OUR TEAM

Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President & Chief Executive Officer of the North Valley Community Foundation; a Northern California based nonprofit public charity, managing more than $13 million in assets.


Alexa took the post of CEO in July of 2005, during the Foundation's 16th year of operations. Under her leadership the Foundation has brought in more than $40 million, and increased assets under management to more than $13 million. During that time the granting capabilities have increased tremendously granting more than $4 million a year to hundreds of local, national and international charities. In addition to asset growth, Alexa expanded the Foundation’s core services to include community capacity building for the nonprofit sector; establishing the region’s only nonprofit council "North Valley Nonprofit Council”. The Foundation then launched the largest discretionary grant program in the North State, called "Annie B's Community Drive”, and the programs first seven years ('07-'13) NVCF has granted more than $7 million to participating organizations.
Alexa currently serves as the Vice President of the Calacirya Foundation, an international foundation focused on working with the rural poor of Guatemala, specifically in the areas of alternative energy sources and sustainable agriculture. Alexa serves as the Vice President for 3Core a Chico-based economic development corporation. She also sits on the board of Orphan Care International, a US based charity working in Zambia as well as One Media Projector per Trainer, an International NGO. And, she is a founding member of TedxChico.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Valavanis founded and was Executive Director of the Seeds of Life Foundation, a Guatemalan-based nonprofit focused on development of indigenous owned and operated nonprofits. Alexa's areas of expertise include business infrastructure development, management and communications. Prior to establishing the Seeds of Life Foundation, Alexa worked in Shanghai, China with international kindergartens.   


Debbie Blue is the Executive Assistant to Alexa Benson-Valavanis joined our team in 2013. She comes to the North Valley Community Foundation from Austin, Texas where she was the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Human Resources at the University of Texas, Austin.

Prior to Debbie's work at UT she was an Insurance Underwriter and Case Advocate for Warner Pacific Insurance in Westlake Village, CA.  

Debbie can be reached at the North Valley Community Foundation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 8-5pm at 530-891-1150 ext. 34 or via email at DBlue2583@gmail.com.

 


Laura Cootsona is our Director of Strategic Philanthropy. Laura joined the staff of the Community Foundation in 2013.
Laura has lived in the North State with her daughters and husband for almost eleven years having moved here from New York City. Laura has served various roles at NVCF including establishing the Nonprofit Institute from 2004-2007, hosting and facilitating the North Valley Nonprofit Council, and collaborating as the nonprofit expert on various projects. She comes to her new role as Director of Strategic Philanthropy with years of preparation to better serve businesses and individuals to intentionally develop a philanthropic strategy. Her desire is to bring multiple groups to the table to solve real problems in creative ways and make a real difference in the community. Laura is a team player, enthusiastic, and full of energy.

 

After completing a BA from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco Laura has spent 19 years working to better the community through training, equipping and consulting with nonprofit organizations. Her consulting practice focuses on fundraising, marketing, CEO coaching, strategic planning, and board development. In fundraising, Laura develops strategies with clients to diversify funding by sharpening their story to garner the most significant gifts and grants. Laura focuses her clients to do good WELL so that her clients operate at the highest level possible to reach their missions over time.
Laura’s interests are varied: the arts, music, social service, teaching, reading, hiking, traveling, and conversation. She served as a founding board member of TEDxChico, serves regularly at the Jesus Center, volunteers at her church and in the schools.
Laura would love to hear from you at Lcootsona@nvcf.org.

 


Jovanni Tricerri joins the North Valley Community Foundation as the Philanthropic Engagement Coordinator.  His focus is on recruiting, mobilizing and supporting new clients, with a special emphasis on building giving circles and individuals, families and businesses interested in engaging in philanthropy. 
Jovanni is engaged throughout the Chico with an emphasis on community engagement and stewardship. He also works with the Chico Stewardship Network, a community initiative founded to address a growing need for civic engagement in fostering community transformation. The motivation behind his work is the belief that communities work best when its citizens adopt a widespread ethic that engages everyone to contribute to the success of their community.

 

With 15 years experience in international relief and development work, Jovanni has travelled to over 35 countries as a strategic advisor on issues related to poverty, international relations, leadership development and peace and reconciliation initiatives. Currently, he serves as an advisor to several international non-profit organizations in Central and South America, South Asia, and Africa. 

 

Jovanni received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA and is finishing a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

 

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3120 Cohasset Road, Suite 8, Chico, CA 95973  |  (530) 891-1150  |  nvcf@nvcf.org

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