The Friendship Club Staff

Jennifer Singer, Executive Director, CFRE

Jennifer Singer helped co-found The Friendship Club in 1995. She served in several roles as The Friendship Club grew and became the Executive Director in 2004. Jennifer was raised in Nevada County and is a graduate of Nevada Union High School. Jennifer received a degree in Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is working toward her master’s degree in non-profit administration from the University of San Francisco. Jennifer has a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential and is a graduate of the Nevada County Leadership Institute.

Dena Valin, Associate Director

Dena Valin has over 13 years of experience in nonprofits working with at-risk youth. She is a Nevada County native and graduate of Nevada Union High School. She returned to the area in 2004 and became the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County, which she helped develop and grow over eight years to serve twice the number of children. Dena has her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, where she focused her research on school-based mentoring. She has extensive experience in inter-agency collaboration, program development and evaluation, and is excited to focus on these areas in her work with The Friendship Club. She is also a Big Sister mentor to her Little Brother of over eight years and serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership of the Sierras and on the Nevada County Adult and Family Services Commission.

Denise Tambasco, Program Director

Denise Tambasco runs our after school program for the middle school girls and conducts the recruitment of new girls into the program. A native of Nevada County and a graduate of Nevada Union High School, Denise has worked for The Friendship Club since January 2007. Denise holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, with a minor in English Literature, a Master’s degree in Education, and a teaching credential in Science. She is currently working towards her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at UC Davis and expects to graduate in the summer of 2016. Prior to working for The Friendship Club, Denise completed her student teaching at Lyman Gilmore Middle School, where she taught 7th grade science and math.  Outside of the Friendship Club, Denise enjoys cooking, traveling, taking photographs, and singing with a local choir.


Cindy HintzCindy Hintz, Volunteer Manager

Cindy Hintz was born & raised in California. She holds degrees in both English and Commercial Interior Design. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career as a design coordinator, growing into a full-fledged project manager for over 15 years. She worked overseas in Singapore, leading the design team effort for a 220,000 sq. ft. headquarters building for a Silicon Valley Company. Cindy relocated to Nevada City from the bay area in 2007. She became involved as a volunteer in Soroptimist International Nevada City, and served on the board for four years. It was that service that ignited a passion for non-profit work, with a special focus on improving the lives of women and girls. Email:

Jessica Reiter, Administrative Assistant

Jessica Reiter, Administrative Assistant, graduated from high school and The Friendship Club in 2005 and returned in late 2011. Jessica previously served the organization as Program Assistant before going to college, and now provides full administrative support for all the agency’s needs.  We love having one of “our girls” on staff!

Narissa Cranberry, Program Assistant

Narissa Cranberry, Program Assistant, is a Nevada County native and joined our team first as an intern, which was such a wonderful experience all around that we decided to hire her as an employee. She provides essential “behind the scenes” support to our programs and program staff, ensuring that everything runs smoothly for our volunteers and our girls.

Mary Collier, Grants Coordinator

Mary Collier founded The Friendship Club in 1995. At the time, she was the coordinator of the Pupil Assistance Liaison Program (PAL) in the Nevada City School District. This program paired disadvantaged elementary students from single parent homes with students from the local high school for mentoring and friendship. The girls in the PAL Program, on the verge of entering the tumultuous years of adolescence, expressed a deep desire for more interaction with positive female role models. Mary designed a curriculum to specifically address the challenges facing young women from disadvantaged backgrounds and launched The Friendship Club as a year-round program in 1997. In 2004, she received Sierra Nevada Children’s Services award for service to Nevada County children. She retired as executive director of The Friendship Club in 2004 and now devotes her time to writing grants for the organization.