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620 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 1025 | Portland, Oregon 97204 | 503.223.4008

THE LIBRARY FOUNDATION

Foundation Staff

MERRIS SUMRALL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

As the foundation's energetic leader, Merris brings strategic vision and a passion for libraries, literacy and the arts to our work. She has earned a Creative Leadership Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and an Orchid Award for Non-Profit Executive of the Year from the Portland Business Journal.

Merris first moved to Portland as a VISTA volunteer, founded two nonprofits and then worked around the world with technology firms, helping them develop marketing and branding strategies. For the last 16 years, she has dedicated her expertise to the library system, and the community, that she loves. In her spare time, you can find her browsing the stands at the farmer's market, dancing Cajun and Zydeco or bushwacking to catch a glimpse of a rare and beautiful bird.

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
Central

WHY THE LIBRARY:
"Self-sufficiency is one of my core values. I have always believed that if we give people the tools, everyone has a desire to improve themselves, grow and understand the world around them. We would live in a more peace-loving world if reading was a part of everyone's daily life."

JAMIE JUNE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

A diehard non-profit devotee, Jamie has been actively involved for many years with arts, culture and educational organizations, including Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland Center for the Performing Arts and Conduit Dance. Her experience in financial management and fundraising makes her well-suited to her multi-faceted job as the foundation’s operations director.

 

In her off-time, Jamie can be found working on an always-expanding list of house projects, bicycling, growing food, and—most importantly—reading to her energetic young son.

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
Sellwood-Moreland

WHY THE LIBRARY:

“I could give you a detailed description of every single neighborhood library that I ever called 'my own'- and there have been many of them over the years. Growing up, we moved often, and I always found the library to be the one safe, constant place that was full of promise and knowledge. Libraries have had a profound impact on my belief in the value of education and access of information.”

LAURA FAY, DIRECTOR OF MAJOR GIFTS

Laura’s roots in fundraising in our community are deep and her passion for the work of non-profits is boundless. She has dedicated her professional life to building thriving fundraising programs for a broad range of organizations from performing arts to the environment. The exceptional programming made possible by The Library Foundation furthers her desire to serve humanity and improve our community.

In her spare time, you can find her running the trails of Forest Park or perhaps running after her bright-eyed, young daughter. Her avid baking far outpaces her household's baked good consumption, and if you have the time she will detail endlessly her failures as a gardener. No, seriously.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
Central

WHY THE LIBRARY:

"Centuries of humankind’s greatest thinking, recorded in beautiful volumes, and an army of helpful people who want nothing more than to help you take them away. Multnomah County Library is tirelessly committed to serving our community’s needs, whatever and wherever they are. The idea of a library seems wildly and wholly improbable, but it’s us at our best."

JENNIFER STEPANEK, WRITER AND GRANTS MANAGER

Helping others access information has been a lifelong pursuit for Jennifer. With more than 20 years of experience writing and editing in the nonprofit sector, much of which has been focused on proposal development, Jennifer has a unique understanding of how best to communicate the needs of our community to the foundations that support our work. Her curiosity and passion for libraries began in high school, when she volunteered with the Jackson County Library. Ensuring that library services are inclusive and valued throughout the community strikes a particularly meaningful chord with her, and drives her work with the foundation. 

Jennifer is a formidable seamstress, and can often be seen wearing her own creations. She commutes to work on foot, watching the city stir to life as she makes her way over the Hawthorne Bridge.

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
Belmont

WHY THE LIBRARY:

“My initial ties to the library were books, but now I also love that libraries are such a vital community hub. I can’t think of a more responsive institution, committed to helping every person access the information and services they need, but also to finding ways to serve the community on a large scale.”

ALYSSA REID, DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

As an endlessly curious person and a voracious reader, Alyssa has always adored libraries. She credits her experience in stage management for her endless supply of good humor and her ability to build meaningful connections with our donor base. She is inspired to spend her days supporting the library’s work across our community.

Alyssa spends time outside the office in true, Pacific Northwest form – camping deep in the forest, tending her pet chickens, and relaxing on the porch with a graphic novel.

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
North Portland

WHY THE LIBRARY:
“When I was young, I realized that my desire for reading books would always be greater than my budget for buying books. Public libraries offer unparalleled abundance and freedom. What a gift!”

DALE FAVIER, DATABASE MANAGER

Dale is the foundation's database pro, cheerfully and precisely maintaining foundation records. A former computer programmer at IBM, Dale now splits his time between the foundation, his work as a massage therapist and his passion for writing prose and poetry. Dale has a working knowledge of at least eight languages, including Old Norse and Old English, and he is able to identify almost all of the constellations in the northern hemisphere. He recently published his latest work, Opening The World.

NEIGHBORHOOD LIBRARY:
Belmont

WHY THE LIBRARY:

"All those wonderful books, all that learning and thinking, all those stories and songs—so much of what people have ever made that's worth keeping—all right there, free to all finders. That's amazing."