood Developer for the Prosper Lincoln initiative, which works to increase cross-sector initiatives and resources to advocate for and improve early-childhood development. She has served on several local and state boards including Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska State College System and the Food Bank of Lincoln. In addition, she served on the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission and the South of Downtown Coalition Steering Committee. In January 2023, Michelle was appointed to the Lincoln City Council to fulfill an open position to represent the city’s southwest region, District 3.

She received a Master’s of Educational Administration degree and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Michael J. Tavlin

Assistant Treasurer

Managing Director
Pacific Asset Management, LLC

Mike served on the WCF Board from 2000 to 2006, but his service to WCF began long before then. When Woods Charitable Fund divided its endowment and management between offices in Lincoln and Chicago in 1993, Mike was instrumental in guiding WCF’s Lincoln office as it chose investment managers and established an investment policy. He served as Chair of the WCF Board from 2005 to 2006, and he has served WCF as Assistant Treasurer since 2007.

Mike is the Managing Director for Pacific Asset Management, LLC. He was the Chief Financial Officer for Speedway Motors and Speedway Properties in Lincoln from 2001 through the end of 2022. Before that, Mike was Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and General

Counsel for Interactive Intelligence, Inc., in Indianapolis as well as Vice President-Treasurer and Secretary for Aliant Communications, Inc. (formerly The Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company). Prior to that, Mike had a career in public accounting and the private practice of law.

Mike is a Trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation and is a former member of the UNF Investment Committee. He is also a member of the Board and Chair of the Investment Committee of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools. From 1998 to 2013, Mike volunteered with the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln serving as a Trustee, Treasurer, Vice Chairman and finally as its Chairman from 2011 to 2013. Today he serves as an advisor to the CHE investment committee.

Hank Woods

Board Member – Treasurer

VP Development LINE Partners

Hank was elected to the WCF Board in 2005.

Hank earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1995. He is Vice President of Development at LINE Partners, a local commercial real estate firm. Previously he worked for NAI FMA Realty in Lincoln in property sales and leasing and as a Mortgage Banker for TCF National Bank in Minneapolis.

Hank serves on the board of trustees for the Madonna Foundation, Lighthouse and Mourning Hope. Hank also serves on the board of directors for Sahara Enterprises, Inc., a privately held company in Chicago.

Hank is the great-great grandson of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.

Ed Wimes

Board Member – Vice Chair

Community Volunteer

Ed was elected to the WCF Board in 2016.

Wimes is owner of E&S Consulting, providing leadership coaching, human resources management and diversity/inclusion strategies to firms and institutions. Prior to retirement, Wimes served as Special Assistant to the President of the University of Nebraska and for 14 years as the University’s Assistant Vice President/Director of Human Resources.

A retired Army Officer, Ed has served on boards for the Malone Community Center, the Community Health Endowment, the NAACP

and CASA for Lancaster County. He was a former commissioner for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and has been a member of the Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Mayor’s Community Cabinet and the City of Lincoln’s Personnel Board. He is a current member of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Freedom Breakfast” Committee.

Nelle Woods Jamison

Board Member – Chair

Community Volunteer

Nelle was elected to the WCF Board in 2005 and Board Chair in 2019.

Nelle earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the past, she worked as the Director of Membership for the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul and as an Art Assistant for Creating Pride, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to supporting schools facing reduced art programs.

She serves on the boards of the Woods Tennis Educational Foundation and the Nebraska Art Association.

Nelle is the great-great granddaughter of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.