Tom Evers, Executive Director, is a resident of Minneapolis and avid user of the Minneapolis Parks system who has focused his career on strategically guiding organizations dedicated to parks, land conservation, and youth development. Prior to joining the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, Evers served as the founding Executive Director of Playworks Minnesota, part of a national non-profit dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children by creating opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.
Evers’ professional background includes more than a decade with the Trust for Public Land where he was involved in strategic conversations about urban parks across the country including Minneapolis and supported efforts to create new parks and natural areas throughout Minnesota and the Northwoods. Prior to his time with TPL, Evers spent four years working in Vermont as a Park Ranger with the State of Vermont and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. He has a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and is a graduate of St. John’s University.
“The parks, trails, lakes, and Mississippi riverfront of Minneapolis are essential to the Twin Cities regional health and our state’s economic vibrancy” says Evers. “Parks bring a community together through play, creativity, and conversation. Every person living in and around Minneapolis has a personal connection to these parks and we owe it to the next generation to ensure our existing parks continue to include creative programming and engaging design and that we generate new parks to serve the next century of Minneapolitans. The opportunity to guide the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and bring people and resources together around a grand vision for our parks and the Minneapolis Park System is a challenge I embrace with enthusiasm.”
Jennifer Downham, Chief Development Officer, is a fifteen-year professional fundraiser, who has made a career of encouraging community support for “free” services: public radio and public parks. As Chief Development Officer, Downham will oversee the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Major Gifts and annual giving program, as well as plan and execute new opportunities for donors to support Minneapolis parks through philanthropy.
Downham was most recently the Director of Individual Giving for Como Friends. She has also worked in fundraising for Concordia University, Minnesota International Center, and KFAI, Fresh Air Radio. She has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
“Growing up I spent my summers “up north” at the cabin and lived my city life among the parks. I was fortunate to live and study abroad and managed to include green destinations in any travel plans – most recently to Kew Gardens in London and the Portland Japanese Garden in Williams Park,” says Jennifer. “When I’m not rallying support of a mission, I’m chasing around a preschooler, trying to make it to the music gigs of a high-schooler and sneaking in a run around Nokomis.”
Janette Aldrich Law, Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships, helps steward strong relationships with our collaborators, and informs and inspires our donors and the community about the way parks transform lives. Janette has been working in the parks realm for over a decade, beginning with the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition and the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative, predecessors to the RiverFirst Initiative.
She joined the Parks Foundation in 2013 from her own communications practice, called Tableau Productions, which she ran for 10 years. Before Tableau, Janette worked for the Maccabee Group, The Nature Conservancy, and the Walker Art Center, as well as serving as a Contributing Writer for Twin Cities Business magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of Minneapolis-based Hope Community, where she chairs the development committee.
Janette grew up in Minneapolis and some of her favorite memories are from experiences in Minneapolis parks. Living and learning around the United States and abroad introduced her to new urban cultures and fresh approaches to public space. Today, she and her husband pass on their appreciation for culture and the outdoors to their two school-age children.
Paul Bauknight, Project Implementation Director, is responsible for stewarding processes and partnerships needed to deliver projects throughout the Minneapolis Park System that are supported by the Parks Foundation, bridging community engagement through design to completion.
In 1991, Bauknight founded The Urban Design Lab, the largest African-American owned design firm in Minnesota. Through his work as the President/CEO of The Urban Design Lab, Bauknight designed the Minneapolis Urban League building, as well as Lucey Laney School, Seed Academy, and Summit Academy OIC, among many other projects.
Bauknight is also founder of Community Renewal Through Innovative Building (the CRIB), a non-profit educating and engaging young people to renew, transform, and create healthy sustainable communities of color by working at the intersection of the built environment and social change. He has also twice served as Interim Project Director of the African American Men Project. Prior to joining the Parks Foundation, Bauknight was the Director of Urban Placemaking for North Minneapolis-based Urban Homeworks, where he managed several core operating programs. He is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic University.
Outside of work, Paul enjoys going to bookstores, reading, jazz, and art; he also has a full wood shop because he is a confirmed tool junky.
Christine Moir, Annual Fund & Events Manager, is broadening and effectively engaging our membership base, while planning fantastic events that showcase Minneapolis’ amazing parks system. A relative newcomer to Minneapolis, Christine has spent six years handling major and planned gifts, event planning and membership donations for a diverse selection of non-profits in Chicago and Portland, Ore. Working for organizations whose missions are important to her is also important to Christine, therefore she is so excited to be a part of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.
When not spending time with her husband and sons in one of Minneapolis’ amazing parks, you can find Christine hiking, baking, gardening or sewing while enjoying life with her amazing family.
Matt Karl, Business and Administration Manager, is responsible for a wide-range of office functions, including accounting, budgeting, technology, board support, and human resources. Matt comes to MPF from the American Craft Council. He has also worked at the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, the Charities Review Council, Great River Greening, and Seattle’s Hearing Speech and Deafness Center. While Matt’s Bachelor’s Degree is in Theater Arts, he has certificates in Accounting and in Database Management and a Master’s Degree in Technical Communication from Metropolitan State University.
Matt enjoys bicycling, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, camping, and cross-county skiing. He owns four bicycles (road, mountain, commuting, folding) and wants a fifth (recumbent). Matt and his spouse live in south Minneapolis with Darby the bearded collie and Jackie the calico cat.
Madeleine Koski, Fundraising Communications Assistant, is a new resident of Minneapolis. Her work extends into various departments at the Parks Foundation, assisting with events and campaign promotion, social media, developing positive relationships with our partners, and expressing her photographic eye to add to the beautiful Minneapolis parks digital library.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Madeleine came to the Midwest to attend Carleton College. Her studies in Environmental Science and Studio Art led her out to the Bay Area, where she received her Master of Business Administration focused in Sustainable Management. Madeleine’s work in non-profit development began with Camp Reel Stories in Oakland, creating workshops and summer camps for high school girls to develop technical skills in film and media production. She then made the cross-country journey to work with the Council of Fashion Designers of America in New York City, utilizing driving metrics to help designers create more ethical and environmentally sustainable products.
Madeleine spent the last year living, working, and exploring New Zealand. However, she is excited to be back stateside to help implement community-focused park projects in her new home. Her love of parks and public spaces developed as a young child, playing along the Willamette River. She is a devoted lakes-goer and would spend her whole day in the water and on the shores of Lake Superior if she could. Madeleine loves traveling to new places, meeting people, and uncovering stories about the world around her.