NPT's Best Nonprofits to Work For 2021

Gulf Coast Recognized Among “Best Nonprofits” in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2020, and 2021 learn more here.

Mark Pritchett

President | CEO

Mark Pritchett is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, including corporate strategy, oversight of its programs, operations, and investments. Known as a seasoned leader in business, philanthropy, and public policy, he thrives on big challenges, having led Florida’s election reform task force after the 2000 Presidential election and overseeing disputes between home owners and insurance companies after the 2004 and 2005 record hurricane seasons. Mark has advanced nationally recognized initiatives at Gulf Coast in education and workforce development. Prior to joining the foundation in 2008, he held leadership positions with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida, and the Collins Center for Public Policy. He earned Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and a PhD from The Florida State University. Mark loves the Colorado Rockies, riding his bike with Gina Taylor throughout our region, science articles, Chihuly glass collections, European travels, Kentucky bourbon, and UK basketball…not necessarily in that order.

Alex Abel

Staff Accountant

CJ Bannister

Philanthropic Advisor

As a member of our philanthropic services team, C.J. works closely with our donors and professional advisors to transform our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Prior to her work at Gulf Coast, she served as the Chief Development Officer at Sarasota Military Academy, helping to launch their foundation. Prior to that, as Director of Veterans Services for Goodwill Manasota, she led Goodwill’s efforts to raise funds through philanthropy, planned giving, and local, state and federal grants in order to provide services to returning veterans, who face heightened risks of unemployment, personal problems, and homelessness.

C.J. herself is a veteran. After graduating from high school, she joined the United States Air Force, where she worked as a Crew Chief for four years and subsequently cross-trained to be a Paralegal and worked with the JAG for the remainder of her service. Bannister earned the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) as well as many awards and medals, including: Basic Military Training Honor Graduate, The John Levitow Award at Airman Leadership School, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Military Education Award, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. Bannister served from 1993 until 2001, when she ended her military career as a non-commissioned officer. 

After leaving the Air Force, she attended International College (now known as Hodges University in Naples, FL) toward a BS in Management and also worked full time as a Paralegal.  C.J. began her career as a financial advisor in 2007, helping individuals with investment and financial needs.

Bannister is dedicated to helping others and passionate about giving back and making a difference. She sits on the board of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, is a graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute, and has almost 19 years of experience in this community giving back, growing business and programs, as well as establishing and maintaining meaningful partnerships.

Kelly Borgia

Strategic Engagement Management

Kelly joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in the summer of 2018 after having worked for 10 years at Asolo Repertory Theatre as their Production Stage Manager. As a member of our Development team she works closely with our Philanthropic Advisors and our incredible donors to help their philanthropic dollars have the biggest impact possible. She is also responsible for the processing and execution of all of Gulf Coast’s sponsorship grants. Kelly is most fulfilled when she is working to better our community in an efficient, effective, and collaborative work space. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from the University of Central Florida. She enjoys cooking, bike rides, the Florida sunshine, and—most of all—spending time with family.

Priscilla Boward

Philanthropic Administrator

Kelly Carlstein

Vice President Brand Strategy

Kelly directs Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s marketing and public relations strategies. As part of Gulf Coast’s marketing and communications team, she leads digital and traditional marketing strategies and innovative story telling in partnership with donors and community partners. She is a member of GCLI class of 2018. Prior to joining Gulf Coast she worked in marketing and public relations for the private club industry and most recently healthcare. Kelly enjoys spending her time outdoors with her husband and baby boy.   

Travis Cheney, CPA


Rachel Denton

Marketing | PR Associate

Karla Detert, SHRM-CP

HR Generalist

Karla Detert joined Gulf Coast Community Foundation in early December of 2018 as Executive and Human Resources Assistant.  Karla has over 20 years of HR experience working for large corporations to small businesses. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and is a certified HR professional. Her hobbies include going to live sporting events, concerts, going to the beach or anything outside in the sunshine.

Kirstin Fulkerson

Senior Vice President for Philanthropy

Kirstin Fulkerson has been an integral member of the Gulf Coast team for 16 years. During this time, she has worked closely with Gulf Coast’s nonprofit partners, donors, professional advisors, and local leaders to transform our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Kirstin has spearheaded many initiatives that focus on nonprofits, leadership, and emerging community issues. As the senior vice president for philanthropy, she drives all development efforts for Gulf Coast while working closely with Gulf Coast’s family of donors and their legal and financial advisors helping to maximize the impact of their giving. Kirstin has an MBA from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado. She enjoys reading, anything outdoors, and, most importantly, spending time with her family.

Kristin Prince

Executive Assistant | Corporate Secretary

Kristin Prince supports the COO and the Board of Directors.  As Board Liaison she ensures the Gulf Coast Directors are fully prepared to support the CEO's efforts to deliver on mission and to fulfill their own fiduciary responsibilities to the Foundation.  Kristin comes to the GCCF with over 30 years of experience as a non profit professional.  She has a long history of supporting Boards, including docket preparation, meeting planning and execution, recruitment and onboarding, document management and board events.

Prior to working at the GCCF Kristin was Special Assistant to the President at Oxfam America, an affiliate of Oxfam International, an international humanitarian relief organization which works across 90 countries with an annual operating budget of over one billion dollars.  Kristin’s career has always been firmly rooted in the philanthropic sector.  She has worked in the arts at the Boston Ballet and the Museum of Modern Art, and in research at the American Health Foundation and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance.

Kristin holds a master’s degree in political science from The CUNY Grad Center and bachelor’s degree in art from Northeastern University.  Kristin enjoys flower gardening, reading historical fiction and memoirs, and traveling with her family. 

Kate Ferguson

Office Coordinator

Lauren Hersh

Philanthropic Advisor

Kameron Hodgens, Ph.D.

Director of Community Leadership

Jennifer Johnston

Director of Community Leadership

As a member of the Community Investment team, Jennifer collaborates with nonprofit partners and diverse stakeholders to develop and sustain initiatives that positively impact regional priorities. She plays a lead role in mission-driven grant making on behalf of donors and Gulf Coast’s Board of Directors. Jennifer’s prior experience includes serving as Regional Director for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, creating healthier school environments for students and staff across the country. As Director of Partnership Development with Alpha House of Tampa, she strengthened services for pregnant and parenting women experiencing homelessness in Hillsborough County. Jennifer completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health promoting health-education campaigns nationwide after earning a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hailing from New Hampshire, Jennifer loves hiking in the mountains as well as international and domestic travel.

Jacintha Knox

Philanthropic Accounting Coordinator

As a Philanthropic Accounting Coordinator, Jacintha Knox assists Gulf Coast with financial data entry, including the processing of gifts, grants, and donor acknowledgments. With 20 years of nonprofit experience, Jacintha is passionate about working with organizations that support community initiatives through philanthropy and service. She has a personal interest in visual arts, cultural institutions, and animal welfare initiatives. Prior to joining the foundation in 2019, Jacintha spent 13 years working in museum education and tourism, and she enjoyed gift processing at the Dumb Friends League animal shelter and Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Jacintha received her bachelor of science in Textiles, Clothing, and Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her master of arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver. In her spare time, she enjoys writing mystery and children’s books, volunteering at animal organizations, and vegan cooking.

Hollie Mowry

Community Leadership Associate

Hollie Mowry supports Gulf Coast’s Operations and Community Investment teams in their day to day operations. She has 20 years of experience in the administrative field and a passion for making the world a better place.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Musical Theatre and Opera from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and still performs regularly at Venice Theatre.  In her free time Hollie enjoys kayaking and traveling the world with her husband and two daughters.

Hillary Newton

Office Coordinator

Sasha Pyatte

Philanthropic Advisor

Anthony Riskalla

Financial Associate

Chris Stobaugh

Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Chris Stobaugh maintains the financial integrity of Gulf Coast Community Foundation through the expert direction of its financial, fund accounting, and investment activities.

 Her responsibilities include supervising and managing all aspects of Gulf Coast’s accounting systems, overseeing the financial audit, and preparation of tax and regulatory filings. Chris is also responsible for management of the foundation’s invested assets, including adherence to its investment policy and the monitoring of outside investment managers.

 Prior to joining Gulf Coast in August 2018, Chris most recently served for eight years as CFO of Grain Management, a private equity firm focused on the communications sector with $750 million in assets under management. She has held full oversight of finance and accounting in several previous positions, including acting as point person with external auditors, and has led multiple systems implementations.

 Chris also brings extensive community involvement to her new role in philanthropy. She operated Full of Goodness, LLC, a for-profit mobile restaurant in the Sarasota-Bradenton area that provided capital for The Good Truck, a not-for-profit mobile eatery that delivered nutritious meals to residents in need. Chris has volunteered for a variety of local organizations over the past 25 years, primarily serving children’s and women’s causes.

 Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Youngstown State University and completed coursework toward an MBA at the University of North Florida.

Michelle Stout

Philanthropic Accounting Coordinator

Kristin Taylor

Philanthropic Administrator

As a member of our Development team, Kristin engages with our donors allowing them to realize their philanthropic potential. In addition, she is responsible for overseeing Gulf Coast’s scholarship program which provides greater access to postsecondary education for local area students. Prior to joining the foundation in 2011, Kristin worked in the fast-paced world of television news as a video editor for WWSB ABC7 in Sarasota.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunication production from the University of Florida. (Go Gators!) Her claim to fame is representing the country as a member of Team USA at the Bally Total Fitness World Aerobics Championship in 1999. She did not help lead the team to victory. For exercise these days, she and her husband can be found chasing around their two small children.

Veronica Thames

Senior Vice President for Administration | Chief Operating Officer

As part of Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s management team, Veronica Thames is a critical partner to the President | CEO in translating Gulf Coast’s goals into its overall operational plan, including department objectives, staff leadership, and performance measures. Veronica also plays a key role on the Community Investment team, creating, planning, and executing bold and proactive initiatives that transform our region. She joined the foundation in 2018.

Veronica is an influential and collaborative leader with proven ability to manage multiple functional areas within a dynamic organization. Prior to Gulf Coast, Veronica served as Vice President of Human Resources at Blake Medical Center, part of Healthcare Corporation of America, for which she had worked since 2006. At Blake she was responsible for key operations and personnel management of a 1,300-employee organization. Her many accomplishments included operating the top-ranked childcare facility in Manatee County and the largest community health and wellness program within HCA nationwide.

Veronica also brings extensive community involvement to her new role in philanthropy. She was a longtime member and former chair of the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative, a consortium of employers and educators dedicated to improving workforce development and competitiveness in the region’s healthcare sector. She also served as a board member and volunteer for numerous nonprofit organizations, and she is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Manatee.

Outside of work, Veronica loves spending time wither her family, as well as home remodeling, kayaking, and big gatherings (where she doesn’t have to cook!). Fluent in Spanish, she was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and lived and worked across the United States, from Boca Raton to Los Angeles, before planting roots on the Gulf Coast.

Jon Thaxton

Senior Vice President for Community Leadership

Jon Thaxton creates and implements Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s key strategies for transforming our region’s nonprofit community and providing leadership on emerging issues. Jon joined Gulf Coast in 2012 as director of community investment while completing his 12th year of service on the Sarasota County Commission, and was promoted to senior vice president in 2015.

In this role, Jon works with nonprofit organizations, donors, and other community partners to invest Gulf Coast grants and resources in projects that will transform our region and improve public policies. His knowledge of the region and the relationships he built as a public servant are tremendous assets to his work. Jon has provided critical leadership on behalf of Gulf Coast in our community’s creation of a system of care for homeless children and families, and he is part of the cross-sector team that is adapting that model to effectively house and support unaccompanied homeless youth and chronically homeless adults. Other transformative projects in which Jon plays a key role include community-driven efforts to extend the multiuse recreational Legacy Trail in Sarasota County and to sustainably redevelop the Sarasota Bayfront.

Jon is also recognized throughout Florida as a leading advocate for protecting the natural environment. A fifth-generation Floridian, he was raised on a farm near Osprey and began working at his family’s real estate company at 14. Jon began his environmental advocacy at Venice High School in 1974 as a founding member of the Ecology Club, and in 1996 he was featured in National Geographic for his efforts to protect endangered species.

Harriet Thompson

Community Leadership Administrator

Since joining Gulf Coast 13 years ago, Harriet Thompson has worked in a variety of administrative positions: assistant to the CEO, helping our donors in Development, and currently providing support to the Community Investment team. Prior to joining Gulf Coast, Harriet worked in a supervisory capacity for CNA Insurance, located outside of Washington, DC. When not at the office, Harriet can be found on the golf course, playing a friendly game of bridge, or trying to keep up with her “Little Sister” Amanda.