Meet our members

The Act of Giving foundation is powered by our members!

Sharon Chin and Matt Crosby

Sharon Chin Sharon Chin is a true Seattle native – living always in the 206 area code. Sharon works in HR for a local software company. While not working, Sharon enjoys spending time with family and friends, dining out, running, and traveling. Sharon became aware of Act of Giving through her husband, Matt – one of the original members who helped form the Foundation. She thinks the power of group giving is amazing and loves to see the impact that AOG has made over the years to so many non-profits.
Matt Crosby grew up in Florida, and moved to Seattle in 1998. He currently works in sales readiness at a local software company. When not at the office, Matt enjoys time with family and friends, running, following UF sports (Go Gators!), watching soccer, and traveling. Matt has been a member of Act of Giving since its inception, and loves to watch year after year how the group’s unique operating model supports all levels of participation, and successfully enables incredibly impactful grant-making.

Alex Polsky

Alex Polsky was born and raised in New York, and at age 5 while sweltering in the sticky heat of a City summer, asked his father what was in the only bits of the United States showing up as 60 degrees on the weather map . . .a sliver of the far Northeast and Northwest.

Dad, a true New Yorker, replied “bears and forests”, but young Alex resolved to find out for himself, and so years later he wandered West, and found it as promised on that 1968 New York Times weather map, the best summer on the planet, and as promised by his dad, filled with plenty of bears and forests.

I’m interested in leverage in philanthropy. If one is just going to “throw money at problems” — then I’d have to find a small problem. But sometimes you find small hurdles that potentiate big outcomes, usually on an individual or community scale. That’s what I find with Act of Giving.

Cara Wilson
Chris Peters
Dominik Langrehr

Dominik Langrehr relocated to the Seattle area with his family in 2011, he spent most of his life in Munich/Germany before. Donating and philantrophy was rather a random act to ease his conscience until he was introduced to the Act of Giving foundation: Engage in the subject of giving, make a collaborative decision and help accelerate the impact of non-profits is a fantastic idea! Dominik likes to advance things and projects with like-minded people and is happy to contribute his passion for software into the AoG team.

Dwight Hutchinson

Dwight HutchinsonDays are filled to bursting; why Act of Giving?

I love my wife, not just saying that. Always think I should be doing more with/for the kid. Parents, siblings, nieces & nephews, all spectacularly worthy. And friends, then there’s the job, a nice cabernet hits the spot, a nap, that list of stuff I never get to. Flossing is good. The yard needs work. Rubbing the dog’s belly seems to sooth us both.

A rich abundance of choices.

Act of Giving is about choosing who I am, leveraging my impact, and active participation in a community that shares my values. That’s why.

Eileen and Howard Putter
Helena Hillinga Haas

Helena HaasBeing a part of AOG has helped me feel more connected to my community and to positive things that are happening in the world. It gives me hope and I’m inspired by our members and the organizations we give grants to. I’m drawn to creativity, thinking outside the box, and learning from others in a supportive, team environment. Act of Giving is core to my family’s value system-giving collectively, thoughtfully, and without expectation of anything in return. When I’m not working on Act of Giving projects, I’m chasing my two vivacious children around and scheduling play dates or art projects with them. I have traveled all my life and our goal in the next two years is to see more of our beautiful country and hopefully a few other countries before the kids start kindergarten. I’m also an art therapist and trying to slowly build up a practice. Every day is a new adventure in living outside the lines and continuing to be curious about people and world events. I’m very glad to be a part of Act of Giving; it’s a rich part of my life.

Jean Edelhertz

Jean ElderhertzJean grew up in Washington D.C. and Washington State and makes her home in Seattle with husband Ted. She’s done export operations, finance, and project work helping companies start or transition businesses in England, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. She currently manages business programs for a software publisher. Learning languages, cultivating plants, and taking long walks with good company are high on her list of pastimes. Jean’s favorite part of Act of Giving is the spring grant cycle. It’s a welcome opportunity to discover and support diverse nonprofits that are bettering lives down the street and around the globe.

Jim Malzewski and Leigh Ann Lucero
Joe Van Hecke

Joe Van HeckeJoe Van Hecke is the founder and managing director of Grace Hall Capital an asset management company based in Chicago. Upon graduating from Notre Dame in 1996, Joe moved to Frankfurt, Germany to pursue a career in finance. After a 4 1/2 year stint working for Bank of America and CMT Securities, Joe moved to London for two more years of European living before returning back to America in 2003. Joe resides in his hometown, Chicago, with his wife Mindy and son Quinn.

Joan and Chris Walters

Joan and Chris WaltersChris and I have been blessed in so many parts of our life.  We have amazing family and friends, good health and jobs we love.  We joined Act of Giving (AoG) for many reasons, but mostly to give back to the community.  We love the power of collective giving that AoG demonstrates and that any level of support makes an impact.  There are so many things in life we “have” to do and AoG is one of the things we “get” to do.  It is not a job, it is not a chore – it is fun and inspiring.  To be in the company with other AoG members makes us want to be better.

Kathleen Owens

Kathleen Owens grew up in Reno, Nevada and now relishes life in the Great Northwest with her husband Patrick, daughter Ginna born in April 2005, and trusted lab Louie. Since 1998, she has worked for a local software company, and currently enjoys her role in sales management there. Favorite activities include family walks and outings, marveling at her daughter’s latest feats, and catching up with good friends over ND football or casual meals. Hidden talents (or those that should be) include busting out with creative raps and speaking in accents. The quality of people involved and potential to make a positive impact for worthwhile organizations attracted her to become involved in the Act of Giving Foundation.

Katie Toft (Kathleen Toft)

Katie ToftKatie Toft began her career as a high school English teacher, but got a little sidetracked working for a number of non-profits, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Though she might one day go back to the public school system, for now she’s content tinkering with technology, helping save the world through her work with the Act of Giving Foundation, filling her Ipod with Audio books, sampling every restaurant in Seattle, and helping to transform patient care by customizing the electronic medical record system at Group Health with yet another amazing group of mission oriented colleagues. After completing her work with the Gates Foundation, Katie traveled through Europe, enjoyed a brief stint wine tasting her way through California, and has plans to see the rest of the world bit by bit. However, after all her travels, she is a Pacific Northwest girl through and through and is in love with her city and her diverse neighborhood in South Seattle.  She feels fortunate to live in such a beautiful city with her sisters nearby.  In her spare time she coaches Special Olympics where she finds she learns something new every day from her athletes. She is always searching for inspiration and feels she has found a great deal of it working towards causes close to her heart with Act of Giving.

Kendra Morgan

Kendra MorganKendra traded in palm trees for evergreens when she moved from Hawaii to Seattle to work as a technology trainer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation back in 1999 (…and is suddenly wondering where all the time went). After a few years in Seattle, she headed east for a stint in Virginia and is now back in the Pacific Northwest. The endless pursuit of acquiring (and then using) airline frequent flyer miles is an underlying theme in her life, so she spends a lot of time figuring out where the next airplane will be taking her. Kendra values her Act of Giving friends and colleagues for introducing her to the work of so many great non-profits and is constantly amazed by how much we are able to do by combining our giving.

Klein James Auction Gallery
Leah Boyan
Mary Stillwell Power

I was a member of Act of Giving almost 10 years ago and have recently rejoined. I’m so happy to be serving on the Board as the Grants Officer. I met some of the original AOG members during our time working together at the Gates Foundation US Library Program. Since then I have had a variety of professional positions in libraries and the corporate and nonprofit worlds. I love being a part of Act of Giving, because of the opportunity it gives me to see my contribution make a much larger impact than I could ever make on my own. Every year during our grant cycle I am impressed, amazed and humbled by the organizations we support and the work they are doing. If you want to be reminded that the world is a great place filled with wonderful people, come to an Act of Giving summer grant celebration! Outside of AOG I am an over-committed PTA volunteer, public librarian, wife of Kevin, and mother of Miranda Maeve (10 year old daughter) and Ramona (1.5 year old fur baby).

Michael Van Sant

Michael Van SantMichael originally came to the Pacific NW to follow his passion for skiing. It didn’t take long until he knew he would never leave. He loved the mountains, the people, and the lifestyle. He was lucky enough to have his sister, Michelle, in Ballard to get him acclimated with the area. She was the first person to show him how generous people can be. As luck would have it, Michael arrived here just in time to enjoy a world record snowfall at Mt. Baker and shortly there after met his future wife, Cara. Michael and Cara met while living in Queen Anne and then moved to the burbs in Kirkland. Michael has two kids Caitlin (6) Chris (4). Last year, they moved deeper into the mountains and are right at home in Snoqualmie. When Michael isn’t spending his time outdoors (skiing, hiking, climbing, biking or just hanging out) he is dedicated to helping his clients as a Financial Planner. With busy lives these days, the Van Sant’s are spending more time at the local parks and car camping then climbing mountains (for now). One day, Cara and Michael look forward to traveling around the world but are not sure if it will be with or without kids. Act of Giving has opened our hearts and our eyes on the nonprofit world. It seems like a perfect first step to spend time with such an amazing, caring, smart, funny, group of people that are experts at giving together. Michael feels the Act of Giving tag line is so true. Giving is good…Giving together is better!

Michelle, Rob, Arabella and Amaya Banga
Michelle Chamberlain
Patrick Owens

Hailing from Syracuse, NY and eventually recruited to Seattle by one of his closest childhood friends, Patrick Owens savors life in the Emerald City. He has a background in technology and is currently a project manager for a local bank. Outside of work he enjoys singing songs to his daughter, golf, working on his house and hanging out with friends. An opportunity to reconnect with a mission that inspired him, Patrick is grateful for his involvement with the Act of Giving Foundation. His famous dance moves include jumping through one leg and spinning himself into a silly frenzy.

Ross Kilburn
Sarah Hill

Sarah HillSarah is looking for ways to feed her soul and give back to the community, hopefully at the same time. She finds the Act of Giving Foundation the perfect avenue to both learn more about the needs of our community and then work to meet them. Her desire to “do some good in the world” stems from years of living in the developing world, and an insatiable love of travel, especially of places off the beaten track where life is often much more challenging than her own. Sarah is married to David and has two grown daughters and two stepsons.

Scott Foster
Stephanie Harmon
Steve Shields

With a background in engineering, Steve is a geek at heart and has enjoyed bringing technology into libraries working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US Library Program. Working for such an inspiring organization and around such dedicated people motivated Steve to become more involved in the nonprofit community. As a founding member of Act of Giving, Steve looks forward to the potential impact he and his fellow “Givers” will have on innovative nonprofits. Born and raised in Syracuse, NY, Steve has lived in the Seattle area since 1996. He has adapted to the Northwest lifestyle with newfound passions for sushi, kayaking, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities.

Sue Rooney

Sure Rooney and her daughtersHaving served as the Executive Director of a small nonprofit, I know the ups and downs of laboring for the sake of an underserved community or issue. Nonprofits fulfill two kinds of needs: those addressed in their missions and those that many of us have to give back–to be actively engaged in caring for something beyond ourselves. Through the AOG community my family steps in, right here, to help keep needed nonprofits viable and active. It’s not flashy, and it’s not headline news. There is no greater joy for me than to call an Executive Director and say, “your grant has been approved”. Magic. It’s magic to be a part of this group and a part of the nonprofit community around us.

Tim Keller
Tom Shields