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 two young children, 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, AJC’s Civic Achievement Award and the 2018 Excellence in Literacy Leadership Award.
As Development Coordinator, Kelly assists Gulf Coast's Philanthropic Advisors with scheduling and logistics to maximize service for our donors. After 10 years of working “behind the scenes” as Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Production Stage Manager, Kelly is most comfortable when juggling multiple projects in a fast-paced work environment. She is happiest when contributing to better our community in an efficient, effective, and collaborative work space. Kelly earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in stage management from the University of Central Florida. She enjoys cooking, bike rides, the Florida sunshine, and—most of all—spending time with family.
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.
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.
Knowledge Management Officer
Erica Furo promotes a culture of effective knowledge sharing throughout the foundation, identifying best practices in the area of knowledge management. She oversees Gulf Coast’s internal and external information systems and works across teams to effectively manage and disseminate the foundation’s data. A member of the Gulf Coast team for over 15 years, Erica has served in various roles, most recently as Development Manager, where she focused on providing the philanthropy team with the right tools and information to achieve their goals. Erica was born and raised in Venice and earned her bachelor of science in marketing from the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.
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.
Senior Community Investment Officer
Jennifer Johnston is the newest member of Gulf Coast’s Community Investment team, where she plays a lead role in developing, launching, and sustaining community initiatives that address regional priorities. Most recently, Jennifer served as Director of Partnership Development with Alpha House of Tampa, strengthening services for pregnant and parenting women experiencing homelessness in Hillsborough County. Prior, Jennifer was a Regional Director for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, creating healthier school environments for students and staff across the country. Jennifer completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health promoting health-education campaigns nationwide after earning a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hailing from New Hampshire, Jennifer loves hiking in the mountains and swimming in the ocean. She moved to Sarasota from Tampa, where she spent the past decade enjoying eternal summer on the Gulf Coast, international and domestic travel, and cheering for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Amber Lamerson assists Gulf Coast with financial data entry and reconciliation, including the processing and management of grant applications and the coordination of financial communications for donors, agencies, and fund representatives. Stemming from her many years in retail, Amber is enthusiastic about great service and is committed to the highest standards of professional support. She received her bachelor of science in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has a passion for organizations committed to children and education. Prior to joining the foundation in 2017, Amber worked for David’s Bridal, Sterling Jewelers, Forty Carrots Family Center and the New College Foundation. When out of the office, you can find her cooking with her family or relaxing at the beach.
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 on the board 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.
Chief Financial Officer
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 Talent and Innovation | Chief Operating Officer
As part of Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s management team, Veronica Thames is a critical partner to the President | CEO in translating Gulf Coast’s goals into its overall operational plan, including department objectives, staff leadership, and performance measures. Veronica also plays a key role on the Community Investment team, creating, planning, and executing bold and proactive initiatives that transform our region. She joined the foundation in 2018.
Veronica is an influential and collaborative leader with proven ability to manage multiple functional areas within a dynamic organization. Prior to Gulf Coast, Veronica served as Vice President of Human Resources at Blake Medical Center, part of Healthcare Corporation of America, for which she had worked since 2006. At Blake she was responsible for key operations and personnel management of a 1,300-employee organization. Her many accomplishments included operating the top-ranked childcare facility in Manatee County and the largest community health and wellness program within HCA nationwide.
Veronica also brings extensive community involvement to her new role in philanthropy. She was a longtime member and former chair of the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative, a consortium of employers and educators dedicated to improving workforce development and competitiveness in the region’s healthcare sector. She also served as a board member and volunteer for numerous nonprofit organizations, and she is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Manatee.
Outside of work, Veronica loves spending time wither her family, as well as home remodeling, kayaking, and big gatherings (where she doesn’t have to cook!). Fluent in Spanish, she was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and lived and worked across the United States, from Boca Raton to Los Angeles, before planting roots on the Gulf Coast.
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 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 has provided critical leadership on behalf of Gulf Coast in our community’s creation of a system of care for homeless children and families, and he is part of the cross-sector team that is adapting that model to effectively house and support unaccompanied homeless youth and chronically homeless adults. Other transformative projects in which Jon plays a key role include community-driven efforts to extend the multiuse recreational Legacy Trail in Sarasota County and to sustainably redevelop the Sarasota Bayfront.
Jon is also recognized throughout Florida as a leading advocate for protecting the natural environment. A fifth-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, and in 1996 he was featured in National Geographic for his efforts to protect endangered species.
Community Investment Administrator
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.