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.

Vanessa Bechtel

President & CEO


Vanessa Bechtel serves as President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF), an organization committed to safeguarding the long-term legacies of thousands of generous donors through the careful management of the charitable capital entrusted to them.  By promoting philanthropy to improve our community, Bechtel strives to inspire charitable giving that connects philanthropic resources with community needs for the benefit of all.

Prior to her work with VCCF, Bechtel served as executive director of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation.  She co-founded Monarch Wealth Strategies in 2008 and was honored as Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce in 2010.  Bechtel was recognized as Nonprofit Leader of the Year by the Ventura County Leadership Academy in 2019 and Humanitarian of the Year by the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation with her spouse, Jim.

Bechtel graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Law and Society. In 2016, she received her master’s degree 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.

Bonnie Gilles

Vice 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. Bonnie has been able to apply her 20-year tenure in real estate development and management to provide oversight of the VCCF Nonprofit Center.  In addition, she oversees the Foundations insurance and human resources.

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.  Since 2018, Bonnie has served as a business representative on the Pleasant Valley School District Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the $119,000,000 Measure C Bond Measure, and currently serves as Chair.

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. Bonnie is Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA) certified.

Says Bonnie of her job,

“I take great pride in being part of VCCF, as it provides me with the opportunity to give back to the community that I have called home for 35 years.”

Jeffrey Lambert

Chief Operating Officer


Jeffrey Lambert serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Ventura County Community Foundation.  As Chief Operating Officer, Jeffrey leads the development and stewardship division, program and grants department, marketing and communications, and strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining VCCF, Jeffrey served as Community Development Director for the City of Oxnard and City of Ventura.  Jeffrey has a proven track record as a public servant through his career and is recognized as a Certified Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).  Jeffrey previously owned his planning and government consulting firm, served as Community Development Director for the City of Santa Clarita and as the Land Use Manager for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.  Jeffrey served on the national Board of the American Planning Association (APA) and was President of the California Chapter of APA. He serves as an advisor to the Economic Development Collaborative’s Small Business Development Center. (SBDC)

Lambert graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters in Urban Planning and previously earned his B.A. degree in Psychology and Government from Clark University in Worcester Massachusetts.

Tracy Tagawa

Chief Compliance Officer


Tracy Tagawa serves as the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF).  She has over 20 years of experience in Risk Management. She is passionate in developing strong relationships while ensuring compliance and risk policies are being followed throughout the organization.  Her responsibilities include the oversight of the VCCF Corporate Compliance Program and the adherence of VCCF’s fiduciary responsibilities with its clients and future fund holders.

Prior to joining VCCF in Sept 2020, Tracy was Vice President – Regional Brokerage Supervisor for Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC for 14 years.  Her region included cities within Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and Los Angeles County.  She worked diligently in identifying potential risks in advance, analyzing them, and taking precautionary steps to reduce risk in the future.  She was also responsible for all internal and external audits within her region.

Tracy grew up in Marin County, California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a major in Business Economics.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and son.  Both of her children play competitive sports and they travel to different states throughout the year to compete in national and state tournaments.  Tracy also enjoys spending time with friends and family and they love attending professional sporting events when possible.

Jim Rivera

Chief Philanthropic Counsel


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. Jim is certified in Fiduciary Essentials for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE).

Claudia Raiti

Assistant Controller


Claudia was born and raised in Germany.  She fell in love with a US Army officer in 2002, got married, and moved where the Army stationed her husband whenever she could.  Since she left Germany in 2006, she moved to Texas, England, Virginia, and now California.  That makes 3 trans-Atlantic and 1 cross-country move.

Claudia also likes to be active and is quick to try new sports depending on where she lives. So of course, she recently added surfing to her list of sports.  She also enjoys roller derby and has been playing for 1 ½ years.  She loves how derby provides a balance of exercise, excitement, and a feeling of community among the league.  She started training in Virginia and is now plays for the Ventura County Derby Darlins in Camarillo.

Claudia has a German CPA license and has worked in CPA offices in Germany and Texas.  She enjoyed CPA work, but once Claudia found her first employment with a non-profit organization in England in 2012, she never looked back. She has been working in non-profits ever since.  Claudia said that it is very rewarding to help support a team that is truly trying to make a difference in people’s lives and to witness the positive impact. Claudia is certified in Fiduciary Essentials for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE).

Lauren Graf

Marketing & Communication Officer


Lauren Graf is the Marketing & Communications Officer at the Ventura County Community Foundation. A recent graduate of California Lutheran University, she is pursuing her lifelong passion of supporting community-based nonprofits.

Born and raised in Carpinteria, Lauren has actively participated in community volunteering for her hometown. She came to Cal Lutheran in 2017, fostering her passion for nonprofit work as well as promoting access to art education and environmental advocacy. While on campus, she worked as a department assistant for the university’s art department, serving both faculty and students for three years. In her free time, Lauren served as president for her school’s Green Club, vice president for the Lord of Life student congregation, and as a marketing coordinator for Conejo Valley Rotaract. She graduated in 2021, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in both art and communication with an emphasis in advertising and public relations. Lauren anticipates a future of serving her community through her work at VCCF.

Lauren Herring

Staff Accountant


Lauren Herring is the staff accountant at the Ventura County Community Foundation. She comes with a vast background of accounting experience and is a vital member of the VCCF team. Lauren has also earned two degrees from Ventura College, an Associate in Science Degree in Accounting as well as an Associate in Science Degree in Business Management.

Nathan Hickling

Community Impact Officer and Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer


Nathan Hickling serves as the Community Impact Officer and Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. Born and raised in the Conejo Valley, Nathan grew up admiring the open space and friendly local culture of Ventura County and is passionate about improving the quality of life in our community.

After briefly moving to Los Angeles to receive his BA in Journalism and MA in Political Science from CSU Northridge, Nathan returned home to focus on putting his skills to work in making a difference. He enjoys new challenges, and in the last several years has had the privilege of learning about local government as an intern, studying community dynamics as a research assistant, and getting to know the unhoused population in Ventura County through outreach.

Nathan comes to VCCF enthusiastic to continue supporting the non-profit community in Ventura County and to learn more about the unique needs of our partners.

Jessica Proctor

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. In March of 2019 she became certified in Fiduciary Essentials for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE).

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.

My inspiration for working at the VCCF Nonprofit Center is an appreciation for social diversity and interaction between nonprofit organizations collectively engaging in one place.

Calleen Pardinas

Philanthropic Services Officer & Board Liaison


Calleen Pardinas, Philanthropic Services Officer & Board Liaison at the Ventura County Community Foundation, relocated to Ventura County in 2019 from Arizona. Born and raised in Mesa, she sees the importance of being involved within your community.

Previous work in corporate philanthropy at GoDaddy led her to her passion for working with local nonprofits growing philanthropy in the community.  Calleen leads the Donor Peer Network at VCCF, a community of philanthropists that serves as a network for members to connect through collaborative learning, exploring opportunities and best practices to effectively address issues to improve Ventura County.

Our donors have taught me so much during my time at VCCF.  I am continuously inspired by their generosity to create a strong nonprofit sector and community.

With a degree from Arizona State University in Communications and Sustainability, she helps to lift VCCF’s environmental initiative.  Interning in college with organizations like the Audubon Center, Calleen’s personal philanthropic interest is the importance of educating youth on conservation and the environment.

In her free time Calleen loves to travel the world, being outdoors in the sun or snow, exploring with her husband and their two dogs, Cleo and Loba.


  • Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPGCM) in progress
  • Fiduciary Essentials® for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE)
  • Effective Grantmaking, Southern California Grantmakers
  • UC Climate Steward, Community Environmental Council

Joshua Ortiz

Gifts & Grants Operations Specialist


Joshua Ortiz is the Gifts & Grants Operations Specialist for the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF).  Born and raised in Ventura County, Joshua has worked in a variety of fields and positions throughout his career and joins the VCCF team with over 10 years of mortgage, finance and customer service experience.

Prior to joining VCCF, he worked as a Mortgage Foreclosure Specialist, Mortgage Closing Specialist and Sr Account Manager for Bank of America, HCL America/Urban Fulfilment Solutions and TimePayment.  He has also worked for the Ventura Police Department as a Police Cadet and for the Oxnard City Corps as part of an afterschool program at EO Green Jr High School as a mentor and tutor for the youths participating in the program.

Joshua attended California State Northridge and Oxnard College where he earned a degree in Journalism and Liberal Arts.  In his free time, he enjoys writing, drawing, traveling, spending time with family and friends or watching and participating in sports.  Joshua is very passionate about working within his community and comes to VCCF excited about joining the non-profit world.

Robin Bissett

Executive Assistant to the President & CEO


Robin Bissett, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation, relocated to Ventura County in 2021, and is enjoying its breathtaking natural beauty and temperate climate. Born and raised in Los Angeles County, Robin worked primarily in the field of Early Childhood Education as a Teacher and an Administrator for 25 years. She has an AS degree(equivalent) in Early Childhood Education and earned a Site Supervisor Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She values the incredible benefits that a quality education makes in the life of a child during their first five years, and the positive impact it can have on the entire family.

She and her husband have five grown children and five grand-children and love being an integral part of their lives. Over the years they’ve enjoyed going on family vacations exploring the coastal regions of California in the summer, and skiing in the winter. Her family gathers often for celebrations and holidays at their home.

She is very happy and thankful to join the VCCF team and eager to learn more about the community that they serve.

Cristina Miranda, Ed.D, MPPA

Scholarship Director


A proud Ventura County native, Cristina has worked in the fields of child welfare and education for nearly 15 years. She began her career as a bilingual and special education instructional assistant at a local school district. After two years in the education system, Cristina transferred to Casa Pacifica working as a frontline staff in the children’s shelter home and residential treatment center. During her tenure at Casa Pacifica, Cristina got the opportunity to advocate for children placed in the foster care system at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2011 Cristina got the opportunity to work alongside members of the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to develop policies for AB12, the landmark piece of legislation that extends foster care until the age of 21. In 2012 Cristina completed an internship in Washington DC with Congresswoman Karen Bass, she wrapped up the summer by briefing members of the United States Congress on issues within the child welfare system.

In 2017 Cristina joined Child Development Resources as a Family Engagement Coordinator. In this role, Cristina supported the Head Start program by providing resources and supports to some of Ventura county’s most economically vulnerable families. Cristina also served as an independent consultant with the Ventura County Office of Education providing trauma informed trainings to school districts throughout Ventura County from 2015 through 2019.

Cristina earned an Associate’s degree in liberal arts from Oxnard college, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University Channel Islands. Cristina also holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University, and has recently earned a Doctorate degree in Education from Pepperdine University with an emphasis on Leadership, Administration and Policy.

Kirsti V. Thompson

Interim Scholarship Director


Emily Marostica

Scholarship Coordinator


Mike Silacci

Chief Philanthropy Officer


Start typing and press Enter to search