Dr. Michelle Foster is the President and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF). Before joining TGKVF, Michelle was the CEO of the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. (KISRA), a community-based, non-profit organization that strengthens West Virginia families through health, employment, asset development, and learning initiatives. Michelle’s original career was as a chemical engineer, most recently at Union Carbide Corporation.
Michelle’s chemical engineering undergraduate degree was conferred at City College of New York. Additionally, she has a doctorate in community economic development (CED) from Southern New Hampshire University and two master’s degrees – one in CED from SNHU and another in engineering management from Marshall University. Her doctoral dissertation was entitled, “The Contributions of Pre-Incarceration Experiences and Prison-Based Programs to Post-Release Employment Acquisition, Retention and Recidivism.” Most recently, she completed additional university-level studies in impact investing at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School as well as in nonprofit management and leadership at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Through the years, Michelle’s work has been recognized locally and nationally. She has received many awards including the Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA (2020); Living the Dream Award from the WV Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (2016); Woman on a Mission Award from Union Mission (2016); Civil Rights Day Award from the State of West Virginia, Office of the Governor (2015); Dr. Martin Luther King, Humanitarian Award from the Saint Albans Ministerial Association (2015); Fatherhood Champion of Change recognition from President Barack Obama at the White House (2012); National Association of University Women, Charleston Branch, Leadership Award (2012); Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Theta Psi Chapter, Citizen of the Year (2012); Charleston Police Department, Award for Community Service (2011); U.S. Small Business Administration, Minority Business Champion (2009); and West Virginia State University, President’s Award for Community Service (2009).
Michelle lives a life of community service and is actively engaged with several organizations in West Virginia and the Appalachian region. She is a member of the WV Workforce Development Board and the Charleston Rotary. In the philanthropy sector, Michelle serves as a co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Appalachia Funders Network, board member of Philanthropy West Virginia, and founding member of African American Philanthropy in Action (a giving circle). She is the President of the Charleston-Institute (WV) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and has been a member of the organization since 2011. Additionally, she has served as the Minister of Administration of Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church since 1997. Over the years Michelle also served on the boards of the WV Community Development Hub, Kanawha County Library, WV Center on Budget and Policy, WV Non-Profit Association, and Our Children Our Future.
In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, attending music festivals and theatrical productions, making scented candles, and soul line dancing. She also places a premium on spending quality time with her family and friends.
Kristin joined The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation team in May of 2017. She received both her BSBA, Accounting emphasis, and MPA from West Virginia University. Kristin has been a licensed CPA since 1999. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Kristin spent the majority of her career in the public accounting industry working for both Ernst & Young and Dixon Hughes Goodman. She also served as Deputy Commissioner for the WV State Tax Department. In her role as Chief Financial Officer, Kristin provides leadership, supervision, oversight and management of the Foundation’s finances and investments. Kristin enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and cheering for the Mountaineers.
Stephanie Hyre, MASenior Program Officer
Stephanie Hyre | Biography
Stephanie is the Senior Program Officer of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. She received her BA from West Virginia University and her MA from the University of Georgia. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Stephanie directed a small, basic needs assistance agency and before transitioning to the social sector, Stephanie taught composition and rhetoric to college freshman. In her current role, Stephanie leads the Foundation’s education and arts initiatives by working with nonprofits to convene stakeholders, leverage resources, and improve the lives of Greater Kanawha Valley residents. Stephanie is a 2017 class member of Leadership WV. She is co-chair of Philanthropy WV’s Education Affinity Group, a board director of Charleston Montessori School, and co-chair of the Appalachia Funders Network’s Arts & Culture Working Group. As a certified instructor, she volunteers at WV Health Right and Recovery Point of WV to guide participants through yoga and stress management. Outside of her community-driven activities, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.
Angela Dobson, a native of Dunbar is an Accountant at The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. She started working with the Foundation in October 2017. Before joining the Foundation Angela worked 17 years for the Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action, Inc. (KISRA) as Executive Assistant to the CEO and then as the Quality Financial Manager. Angela loves to travel, read fictional books and enjoys sporting events. She and her husband are very family oriented and are proud of their three children.
Todd came to The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation after nine years with the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Public Transit (DPT) where he was charged with implementing the Federal Transit Administration’s State Safety Oversight Program over the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) in Morgantown, WV. He has a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State and he attended Graduate School at Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning. Todd was theExecutive Director of the King Park Area Development Corporation where he assisted the city of Indianapolis with a $4.5 million HUD-awarded grant to demolish vacant and blighted houses, build 269 new homes, rehabilitate 44 homes, improve streets and infrastructure, and develop a system of parks and green space. This project, known as “Fall Creek Place,” is one of the country’s most successful residential/mixed-use redevelopment projects. Fall Creek Place has won several national design awards and has been designated as best practices in architecture and redevelopment. Todd later went on to work for the city of Indianapolis as a city planner specializing in writing zoning ordinances and land use. Todd is a current board member for the Kanawha County Ambulance Authority and an avid golfer.
Sarah is the Administrative Assistant at The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation where she began working in September 2014. Before joining the Foundation, Sarah was employed as a receptionist in the medical field. She is a native of Raleigh County where she grew up riding ATVs and enjoying the outdoors with family. Sarah is very family-oriented and is happily married with two sons. Her hobbies include all forms of art, especially drawing and painting as well as spending time outdoors camping or fishing and making others laugh. Following one’s dreams is a very important lesson Sarah strives to teach her children. She feels proud to be a part of a foundation that works hard to make sure our community’s dreams are kept alive.
Susan is the Scholarship Program Officer at The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. She started with the Foundation in September 1998 as the receptionist and quickly became the Scholarship Coordinator in January 1999. Before joining the Foundation, Susan worked in research and banking. She is a native of Charleston and graduated from Charleston High School before attending West Virginia University. Susan is very family-oriented. She and her husband together have five children and nine grandchildren. Through her work at the Foundation, Susan channels her passion for youth by helping students apply for scholarships and pursue their post-secondary ambitions.
Candace Krell began working with The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) as a consultant in
2016 and transitioned to full-time work with the Foundation in 2018. She received a BA in visual
communication from the University of Kansas in 2009 and a BS in Elementary Education from Fort Hayes State University in 2016. Prior to her work with TGKVF, she worked as a graphic designer, email marketing coordinator, customer service representative, and student teacher. Candace has worked in a number of different industries and held various kinds of jobs, but finds that she is happiest when she is doing work that is meaningful.
In her free time, Candace enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her two pugs,
Gwendolyn and Salvy, and cuddling with her cat Maude. She is an avid knitter and a firm believer that
all you need is love.
Jane is the Communications Director for The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. She is responsible for directing and administering all aspects of TGKVF’s marketing and communication programs as well as management of the Foundation’s special events. After a career in retail, Jane joined the Foundation in 2012. She is a native of Charleston and graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.
Jane is an active community volunteer and enjoys working in her garden. She writes a weekly garden-based column “Good to Grow” for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. She is also steward to a Little Free Library, which spreads her love of reading throughout her neighborhood and surrounding areas.
Megan is the Health Program Officer at The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and has been at the Foundation since May 2015. She is a Parkersburg, WV native and a graduate of Purdue University. Before coming to TGKVF she worked at a public relations firm in Indianapolis that focused on several disease awareness campaigns and this is where she developed her passion for Public Health. She returned to West Virginia in 2010 and before starting at the Foundation worked as a Program Specialist at the American Lung Association around teen tobacco prevention. Megan previously served on the board of the West Virginia Children’s Advocacy Network for six years and now is member of their Awareness Committee. She has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2011, serves on the Friends of the Library steering committee for Kanawha County, and is a co-chair for the Appalachian Funders Network Health Group. Megan is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and her pup Ralphie. She and her cat, Buddy, just tolerate each other.
Christine joined The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation team in 2007. Previously, she was the Accountant/Grants Manager/AmeriCorps Director for the United Way of Central WV/LifeBridge AmeriCorps. In 2014, Christine furthered her education by earning an MBA from the University of Charleston. A strong community advocate, she volunteers by reading to at-risk youth, fundraising for charitable causes, and providing tax return assistance to marginalized populations. Her professional interests include accounting, taxes, program, and development. Christine serves as a site manager for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program; she is also a member of FAOG and AICPA, as well as Charleston Estate Planning Council. Beyond her professional and volunteer pursuits, Christine is very family-oriented. She and her husband love spending time with their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, Carleigh. Outside of her family and community building activities, Christine enjoys Zumba, concerts, reading, and traveling.
Derek Vance joined The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation team in February, 2019. In his role at the Foundation, Derek works with community members and nonprofits to support programs aimed at impacting the region’s most vulnerable residents.
Though he is a seventh generation West Virginian, Derek left home for a time to complete his undergraduate degree at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Upon returning to the Mountain State, Derek worked in fundraising strategy and grantwriting at a number of West Virginia nonprofits. Having been on the other side of the table, Derek is eager to use his development expertise to help the Foundation’s partners secure the resources they need to operate their life-changing programs.
When not in the office, Derek enjoys spending time with friends and family, adding too many books to his reading list, and planning his next trip around the world.