If the names Kate Bemesderfer and Wendy Mitchell seem familiar, that’s because they are. We’re glad to be welcoming them back to 1000 Friends of Oregon’s dedicated team, both in complementary fundraising roles – Wendy as our donor celebration director and Kate as our membership experience director.
Wendy and Kate worked at 1000 Friends of Oregon as part of our development team from 2017 through 2021, before going their separate ways to pursue special opportunities. They’ve told us they are delighted to be returning to 1000 Friends, an organization they love, to continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of SB 100 and to help plan celebrations throughout the state for 1000 Friends’ own 50th anniversary in fall 2024.
In their new roles, Wendy and Kate will work with our staff, board, donors, and program participants to expand membership and deepen philanthropic engagement with Oregon’s unique land use planning system.
With more than 45 years of nonprofit development experience and a love for parks, gardens, and the outdoors, Wendy has a comprehensive expertise in all areas of fundraising and philanthropy that she has said she’s excited to share with 1000 Friends.
A child therapist by training, Wendy became an accidental fundraiser early in her career and a professional fundraiser soon after. She spent 20 years in university advancement (academia’s word for fundraising) at UC Berkeley, with six of those years at UC Botanical Garden. From there, she moved on to fundraising first in Hawaii and then in Oregon.
As an Oregonian, Wendy has fundraised millions of dollars for a wide variety of well-known organizations, such as Portland Parks Foundation, the World Forestry Center, Portland Japanese Garden, and Lan Su Chinese Garden. She and her husband, Raymond, have lived up the street from Hoyt Arboretum for the last 24 years, and they have the joy of watching their two granddaughters growing up nearby, in Forest Park.
Kate’s work with nonprofits has spanned more than two decades and five states, including seven years in Oregon with organizations including EarthShare Oregon, Willamette Riverkeeper, and Portland Parks Foundation.
Originally from the East Coast – she grew up mainly in Pennsylvania, lived in New York City for many years, and is a graduate of NYU – Kate has lived west of the Rockies for more than fifteen years, including in California and Arizona. Having spent so much of her life in places that lack an organized land use planning program, she’s seen first-hand the devastating effects of unchecked sprawl as forests, deserts, and farmland are gobbled up by development while cities spread out like asphalt pancakes.
Kate says she appreciates how different things are in Oregon, and she knows the mission of 1000 Friends is as unique and important as Oregon’s land use planning program itself. Kate is proud to work every day to extend that legacy to more and more people in Oregon and beyond.