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Heather Bernikoff

Heather brings 17 years of experience in philanthropy and an additional 10+ years of working in direct service programming, including leading multi-million-dollar initiatives. Through this work, she has advocated for and been a partner in making significant investments in the Central Valley within the education sector as well as the crucially aligned areas of civic engagement, health, social services, capacity building and economic development. Her work is characterized by serving the community with humility and in partnership to advance and catalyze change with organizations, agencies, and individuals.

Education has increasingly shifted its model to become community service hubs, where student success is lifted not only through increased educational supports, but through adjacent social, health and economic supports. As the new Program Officer for Education, Heather offers a complimentary lens on education success through her extensive experience in envisioning and leading intersectional programs, such as her recent role as Administrative Director of Whole Person Care at the Small County Collaborative as well as her work assisting nonprofits in integrating Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) assessments into their school-based trainings. She is excited to work with educational professionals, families, and students in support of their shared goals of improving Kindergarten readiness of Dual Language Learners.

Heather received her bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in Psychology (emphasis Pre-Med), and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in Health Education, with an emphasis in Community Health. She is an engaged community volunteer, and has contributed her time to several nonprofit boards, advisory committees and as a tutor and classroom assistant in her local schools. In April 2021, she received an appointment from California Governor Gavin Newsom to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy Governing Board.