Heidi McPherson
Chief Executive Officer

As Chief Executive Officer, Heidi Hartshorn McPherson is responsible for leading the strategic efforts of The Community Foundation. She brings nearly 30 years of experience as a nationally recognized leader in the philanthropic community.

Heidi is committed to The Community Foundation vision of improving the lives for all who live and care about the SLO County diverse communities. She is focused on working proactively with the community of individuals, businesses and family foundations committed to meeting community needs and to increasing support for local nonprofit organizations. Heidi feels her life in the philanthropic sector demonstrates her belief that “philanthropy and community partnerships can change the world.” She currently serves as Chair of the board of directors for the League of California Community Foundations, a state wide association of community foundations. She lives in Atascadero with her husband, Richard, her therapy dog in training Biscuit and her rescue terrier Bucky and has three grown children.

Leila Dufurrena
Director of Philanthropy

Leila joins The Community Foundation as the newly created Director of Philanthropy. In this new role, she will lead the philanthropic efforts of The Community Foundation and help our donors achieve their philanthropic goals.

She has spent over a decade working to improve the lives of children, youth, and families at local and global nonprofits. She is passionate about harnessing the energy and talent within our community. She believes working together will allow us to transform our community into a place that is more vibrant and equitable for all.

Leila graduated from The University of Georgia, “Go Dawgs.” She lives in Arroyo Grande with her husband, two daughters and several farm animals. When she isn’t volunteering for nonprofits or posted up at the soccer fields, you can find her in the garden, at the beach or planning her next grand adventure.

Peter Hawkins
Finance Associate

Meet Peter, a spirited addition to our team at The Community Foundation. Peter’s journey here took him back to school to trade in his spatula for spreadsheets, transitioning from managing bustling restaurants to immersing himself in the world of finance. With dedication and hard work, Peter graduated with flying colors, and now, he’s ready to embark on this exciting new career chapter.

Beyond his professional life, Peter is a devoted family man. He has two lively boys, a loving wife, a couple playful cats, and a dog who has no concept of personal space. Whether he’s enjoying quality beach time with his crew or tackling ambitious DIY projects that don’t always go as planned, Peter’s contagious enthusiasm is the driving force behind his success.

Emily Jagger
Scholarship Manager

Emily has joined our team as Scholarship Manager to lead the Foundation’s quickly growing Scholarship program that provides critical support for local students. Emily is passionate about helping young people find their voices and pursue their dreams.

Emily is a San Luis Obispo County native, who has a core connection with what matters to her friends, family, and neighbors. She believes in collaboration and that changing the world starts right here at home. She received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from UC Santa Cruz and returned to the Central Coast to work as a reporter and a key member of many different nonprofit administrations, from causes like Hospice and Home Health, to Audubon and the arts. Emily is thrilled to work alongside the Foundation’s staff, donors, and volunteers to help shape scholarship opportunities and open doors for local students whose dreams can become a reality.

Emily lives in the small town of Santa Margarita and has a son who is in college. In her spare, time Emily enjoys hiking, mountain biking, birding, making stained glass windows and adventuring with her German Shepard.

Michael Jones
Chief Financial Officer

Michael Jones is a highly experienced financial professional with a passion for philanthropy. He has spent the past 13 years in the financial services industry, working at some of the world’s leading institutions as well as supporting several non-profit causes in Southern California. Michael received a B.S. from CSU Northridge and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. As a California native he brings years of experience to The Foundation, particularly in the areas of investment and financial management, operational excellence and a strong commitment to the team and our mission.

At PIMCO, he was responsible for serving a portfolio of institutional clients, including foundations, endowments, and insurance companies. He developed deep insights into the needs of these clients and built a strong foundation for portfolio and macroeconomic analysis. At Goldman Sachs, he worked closely with family offices and non-profits to help them achieve their financial goals. He provided investment advice, helped them to structure complex transactions, and managed their portfolios. He has experience working closely with the foundation boards to ensure that their investments were aligned with their mission.

In his most recent role, he focused on community building and business development for an early-stage venture firm. He worked with entrepreneurs to help them develop their business plans, raise capital, and grow their businesses.

Cassandra Kartashov
Director of Grants & Programs

Cassandra brings a wealth of programmatic expertise and has a proven track record of building local partnerships to catalyze positive change. Prior to joining The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, she served as a Grants Officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation collaborating across the organization to align program strategy and values. Additionally, Cassandra was the Program Manager for Scholarships and Grants at Humboldt Area Foundation. During her tenure at Humboldt Area Foundation, she co-founded Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, a leadership academy that supports youth to develop their leadership voice through the power of philanthropy.

Cassandra holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history from University of Hawaii at Manoa, a graduate certificate in advanced project management from Stanford University. In 2021, Cassandra was awarded by Pacific Coast Business Times “40 Under 40” for her work with The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County. She lives in Morro Bay with her husband Georgy and her dog Luna.

Alysia Krupsky (she/they)Field of Interest Program Coordinator

Alysia joins The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County in the role of Field of Interest Program Coordinator, and proudly supports grants and programs for women & girls, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities in SLO County. Alysia brings a wealth of experience in sales, marketing, event design, and project management to their career focus in mission-driven work. Alysia is a Central Coast native with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara. Outside of work at The Foundation, you’ll find Alysia hiking local trails, volunteering at SLOMA, treasure hunting, and participating in community art projects.


Kristy Partlow
Finance Coordinator

Kristy Partlow is the Finance Coordinator for The Community Foundation. Kristy is responsible for assisting the Director of Finance with all financial duties of the Foundation. She recently relocated back to the Central Coast after being away for several years. She enjoys being back amongst the beautiful scenery and loves spending her spare time with her family including her 11 year old son, Kolten. She has over 20 years of finance experience and is committed to The Community Foundation’s goal of being an enduring source of charitable funds for the community.

Sheri Robesky
Philanthropy Coordinator

Sheri joins the Foundation focused on educating and providing personalized philanthropic services to community members and charitable organizations throughout San Luis Obispo County. She pairs her career development with her passion for helping those in need. She brings with her 25 years of experience working in private banking, nonprofit development, and with county and state agencies. Sheri supports passionate donors navigate their giving path by working together to strengthen our community and improve the lives of all who reside in San Luis Obispo County.

Sheri is an Avila Beach native and can be found spending time with her family – enjoying and sharing the rich natural beauty SLO has to offer.

Briana Rasmussen
Office Manager/Executive Assistant

Briana Rasmussen maintains office operations and administrative support to the Foundation staff. Bri graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor in Public Health. Following graduation she worked as a Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant at a healthcare recruitment firm in Portland, OR before relocating to California’s Central Coast. Outside of work Bri enjoys spending time with family and exploring life on the central coast.

Sharon Avitzur
Program Assistant

Sharon joins the Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo in the role of Program Assistant for Grants and Scholarships, working closely with applicants and local organizations, Sharon is honored to serve our community and take part in making our county an even better place to live, grow and thrive, Sharon brings diverse experience of working with SLO county mental health as well as community building and teaching yoga while raising her kids in NJ.

Sharon moved to San Luis Obispo following her son who attended Cal Poly and felt at home right away! Sharon enjoys exploring local trails, cooking, spending time with her partner Nan and visits with her grown twins, as well as tending to her ever-expanding backyard garden of rescued succulents.

Connect With Us
Heidi H. McPherson Chief Executive Officer (805) 543-2323