Leadership Transitions at Humboldt Area Foundation + Wild Rivers Community Foundation

BAYSIDE, CALIF. (Monday, July 1, 2024) 

The Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation Board of Directors is excited to announce important changes in the organization’s leadership serving our beloved region: 

Our Chief Executive Officer, Bryna Lipper, has been accepted to a distinguished PhD program at Carnegie Mellon University with a focus on climate change and social justice in rural and Indigenous communities. Her research will involve this region’s environmental and political history and pose future scenarios for climate justice. As such, Bryna will be stepping out of day-to-day management and assume the role of Chief Innovation Officer where she will collaborate at national and state levels to further partnerships, research, and public policy related to philanthropy supporting our Pacific Redwood Region. 

Sara Dronkers will begin acting in the role of Chief Operating Officer immediately. Sara, with over 20 years of work experience at HAF+WRCF, has been involved in all functions of the Foundation’s remarkable growth and performance, from grantmaking to finance to donor development. Sara begins to oversee executive management in a time of the foundation’s history where grantmaking to the community is at record high levels, including a projected $12 million in the upcoming 2024/25 fiscal year. Sara has served as Chief of Staff of the foundation since 2020.   

This growth is further grounded in the official appointment of Paula (Pimm) Tripp-Allen as Vice President of Programs, Community Partnerships, and Tribal Relations at the Foundation. Pimm will lead the organization’s grantmaking efforts, program and affiliates, and regional initiatives. Pimm, of Yurok and Karuk ancestry, will also continue leading Native American and Tribal Nation relations, and the Foundation’s activities furthering justice in Native communities. Long affiliated with the foundation, Pimm began more than two decades ago on staff for the Native Cultures Fund, then served on the Board of Directors for many years. Immediately prior to serving as Vice President, she served as Senior Advisor to the CEO for the past 2 years. 

In addition to its strong vote of support for this leadership structure for the Foundation’s evolution, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to extend the terms of its Board Officers—including Chair Charlie Jordan, Vice Chair David Finigan, and Secretary Raquel Ortega—and its Committee Chair positions for up to a year for continuity to the staff and clarity to our community. Board Chair Jordan and Vice Chair Finigan shared the sentiment that: 

“The board is excited that Bryna will continue to provide invaluable leadership and creativity to the foundation while she undertakes her doctorate program. Our foundation is in an excellent place as a result of the strategic work she accomplished during the past five years that has elevated our region statewide and nationally. The board is likewise extremely confident in and fortunate to have Sara Dronkers step into the top management role at the Foundation, given her many years of experience, community knowledge, and operational acumen. With our former board colleague Pimm Tripp-Allen as Vice President directing our program and grantmaking activities, we are certain that our highest values of service, equity, and responsibility within our region will prosper. The board also has the deepest gratitude and admiration for Sarah Millsap, Vice President of Finance and Administration, who steadfastly directs our fiduciary, investment, and budgetary duties with unparalleled ability and oversight; and Vice President of Advancement, Gina Zottola who provides the Foundation’s inspiration for charitable giving, legacy, and philanthropic partnerships that support our region’s goals and dreams. The Humboldt Area and Wild Rivers Foundation could not be better poised for the future with this leadership team. The Board is confident that these leadership changes will fortify the Foundation’s commitment to growing a thriving, just, healthy and equitable region. We are poised for a future filled with opportunity and growth, guided by a team of inspiring leaders.” 


Charlie Jordan – Chair  

David Finigan – Vice Chair  

Raquel Ortega – Secretary 

And the entire Board of Directors of Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation 

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