Mike Miller, Executive Director

Mike began his career in the US Air Force, and upon retiring from active duty, began working as a city and county administrator. He turned to working in nonprofits and then moved to Alaska and worked with Camp Fire Alaska before becoming the Executive Director for the Food Bank of Alaska. Mike went home to Wisconsin for a brief time, but is happy to be back in Alaska and excited to be working with the Homer Foundation

Lauren Seaton, Office and Program Manager

Lauren joined the Foundation in 2018 after leaving the education field, where she had worked for seven years. She has lived in Homer since 2011 and loves this community for its wonderful people and environment. She is often on the trails or on the water with her husband and daughter.

Jennifer Gibbins, Director of Development & Marketing

Jennifer joined the Homer Foundation in September of 2023.  She brings forty-years experience in the non-profit world for organizations including the Pratt Museum, the Alaska Humanities Forum, and The Alaska SeaLife Center.

Board of Trustees

The Homer Foundation is overseen by a volunteer board of trustees, representing a broad range of expertise and knowledge of our community’s needs.

Denise Pitzman, President: Denise has graciously welcomed the invitation to return to the Homer Foundation, originally serving on the board from 2012-2017. Denise and her husband, Gordon, started their own real estate brokerage, Red Knot Real Estate, in 2021. Denise is passionate about philanthropy and can be found at various charitable events around town.

Paula Martin, President Elect & Treasurer: Paula joined the Homer Foundation board in May of 2019. Paula lived in Homer since 2007, but has been working at various universities as faculty or administrator since 2007. Her husband has worked in Homer, they plan on living here far into the future. She has also started a consulting company that has already proved a strong resource of the non-profits in the greater Homer area. Paula has a love for science education, aquatic insects, fly fishing, and travel.

Ken Taylor, Secretary: Ken joined the board in 2019. He is enthusiastic to join the Homer Foundation board of trustees in his retirement. He brings a world of experience from his career with Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Natural resources. He has also served on environmental board such as the Great Land Trust and the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska. His passion for the outdoors will only strengthen our reach of the Homer Foundation.

Van Hawkins, Immediate Past President: Van is a born and raised Homerite. Educated outside, he has returned to Homer working for Raymond James as a financial advisor. Van is also a member of the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club, serves on the finance council for St. John’s Catholic Church, and is well known in the community for his involvement in Pier One Theatre. We are pleased to have Van’s financial expertise, community knowledge and youthful perspective on the Homer Foundation board.

Paul Seaton, Community Grants Committee Chair: Paul has returned to Homer after serving 16 years in the Alaska State House of Representatives. He and his wife Tina are long-time Homer residents who are actively involved in philanthropy within the Homer area and are excited to be here year-round to contribute in a more local capacity. Paul also still owns a fishing tender, the Totem, that runs in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound and always has projects on the boat or at home in the garden to keep him busy.

Doug Baily: Doug developed his strong attachment to Kachemak Bay when he first arrived on the Homer Spit in 1957 to join the crew of a commercial crab fishing boat. He and his wife, Landa, are now full-time residents of Homer. Following service in the United States Army, and two years in oil exploration on Alaska’s North Slope, Doug entered a legal career which has spanned nearly 60 years. In addition to many years in private practice, he served as Anchorage District Attorney and as United States Attorney for Alaska. He accepted an appointment as Alaska’s Attorney General two months before the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. A strong believer in service to community, Doug has served as a member of the Committee for the Creation of Chugach State Park, as a Trustee of the Alaska Permanent Fund, and as Chairman of the Alaska Parole Board. During his nine years as a volunteer firefighter, he earned the rank of Firefighter II at age 77. He is presently the secretary of Kachemak Gun Club, and a member of the Homer Public Library advisory board.

Liz Downing: Liz moved to Homer in 1987, and begun working at the Kachemak Bay Campus as the Student and Enrollment Services Manager. Her career was focused at the Kenai Peninsula College as the Title III Project Director. She was also a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education, where she received the recognition of the Outstanding Board Member Award from the National School Board Association. She has retired from both KPC and KPBSD school board in 2013. She is active volunteering for both the Homer Foundation and various political campaigns.

Sara Reinert: Sara joined the board in 2022, after serving for years on various scholarship committees with the Homer Foundation. She is a retired educator from Kachemak Bay Campus of University of Alaska Anchorage where she taught math and statistics. She has been in Homer since 1986, when she worked with Alice Witte as a volleyball coach with the intent to stay for 6 months. She is a tireless volunteer with many local organizations, and we are looking forward to learning more of Homer Knowledge. Sara reflects that it is always valuable and a privilege to be given the opportunity to serve one’s community in a meaningful way. Here, here!

Tom Zitzmann: Tom has lived in Homer since 1983 and has 44 years of experience in finance, tax, and financial planning. He is still working in the area of public accountancy and is a licensed CPA. He remarks, “I would like to share my professional knowledge with an organization that is instrumental in providing the Homer community resources which strengthen the community. I would also like to educate prospective donors on how gifting to the foundation can be incorporated into a donor’s estate plan.” While not working in finance, Tom can be found cycling, kayaking, skiing, birding, boating, and reading.

Bill Bell:  We are delighted to welcome Dr. Bill Bell to our board. Bill’s first memory of Homer was his brother-in-law treating him to a Coke at the Family Café in the mid-60s. With his appetite whetted, Bill returned for the traditional, progressive summers of Alaska Sea Foods, drifting, longlining, and thespian antics. Prodded by the inspiration of Dr. Eneboe, he “went to America to get smart” and returned as a practitioner of the healing arts for the last 43 years. Early Homesteaders inculcated him with the Alaska ethos and the importance of active personal involvement as a necessary ingredient for community vibrance. Bill feels our locale is truly a tapestry and the more citizens that help weave, contribute thread, and add color, the richer our community will be. He is excited to be a part of the Homer Foundation and help support the many ways they work to thicken and brighten that weave.