1999 to 2022
John Duke is a Renaissance man, at home in the boardroom and weight room, crunching numbers or building opportunities for generations to come. He later earned an accounting degree from Cal Poly Pomona and worked as a hospital auditor for a regional accounting firm before moving to Southern Oregon. Known in the Rogue Valley for efforts ranging from banking and air services to promoting the arts, hospitals and education, John, was commended for his many contributions when he was named "First Citizen" by the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County at its annual awards dinner. John arrived in the Rogue Valley in 1970, secured a real estate license, opened an accounting firm in Rogue River, and soon became a partner in a recreational vehicle sales firm in 1972. In 1978, Duke launched Superior Athletic Club, which now has two Medford locations and one in Eagle Point. In March 1992, Superior Air Charter took to the sky and now is coupled with Million Air as a fixed-base operator at the Medford airport. Duke was chairman of the board at the Bank of Southern Oregon, which later merged with Douglas National Bank to form PremierWest Bank, where he became chairman of the board. He has supported Northwest Medical Teams, World Vision and the Alliance Defense Fund. And the Dukes have contributed to Azusa Pacific University, George Fox, Northwest Christian University and Grace Christian Schools, among other academic institutions.
1999 to 2022
John Harmon, born and raised in Southern Oregon, as a founding board member, was a "Free Radical". He brought business and world knowledge infused with wisdom and compassion. His poetry, a gift to reflections. He was greatly missed when he accepted employment in Oklahoma. His spirit remains indelibly with the Foundation he helped craft.
From John: The Board gathered to meet Gordon and to discuss his wishes for the foundation.
His reply to the question as to the goal of the foundation was simple, "To do good."
Those three words guided each of us as we discussed funding priorities and the amount of funds to provide. We also used Gordons directive in selecting our grantees.
However, I think the power of Gordon's words guided us as a group to a place where we always seemed to come to a consensus. We listened to each other. We often remarked that we had never been a part of a group where there was a spirit of unanimity. "To do good" guided me often times without being aware of the words. They became the core of my and GEFs purpose as Gordon had requested. A dying mans end of life clarity guided us into a realm none of us had ever experienced, but something we all tried to accomplish in our stressed-filled daily lives.
1999 to Present
Mike Heverly feels extremely fortunate to have found a unique opportunity that goes beyond supplying money to solve short-term needs. As one of the founding board members, Mike was a part of crafting the vision and mission of the foundation. He is always looking for ways to leverage their resources to not only support those in need, but challenge the community to change lives for the better. Mike has retired from working in manufacturing for 35 years and spends his time with his family. He enjoys fly fishing, the great outdoors, and traveling.
1999 to 2022
Stephanie Johnson has spent nearly five decades in education as a teacher, counselor, and principal in elementary, secondary, and charter schools. She moved from Ohio to Ashland with her late husband Mark Johnson in 1973. Stephanie was immediately hired to teach English and head the department at McLoughlin Junior High and had Carl Elwood, Gordon Elwood’s son, in her English class. She knew personally how hard the Elwood family struggled. With the firm belief that the only way out of poverty is education, Stephanie became a founding board member of Kids Unlimited of Oregon and is a member of the Latgwa Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Medford Rogue Rotary.
1999 to Present
Daniel Kosmatka was born and raised in Southern Oregon. As a lifelong resident, he has seen many changes in the valley and cares about the needs of children and families. He remembers Gordon working on their family TV when he was a child and saw Gordon riding his bike around town towing his cart that he filled with cans and bottles to obtain the deposit refunds. He is a CPA and enjoys working as a member of the Gordon Elwood Foundation in a collaborative effort to strengthen community programs which are directly involved in improving and/or saving the lives of children.
1999 to 2022
Jan Murphy was born and raised in the Rogue Valley-a third generation member of the Hueners family. The 100 year old family ranch she grew up on outside of Jacksonville is still in operation. She worked for many years as an office administrator for several architectural firms in Medford in all phases of architecture and planning. She serves on various community agency boards and has an understanding of the nonprofit sector and their needs and struggles to survive in difficult financial times as well as the critical need for the services they provide. Jan has been on the Elwood Foundation Board since its inception. She knew Gordon Elwood for years before the foundation was established as their family TV repair man. At that time, she had no idea how they would meet again years later under very different circumstances. Knowing the story of Gordon's life and his struggles makes his words "do good" something she takes into consideration in the decision-making process of the Foundation.
1999 to Present
Burke Raymond is inspired by the strange history of Gordon Elwood. He joined the board with an open mind and fostered an incredible bond between all the board members. Under the tremendous leadership of Kathy, Burke and the rest of the board work together to tackle community issues. Burke’s background is in public service. He served as administrator for Jackson County for over a decade. Before that, he worked as a city manager in Gresham, Beaverton, and two cities in Minnesota. Burke continues to remain active in the community through the Gordon Elwood Foundation, enjoys traveling with his wife, and reading history.
1999 to Present
Gordon sat across the desk from Bob Hutchins, as he had many times in the 24 years Bob served as his Financial Advisor, knowing he was dying from cancer. Gordon was unusually alert and on task. He did not want to pay any “death” taxes! He did want to do ‘good’, if he could, with his assets. When Bob described what a private foundation could do, Gordon was ready to start setting one up, ASAP. Bob pulled together the initial 3 or 4 board members and together they selected the rest of the members. Bob has found it fascinating to watch the board members bring 100% of themselves to each meeting and event and, unbelievably, set aside personal preconceived biases to focus on the best possible ideas for the community and, thus, the Foundation. Bob had been a financial advisor for 32 years when Gordon decided to start a foundation. He had served on and chaired many non-profit boards and one national foundation board. Bob sees the opportunity for the foundation to support initiatives and programs that break the cycle of poverty. Gordon envisioned giving a “hand-up” and not a “hand-out”. Bob believes the creativity and audacity of this board is absolutely unique and Gordon would love it!
2000 to 2022
The Gordon Elwood founding board of seven hired Kathy in the fall of 2000 to create the infrastructure for the foundation’s grant making process. After their initial experience of giving grants, the founders asked Kathy to facilitate a strategic visioning process for the foundation. This eventually led to integrating the community building strategies the foundation supports today. Kathy’s academic training is grounded in Public Health Planning and Administration. She received a Master’s Degree in Public Health from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Art Degree in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Her first years in the community sector began while in college, creating and managing health and education programs for culturally and economically diverse populations. Throughout her career Kathy has supported individuals and organizations through personal and systemic transformation, creating opportunities for leadership development, collaboration, strategic thinking and client and community-centered outcomes. A Fellow of Oregon’s American Leadership Forum, Class 17, Kathy volunteers for the SMART reading program at Jackson Elementary School, supports high school students with their senior projects, and enjoys the adventures of her two 20-something sons who now live at opposite ends of the country and sometimes world.
2011 to 2021
Rhonda Gressett joined the Gordon Elwood Foundation in 2011 as the Office Manager and “rewired” to become the foundation’s contract bookkeeper in January 2019 until her full retirement in 2021. Rhonda and her husband Steve owned and operated Sims Cycle & Fitness, a local retail bicycle store for over 15 years. Rhonda has over 30 years of office administration, bookkeeping, and business experience and believes education promotes possibilities. She has volunteered in events actively to increase high school graduation. Rhonda is now a full-time grandma to her seven grandchildren and enjoys hiking, home renovation projects, and complicated Lego projects. She and her husband recently purchased a motorhome and enjoy traveling and visiting new places. During the winter months, you will find her and her husband traveling to one of their favorite locations in Palm Desert.