Ron Karp
Executive Director

Ron has served as Executive Director at Food For Thought since 1996. He brings a combination of skills to the organization which includes previous non-profit executive management, a B.S. degree in computer science with 15 years of related work experience, and management abilities first learned at a family-run business.

Ron played an essential role in the capital funding campaign and the building project for Food For Thought’s current facility in Forestville. He has provided stable leadership by staying focused on the mission of providing excellent nutrition to people in Sonoma County affected by HIV and other serious illnesses.

Rachel Gardner
Deputy Executive Director

Rachel co-founded Food For Thought’s organic gardens and horticultural therapy project in 1999, and joined the staff full time as Client Services Manager in 2001. She has also served as Deputy Executive Director since 2010. Rachel enjoys conveying Food For Thought’s values of respect, compassion, and generosity when welcoming and orienting new clients to the food bank.

A native New Yorker, Rachel worked as a professional chef for 13 years in San Francisco prior to moving to west Sonoma County. She is trained in nature-based healing practices, group facilitation, and conflict resolution. Her case study for her doctoral degree in clinical psychology is on AIDS-related stigma. She enjoys hiking and takes refuge in the garden and the high Sierra mountains. Rachel lives within walking distance of the food bank with her wife and their animal companions.

Mary Bigelow-Gale
Store Manager, FFT Antiques

Mary comes to Food For Thought with over ten years of nonprofit experience in fundraising, relationship management and special events. She has also owned her own furniture business and co-owned a painting company. She is a Sonoma County native who is very happy to be serving in the community she was raised in.

She has two wonderful adult children, Katie and Steven. She enjoys entertaining, cooking, walking, reading, and being outdoors as much as possible. For inspiration, Mary looks to the words of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead: "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Robert Bogdanoff
Office Manager

Robert brings a wide range of experience to the position of Office Manager. His career includes 20 years in the film industry managing demanding project schedules, over ten years in the wild world of the World Wide Web, volunteer service with Food For Thought and a number of San Francisco non-profits including Frameline, IGLHRC, and Digital Queers. He enjoys using his skills and knowledge to help make Food For Thought an even better resource for its clients and the community.

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Erin Butterfield
Food Drive & Volunteer Coordinator

A Sebastopol-native, Erin is passionate about human rights and social justice. She recently served in the Peace Corps as a Rural Education Development Advisor primarily working with youth in Zambia. There she taught English and facilitated a number of programs on nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and empowerment, and violence prevention.

Erin holds a B.A. in Political Science with minors in Gender Studies and Sociology from Simmons College in Boston. She brings an array of experience, knowledge, and passion to the job, and is grateful to be working at FFT and making a difference in her community. Erin enjoys spending time with her family, her girlfriend, and her cats, in addition to exploring nature and reading.

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Penelope Butterfield
Client Services Manager

Penelope has recently come to Food For Thought as our Bilingual Client Services Manager. As her position implies, she is a fluent Spanish speaker and lived in Mexico as a child and adult. Penelope brings a wide variety of experience with her. She was a public school teacher for 13 years before she discovered her love for case management, and new ways to facilitate individual empowerment and contribute to community improvement. She has 15 years of experience working in nonprofits doing case management, community outreach, resources support, translation, and program development.

In her spare time, Penelope loves singing, attending concerts of a wide range of genres, and taking walks in nature. She is also writing an historical fiction novel. When she is not doing crafts or watching sports, she enjoys sharing time with family and friends, two legged as well as four legged. One of her feline companions is FIV+ and is living a happy, pampered life.

Jonathan Cooper
Administrative Assistant

Jonathan came to Food For Thought as a weekly volunteer in 2010 and joined the staff in 2014. He brings a diverse range of computer skills, a head for numbers, and a passion for creative problem-solving to his role as Administrative Assistant, and is thrilled to be able to use these skills to help keep the food bank running smoothly and efficiently during a time of tremendous growth and change for the agency. Jonathan is currently a part-time student pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at Sonoma State University.

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Dominique Flores
Development & Communications Associate

Dominique began volunteering at Food For Thought in 2013 while completing her M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management at Sonoma State University. She has worked in the nonprofit field for several years in development and marketing roles. She joined the Food For Thought team in late 2017.

In her free time, Dominique enjoys watching baseball, running, and spending time with family and friends.

Karen Gardner
Grants & Special Projects Manager

Karen began working with Food For Thought in 2014 and brings ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector. With an M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management, she has worked in a variety of program, administrative, and development roles for organizations including Daily Acts, the Tuolumne River Trust, the Salmonid Restoration Federation, and the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

Originally from Sebastopol, Karen has a passion for the outdoors. Karen especially enjoys permaculture gardening, hiking, and mushroom hunting, and is also an accomplished Irish Step Dancer.

Dave Hall
Food Program & Facilities Manager

Dave first came to Food For Thought in 2009 as a volunteer at the antiques auction, then in the food bank, and as a volunteer photographer. He was hired for the Food Program and Facilities Manager in 2012.   He brings a wide variety of skills, technical knowledge, organizational ability, and dedication to Food For Thought.

Dave started as a box boy in a small grocery store in Davis where he was born and raised. He also worked in Sacramento for Bel Air Markets. With over 25 years in the grocery industry, he has worked in many positions, including courtesy clerk, checker, and grocery manager.

In his free time, Dave gardens, works on old houses, hikes, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.  He is a cheetah photographer at Safari West and has a keen interest in landscape and portrait photography.

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Kelly Keagy
Dining Out For Life Coordinator

Kelly is a Native Californian and long-time Sonoma County resident who has spent the last 28 years working in public relations and event planning at distinguished wine companies including: Beringer Wine Estates, Allied Domecq, Foster’s and Jackson Family Wines. For the last six years, she has run a boutique public relations consultancy business while simultaneously working as a local volunteer.

She has a passion for all things food. Where it comes from, how it’s made, how it represents culture, growing it, preparing it, and sharing it. It is with a strong belief that food is medicine that she joins Food For Thought's efforts to bring healthy food and nourishment to the most venerable among us.

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Jude Mariah
Client Services

Jude has been connected to Food For Thought since it's inception. After working with people living with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic, Jude continued to work in the world of human services and social work. Happily, she joined the Food For Thought team working in client services two years ago. She feels she is doing the work that is close to her heart.

Jude's loves are spending time with her precious family and friends,  being on or near the ocean, gardening, cooking and expressive art.

Roberto Martin
Operations Coordinator

Roberto's résumé includes working one-on-one with Spanish-speaking children and families for Growing Readers, a non-profit that partners with Santa Rosa’s libraries. His experience with that job made him realize the importance of making sure Latino and Spanish-speaking populations have access to resources that might be otherwise denied to them because of the language barrier. Roberto recently moved to Sebastopol and appreciates the opportunity to unite his love for people, food, and community service at Food For Thought.

Roberto was raised to value community, kindness, and common sense. His parents, both natives of Mexico, moved to California when Roberto was a few months old to give Roberto opportunities only found in the States. Roberto was drawn to the creative and communal values of working with food and worked in the kitchens of several fine-dining restaurants in Sonoma County. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Helen Myers
Volunteer Program Manager

Originally from a small town in Northern Illinois, Helen graduated from Augustana Collge with a B.A. in Anthropology and minors in Sociology and Music. Upon graduation she joined AmeriCorps and was matched for a year of service at Redwood Empire Food Bank. She spent the next two and a half years at the food bank working as the Volunteer Services Coordinator before joining Food For Thought as the Volunteer Program Manager.

In her free time, Helen enjoys running, practicing yoga, and playing violin. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Food and Agricultural Law & Policy through a distance learning program at Vermont Law School.

Kaaren Van Dyke
Development Director

Kaaren and her husband have lived in Forestville for 23 years. When she joined the Food For Thought team in 2017 it was a dream come true to be serving her local community.

After graduating from University of San Francisco with a degree in Nonprofit Public Administration, Kaaren worked on the granting side of fundraising with the Mulago Foundation.  She has worked mostly recently in fundraising with San Francisco Theological Seminary and Sonoma Land Trust.

She loves fundraising, and enjoys working with the people in this community who generously give their time and money to serve their community and its most vulnerable citizens.