Meet Our Staff
Our team of experienced professionals provides you with the highest level of service and support. Strategic, focused and committed, we are stewards who partner with our donors as they engage in high impact giving that reflects their interests and passions.
President & CEO
Vanessa Bechtel is honored to serve as Ventura County Community Foundation’s President & CEO. Prior to her arrival in February 2015, Bechtel served as the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation where she more than doubled the annual fundraising.
As a founder of a wealth management company, she has been named Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce and for the past two years has made the list of Top Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times.
As an active volunteer, Bechtel has served as a Board Member for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA, an Ambassador to the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, was a Trustee of the Santa Barbara County Retirement Board and Treasurer of the State Association of County Retirement Systems. She is a Past President of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Santa Barbara Rotary North.
A Sonoma County native, Bechtel graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2001. In August 2016, she received her Master of Business Administration from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She also received her Master’s Certificate from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain.
Assistant to the President
Chief Financial Officer
Bonnie Gilles serves as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for VCCF. Her responsibilities include oversight of the VCCF’s more than 600 donor-advised, donor-designated, scholarship, field-of-interest and agency endowment funds, as well as the foundation’s investment portfolio, its operating budget and its annual grants and scholarship budget.
Prior to joining VCCF in October 2014, Bonnie was the Vice President of Finance for Total Woman Gym + Spa, managing finance and accounting for a portfolio of 16 locations with over $35 million in annual revenues. Before Total Woman, she was Controller for Fore Property Co., a national development/property management firm focused on low-income housing communities, with 40 locations in 15 states.
An actively licensed California Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Bonnie graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Northridge, with a BS in business administration-accounting.
Says Bonnie of her job,
Roseannah MillsGrassin, Database Manager, came to the Ventura County Community Foundation in December 2014, after relocating from the East Coast. She was motivated to enter the nonprofit space after watching her father’s dedication to community volunteering and her mother’s passionate career on the frontlines of a grassroots charity. For Roseannah, it was clear from an early age that nonprofits were her future. Areas of interest have included animal rescues, care packages to soldiers, abuse awareness programs, Girl Scouts of America, and child care services.
Roseannah began her career working in the new student orientation programming at University of Massachusetts to successfully integrate incoming first years, international students, veterans, and continuing education students. She has worked to best serve donors and clients at Bideawee, an animal rescue and welfare organization serving metropolitan New York and Long Island.
Here at VCCF Roseannah is motivated every day to be working for an organization whose devotion to community surpasses anything she has ever witnessed, or experienced before.
Building Services Coordinator
Jessica Proctor is the Building Services Coordinator for the VCCF Nonprofit Center, providing information on the center’s resources and tenant services. Aside from greeting and directing visitors as they arrive at the building, she also manages meeting space and room reservation requests for over 125 eligible nonprofit organizations in Ventura County.
Prior to joining VCCF in 2012, Jessica was a graphic artist for 16 years in Los Angeles county, digitally coloring children’s cartoons for daytime television. Her credits include “Strawberry Shortcake”, “Horseland”, “Liberty’s Kids” , “Dino Squad”, “Sabrina the Animated Series”, and Emmy Award winning “Madeline”.
Jessica recently received her AA in Anthropology with Highest Honors from Oxnard College in 2015 and plans to transfer to a CSU Channel Islands in the future. When she is not working or studying, Jessica enjoys spending her free time with her son and creating art.
Chief Compliance Officer
A life-long resident of Ventura County, Jim Rivera has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit executive management and fund development. He joined VCCF as the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) in June 2015. His prior professional positions include serving as Chief Operating Officer and Interim CEO for the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Vice President with Netzel Grigsby Associates, Inc., a management and consulting firm; Vice President of Administration for the Santa Barbara Foundation; and President & CEO of Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara’s largest home health and hospice provider. Jim began his career in nonprofit management as a United Way professional in both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Organizations he has volunteered for include Mary Health of the Sick, Rancho Camulos Museum, Hutton Parker Foundation, Santa Paula Art Museum, Museum of Ventura County, Cultural Affairs Commission for the City of Ventura, Ventura County AIDS Partnership, Santa Barbara Hispanic Achievement Council, and El Concilio.
Manager, Special Projects
Susan Seale serves as Manager, Special Projects. She provides a wide variety of skilled administrative support for senior management staff to achieve organization goals and objectives. She participates with the senior management team assuming responsibility for special projects relating to department functions.
From 2002- 2015 Susan served as Director of Programs for VCCF’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership and was responsible for providing program leadership for the Center’s core business lines and programmatic activities including planning, developing, and implementing the Center’s open enrollment workshops, managing the library, technology center, and special events.
Virginia Weber has served as Scholarship Director for fifteen years. A long time Ventura resident, Virginia’s civic engagement has included advocating and fundraising for the arts, coaching youth sports, volunteering for the Ventura Police Department, serving a year on the Ventura County Grand Jury, and serving for eight years on the Ventura County Fair Board.
Virginia is a tireless advocate for the nonprofit sector. When the Ventura County Community Foundation was expanding its staff to include a program officer to oversee the growing scholarship program, she felt called to the work.
Vice President, Programs and Grants
Phylene Wiggins (pronounced fuh-LEEN) was born and raised in Ventura County. Prior to joining the team at VCCF, she served in various roles at the Santa Barbara Foundation for 17 years. Phylene has deep knowledge in the fields of health and social services. Most recently, she envisioned and led the Community Caregiving Initiative (CCI) in Santa Barbara County—a county-wide effort to strengthen family caregivers and address issues of care related to an aging population. The CCI garnered the support of AARP due to its innovative, community-based approach and Phylene was a speaker at Stanford University’s renowned Medicine X conference in 2017.
Phylene has been involved with nonprofit organizations for over 30 years in board, staff and volunteer roles including organizations as diverse as the Los Angeles Project With Industry, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, Transition House, Santa Barbara Human Resources Association, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria State Park, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Restorative Partners. Phylene has been a member of the City of Carpinteria’s CDBG Committee, as well as the County of Santa Barbara’s Adult and Aging Network and Continuum of Care.
Prior to her philanthropic career, Phylene was a local leader in the field of human resources, working on employment policy issues at the state and national levels and educating various audiences about the importance of strong HR practices. Phylene has a deep concern for the human condition and a passion for support and empowerment of disadvantaged populations. She values workforce development and has created numerous award-winning hiring programs. A lover of beauty and the outdoors, she is also passionate about environmental conservation and stewardship of the region.
Phylene holds an Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the Human Resource Certification Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University.