Foundation Board Bios

The Foundation uses philanthropy, community initiatives and funding support to address the changing needs and interests of GV neighbors and friends.

Volunteers Welcomed!

We are always eager to meet new neighbors and welcome them into the GVCF team.  We have multiple opportunities available so say hello and get to know your Golden Valley Community Foundation!

Derek Anders-Turner

Derek Anders-Turner currently works as a Technology Solutions Product Manager within U.S. Bank – CPS Bankcard Technology, supporting third party vendor management and has over 15 years of experience as a project manager. In 2011, Derek was deployed with the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Combat Engineer. In 2012, he utilized my project management background and technical skills on a yearlong internship with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, (ATF) headquartered in St. Paul, MN.

As a U.S. Bank Ambassador and Emerging Leader for United Way Twin Cities, Derek currently supports multiple community organizations – the North Carolina A&T University – fundraising campaign, PROCEED INC – providing HBCU college tours, the Tubman Center – domestic abuse women’s shelter, TU Dance – modern dance company, and No Barriers – veteran service organization. He also serves as a Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Peer Mentor, National Black Police Association – MN Chapter member, Fraternal Order of the Eagle’s – member, and currently serving a three year term on the Business Review Committee (BRC) for the City of St. Paul, MN until 2018.

Larry A. Bakken

Larry Bakken is a Distinguished Hamline University School of Law Founder and Emeritus Professor of Law. He has recently taught Wills and Trusts and Non-Profit Law at Hamline Law School and he has taught Non-Profit Law in Hamline’s Graduate School and at Metropolitian State University.

Currently Larry serves on the Hill Library Board and is chair of the development committee. He also sits on the Norway House Board and he is active on committees for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Loppet Foundation. He has been President of Prism, a local food shelf and Cherish Our Children, a non-profit which supports the prevention of child abuse. He has been President of two church councils and he worked for five years in the Trust Services area for local banks. He was the development officer of Hamline Law School and he has advised wealthy individuals on trust services.

Larry has been a Mayor and Council Member in Golden Valley. He has served as President of the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities and he was a member of the National League of Cities Board of Directors. He chaired the National League of Cities International Municipal Consortium, and the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council’s International Economic Advisory Committee.

Larry has taught since 1973 and has concentrated his teaching in business, local government, leadership, conflict resolution and regulatory classes in both the Law School and the Graduate School of Management. His classes include administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, corporations, regulated industries, public finance law, local government law, law and policy, NAFTA, lawyers and leadership, wills and trusts, non-profit law and management, and international public dispute mechanisms. He is the co-author of Minnesota Administrative Practice and Procedure, Fundamentals of Public Finance, “The Conduct of Legislators,” in Ethics, Government and Public Policy, and Mediation and Public Policy.” He is also the author of Justice in the Wilderness and a variety of articles and chapters for related publications. He has conducted research projects for the Minnesota Revisor of Statutes, the Minnesota Legislature and the Administrative Conference of the United States.

Ron Blum

Ron Blum and his wife Susan fell in love with Golden Valley when they decided to raise their family here in 2013. Ron enjoys taking advantage of all that Golden Valley has to offer, from the parks and trails to local neighborhood events, and is finding it a wonderful place for his son, Ari.

Ron is a City Attorney at the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, where he specializes in litigation as a criminal prosecutor and in information privacy as the city data privacy liaison. As a Golden Valley On-Call Fire Fighter, Ron serves Golden Valley residents and businesses as an emergency responder to fire and medical events. Ron is also a Planning Commissioner for the City of Golden Valley where he regularly reviews and recommends action to the Golden Valley City Council on proposed land use. As a Branch Manager at Tree Trust he promotes, attends, and leads groups in community tree plantings and subsidized tree promotions across Hennepin County.

Being active in the community has always been very important to Ron. Ron’s prior civic, community, and professional leadership activities have been varied and extensive, including serving as a board member and participant in his local Boys and Girls Club, county domestic violence taskforce, county young professionals organization, local food shelf, and organizations promoting alternatives to incarceration and youth substance abuse prevention.

Ron now proudly serves Golden Valley neighbors as a board member of the GVCF, but you will also see him as a grass roots volunteer at some of the wonderful events that GVCF sponsors each year.


Raquel James

Raquel James has been a Golden Valley resident since 2013. She brings 25 years of experience in marketing, communications and content strategy to The Foundation, and is also with U.S. Bank as a UX content strategist. Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Raquel has led content and marketing teams from strategy development to operational execution.

Growing up in a small town, Raquel is a “joiner” and has been involved in volunteering for a variety of organizations throughout her life. She enjoys learning and growing by supporting the initiatives for which she is passionate and partnering with others to accomplish common goals.

“My passion and interest in creating a stronger community we all love and are proud to be part of is the motivating factor in joining the The Foundation’s Board of Directors,” says Raquel. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to support and grow our community through vital initiatives that will improve the lives of its current and future residents, as well as those in the surrounding communities.”

Raquel is a Minnesota native, and aside from a temporary move to Las Vegas with her husband and canine kids for 4 1/2 years, she has resided in the Twin Cities metro area since 1991. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, family and friends, taking neighborhood walks with her dogs, whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, playing in recreational volleyball leagues, crafting healthy dog treats for her canine crew, challenging herself with a new 5k race, exploring new local restaurants and living an active, healthy life.

“My hope is that I can help build a foundation and legacy that ensures Golden Valley continues to grow and prosper for many years to come,” said Raquel.

She makes a mean salsa, too.

Helene Johnson

Helene Johnson recently retired after 38 years as Executive Director of GTS Educational Events, a small nonprofit dedicated to providing educational conferences and workshops for those in public and nonprofit sectors. Besides administrative responsibilities, she worked with various groups to develop programs addressing current issues ranging from environmental sustainability and land use to e-health and leading organizational change. She and her organization have received awards and recognition from Minnesota Governors, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development, Minnesota Association for Continuing Adult Education, and the Minnesota City County Management Association among others.

Prior to GTS, she held positions at the University of Minnesota, the St. Paul YWCA, the Minneapolis Radisson Hotel and the City of Robbinsdale. She has a BA from Carleton College (and has co-chaired every class reunion since graduation!) Her Masters is in Continuing and Adult Education from the University of Minnesota.

Helene has been volunteering extensively with the city of Golden Valley since 2004. She was lead co-facilitator for the Envisioning process, and a founding member of the Envision Connection Project Board established to focus on ways to connect community members and enhance Golden Valley’s quality of life. One of the initiatives was creating and training a group of Bridge Builders who have organized a wide variety of activities — from lilac planting to Valley Volunteer Day.

As a founding board member of the Golden Valley Community Foundation, Helene has been very involved in the Small Sparks grant program. In addition, she facilitates Global Golden Valley, a group dedicated to “Celebrating and Connecting Cultures in our Community.” International Day at Market in the Valley and educational programs on “Who is Your Neighbor” have been presented annually since 2012.

John Kluchka

John Kluchka, Secretary

John Kluchka joined GVCF in 2016 as an Executive Board member and secretary as a way of translating his business and community experience into new community building opportunities.  He also leads our Marketing team and is always interested in meeting new recruits!

John has been involved in neighborhood engagement and volunteering for many years, including leadership work with Envision Golden Valley and Golden Valley’s Planning Commission. He has also participated in the Douglas Drive Corridor study and the Brookview Community Center Task Force.  Along his path of civic participation, John has met many committed, thoughtful and compassionate individuals and families, both city-wide as neighbors,  and city staff. John also volunteers with the Golden Valley Pride Festival as its co-chair, sponsorship coordinator and spokesperson.

Professionally, John brings 20 years of experience from the healthcare industry where he held multiple positions supporting communications, design, project management, sales, account management, R&D, product management, digital engagement and others. An architect at heart, John seeks out the structure of even the wildest ideas, and then brings design, strategy, best practices, detailed description and demonstration together as community goals become implemented initiatives.  John holds degrees in Architecture and Journalism from the University of Minnesota.

John says “My passion, commitment, experience and loyalty to the Golden Valley community has grown from eager volunteer to active participant, contributor and facilitator of the future vision of our city.  I am honored to continue to serve our community and bring my civic, educational and professional experiences, skills and unique perspectives to the team.”

Scott Leer

Scott Leer has been a golf professional for over 25 years, including a four-year stint in the mid 1990s at Brookview Golf Course, as the head golf professional. He also started up two businesses during his golf career, The Bunker Indoor Golf Center and Grips for Golf in Chaska. His experience in business has required him to collaborate with government entities, business owners, corporations, community organizations and sports organizations to create synergistic partnerships between each other. Scott has always enjoyed the relationships he has been able to develop working with different groups and entities.

After 15 years as the head golf professional/general manager at Burl Oaks Golf Club, Scott changed careers in late 2015 and has been working at Insurance Advisors, a full-service insurance brokerage based in Plymouth. As an advisor he really enjoys the opportunity to interact with people and to develop relationships on a different level than he did as a golf professional. In his new career he finds gratification in helping both individuals and businesses navigate through their insurance needs.

Scott and his wife Sara have lived in Golden Valley since 1998. He and Sara are raising two children, Katie and Nick. Both kids have been active in Golden Valley Little League and Softball, soccer, and basketball. Currently Katie is focusing on gymnastics and Nick really enjoys hockey and baseball.

“Golden Valley is such a wonderful community and I want to have a positive impact ensuring future generations will also enjoy the healthy, vibrant, small town feel we all currently enjoy. Working with community leaders, business leaders, and residents in a meaningful, organized, forward thinking manner is what excites me very much about being part of the GVCF board.”

Ellie Lewis

Ellie Lewis is a seasoned communications professional, with over 10 years of experience developing and delivering strategic communication to a variety of audiences. She has worked in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, both in the Twin Cities and in Washington, D.C. Ellie enjoys using communication to drive engagement and bring strategies to life.

Ellie currently balances work at Target Corporation with raising two daughters in Golden Valley. She moved to Golden Valley because of its location, but fell in love with it because of the people she has met. She enjoys spending time outside with her family at many of Golden Valley’s park, frequenting the farmers market in the summer or just enjoying the shade in her backyard, provided by the many wonderful old trees that help make Golden Valley an oasis just outside of downtown Minneapolis.

“Golden Valley has so much to offer – from a central location, to great schools and parks, to wonderful small businesses. I want to do all that I can to protect and build on what Golden Valley offers today to strengthen the community and ensure that it continues to serve as an oasis for generations to come.”

Linda Loomis

Linda Loomis

Linda Loomis

Linda joined the Golden Valley Community Foundation Board in 2012. She is currently the principal of Naiad Consulting, LLC, which she established in 2013. Her practice includes support and guidance regarding local watershed management and consultation about public policy with a focus on water management. Her current client list includes the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District.

Before that she was Mayor of the city of Golden Valley from 2002 to 2012 and was responsible for spearheading Envision Golden Valley, a citywide visioning exercise to guide city comprehensive planning. The Golden Valley Community Foundation is a direct result of Envision Golden Valley and the subsequent Envision Connection Project.

She is a life-long resident of Golden Valley, growing up here and attending Golden Valley High School. She has a long history of community involvement having served on the city’s Open Space and Recreation Commission and on the Board of Directors of PRISM (People Responding in Social Ministry). She is actively involved in other local organizations and serves as Treasurer for both Market in the Valley and the Golden Valley Historical Society.

Dean Penk

Dean Penk, Chair 612-735-4251

Dean Penk, Chair

Dean Penk is a founding member of the GVCF, serving as Board Chair since it’s inception in 2011. He has lived in Golden Valley since 1986 with his wife Julie.

Dean became involved in the community shortly after moving to Golden Valley. A golfer, he first joined the Brookview Golf Course Improvement Committee by appointment from the city council in early 90’s. In 2005, Dean became involved with the city’s citizen led Envision Connection Project as a board member.  As part of that experience, he realized that a reliable funding source for community building was necessary in order to provide seed money to enhance efforts to build on the already active community building culture. GVCF was created to develop those funding mechanisms.

Mr. Penk’s career involves sales and customer services management with experiences spanning industrial coatings, health insurance, healthcare services and office automation and design culminating in 30 years of packaging industry services management.  His business experiences include product development, sales, project management, customer retention, custom services design and delivery, lean practice and culture change implementation, employee recruitment and services business development.

Beginning in high school in Springfield, MN and continuing while attending University of Minnesota, Morris, Dean has been involved in creating, managing and growing organizations. Dean and Julie have enjoyed living in the North Tyrol neighborhood since 1986 with multiple 4 legged kids over the years. Dean is an avid golfer, landscaper and developer of ideas and of things. He and Julie currently enjoy traveling North America after having had the opportunity to travel globally for years.

“My objective is that I do what I am able to assure that we as citizen neighbors, work actively to make Golden Valley the destination of choice and a center of positive activity by and for individuals, families, neighborhoods, businesses and organizations. This active work creates an atmosphere that incubates positive actions that do enhance lives through meaningful experiences, helping people participate, observe, learn and in turn, lead and teach.”

Jeffrey Prottas

Jeffrey is a seasoned community leader and nonprofit executive with experience positioning organizations for financial and programmatic growth.  He has over 20 years of experience developing programs that meet the needs of multiple constituencies, using programmatic success to leverage increased investment by donors.

Jeffrey is adept at facilitating change to support organizational objectives through new strategies, processes, technologies and leadership development.  He has a strong background in financial resource development, communications and marketing, strategic planning, project and organizational leadership, human resource development, talent acquisition and retention, and public speaking.

Jeffrey has worked in a variety of settings including the faith-based community, education, youth and camping, hunger relief, human services, animal rescue, healthcare, and financial and legal services. He has helped organizations raise over $50 million dollars to support the communities they serve, is Certified as a Fundraising Executive (CFRE), member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the National and Minnesota Planned Giving Councils.

John Richardson

John Richardson

John Richardson

John Richardson is a Meadowbrook Dad with two daughters who are now at Hopkins High School and Mankato State University. He has been a resident of Golden Valley for more than twenty years.

He is a small business owner with a professional background in training and development. He is past president of the Golden Valley Lions Club and strongly believes in the power of community connections.

“Golden Valley is a community that works. I love my block, I love my neighbors, we have good schools, streets, and parks, and the water tastes good. There’s more to do … get creative and get involved.”

Luke Weisberg 

Luke Weisberg is a founding board member of the GV Community Foundation, and co-led the Golden Valley Arts & Music Festival for many years as well as serving as Foundation Treasurer. Outside of GV pursuits, Luke also serves in leadership positions at Shir Tikvah, a progressive synagogue in Minneapolis, and Heading Home Hennepin, a regional body focused on ending homelessness.

Luke is a Senior Partner at LukeWorks, LLC, a consulting firm providing support to nonprofit organizations, foundations, and public agencies on workforce development issues and neighborhood development efforts. He served Governors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty as Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Development Council (GWDC) from 2000 to 2005, and prior to that held leadership and management positions in nonprofit organizations focused on employment and housing issues in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.  Luke is a graduate of the Hubert Humphrey Policy Fellows Program at the University of Minnesota, the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle and Haverford College.

Luke grew up in Golden Valley, lived away for twenty years, and now finds himself right back in the community! He jokes, “I always said I wouldn’t move back to Minnesota, live in the suburbs, or own a minivan. We’re done with the minivan, but I live in Golden Valley and — as it turns out — it’s a really good life!”

More to come…