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.

Kristen A. Barnes

President and CEO

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Kristen Barnes is President and CEO of Kern Community Foundation, and President of Kern Real Estate Foundation. Ms. Barnes has 30 years of leadership experience in a unique combination of public and private accounting, education and philanthropy.

Ms. Barnes holds a bachelorís degree in business administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a masterís degree in education from Point Loma Nazarene University, and a clear California teaching credential. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Ms. Barnes has spent a large portion of her adult life involved in Kern County philanthropy, serving as president of the Lori Brock Childrenís Museum, treasurer of the Junior League of Bakersfield, board member for the Girl Scouts, Joshua Tree Council and steering committee member for the Bakersfield Womenís Business Conference and American Cancer Societyís Oktoberfest. Most recently, she serves as a founding member of the Womenís and Girlsí Fund of Kern County Vision Committee and advisor to students in the Jim Burke Education Foundation Dreambuilder program. Ms. Barnes also serves on the Board of Trustees for California Health Science University.

While originally from Southern California, Ms. Barnes has proudly called Kern County her home for the past 30 years. She has two adult children, Taylor and Morgan.

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 and Douglas the dog.

Jessica M. Newton-Smith

Coordinator of Foundation Services

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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.