Inland Empire Community Foundation names first African American board chair

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Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds of Voice Media Ventures, will succeed outgoing Chair, J. Sergio Bohon.
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Inland Empire Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds has been named the first African American Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Dr. Brown-Hinds will succeed outgoing Chair, J. Sergio Bohon. The Foundation also appointed three new officers, Nefertiti Long, as Vice Chair, Kathy Johnson, as CFO, and Jeremy Hobbs as Secretary. IECF also welcomes new Board member, Ann Sheffer.

“I want to thank Sergio for his leadership and support, particularly during this time of great concern for our nonprofits and communities in the Inland Empire,” said Michelle Decker, President and CEO of IECF. “As we start 2021, I’m excited to have Paulette as our new Board Chair. During her tenure, our Board has become stronger and more diverse as well as thoughtful. Her skills as a networker and community leader will help us build a stronger culture of philanthropy for the IE.”

“We are in unprecedented times and now, more than ever, as the region’s largest and oldest community foundation, our mission to strengthen philanthropy in the Inland Empire will play a significant role in helping the social sector lead through our current crisis,” said Dr. Brown-Hinds.

“As board chair I look forward to working in collaboration with my fellow board members and IECF staff along with community partners, government agencies, foundations, committed donors, and our region’s non-profit organizations to address the community’s growing critical needs.”

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Vice Chair – Nefertiti Long; Chief Financial Officer – Kathy Johnson; Secretary – Jeremy Hobbs.

Paulette Brown-Hinds, Ph.D. joined the Board of Inland Empire Community Foundation in 2014, having recently served as Vice Chair. Dr. Brown-Hinds is also the founder of Voice Media Ventures and the second-generation publisher of the VOICE and Black Voice News. Her interest in local journalism and doing work for the public good has led her to serve on the boards of The James Irvine Foundation with a mission to expand opportunity for the people of California, American Press Institute, California Press Foundation, CalMatters, and the California News Publishers Association, the largest and oldest trade association for the news publishing industry in the state. In 2019 she served as president of the board, becoming the first African-American elected to lead the organization. She holds a B.A. in English from California State University, San Bernardino, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside.

Nefertiti Long joined the Board of Inland Empire Community Foundation in 2017, and in 2019, became Chair of the Women’s Giving Fund. Ms. Long is a resident of San Bernardino and Chief Operating Officer of Alta Loma Enterprises in Rancho Cucamonga. She has worked for several public and private companies, with most of her experience in the food industry. Her professional associations include the Alliance of Black Women Accountants and BBVA Bank advisory Board.  Her additional community involvement includes serving on Cal State San Bernardino Foundation and Chaffey College Foundation Boards.  Additionally, Ms. Long supports many organizations in the Inland Empire region.  Ms. Long holds a B.S. in Accounting from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an M.B.A. from California State University, Fullerton.

Kathy Johnson of San Bernardino is Vice President of Forensic Accounting at J.S. Held, LLC and owner of the accounting firm CPA Forensic Plus, Inc. Ms. Johnson is also an Adjunct Professor at the Cal State University, San Bernardino, Long Beach and Cal Poly Tech, The University of Redlands and UCR teaching accounting. She is a CPA, CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics), CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) and has an MBA from Pepperdine University. She was formerly the VP of Finance for Los Angeles Newspaper Group’s Inland Division. Her professional experiences include financial reporting, operating and capital budgets, corporate governance, and financial forecasting. Ms. Johnson is also active on several boards within her industry.

Jeremy W. Hobbs is a resident of Palm Springs and the President of the Western Wind Foundation that focuses on social and economic development and education in the Coachella Valley. Mr. Hobbs is also Chairman of Eastek International, a vertically-integrated electronics and plastics contract manufacturer. Early in his career, Mr. Hobbs practiced law in Chicago, where he specialized in public interest and securities litigation. He also has a long history of social service and philanthropic work, ranging from community development to HIV/AIDS education and prevention. In recent years, he has worked closely with dozens of non-profits and charitable organizations throughout the Coachella Valley. Mr. Hobbs holds B.A. in English from Pomona College and graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.

Ann Sheffer is currently the Chair of the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission and a member of the boards of the Palm Springs Cultural Center and the Desert AIDS Project to name a few. Ms. Sheffer was an elected member of the Westport (CT) legislative body from 1993 to 2005 and served as chair of its Library, Museum, and Arts Committee.  She was a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities from 1993 to 2000, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and subsequently a board member of Americans for the Arts, and chair of the Arts Action Fund PAC. Ms. Sheffer has been actively engaged with many charitable and community groups. She received her undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude in Theater and French from Smith College, a Masters in Arts Administration from Tufts University, and an MBA from the University of Washington. Ann and her husband, William L. Scheffler, Esq. are residents of Palm Springs.

Inland Empire Community Foundation’s Board Officers for 2021-2023 are:

  • Chair – Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, Voice Media Ventures
  • Vice Chair – Nefertiti Long, Alta Loma Enterprises
  • Chief Financial Officer – Kathy Johnson, J.S. Held, LLC
  • Secretary – Jeremy Hobbs, Western Wind Foundation

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