Trustees

Meyer’s Board of Trustees is made up of effective, committed and generous community leaders who are responsible for safeguarding our mission, policies, assets and grantmaking.

Fred Meyer, whose will established the Meyer Memorial Trust from his estate, wrote that “the usefulness and strength of a board of trustees should depend, above all, on a variety of points of view it can fairly represent.

“I want my trustees to be able to exercise broad discretion in shaping and carrying out charitable programs which can be tailored to fit changing conditions and problems.” Then he issued a challenge to his Trustees: “In all giving, give thought. With thoughtful giving, even small sums may accomplish great purposes.”

Debbie Craig

Board Member

She / Her / Hers

“Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky.  They are the people who say, ‘This is my community and it’s my responsibility to make it better.'”— Gov. Tom McCall

Debbie Craig is driven by a passion for public education and the outdoors.

Oregonian roots provided an excellent public education and access to amazing outdoor experiences.

“Good public schooling for all our kids and public parks for all our citizens are our most equalizing, cross-cultural gathering places. All kinds of people benefit, since they are free and available to all of us. Our schools and parks are essential.”

A family law attorney, Debbie has served as Chair or on the Boards of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Education Foundation, Stand for Children, Columbia Land Trust, and National Advisory Council of the Land Trust Alliance. She has also successfully lead many education bond measures. She was recognized as Lake Oswego’s Citizen of the Year in 2013.

Debbie joined Meyer’s Board of Trustees in 1995, taking its helm in 2014.

John Emrick

Board Member

He / Him / His

John Emrick, a native of Portland, is driven by the deep common connections we have to one another. He believes the synergy that comes from collaborative efforts on our society’s challenges can be paradigm changing. Conservation and social justice are issues that compel him.

A passion for community service brought John to Meyer, along with a personal memory of and respect for the man whose fortunes created the Meyer Trust.

“As a young child, I remember holding my mother’s hand while she talked in the store with Fred Meyer. He was always asking customers what they liked or what might make their shopping experience better. I believe if Fred were alive today he would continue to innovate and that is our task. The world is changing and we need to be cognizant of what the issues of the day are, what the challenges for our state are. As Fred would do, we need to continue to ask questions in a better way. We need to embrace the value of curiosity. As a trust we don’t have the answers but the answers are within the community; it’s our task to ask the right questions.”

John worked over 40 years with Norm Thompson Outfitters, a national catalog merchant based in Hillsboro, retiring as its owner and Chief Executive Officer in 2006. He has served as advisor or board member to scores of nonprofits and education institutions, including the University of Portland Board of Regents, House of Umoja, St. Mary’s Academy, Outward Bound (both Oregon and national), Oregon Natural Step Network, Oregon State Parks, Illahee Environmental Lecture series, and on the advisory councils of Oregon Solutions, Portland Parks Foundation, Horambee, Oregon Natural Step Network, and ALDO Leopold Leadership Program. A graduate of the University of Portland, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from UP in 1996. He also serves as a trustee on the Randall Charitable Trust.

John joined Meyer’s Board of Trustees in 1997.

Toya Fick

Board Member

She / Her / Hers

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou

Toya is driven by her passion to ensure all kids, regardless of background or zip code, have access to the tools they need to reach their full potential.

Humble beginnings, amazing family support and great public schools brought Toya to this place and time.

“The education I received from the public schools gave me the tools to choose my own path in life. I work in the field of education because I want to pay it forward.”

Toya has served on boards and commissions in the Portland metro area, including the Portland City Club’s Board of Governors, Portland Public Schools’ Citizens Budget Review Committee, Oregon Food Bank’s Board of Directors, and the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission.

Toya joined Meyer’s Board of Trustees in January, 2016.

Darleen Ortega

Board Member

She / Her / Hers

“The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” — Richard Rohr

Darleen is driven by a sense of calling to understand the experiences of the marginalized, and to help people find their authentic voices.

With first hand experience navigating barriers that people from under-represented communities face, Darleen remains determined to help others succeed in the law.

“If you think you are working for justice and you are being rewarded and applauded without real struggle, you are not yet doing the work of justice.”

The first woman of color and the only Hispanic woman to serve as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals, Darleen has served on a host of legal boards and committees, and on the boards of Open Adoption and Family Services, Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She mentors scores of law students and attorneys, speaking and writing frequently on topics related to diversity, inclusion and equity. She also writes film and theater criticism for the Portland Observer.

Darleen became a trustee in January, 2016.
She blogs at www.opinionatedjudge.blogspot.com

George Puentes

Board Member

He / Him / His

Education is the passion that drives George Puentes.

The son of a tortilla maker in San Jose who became the owner of a prosperous Mexican foods concern in Salem, George credits learning as the root of his success. From Catholic school, through a four-year stint in the Air Force as a Morse code intercept operator during the Vietnam War and onto San Jose State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management, learning has framed George’s life and continues to shape his philosophy.

“The education system should provide an education for every student, and give students incentive to learn. There’s unlimited opportunity out there. We’re all the same. Ultimately, we’re looking for the same things. Education makes that possible.”

George serves as Chief Executive Officer of Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of tortillas and other foods, which he co-founded in Salem in 1979. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become one of the largest Latino-owned businesses in the Pacific Northwest, with products that are distributed throughout the United States. George has also served on the board of directors of the Portland branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. And he helped establish a scholarship that enables Latino students to pursue higher education.

George joined Meyer’s Board of Trustees in 2007.

Charles Wilhoite

Chair

He / Him / His

A quiet driver of change, Charles Wilhoite has three overriding priorities: community, family and his work as a finance expert.

Charles’ rural upbringing in Navajo Nation brings a valuable perspective to Meyer’s board. So does an analytic mind and a deep curiosity about and interest in Oregonians.

As a managing director at Willamette Management Associates, Charles guides agencies throughout Oregon to create opportunities for growth, promotes financial development and generates opportunities for new and developing businesses. In 2015, he was appointed to a two-year term on the Portland Board Branch 12th District Economic Advisory Council of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Portland Monthly Magazine has called Charles “the Zelig of Portland affairs.” A veteran of numerous boards of directors, Charles has chaired the boards of Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Children’s Foundation-SMART, Portland Development Commission and the Urban League of Portland. He also currently serves on the boards of the US Bank of Oregon, the Oregon State Bar and The Nature Conservancy.

Charles joined Meyer’s Board of Trustees in 2013.