Lauren Stowe, President
Lauren Stowe was born in Southern California, but has lived in the Grass Valley area for nearly thirty years. She graduated from Nevada Union High School in 2000. She has worked in finance for fifteen years and is currently a Financial Advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC in Grass Valley. Lauren and her husband Rich have a son and are looking forward to raising their family in Grass Valley. They enjoy camping and other outdoor activities that allow them to enjoy the beauty of Nevada County. Lauren is very passionate about nurturing the next generation of women and believes The Friendship Club is an essential part of that mission. She is thrilled and honored to be a part of The Friendship Club family.
“I volunteer for TFC because I believe so powerfully in the strength of a girl and what she can achieve when supported to do her best. As a girl, I was much more shy and had self-esteem issues. I was lucky to be raised by great parents who gave me that needed support so I could grow into a confident woman. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t have that support? I was also especially moved by the first graduation dinner I attended. It hit me like a ton of bricks how important this work is for our girls.”
Machen MacDonald, Vice President
Machen began his financial services career with The Mutual of New York in 1989 while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received numerous company and industry production awards before being promoted into leadership roles in the field and home office. He pioneered performance and accountability coaching within the company before going out on his own and establishing the ProBrilliance Leadership Institute (PLI) in 2003. Machen is also a #1 best selling author having authored four books on peak performance and contributed to five others. He is a regular contributor to the GAMA International Journal and writes a weekly column for the local newspaper The Union. Machen is a member of the adjunct faculty of the Sierra Economic Development Corporation as well as Sierra Commons Business Ignitor, a local business incubator facility. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is the past President of the International Coaches Federation – Sacramento. He lives in Grass Valley, CA with his wife of 22 years and their three children ages 10, 15, and 19. He enjoys boating with family and friends, running competitively, water skiing and snow skiing.
“I volunteer for TFC to help influence, develop, and implement programs to 1) grow people to grow the organization and 2) to inspire safety, courage, and growth of girls at risk to live a life of full potential.”
Carry Canady, Treasurer
A native Californian, Carry grew up in Sacramento where her family still lives. She has an undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and an MBA from UC Davis. Her early career in public accounting gave her the opportunity to specialize in hospital finance, which she has done for the last 30 years. Relocating from Burlington Vermont to the Grass Valley area in 2006, Carry joined Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital as their CFO. She retired in October 2017 and is currently teaching part-time at Sierra College. After retiring, Carry’s first re-entry into community service was as a board member at the Friendship Club. She served as board treasurer several years ago and is excited and grateful to again be a part of the Friendship Club.
“I have been in this community for 12 years and during that time, my husband Elliott and I have been active in several community organizations. Without exception, The Friendship Club is my favorite, both because of its mission and because of its ability to, and history of delivering valuable and meaningful program to the girls. I believe mentoring, teaching, showing and leading by example are important elements of helping young people become positive, productive and contributing members of society. The Friendship Club does that and more. With my recent retirement, I am excited that I now have time to re-engage with this wonderful organization.”
Nanci Mason, Secretary
Nanci Mason’s first exposure to the Friendship Club touched her deeply. “The staff’s level of professionalism was impressive,” she recalls. “However, it was their heartfelt commitment to the girls that compelled me to get involved.” A firm believer in the importance of higher education, Nanci’s volunteer work began by teaching cooking and art classes. Besides sharing knowledge, the classes were designed to increase self-esteem and confidence – as well as stimulate creativity. In addition to being a Mentor, an Angel and a donor, she was voted Friendship Club Volunteer of the Year 2011. Nanci serves on the Board as Secretary, and cherishes the opportunity to work closely with “those amazing, people who donate their time and talents to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.”A fourth generation Californian, she’s a San Jose State College graduate, with a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Graphic Design. Her career includes managing an award-winning design business – as well as developing the Graphics Services and Corporate Identity groups for Cisco Systems, Inc. Nanci retired in 2000. Her husband Marc is also active in Friendship Club, and his efforts have helped secure grants from General Mills for three consecutive years. Dogs, home interiors, book club friends and film are other interests Nanci enjoys.
“I volunteer for TFC because in my life, one of the most important things that shaped my outlook and success is/was education – higher education in particular. Although a late bloomer to college at 26, committing to the process led to a cascade of positive things in my life, be it through skill, luck or wits. This is what I wanted to instill in the girls at-risk here. That brought me to the organization, but what kept me is this: I made life-long high caliber friends through the club activities. I am in awe of Jennifer Singer’s leadership. I have seen first hand that we do more with our resources than any other non-profit I have given to or worked with, and finally that I see tangible results in what TFC does as it fulfills its mission.”
Allie is a Counselor at Sierra College where she teaches Career Planning and offers personal, academic, career and crisis counseling to local students. Allie works within the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) program which serves students who are disadvantaged educationally and financially. Previously, Allie worked as a Counselor at the One-Stop assisting individuals in career transition. Allie grew up in the small town of Sonora, after attending Sonoma State University and working in San Francisco for a few years she found her way to Grass Valley in 2008, with her now husband. Allie enjoys spending time with her family, she loves hiking, snowboarding and traveling. Allie finds that her true passion is helping others find their full potential, so you will find her volunteering for many organizations around Nevada County in her spare time.
“I volunteer for The Friendship Club because I truly believe this program is successful. After volunteering for TFC for nearly 9 years, I have seen the support the girls are given through every aspect of their life. They are tutored, mentored and offered experiences they would not have had if it weren’t for TFC. I am passionate about the mission of TFC because I believe people are built up and broken down by the people around them. With the positive influences of the men and women of our community, these girls are able to learn, grow and see their own potential. If a young woman knows that she has someone in her corner fighting for her and believing in her, she will grow up to be confident and become a great contributor in our community. It’s a beautiful thing!”
Rob has lived in Grass Valley since 2000, moving from Woodland, CA where he lived while attending veterinary school, graduating in 1994 from University of California Davis. He and his wife Inger, own For the Love of Pets Veterinary Hospital in Grass Valley. Rob believes in giving back to his community. He supports many local non-profits, including Hospitality House, Nevada County Pets in Need, Sammie’s Friends, art and music organizations and of course, The Friendship Club. He served on the board previously for 8 years, took a year off, and now is back once more. Other board experience includes the Grass Valley School District Board of Trustees.
He enjoys traveling, a good glass of wine, cooking and spending time with his family and many pets. You may see him wandering the trails with his perfect border collie, Tule. Other activities include heading to Alaska every winter to volunteer in Sled Dog races.
“The staff at the Friendship Club is truly wonderful. They have a unique ability to identify what makes each girl strong and to nurture it. They do this by being a role model, by providing examples of how to succeed and by teaching that each and every person has the ability to control her own destiny. We all believe in the girls, they just need to start believing in themselves.”
Greg Bulanti is a full-time Real Estate Broker who has lived in Nevada County since 2010, when he and his wife Dee relocated from Sierra County to open their Grass Valley office. In 1990, Greg and Dee and their sled dogs moved from the Bay Area to a 50-acre ranch in Downieville, where they started Sierra County Realty. Greg is very active with community groups. He served as Chair of the Downieville Fire Protection District and Sierra County Fire Safe Council. He is a Member of the Music in the Mountains Alliance, the Gold Country Celtic Society, is Uncle Sam in the Marching Presidents society and volunteers for many other organizations. Greg served as the 2016 President of the Nevada County Association of Realtors and serves as 2019 Chairman of the Credentials Committee and State Director for the California Association of Realtors. Greg is also the 2019 Chairman of the City of Grass Valley Planning Commission. Early in his career, he worked in education, both in the classroom and in administration as Program Director of the Student Union at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Director of Student Services at UC Berkeley. Greg received his Master’s in Anthropology at SFSU. Greg and Dee are blessed to have eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was born and raised in San Mateo, CA.
“This is a program that makes a huge difference in the precious lives of young girls who are at risk because they have so much untapped potential, yet, have difficult circumstances achieving it. Through mentoring, the development of cognitive and affective skills, and healthy relationships with others in a non-threatening environment, these students learn what it takes to be successful, however they choose to define it. The program instills a positive self-concept and provides a much-needed focus so these girls can achieve their dreams. Simply put, The Friendship Club helps young girls have meaningful lives full of purpose and promise. I am honored to be a Board Member.”
Police Chief Alexander Gammelgard
Chief Gammelgard started his law enforcement career as a reserve officer with the Spokane, Washington Police Department in 2003 while attending Gonzaga University as a full-time student. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree concentrating in Finance and Law and Public Policy, as well as a minor in Criminal Justice, he returned to his home town of Nevada City. A Nevada Union graduate, Chief Gammelgard has a deep understanding of our community and the nuances that make it a special place to serve as the City’s 6th police chief. During his tenure at the Grass Valley Police Department he has a proven track record of progressive community policing and innovative initiatives to build community trust. Chief Gammelgard has developed successful partnerships with citizens, organizations, school districts, and the business community and has a reputation for being creative, innovative, and collaborative, both within the organization and in the community. Chief Gammelgard and his wife Erica have two boys. He enjoys spending time with his immediate and extended family as well as being outdoors in Nevada County and beyond.
“I believe in the value of community involvement. There is no more proactive service to our community than the work of The Friendship Club. TFC serves local girls, inspiring and instilling confidence, respect, love, and purpose. Building up these attributes in these young people will pay dividends to them and our community as they grow up to be ambassadors of those characteristics, in our community and in the lives of others.”
Jamie has lived in Nevada County since 2006. She grew up on the Flathead Reservation, located in Northwest Montana, and is a descendant of the Chippewa tribe. She attended undergraduate school at the University of Oregon where she focused on biological science and women’s studies. She earned her law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Her law career has been focused in public service. She has served as both a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s office and a defense attorney in the Public Defender’s office. While practicing juvenile defense, Jamie realized she wanted to devote her skills and energy to youth mentorship. Jamie is currently an attorney in the County Counsel’s office of Nevada County. In her spare time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities in the Sierra Nevada with her family and coaching her sons’ basketball teams. Both of her sons support her efforts with the Friendship Club and also believe in the need to empower girls.
“I volunteer for TFC because my background growing up in rural Montana on a reservation has made me aware of the challenges youth face growing up in difficult situations, whether it be poverty, abuse, racism, or cultural barriers. Without someone or something intervening, it is rare to overcome these challenges on one’s own. In particular, I am interested in programs that assist young women (but I also see them as a need for boys). I am interested in the most ‘bang for the buck’ with the best chance of producing results. TFC has proven to be the best program in our county to accomplish this. I was also attracted to serving on the board because I wanted to surround myself with the talented, dynamic people that comprise the board!”
David Jones came to Grass Valley in February 1972 to take an accounting position at The Grass Valley Group, Inc. He was with them until September 1997. During that time, he was involved with the Grass Valley and Gold Country Lions Clubs, then he joined the Gold Country Kiwanis Club in 1996. It was his membership in Kiwanis that got him involved with The Friendship Club. David now serves on the Board and is thrilled to be able to help with the goals of the Club in assisting girls at risk in achieving their goals. He also serves on the Board of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation and Sierra Nevada Children’s Services. His hobbies include swimming activities and theater, both local and Broadway.
“I volunteer for TFC because not being a father myself, it gives me pleasure to make a difference in helping young girls achieve what they have been unable to achieve before becoming a part of The Friendship Club.”
Marty Lombardi was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended and graduated from St. Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics. Marty started his career at Bank of America in the Commercial Lending department. After moving to Ukiah, he worked at the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, a Commercial Community Bank, and was with them for 41 years where he retired as the Senior Vice President. During his career, he was very involved in the community and banking industry. He served as the Chairman of Mendocino County’s Workforce Investment Board, President of the Ukiah Educational Foundation, President of the California Independent Bankers Board of Directors, and President of the Board of Directors of Community Bankers of California. Marty has also served as a director on many other Boards, such as Ukiah Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mendocino Winegrowers Foundation, Northern California Red Cross, Tapestry Foster Care, and United Way of Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt Counties to name a few. Marty and his wife, Kathleen, moved to Grass Valley upon their retirement in 2013. He is passionate about Grass Valley and got involved right away in the community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Friendship Club, Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation, and is a mentor at Nevada Union High School. He and his wife have six children and nine beautiful grandchildren.
“I volunteer for TFC because I love the ministry of what we do – providing incredible support, encouragement, and love while the girls are finding their way. It’s an opportunity for me to quietly connect resources with need. It is a beautiful opportunity.”
Jennifer Brooke Porter
Jennifer grew up in Nevada County. After attending college, she returned to the area to with her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Science and Mathematics. She continued her studies with National University to obtain a teaching credential. Working as a tutor, long term substitute positions and a full year as a Math Instructor at Downieville Jr./Sr. High School in Sierra County. Then, she made a career shift to become a bookkeeper, working for an accounting firm Business Matters Partners. In 2009, with the mentorship of her colleagues, she started her own bookkeeping firm, Brooke’s Books. Her clientele varies from regional area small businesses to non-profit organizations.
Having the opportunity and flexibility of owning her own business allows her to give back to the community and be involved in organizations such as The Friendship Club.
“I volunteer with The Friendship Club because I believe in the value this program has to offer young ladies. It provides a space for the young women to develop and grow in a safe supportive environment. The opportunities provided to these girls may not have been available to them without TFC. Their stories are telling examples of how one thing can change these ladies’ lives. In 1994-1995, I volunteered as a PAL in the Key Club program led by Mary Collier in high school. And this experience gave me the confidence to go away to college and work towards higher education and greater opportunities. I believe that experience ignited a passion to serve my community.”
Erin Sullivan was born in Long Beach, California where her father was stationed in the US Navy. Her parents, Sacramento natives, settled back in their hometown when she was 9 years old. Erin attended CSU Sacramento where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Religious Studies. Having always desired to be a teacher, Erin has found a meaningful career at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing where she has served in a number of roles for the last 15 years including communications, legislation/policy, and accreditation. Erin’s desire to support women and children in need is evidenced by her membership and service on the boards of both PEO International and Capitol Network. The former funds loans and scholarships for women pursuing their education and the latter provides grants to charitable organizations in California that provide services to women and children. In 2014 Erin returned to her grandfather’s Nevada County roots, settling with her husband, Aaron, on 10 acres in Grass Valley. Immediately, Erin began an active search for a way to connect with her new community and was drawn to The Friendship Club by the valuable work it does for girls in the community and its passionate staff. When Erin and Aaron aren’t working on developing their homestead, you will find them cooking, enjoying nature, or spending time with family and friends.
“I volunteer for The Friendship Club because, as a girl, I experienced firsthand what it is like to struggle with making the right choices. By providing a healthy and supportive space, we give the girls a chance to just breathe, to build relationships by both giving and receiving friendship, and to start to imagine a broader future for themselves. By building strong girls, we are helping to build a strong community for all of us.”
Barbara grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula. In her early years she mentored a group of young women who decided to take a gap year before heading to college. That experience taught her about how important young women are to society and provided a long lasting interest in women and youth. She is now in her second term as a board member serving on Fund Development and Board Development committees. In her first term she served as Board President for two years. Barbara worked in the non-profit sector for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, located at Stanford University, as director of development and then moved into high-tech as the public relations manager for Trimble Navigation. From 1994-2001, she served as the public relations and human resources director for a public relations agency in San Francisco, facilitating that firm’s work in introducing Internet companies to the public. Since moving to Nevada County thirteen years ago, Barbara has served on several boards, including InConcert Sierra, The Friendship Club and Center for Non Profit Leadership. She was recently re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Friendship Club after a five year hiatus. Barbara Thomas was on the Board of The Center for the Arts for seven years as the President for 3 years and Chair of Board Development for The Center for the Arts.
“The Friendship Club makes it possible for me to fulfill my long-term commitment to help young women achieve their highest potential and goals. Serving on the Board is rewarding and inspirational. I treasure this organization and its amazing staff. It’s a gift to work with them and support the girls.”