Meet Wendy Mitchell, our new Development Director

Alyson Marchi-Young
Tue, 11/20/2018 (All day)
Wendy enjoying the beach in Manzanita - her favorite Oregon site.

While many people may say they were inspired by Vin Scully, the beloved sportscaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers, not many can claim he gifted them with the opportunity for a lifelong career. Not many, but Wendy Mitchell can.

Wendy is many things: a mom and grandmother, a therapist, a mentor, and a passionate fundraiser who has dedicated a lifetime to connecting donors with causes that are meaningful to them. This December, 1000 Friends of Oregon proudly welcomes Wendy as our new Director of Development.

In her early career as a child therapist, Wendy worked for an educational center that supported learning disabled children. It was here that Wendy met Vin Scully, who encouraged her to help the center raise funds. “Somebody recognized that I had just the right qualities to do that, and so I said yes,” Wendy muses as she fondly recalls her early good fortune.

This set her on a new dynamic course. First, a 20-year post at UC Berkeley in their advancement department. Then on to Hawaii, where her daughter attended Hawaii Preparatory Academy while Wendy headed up their development department. Four years later, she and her family moved back to the mainland and landed in Oregon. Here, Wendy raised money for Portland’s world-renowned Japanese Garden and later for the Chinese Garden, before taking a position with the World Forestry Center – her most recent work prior to joining the 1000 Friends team.

“It’s been a great, exciting career for me. And I loved my time at the World Forestry Center. Leaving there is kind of bittersweet.” It was at the World Forestry Center where Wendy first met Russ Hoeflich. He was serving on the their Board of Directors at that time.

Wendy’s instinct for philanthropy comes naturally to her. Her parents met in the great depression and believed in the value of sharing. They were always looking for ways to give, to reach out, and to connect with the community. These values have always been foundational for Wendy.

Today, when she’s not raising money for non-profits, you can find Wendy running a Development Roundtable to mentor new generations of development professionals. Wendy believes in the power of role models. She has had some great ones and strives to be one herself, particularly for young professional women. In a March Portland Business Journal article Wendy wrote, “It’s a kind of noblesse oblige tutoring role that we elder professionals not only can but really should play for as long as we can.” You can hear it in Wendy’s voice – a passion and deep devotion to supporting the professional advancement of those around her.

Ultimately, Wendy loves supporting good causes, and she is looking forward to supporting 1000 Friends’ mission as the next chapter in her sparkling career. “There are so many layers to how 1000 Friends’ touches the lives of Oregonians. I’m looking forward to unpeeling those layers and learning more from our staff, our Board, and our donors,” says Wendy. “You want to love your work, and I really do love raising money for non-profits.”

If you meet her, you might want to hear more of Wendy’s stories.  She’ll listen to yours too. Bottom line--she simply loves a good story. “It’s a lost art,” she says.

Join us in welcoming Wendy Mitchell to the 1000 Friends family. You can meet her in person at our Holiday Happy Hour on December 3rd, or email her at wendy@friends.org.