Tova is passionate about bringing communities together and guiding them towards action for real change. She has realized this passion through a collection of diverse professional pursuits including: serving as a Community Organizer and Communications Director for Oregon Rural Action, in La Grande, working for the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Defend Oregon, and Bark in Portland, and volunteering for different organizations in Peru, Guatemala, and Israel. These experiences have broadened Tova’s perspective, shown her the value of supporting change-makers, and inspired her to become an MRG Foundation Grantmaker.
Penny has volunteered for MRG Foundation since 2000 as a general fund grantmaker, critical response and travel fund grantmaker, and a development support advisor. Penny has lived with her family at “The Hill,” a managed forest in Lookingglass, Southwest Oregon for over 40 years. She was a founder of Umpqua Watersheds and served as the first executive director for over 14 years, retiring from Umpqua Waterseds in 2007. She continues as a volunteer on the organization’s Outside In Corps of Advisors. When she’s not at “The Hill” Penny resides in Cahuita, Limon, Costa Rica with her husband John.
Esther Stutzman is Coos and Komemma Kalapuya and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. She lives in Yoncalla, Oregon. Esther is the chair of Komemma Cultural Protection Association which is dedicated to researching the Kalapuya Peoples. Esther is a traditional storyteller and history keeper. She works as an artist-in-residence with art associations throughout Oregon and is a cultural resource consultant for Title IX Indian Education Programs in many locations within the state. She has been an elementary and secondary teacher, a cultural curriculum developer, university lecturer and is currently working on a Kalapuya curriculum.