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Meet the Philanthropic Planning Team

Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Philanthropic Planning Team works together with professional advisors to help your clients give effectively and receive significant tax benefits.  From the client who wants to make an immediate philanthropic impact, to the couple hoping to leave a legacy, to the family with a complicated tax situation, our team of philanthropic professionals helps you facilitate finding the best solutions.  In the same way that you work to enhance your client’s portfolio for maximum stability and returns, we work to maximize the impact of their charitable giving.  Here is more information about our team:

J Mullineaux is Vice President of Philanthropic Planning with over 30 years of fundraising, gift planning, and charitable advising experience.  J helps donors fulfill the dreams they have for themselves, their families, and their community by helping donors uncover the values, beliefs, and experiences that have shaped them, and identifying the deeper purposes of life they wish to advance now and into the future.  After this discernment process, J helps donors choose the most appropriate giving vehicle and think about other roles they might play beyond grant making.  J has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and in 2013 completed the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) certification through the American College.

Miguel Ruelas is Director of Philanthropic Advising.  In assisting donors in achieving their charitable goals, Miguel’s primary responsibility is to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships between philanthropic individuals and organizations in Sonoma County.  He expertly matches the philanthropic interests of the Foundation’s donors with the needs of our community.  For the last 13 years he has worked primarily with high-net worth individuals and their families in meeting their charitable goals in both the nonprofit and the for-profit sectors.

Kristin Nelson is a Senior Philanthropic Advisor with over 18 years of fundraising, grantmaking, nonprofit leadership, and advising experience.  Her work at Community Foundation focuses on building relationships between donors and community-based organizations to influence positive change in our community.  She works with high-net worth individuals, families, and wealth advisors to understand their charitable intentions and maximize the impact of their giving now and after their lifetime.  A double graduate of the University of San Francisco, she holds a Master’s of Science in Organization Development and an undergraduate Communications degree.

Carolyn Dunn is a Philanthropic Planning Coordinator who supports the many different needs of the Philanthropic Planning Team including, but not limited to, processing grant requests and donations.

We recently asked our team to answer two of the questions we often ask our donors as we begin to learn about their philanthropic interests.

When you were young, was there anyone whom you considered a role model for philanthropy?

J:  I grew up in a housing project in upstate New York and the community itself was my role model.  Everyone was incredibly generous to one another and made sure the neighbors were taken care of.

Miguel:  My role model growing up was my grandmother.  She lost her husband early in life and successfully raised six children.  She was a strong women with strong values who cared deeply for her community.  My grandmother was always the first to volunteer for fundraisers and was very effective at bringing people together.

Kristin:  My mom was (and still is) my philanthropic role model.  She is an über volunteer with a heart of gold who taught me the value and importance of finding your own way to build up your community.  I am inspired by her commitment to serve those less fortunate than herself in a humble and thoughtful way.

Carolyn:  My parents give to their church and local organizations and are my role models for philanthropy.  The impact it has had on me is to follow in their footsteps.  I still watch them give to our community in various ways by supporting organizations that move them emotionally.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

J:  We are very privileged to meet a wide variety of fascinating people who are committed to helping others.

Miguel:  What I enjoy most about my work is getting to know donors and building relationships.  It takes time to build relations and trust, but through this partnership good things come together which ultimate benefit our community.

Kristin:  The people! I continue to be touched by the donors, nonprofit leaders, advisors, and my colleagues!  All have a die-hard commitment to better Sonoma County, to work together and build strategic partnerships, and to inject laughter and compassion into our lives.

Carolyn:  My favorite part about my work here at the Foundation is witnessing the variety of recommended grants, from supporting the lights on the Bay Bridge to helping our local food banks.  It’s exciting to see the diversity and variety of interests our donors have in the world around us.

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