Meet Our Team
Board of Directors
EVAN p. THOMAS, BOARD PRESIDENT, CHAIRMAN of the board
Evan works in downtown Portland at eBay’s as a Sr. Product Manager. He is the eBay's Portland Foundation chairman, and an active volunteer for Make-A-Wish Oregon, Children’s Cancer Association, Portland Business Alliance, Global Shapers PDX, Lupus Foundation of America, and Human Solutions. In a previous life, he was a playwright with two commissioned short plays for Portland Center Stage. TGT provides Evan challenging, meaningful ways to combine his corporate strategy skills with creative roots, and give back to the city he has always called “home.”
Jacob Johnson, Treasurer, Finance Committee CHAIR
Jacob joined the board in 2013 with a passion to become more involved in the Portland community. He brings over 10 years professional experience in finance and sales operations. One of the ways he likes to balance out his time is by doing good and seeing others smile. Jacob was born and raised in the suburbs of Portland and thinks it is a fine place. He is learning how to fly fish and would one day like to be able to knit his own socks.
Dave Hardy, Secretary
Committed to building businesses that inspire, engage and energize its stakeholders, Dave Hardy is a true believer in the Art of Possibility. With a diverse professional skill set that ranges from healthcare to microbreweries to industrial water treatment, his most recent accomplishment to date: an MBA in Sustainable Systems from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute at Pinchot University. With a strong belief in the power of community, Dave is excited to be involved with The Giving Tree and motivated to help fulfill their mission.
Erin Currie, EVENTS COMMITTEE CHAIR
As a Psychologist, educator, and consultant, Erin's focus has always been honoring and developing the strengths and talents of her clients and students. The Giving Tree mission to connect people to resources, empower them to come together to support each other, and find themselves through art seemed like a great fit.
As a recent transplant from Wisconsin/Minnesota, she is enjoying everything the PDX area has to offer, especially the relative lack of mosquitos. Outdoor adventures, culinary adventures, starting a new consulting business, and meeting new people have been keeping her busy.
SCOTT LANGEN, Board member
Scott fled the Midwest in 1998 to make Portland his new home. He brings more than 12 years in non-profit fund development experience. Passionate about the need for safe affordable housing for vulnerable populations combined with services that support residents lead healthy active lives, he is very pleased to support the mission of The Giving Tree. He is an avid reader and book collector, enjoys cooking, the Oregon coast, and naps.
The Giving Tree's Board of Director's is composed of determined, capable professionals.
Interested in joining the board?
GLORIA LEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Gloria Lee joined The Giving Tree as Executive Director in 2014. She brings 15 years of experience in growing non-profits and 25+ years in senior management with SYSCO.
In 2000, Gloria transitioned from VP Merchandising at SYSCO to Executive Director of Portland’s newly opened Classical Chinese Garden. She fell in love with mission driven organizations and thrives on growing successful non-profits. At The Giving Tree, Gloria combines her passion for building community using arts and culture as foundational cornerstones in connecting diverse populations to each other. Besides gardening, cooking and reading, Gloria believes in giving back. She has served on the boards of Cedar Mill Library, Travel Portland and Northwest China Council. Currently, she serves on the boards of Old Town/Chinatown Community Association and the Chinese American Citizen’s Alliance.
Heather enjoys playing; swimming, biking, making things, remodeling closets (AKA smashing things), firing up the sauna and taking advantage of Portland's weather, come rain and sunshine. She spent over a year as a volunteer coordinating our Cooking with Kids program before becoming an employee. She is our "midfielder", navigating resident services, program development and management roles. Spending time with the remarkable individuals living at the sites we serve and providing new opportunities to them, keeps her looking forward to her job everyday.
Nia joined The Giving Tree as a Resident Services Coordinator soon after moving to Portland in 2015. Nia joins this team with a passion for art and education. After graduating with a degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture from University of California, Nia travelled around Europe and settled in Berlin, Germany for two and a half years. Living in an immigrant neighborhood in Berlin ignited Nia's interest in understanding the problems that underrepresented populations face in day-to-day life and learning what she can do to be an advocate. Nia spends her free time cooking, dancing and exploring outdoors, all of which are activities she would love to introduce to her residents!
Meet Our Founder, Wendi Anderson
Management professional and fine artist Wendi Anderson founded The Giving Tree in 2006, after identifying the need for our services while working in the affordable housing industry. She saw firsthand the high degree of recidivism in SRO (Single Room Occupancy) affordable housing, which she attributed to the service and support void that many extremely low income people fall into once they move off the streets into housing. As a resident services professional she had been building programs based around her own strengths (community building using art, education, and recreation), and through her programs had helped many people retain stable housing and improve their quality of life. She formed The Giving Tree in order to duplicate her successes with an increased number of clients.
After receiving 501(c)3 designation for The Giving Tree in 2007, Wendi launched a pilot program at a single affordable housing site in NE Portland, providing referral and support services to families, a computer lab and afterschool enrichment five days a week, and a full summer program with Summer Food Service meals when school was out. After a successful first year, The Giving Tree expanded to include four more affordable housing sites (one multi-family site and three SRO buildings serving adults), and diversified its programming to include referral services, support, and activities beneficial to adult populations. Since then, The Giving Tree has expanded carefully and methodically, growing from one site in 2006 to eleven sites in 2011.
Wendi has received the following awards for her work with The Giving Tree:
- HILLTOP Award for outstanding service to low-income individuals and families living in Multnomah County, 2013
Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community, Portland, OR
- Civic Responsibility Award, 2008
Metro Multifamily Housing Association, Portland, OR
- Skidmore Prize in Community Building, 2007
Momentum Market Intelligence and Willamette Week, Portland, OR