Local Philanthropy Experts

Our professional staff members are ready to help you match your giving interests with community needs and opportunities. We can work with your professional advisor to ensure your gift meets your charitableóas well as personal and financialógoals.

Jeffrey R. Pickering

President and CEO

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Jeffrey R. Pickering is President and CEO of Kern Community Foundation, and President of Kern Real Estate Foundation. Mr. Pickering has 18 years of experience in leadership roles as a fundraiser, nonprofit administrator and grantmaker, including four years as Vice President of Philanthropic Services at the Community Foundation of Central Florida.

Mr. Pickering holds a bachelorís degree in political science from the University of South Florida, a masterís degree in leadership studies from the University of San Diegoís School of Leadership and Education Sciences, a certificate in management from the Crummer Graduate School of Management at Rollins College and is currently a student in Stanford Universityís d. school.

Mr. Pickering is an alumnus of the Vincentian Service Corps, where he served for one year following graduation from college as a lay missioner working among homeless men and women in New York City. Mr. Pickering serves as Treasurer of the League of California Community Foundations, a statewide partnership of 29 community foundations with assets of more than $9 billion. Mr. Pickering is also Secretary of the Bakersfield Downtown Rotary, and is an Adjunct Professor at California State University Bakersfieldís School of Business and Public Administration.

Mr. Pickering is married to Stephanie Brooks Pickering, and has three children, Colin, Olivia and Grant.

Alejandra S. Contreras

Director of Business Development

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Alejandra Contreras is the Director of Business Development for Kern Community Foundation. Alejandra plays a key role in assisting in the Foundationís growth by managing new business development opportunities, and overseeing all sponsorship activities related to key products and events.

Mrs. Contreras has ten years of experience in the financial services industry structuring, underwriting and managing commercial loan transactions. Prior to joining Kern Community Foundation in 2013, Mrs. Contreras worked for GE Capital, most notably as Vice President of International Risk Underwriting.

Born and raised in Bolivia, Mrs. Contreras moved to the United States to pursue her university studies. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in 1996, followed by a Master in Business Administration degree also from Louisiana State University in 1998. Mrs. Contreras has been active in various domestic and international charitable organizations.

Mrs. Contreras is married to Carlos Contreras, a graduate of the United States Military Academy. They are the proud parents of two boys.

Danette M. Rinehart

Manager of Finance and Administration

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Danette Rinehart is Manager of Finance and Administration of Kern Community Foundation. She joined the Foundation in August 2007.

Previously, she was a small business owner of Network and Database Solutions and was a production database consultant for Midway Sunset Cogeneration, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison.

Danette is a graduate of California State University, Bakersfield with a degree in Business Administration. She is a certified Microsoft Systems Engineer and Database Administrator.

Alyse M. Braaten

Manager of Grants and Scholarships

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Alyse Braaten is the Manager of Grants and Scholarships for Kern Community Foundation, assisting nonprofit organizations and students in reaching their highest potential through the financial assistance provided by the donors of Kern Community Foundation. Born, raised, and educated in Kern County, Alyse has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from California State University, Bakersfield and had devoted her professional career to helping local students achieve their academic goals.

Alyse is a 10 year veteran of higher education assistance and promotion in Kern County and has spent the last two years as the Executive Director of the Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation and Regional Administrator of the Cash for College program. Since 2012, her focus has been on student financial aid, continuing to increase the number of students in our community who find college funding through State, Federal, and Private funding sources. She sees the natural connections between grants for nonprofit organizations and scholarships for students. By supporting organizations and individuals with potential to bring positive impact to Kern County, she hopes to make her own positive impact on the community she so dearly loves.

Alyse and her husband, Chris, enjoy rural living in the Southern Kern farm lands where they raise their two young daughters, Story and Penelope.

Rachel M. Evey

Coordinator of Development and Donor Services

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Rachel Evey joined Kern Community Foundation as Foundation Assistant in October 2012 then became Coordinator of Development and Donor Services in January 2014. Rachel plays a key role in Kern Community Foundationís growth by coordinating development and donor services activities relating to the Foundation's donors and other key audiences.

A Bakersfield native, Rachel returned to her hometown after graduating from the University of California, Davis with her Bachelorís in International Relations and Italian with a minor in Religious Studies. Happily married to Matthew Evey, they are the pet parents to Henry the guinea pig.

Jessica M. Newton-Smith

Foundation Assistant

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Jessica Newton-Smith joined Kern Community Foundation as Foundation Assistant in March 2014. As Foundation Assistant, Jessica plays a key role in Kern Community Foundationís growth by providing administrative and clerical support to Foundation staff and delivering high-quality services to the Foundationís donors, grantees and other key audiences.

Jessica started her education at Bakersfield College and graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.