President | CEO
Mark Pritchett is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, including corporate strategy, oversight of its programs, operations, and investments. Known as a seasoned leader in business, philanthropy, and public policy, he thrives on big challenges, having led Florida’s election reform task force after the 2000 Presidential election and overseeing disputes between home owners and insurance companies after the 2004 and 2005 record hurricane seasons. Mark has advanced nationally recognized initiatives at Gulf Coast in education and workforce development. Prior to joining the foundation in 2008, he held leadership positions with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida, and the Collins Center for Public Policy. He earned Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and a PhD from The Florida State University. Mark loves the Colorado Rockies, riding his bike with Gina Taylor throughout our region, science articles, Chihuly glass collections, European travels, Kentucky bourbon, and UK basketball…not necessarily in that order.
Senior Staff Accountant
Mandi Arthur works closely with the Chief Financial Officer to ensure the integrity of Gulf Coast’s accounting information. She is responsible for all accounting activities, including managing the general ledger, preparing financial reports, and performing monthly account analysis and reconciliations. Mandi feels a sense of accomplishment in providing the foundation’s donors, Board, nonprofit partners, and her colleagues the financial tools necessary to make informed decisions while helping the community. Prior to joining Gulf Coast in 2012, Mandi lived in Orlando and worked in the banking industry and with small businesses as an office manager and full-charge bookkeeper. She is passionate about music and received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Stetson University. You will often hear her singing in the office, where she is the designated “happy birthday” conductor. As a native Floridian, Mandi enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her husband and young daughter, especially at the beach.
Senior Vice President for Philanthropy
Veronica Brady guides Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s work with over 700 generous families, individuals, and businesses. She focuses on collaboration, impact, and sustainability through engagement in Gulf Coast’s mission and the needs of the region to help donors leverage their giving. She develops innovative fund strategies and helps families expand their current giving to build a charitable legacy. Veronica joined Gulf Coast in 2010 after a 25-year career with SunTrust, where she most recently served as senior vice president for wealth and investment management. A Certified Financial Planner™, Veronica graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. She is a member of Leadership Florida’s 30th annual class, and has served in board leadership roles with the Junior League, Sarasota Family YMCA, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Leadership Sarasota. Veronica has been recognized with many awards, including Girls Inc.’s “She Knows Where She’s Going” award, the YMCA First Citizen Award, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Women in Power honor, and AJC’s Civic Achievement Award.
Chief of Staff | Corporate Secretary
Wendy Deming is Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s liaison to its Board of Director; advisor on regulatory matters and board governance; human resources manager; and operations officer. She also oversees Gulf Coast’s Invest in Incredible nonprofit capacity-building initiative, which has provided vital resources and training to scores of area nonprofit organizations. Wendy joined Gulf Coast in 2000 as an accountant and was named chief of staff in 2002 and corporate secretary in 2003. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and holds a certificate in Nonprofit Board Consulting from BoardSource. Wendy earned a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in human resources management from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Furman University. Wendy enjoys volunteering her time with nonprofit organizations, especially when there is an opportunity to help them strengthen their governing capacity. She and her husband, Michael, live in Nokomis.
Samantha Eplin joined the Gulf Coast team as the office manager responsible for keeping our local facility moving forward. She is dedicated to raise the bar of service to our customers, donors, nonprofit partners and staff at Gulf Coast. Samantha is passionate about the community and serving local nonprofits. Since 2014, she has worked as a medical office professional at Venice Regional and Regional Cardiac & Vascular Associates. Previously, she was the student director at Lift Church in Venice. Samantha holds a degree in Theology and will soon graduate with her BS in Public Administration. Her favorite activities outside of work are spending time with her family, working with horses and mentoring students in the community.
Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy
Anna Foster is responsible for Gulf Coast’s strategic digital communications, including online strategy, digital relations, and outreach. Always up for a challenge, Anna isn’t afraid to dive into new projects. She has a passion for smart communications and is inspired by helping others do great work. Prior to joining the foundation in 2015, Anna worked for and with a wide range of companies, including Tervis, Boar’s Head, Observer Media Group, and Seminole Pride Noble Juice. She has a master’s degree in Internet marketing from Full Sail University and a bachelor of arts from Florida Gulf Coast University. When she isn’t helping further the mission of Gulf Coast, Anna can be found volunteering, reading, riding her bike, or with her husband on their boat.
Kirstin Fulkerson has been an integral member of the Gulf Coast team for 13 years. During this time, she has worked closely with Gulf Coast’s nonprofit partners, donors, professional advisors, and local leaders to transform our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Kirstin has spearheaded many initiatives that focus on nonprofits, leadership, and emerging community issues. As a philanthropic advisor, she works closely with Gulf Coast’s family of donors and their legal and financial advisors to help these generous people maximize the impact of their giving. Kirstin has an MBA from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado. She enjoys reading, anything outdoors, and, most importantly, spending time with her family.
Erica Furo works to ensure that Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Philanthropy team has the right tools and information to achieve their goals. Erica oversees gift and donor-advised grant processing; manages the foundation’s online donor portal, DonorFirst; and serves as the primary contact for Gulf Coast’s sponsorship grants. Erica has more than 15 years of administrative experience in the nonprofit and community foundation sectors. She earned her bachelor of science in marketing from the University of South Florida and served as a Peace Corps volunteer with her husband in the Kyrgyz Republic.
As a Philanthropic Advisor, Hermione Gilpin is committed to working with the region’s donors, nonprofit partners and community leaders to further Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s mission to transform the region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Prior to joining the foundation, Hermione advocated for the importance of donor engagement in arts and culture at Asolo Repertory Theatre, where she strengthened the theatre’s endowment and annual fundraising efforts, and La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, where she deepened community relationships and managed the campaign feasibility study. She has a Bachelor’s from Rice University in Houston where she studied Visual and Dramatic Arts with an emphasis in theatre arts. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southwest FL Chapter and a graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute, Class of 2015.
Director of Communications and Public Relations
Greg Luberecki directs Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s external communications and brand management. As part of Gulf Coast’s marketing and communications team, he leads media relations, content creation, and publication development, and he works closely with the foundation’s nonprofit partners to help tell the story of their impact in our region. Greg is also active in the community, currently serving as president of the Friends of the Venice Public Library as well as coaching youth soccer and occasionally volunteering at Venice Elementary School. He is a member of the 2014 class of Leadership Sarasota. Prior to joining Gulf Coast in 2005, Greg lived in the Washington, DC, area, working in editing and web content management for such employers as the Kiplinger Washington Editors and American University. He earned his BA in English from Lafayette College.
Jennifer is the newest member of the Gulf Coast team and is responsible for supporting our President | CEO. She is eagerly learning the many facets of Gulf Coast to help nonprofits in the community and sustain an exceptional level of customer service to our family of donors. Jennifer began her career as an administrative assistant supporting sales and public relations at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. She has also held executive assistant positions with California Casualty Management Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and at Sarasota Memorial Hospital supporting the corporate finance team.
Jennifer and her husband, Jim, enjoy sunsets at the beach, attending local polo matches, and going to the movies. Jennifer is an avid reader of historical fiction and enjoys shopping, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Community Investment Officer
Jessica Bailey Polk serves as Community Investment Officer, supporting Gulf Coast’s grant making and coordinating investments in the areas of education and health and human services. Prior to joining Gulf Coast in 2014, Jessica worked in international business development for MoneyShow, producing conferences in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Vancouver. She is a native of Sarasota and has a degree in international studies from Elon University. When she isn’t helping to support the Gulf Coast team, Jessica enjoys long walks on the Ringling Bridge, camping with her husband, and traveling.
Chief Financial Officer
Cory Reeves maintains the financial integrity of Gulf Coast Community Foundation through the expert direction of its financial, fund accounting, and investment activities. His responsibilities include supervising and managing all aspects of Gulf Coast’s accounting systems, overseeing the financial audit, and preparation of tax and regulatory filings. Cory is also responsible for management of the foundation’s invested assets, including adherence to its investment policy and monitoring outside investment managers. Prior to joining the Gulf Coast team in 2013, Cory was a Supervisor Accountant at Kerkering, Barberio & Co., where he focused on the audit of nonprofit organizations. He earned degrees in finance and accounting from The Ohio State University, and graduated high school locally in Sarasota County from the Out-of-Door Academy. When Cory isn’t making sure the numbers add up, he can be found taking more swings than necessary attempting to get a little white ball into a hole.
Development Administrator and Scholarship Manager
Kristin Taylor is responsible for administering Gulf Coast’s scholarship program, which provides greater access to postsecondary education for local area students. In addition, she helps our donors realize their philanthropic potential as a member of the Development team. Prior to joining the foundation in 2011, Kristin worked in the fast-paced world of television news as a video editor for WWSB ABC7 in Sarasota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunication production from the University of Florida. (Go Gators!) Her claim to fame is representing the country as a member of Team USA at the Bally Total Fitness World Aerobics Championship in 1999. She did not help lead the team to victory. For exercise these days, she and her husband can be found chasing around their two small children.
Senior Vice President for Community Investment
Jon Thaxton creates and implements Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s key strategies for transforming our region’s nonprofit community and providing leadership on emerging issues. Jon joined Gulf Coast in 2012 as director of community investment while completing his 12th year of service on the Sarasota County Commission, and he was promoted to senior vice president in 2015. In this role, Jon works with nonprofit organizations, donors, and other community partners to invest Gulf Coast grants and resources in projects that will transform our region and improve public policies. His knowledge of the region and the relationships he built as a public servant are tremendous assets to his work. Jon is also recognized throughout Florida as a leading advocate for protecting the natural environment. A fourth-generation Floridian, he was raised on a farm near Osprey and began working at his family’s real estate company at 14. Jon began his environmental advocacy at Venice High School in 1974 as a founding member of the Ecology Club.
Since joining Gulf Coast 13 years ago, Harriet Thompson has worked in a variety of administrative positions: assistant to the CEO, helping our donors in Development, and currently providing support to the Community Investment team. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Harriet worked in a supervisory capacity for CNA Insurance, located outside of Washington, DC. When not at the office, Harriet can be found on the golf course, playing a friendly game of bridge, or trying to keep up with her “Little Sister” Amanda.