Board and Staff

  • Jay Bornstein
  • Jack Delay President
  • Patricia Decker Vice President
  • Bill Freudenberger Treasurer
  • Brian Griffin
  • Bob Hall
  • Elizabeth Jennings
  • Kim LundWeb and Outreach Coordinator
  • Sati Mookherjee Secretary
  • Chuck Robinson
  • Phyllis Self
  • Hannah E. Stone
  • George E. Thomas
  • Shannon Wright Executive Director
  • Jeff Young

Advisory Board Members

Jay Bornstein was born and raised in Bellingham’s south side, attended Lowell, Fairhaven, BHS, Skagit Valley College and Western Washington State College. Entering the family business in 1967 Jay participated for the next forty-three years in all levels within Bornstein Seafoods, Inc., as well as in seafood business trade associations, technical committees and government regulatory agencies. His positions include: President of Northwest Fisheries Association, President and Chairman of the Board, National Fisheries Institute, Ground-fish Advisory Panel to Pacific Fishery Management Council and industry representative to USA/Canadian bilateral negotiations for 200-mile fishery zone implementation. On the local level, Jay was a member of the Waterfront Futures Group tasked to conceive and articulate a fifty-year vision for the Bellingham Bay waterfront. In the seventy-fourth year of the Company, Jay has just completed a successful transition of the family business to the third generation.

Jack Delay is a retired businessman who sold his software development company to a subsidiary of Verizon shortly before moving from Eugene in 1991. That is when his spouse, Patricia Decker, was recruited by the city (much to his delight having grown up in a small maritime community on Cape Cod and having a brother in Bellingham during the 60’s). He has served in public office as both an elected and appointed official. Jack considers himself a life-long community activist. He is a firm believer that local government and local involvement produces the greatest benefits for our future generations. He continues to dabble in technology, political consulting, and can be seen darting around town in his electric truck. Jack has pledged that Communitywise Bellingham will become his “day job” for the duration.

Patricia Decker was appointed as Bellingham’s Planning Director in 1991. She served in that capacity until 2003 when she was asked to manage the two year Waterfront Futures Group project, an award winning community effort jointly funded by the Port and the City. In 2005 she moved on to staffing the Public Facilities District, completing plans for improvements to the Mount Baker Theater and for design and construction of the Lightcatcher building, as part of the Whatcom Museum campus. Patricia was a founding board member of the City Club. She retired from the city in 2008. Patricia brings deep experience in public involvement and her personal commitment to “bring more light than heat” to the issues.

Bill Freudenberger has lived in Bellingham since 1969. He earned a BSME and a MS in Industrial Administration from Purdue University. He enjoyed a 30 year career at Intalco finally retiring from management in 1999. That allowed Bill and his wife Jayne to better pursue their other passions, traveling widely and actively supporting the community they love. Bill served both as Treasurer and President of the Whatcom Literacy Council Board. He was Treasurer of the Bellingham City Club Board during its critical growing years. He worked many years with United Way on their Planning and Allocation Committee. Bill is recognized by many in the community for his regular volunteer work at the Bellingham Public Library helping people with their tax returns. At 10 years and still going, this time consuming work with AARP’s Taxaide program underlines his commitment to community.

Brian Griffin is a lifetime Bellingham resident and a retired local businessman. A founder of Unity Group Insurance, the former Childrens Company stores and Knox Cellars Native Bee Pollinators, he is vitally interested in both the economy and the quality of life of the community. He was the 2010 recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year Award. His role in the creation of Fairhaven Village Green and Depot Market Square and decades of civic service are testament to his belief that a quality community is the best assurance of it’s economic future.

Bob Hall was born and raised in Tacoma Wash, spent 4 years at WSU studying Architecture, and returned to lower Puget Sound. In 1977 he moved to Bellingham and became involved in commercial residential properties. He also ran a small business Importing handicrafts from Afghanistan and Iran,  later woolen goods from South America. In 1988, when Bellis Fair mall opened, Bob began buying commercial buildings downtown. His focus on the redevelopment and management of historic downtown properties has become his passion and earned him a well deserved reputation for putting downtown properties back to use. Bob’s focus is Bellingham but his interest in downtowns has spread to property investments in Spokane, Olympia and Chehalis.

Elizabeth Jennings is a facilitator and consultant for public and nonprofit agencies, and teaches nonprofit management at WWU. A Bellingham resident since 2005, Liz served as Executive Director of the Whatcom Coalition for Healthy Communities, home to Leadership Whatcom and Whatcom Council of Nonprofits. After graduating high school in rural Wyoming, Liz was based for 15 years in Laramie, first as a daily news reporter, then as managing editor of Rocky Mountain Geology, a scholarly journal about rocks, fossils and oil. Liz is concerned that people living in poor and rural places often bear a disproportionate share of environmental health impacts, but she also is confident in our community’s ability to come to good solutions to tough issues through dialogue and public participation. She serves on the boards of Bellingham City Club and Whatcom Council of Nonprofits.

Sati Mookherjee grew up in Bellingham. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and the UW School of Medicine. Sati, her husband, and their two children moved back to Bellingham in 2003. She was formerly Special Projects and Policy Manager for the City of Bellingham, and is presently Chief Operating Officer of Sendan Center, a “best practices, evidence-based” mental health center for children and adolescents (formerly “Pacific Northwest Psychiatry”). She presently serves on the Board of the Whatcom Community Foundation. Sati believes that civic processes are not the exclusive domain of ‘political junkies,’ but rather the right and responsibility of all members of a community, and that the best processes seek out those who normally don’t participate. She believes that passion and civility are not mutually exclusive, and champions civic engagement that is inclusive, respectful, rational, and fact-based.

Chuck Robinson came to Bellingham in 1980 to open a bookstore with his wife Dee. Village Books was Washington State’s Outstanding Philanthropic Business in 2008 and a finalist for the Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year Award in 2011. Chuck was a founding board member of the City Club and of Sustainable Connections. Other board experience includes the North Cascades Institute, the Community Food Coop, the county mental health board, and the Whatcom County Ethics Commission. As a past president of the American Booksellers Association he remains active in industry issues and association activities.  A former educator, he is serving his second term as a trustee of Whatcom Community College. Chuck has an abiding belief that education is essential to the maintenance of a healthy democracy.

Phyllis Self has advanced degrees in education and counseling and was formerly in private practice as a psychotherapist. She and her husband Charley came to Bellingham in 1988. Phyllis has served as a trustee of Whatcom Community College and currently serves on the WCC Foundation. In 2007 Phyllis was inducted into the Northwest Women Hall of Fame, as a “campaigner for the arts.” She has served on the Bellingham Arts Commission and helped form and co-chair the Bellingham Campaign for the Arts. This successful public-private partnership between the CFA and the Bellingham-Whatcom Public Facilities District financed major capital improvements to the Mount Baker Theatre and built the new Lightcatcher Building (completed 2010) for the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. In 2009 the Chamber of Commerce awarded Phyllis the Major Lifetime Achievement Woman of the Year. Phyllis believes in the significant roles that higher education and the fine and performing arts play in Bellingham’s community vitality and economic prosperity.

Hannah Stone is an immigration attorney. After obtaining her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hannah and her husband relocated to Bellingham in 2005. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Washington State Bar Association, serves as Chair of the Whatcom County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and is a member of the board of the Mount Baker Theatre Organ Society. Through her work in private practice as well as pro-bono services – for organizations such as Community to Community Development, LAW Advocates, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project – Hannah is committed to fostering healthy communities and providing access to justice for all. Along with her husband and two young children, Hannah especially enjoys sailing and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

George E. Thomas moved to Bellingham in 1970 with his family to be curator at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. He continued his career at the Museum as executive director from 1978 to 1993. George operated a consulting business in nonprofit management and fundraising until 2008 when he retired to pursue a lifelong interest in woods and building custom acoustic guitars (link). He has long been active with community and regional groups including the Washington State Museum Association, Washington Capital Heritage Projects, and the Mt. Baker Theatre. He currently serves with Friends of the Roeder Home. He can be coaxed into playing Hawaiian slack key guitar and discussing the fascinating history of that style, much to the delight of friends and neighbors.

Jeff Young moved to Bellingham in 1999 to join the Biology Department at Western Washington University. He teaches Genetics and Plant Biology, and works locally and statewide to promote and protect public higher education. Jeff also helps provide basic technological support to several local community groups – including our own. He views education and organization as the first steps in effecting positive change, and will work to support Communitywise Bellingham in these endeavors.


Shannon Wright Shannon moved to Bellingham in 2007 with her husband Todd and their two young boys. She comes to CWB with a range of experiences working with grassroots and sustainable development organizations, from promoting sustainable agriculture in Ecuador to co-founding the environmental health project Making Our Milk Safe.  Shannon has worked with a wide diversity of people and organizations, from farmers groups and indigenous peoples’ federations to solar energy companies and parents networks. Most recently, Shannon worked with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. She holds a BA and MA in Development Studies from Brown University where she researched rural food economies in West Africa. Throughout her travels and work she has witnessed first-hand the importance of local communities being at the center of decision-making about large development projects—such as a coal export terminal—that will directly affect their lives.

Kim Lund  Kim is a lifelong Bellingham resident and happy to be raising her two children in the same beautiful environs that she enjoyed as a child.  Kim took a circuitous path to web and print design for CWB.  She started her career as a chemical engineer for Intel Corp and later left to become Marketing Director of, a dotcom venture based in Mount Vernon, WA.   There she received a crash course in web design, brand development, and channel-partner management. Kim is committed to supporting her local community by utilizing her unique combination of engineering, data-driven analysis and her individual design aesthetic.