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December Community Program – Cultivation Counts: Real Talk with Major Donors

December 14, 2023 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Join us for the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance’s exciting December meeting, “Cultivation Counts: Real Talk with Major Donors.” This insightful session is designed for individuals and organizations eager to understand the nuances of how to build and maintain donor relationships.

Chris Carter from Livermore Valley Arts and Jen Lenard-Benson from Sunflower Hill will lead an in-depth interview with three local philanthropists. We will hear from Jean King, Jay Davis, and Lori Souza as we explore their unique perspectives on donor cultivation, engagement, and stewardship.

In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s get festive! Feel free to don your favorite ugly sweater, elegant holiday-themed sweater, antlers, or any attire that spreads holiday cheer! To add to the festive atmosphere, TVNPA will provide delicious hot chocolate and holiday cookies.

We also invite you to bring you favorite cultural holiday treat to share with friends and colleagues. Please let us know!  RSVP to info@tvnpa.org and let us know if you plan to bring a holiday treat to share. Your contributions will help make this event a memorable experience for everyone.

This meeting is an invaluable opportunity to gain firsthand insights from major donors, network with peers, and indulge in festive holiday cheer. We look forward to seeing you there!

Before being appointed as the Executive Director, Chris Carter served as the Director for Development and Communications for the Livermore Valley Arts. In his role, Carter was responsible for all the fundraising and marketing efforts for LVA. Since joining LVA, he has helped to raise more than $15 million for the arts in Livermore. He joined the LVA staff in 2014 after working more than eleven years at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he spent the last eight as a leader in the College’s development department. His last position held was Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.

In 2023, Chris was a recipient of the Alameda County Arts Leadership Award. Chris is a member of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals), The California Presenters Association, and WAA (Western Arts Alliance). Chris was also a founding board member of the Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance. He currently serves as the Chair of the Saint Mary’s College School of Science Advisory Board, and also serves on the board of directors for Visit Tri-Valley and Livermore Jazz Society. He is an advisory board member for Three Valleys Community Foundation and the Las Positas College Commercial Music Advisory Board. An avid guitarist, Chris has performed steadily in the community for the last 25 years with his band-mate, Mike Lickiss, as a member of the LK Project. Together, they have written and recorded 4 studio albums and continue to share their love of music with anyone who will listen. Chris lives with his wife and three children in Pleasanton, and has been a volunteer for the Boy Scouts in various capacities over the last 12 years.

Jen Lenard-Benson leads local nonprofit Sunflower Hill, serving as Executive Director for the past year. Jen brings more than 25 years of non-profit, fundraising, and management experience to the role, having worked for various local, regional, national, and international organizations throughout the Midwest and in Canada. Her extensive experience in strategic planning, fundraising, advocacy, board development, and volunteer recruitment and management has resulted in millions of dollars raised for causes such as affordable housing and services for the unhoused, programs for at-risk youth, childcare for low-income families, crisis services for families impacted by domestic violence, and clean water. Previous to Sunflower Hill, Lenard-Benson served as the Associate Director for Global Engagement and Affinity Programs at the University of Chicago, based in San Francisco, working with alumni throughout the West Coast and in Asia. Jen holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Social Work and Gender Studies from Valparaiso University in Indiana, and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Jay is a nuclear physicist, with BA and MA from UT-Austin, and PhD and AEC Postdoctoral appointment at UW-Madison.  In a thirty-year career at LLNL he built a variety of accelerator-based facilities for research in nuclear physics, materials science, and via Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, isotopic tracer and chronometer research in fields ranging from biomedicine to zoology with nuclear and medical forensics in between.  In other duties at LLNL he served as an Emergency Duty Officer, member of the national nuclear emergency response team, and as a UN nuclear inspector in Iraq in the summer of 1991.  He closed his LLNL career with a three-year assignment as the Founding Director of DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a combat support agency with arms control and counter terrorism missions.  After retirement, he served six years as the President of the Hertz Foundation.

Now a retired windsurfer, biker, and back country skier, Jay is too old to accept board positions, but serves as a donor and strategic advisor to several Livermore-based education and public service foundations.  As an avocation, he operates a small vineyard, raising Petit Syrah grapes.  He and Mary have become a co-owner of JMC Cellars, the Livermore winery that processes their grapes to produce a fine red wine labeled Talking Bull, his Lab nickname.

Jean King grew up on the family farm in Wisconsin where she spent time riding standing up on the back of her trotting horse.  After earning a BS and MS in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, where she joined the student sailing club and sailed boats on the Madison lakes, she worked at Sandia Laboratories in Livermore. Her next vocation was as a stay-at-home mom and community volunteer and getting her airplane pilot license. The ecological issues of the 70’s spurred her interest in the environment and it expanded to education, politics, social issues and the arts.  Her best artistic talent is being a member of the symphony audience.  For 20 years she was an adjunct mathematics instructor at Las Positas College.  Her profound advise to the students was “don’t be late to class” and “don’t divide by zero”.  She continues her volunteering and civic activism, when not attending performances at the Bankhead Theater.

She has visited all 10 Canadian provinces, all 50 US states and hiked to the top of Mount Whitney.  She has not hiked to the top of Half Dome.

Until recently, Lori was fulfilling a 40-year career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), which included 14 years in the field of Information Systems Management, and 25 years in Operations Management within several LLNL discipline and program directorates. A computer systems analyst by training, with extensive experience in Operations, she was most recently the Associate Deputy Director, at LLNL.  During her career, she served in numerous project leadership roles on behalf of the LLNL Director.

Throughout her career, Lori has been a strong advocate for education and career advancement.  She has been the architect for several Leadership Development Programs within LLNL organizations.  She was instrumental in the establishment of diversity and recruitment programs and led the Laboratory’s award-winning Post-Doctoral Program.

Lori serves in numerous community leadership roles.  She has been a Rotarian in Livermore since 1998 and has served on the Board of Directors for the Rotarian Foundation of Livermore. She now serves as a Past Chair for the Las Positas College Foundation Board, and as Chair of the Tri-Valley Conservancy Board of Directors.  Lori joined the SPARC Organization’s Capital Campaign Committee to secure funding to build a regional Theater Lab in downtown Livermore.  In 2021 she was appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to serve on the East County Zoning Adjustments Board.

Thank you to Sandia National Laboratories for sponsoring 2023 TVNPA Community Programming!


December 14, 2023
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Bankhead Theater
2400 First Street
Livermore, CA 94550 United States
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Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance / TVNPA
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