Board of Directors
Chris Graff, Chair
Chris Graff is vice president of corporate communications at National Life Group. He is a former journalist with The Associated Press and for 15 years hosted a weekly public affairs program on Vermont Public Television. Chris is a trustee of Vermont College of Fine Arts and the National Life Group Charitable Foundation. He served as a member of the Council on the Future of Vermont, the Commission on the Future of Vermont’s Justice System, and a director of the Vermont Historical Society. He is a contributing editor of Vermont Business Magazine.
Doug Bishop, Vice Chair
Doug Bishop is the Director of Communications and External Relations with the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. Prior to coming to work at the American Red Cross, he practiced law in Burlington for twelve years and worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. for six years. Doug has served as a volunteer board member with the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, spent 3 years as an Impact Team member with the United Way of Chittenden County and is a past Rotary member.
Betsy Ide, Treasurer
Betsy Ide serves in the role of chief of staff to the CEO at Green Mountain Power Company headquartered in Colchester and Rutland, Vermont. Before joining GMP in June of 2013, Betsy was the executive director for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. A week after Tropical Storm Irene struck the state, Betsy was asked by Vermont's elected leadership to join the newly formed Irene Recovery Office. During her time of service in the statewide Irene Recovery Office she worked to coordinate the state's response to the devastation left behind by the storm. Prior to being appointed to this position, Betsy lived in Washington, DC for 11 years working for 3 years as a Congressional Aide and for the subsequent 8 as a Vice President at Cassidy & Associates, one of DC's most established lobbying firms representing non-profits around the country.
MaryEllen Mendl, Secretary
MaryEllen Mendl is the Director of Vermont 2-1-1, a program of the United Ways of Vermont. She has worked within the United Way system for 20 years. She began her service with United Ways in Morris County, N.J. and moved to Vermont in 1997 to work as executive director of the United Way of Addison County. MaryEllen helped to develop and implement Vermont 2-1-1 and then became its director in 2005. MaryEllen has served and held top leadership positions on numerous nonprofit boards. She is a gubernatorial appointee to the Human Services Grant Committee, on which she has served for the past three years. MaryEllen is a member of Business and Professional Women and serves as president of the Board.
Bill Elwell is a United Methodist Pastor serving in Bristol and Monkton, Bill served as the Chair of the group Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). Elwell has served as a volunteer firefighter, including as a Chief, for 26 years in North Bennington and Bristol. He currently serves as the Chaplain of the Vermont State Firefighters Association and lives in Bristol.
JoEllen Calderara is the program coordinator at RSVP and the Volunteer Center in Barre. She started her career in 1989 at the Vermont Legislative Council. In 1997 she moved to Florida and created a company that managed the rentals of beachfront homes. She was town manager in Rosemary Beach, Florida, for seven years and then founded J. Eyer Consulting L.L.C., a company that assisted with the project management of construction of multimillion dollar single family homes. In 2006 JoEllen returned to Vermont to work for the Vermont state chapter of the March of Dimes. In 2009 she joined the Retired Senior Volunteer Program as a volunteer coordinator. She is the chair of the Central Vermont Long-Term Recovery Committee.
Neale Lunderville recenlty served as the Chief Executive Officer of NG Advantage LLC. Prior to this appointment he was the Leader of Enterprise Innovation at Green Mountain Power. He took a leave of absence from that position in the fall of 2011 to serve as Irene Recovery Officer for the state of Vermont, leading and coordinating Vermont’s recovery from the worst disaster to hit the state since the floods of 1927. He was appointed to that special post by Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat. Neale served in two top cabinet posts in the administration for Gov. James Douglas, a Republican. He served as secretary of administration from 2008-2011 and as secretary of transportation from 2006 to 2008. He also served as secretary of civil and military affairs.
Laurie Hurdle is a member of VOAD, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, representing the Southern Baptist Convention. Through Vermont’s spring and summer flooding disasters, she focused on managing the logistics of housing and feeding volunteers.
Charlie Kireker is a co-founder and former managing director of FreshTracks Capital, L.P., based in Middlebury, which manages $25 million in Limited Partner capital in two distinct funds. FreshTracks co-invests in early stage companies, primarily in New England, frequently with Village Ventures, Inc., a national fund development group that serves a network of sixteen similar regionally or sector-based venture funds. Before launching FreshTracks in 2000, Charlie co-founded in 1993 Green Mountain Capital, L.P., a mezzanine Small Business Investment Company, and he launched Twin Birches, Ltd. in Middlebury in 1986 to specialize in downtown commercial revitalization and neighborhood development projects. Charlie also co-founded North Country Angels in 1999, as an experienced angel investor, Board member and consultant to emerging growth companies, including Stonyfield Yoghurt, VEAS, Vermont Teddy Bear, EatingWell Media Group, Autumn Harp, and KLD Analytics. He also served for a decade through 2011 on the Investment Committee of the Vermont Community Foundation, and chairs the Investment Committee of Vermont Public Radio while serving at Shelburne Farms. Charlie served ten years on Governor Dean’s Council of Economic Advisors and also Environmental Advisors, and is a Director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont. During the early and mid-80's, Charlie was CEO of the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency in Boston, and before that directed the Program in State and Local Government at Harvard’s JFK School.
Ann Manwaring has served as a Vermont state Representative since 2007, representing Windham County, District 2. She is a retired small business owner who founded and ran a small business for 23 years that emphasized family friendly policies. She has long been active in local affairs, serving as a select person in Wilmington for 12 years, three of those as chair. Ann served as a board member of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns for nine years, including one year as president. She has also served on the Wilmington Planning Commission; Windham Regional Commission; Wilmington Charter Committee, chair; Facilities Committee, Twin Valley Schools, chair (Merged middle and high schools of Wilmington and Whitingham); Brattleboro Area Community Land Trust, board member; and Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, board member.