Staff and Associates


John Vasconcellos joined the Community Foundation as President on August 1, 2016. Most recently, John served as Senior Regional Director for the Southeast and Boston Regions of The Trustees of Reservations. Other experience includes Managing Director of Development and Marketing for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Vice President of Development and Communications at the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Director of Development for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Pam Ellis joined the Community Foundation in October 2017 as Development Systems Administrator.  She served 10 years as Development Operations Assistant/Office Manager for the Marion Institute and has extensive experience as an environmental educator at several local institutions and nonprofit organizations.  In one of her many volunteer leadership roles in the community, Pam serves as secretary for the Leadership SouthCoast alumni committee, and is a member of the Class of 2013.


Pamela Evans, CPA, joined the Community Foundation in 2015 as Director of Finance and Administration. Pam most recently has been an associate with ML Nunes and Associates. From 2010-2014 she was Director of Finance for the Schwartz Center for Children. Her previous non-profit work included the YWCA of York PA and the Audubon Society. She currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee for the Women’s Fund.

Rayana Grace joined the Community Foundation in April 2018 as Arts & Culture Program Manager.  A New Bedford native, she most recently served as Youth Development Director for the New Bedford YMCA where she focused on the creation of innovative community partnerships to increase the impact of programs for city youth.  Rayana is a member of the Leadership SouthCoast Class of 2017 and she serves as Treasurer of the New Bedford Historical Society Board of Directors.

Kim Heard joined the Community Foundation in March 2017 as Office Administrator. She began working for The Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts based conservation organization, as a part time Administrative Assistant in April 2004 and was promoted to Executive Assistant supporting the Southeast/Boston Regional Director in July 2011. She held that position until her departure in February 2017. Kim grew up in Tiverton, RI and has lived in New Bedford since 1994.

Ethan Kehoe joined the Community Foundation in May 2017 as Director of Development. Most recently, he was Director of Development at St. Patrick Academy in Providence, as well as a capital campaign consultant at Nativity Preparatory School New Bedford.  Ethan began his non-profit career as Youth & Community Director for the New Bedford YMCA and later served a decade in Chief Development Officer posts for the Hockomock Area YMCA and YMCA of Greater Providence. 

 Holly Stickles joined the Community Foundation in April 2017 as Grants & Scholarships Associate. Holly is a recent graduate of the UMASS Dartmouth Master of Public Policy program. As a Southcoast native, Holly has been involved with several public organizations within the region. During her student career, she gained exposure to the public sector through her internships at the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board and the Community and Economic Development Authority of Wareham. Most recently, she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the UMASS Dartmouth Public Policy Center, where she assisted with community-based research initiatives in New Bedford and surrounding communities.

Womens Fund Exec Director Valerie Bassett

Valerie Bassett joined the Women's Fund in February 2014 as Executive Director. She has spent most of her career in public health policy, with a special interest in leadership development. Valerie began her career as a day care teacher and working for a battered women’s sheltering organization. She went on to lead Intergovernmental Relations for the Boston Public Health Commission, was Director of Policy and Research at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, and served as executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, an education and advocacy organization. For the past two years she’s consulted, including locally with the South Coast Healthy Housing and Workplace Initiative, a project of Voices for a Healthy South Coast.

Womens Fund Exec Director Valerie Bassett

The Women's Fund recently welcomed Darcy Lee as its new Director of Development. A native of Mattapoisett with long roots in the region Darcy started her career at the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation in Boston, going on to work as Press Aide to United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, after which she worked in fundraising for different organizations, including Clark University, Orchard House - Home of the Alcotts, the Center for Women and Enterprise, and Pilgrim Hall Museum. She continued to serve the Plymouth region as Executive Director of Mayflower RSVP, the elder volunteer corps agency. Most recently she has provided strategic fundraising consulting for nonprofits.

 AHA! Director Lee HealdCandace Lee Heald has been Director of AHA! - New Bedford’s 2nd Thursday FREE Art and Culture Night since 2007. Lee previously worked as Vice-President of Programs, Education and Exhibitions at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where she oversaw educational and public programs, exhibitions and library functions as well as visitor services and volunteers. She received her Ph.D. from Lesley University, an MA in American History from the University of Delaware, and BA in American History from Brown University. Lee was one of the authors for the original AHA! grant, and served as Program and Steering Committee Chairs from 1999 until joining the staff.