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Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > News > Minneapolis Parks Foundation welcomes Shelley Carthen Watson, Jocey Hale, Joseph Humke, and Jean Sazevich to its Board of Directors

Minneapolis Parks Foundation welcomes Shelley Carthen Watson, Jocey Hale, Joseph Humke, and Jean Sazevich to its Board of Directors

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Minneapolis Parks Foundation today announced that its Board of Directors welcomed four new members: Shelley Carthen Watson, President & CEO of the YWCA of Minneapolis; Jocey Hale, Partner, MillerHale Associates; Joseph Humke, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Graco Inc.; and Jean Sazevich, philanthropy consultant, have each started three-year terms. Sarah Duniway, who is a Partner at Lathrop GPM LLP, is completing the second year of her two-year term as Board Chair. Other officers continuing terms are Keith Holloman (Vice Chair), Principal Clinical Research Specialist, Medtronic; Karin Birkeland (Secretary), Partner (retired), Faegre Baker Daniels; and Nima Ahmadi (Treasurer), healthcare entrepreneur.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is an independent donor-supported non-profit that works closely with public partners and in collaboration with the community to envision and deliver transformative parks and public spaces. Founded in 2003, the Parks Foundation is the primary philanthropic partner to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and has raised more than $28 million for transformative parks projects and programs in Minneapolis. In 2021, the Parks Foundation celebrated the grand opening of two Mississippi Riverfront projects – Water Works and the Overlook at 26th Ave N – made possible by its $18.1 million RiverFirst Capital Campaign.

The Parks Foundation also champions equitable parks investments across Minneapolis. In 2021, the Parks Foundation introduced the People for Parks Fund, and has made over $80,000 in grants to community-grown and equity-aligned projects and programs in its first two years. The People for Parks Fund is supported in part through the annual Posters for Parks Show. The Parks Foundation also produces events that connect people to Minneapolis parks and the benefits of building community through access to nature and public space, including the Next Generation of Parks Event Series and the Walk & Talk Event Series.

“We believe parks have the power to transform human lives, and we’re delighted that Shelley, Jocey, Joseph, and Jean, are lending their considerable strengths in non-profit leadership and the law to our shared vision for a city that finds connection and community through equitable access to all our parks have to offer,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director, Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

About the 2023 Parks Foundation Board of Directors
In addition to Duniway, the executive committee members, and the new directors, the 24-member Parks Foundation Board also includes the following members serving continuing terms: Zakaria Aden, Global Deals Strategy Manager, VISA; Kelsey Arneson Metzger, Director of Strategy, Prestige Beverage Group; Sue Bennett, mental health counselor (retired); Yuen (Daniel) Cheng, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Matthew Duditch, Business Line Chief Risk Officer & SVP-Operational Risk, U.S. Bank; Joe Gibbons, SVP-Private Wealth Management of Gibbons, Blasko & Associates, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Jay Halvorson, community leader; Heath Rudduck, Chief Creative Officer, Padilla; Jasmine Russell, Founder & CEO, Monicat Data; Michael A. Shelton, Executive Director, Heritage Youth Sports Foundation; Heidi Schmidt, Marketing Manager, RSP Architects; Karen Trouba, SVP, Bank of America;and Pahoua Yang Hoffman, SVP-Government & Community Relations, HealthPartners. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Becka Thompson and Superintendent Al Bangoura also serve as ex officio Directors, as does the Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation mission is to transform lives through parks and public spaces by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Since 2003, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has raised more than $28 million for transformative parks and programming in Minneapolis Parks by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Today, the Parks Foundation champions equitable investments in Minneapolis parks with Reimagining the Civic Commons, the North Commons regional vision, and the RiverFirst Initiative, through which Water Works and Great Northern Greenway River Link projects were made possible. The Parks Foundation also supports community-based parks projects with the People for Parks Fund, and explores the intersection of public space with the key issues of our time by presenting the Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series. Learn more and become a supporter at

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.