Emerson Sekins – Executive Director
Emerson Sekins joined the staff in 2013 after graduating with a MPA from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Emerson brings to the Access Fund a strong background in cross-disability organizing and policy analysis, including serving as a co-chair for the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities from 2010-2012. Emerson studied and worked at the University of Washington from 2004 to 2013, graduating with his BA in Disability Studies in 2008, and returning for graduate school in 2010. While at the UW, he worked as the Assistant Coordinator at the Q Center, UW’s LGBT resource center, from 2010-2013. Emerson also served as the co-chair for UW’s Committee on Disability Issues, and as a graduate student assistant within the Disability Resources for Students office.
Kathy Gilman – Program Director
Kathy Gilman joined Northwest Access Fund in 2008 after serving on the Board and Loan Review Committee for almost three years. Kathy previously worked as a Business Development Specialist with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) working on bringing microenterprise development programs to both urban and rural areas. Prior to joining MEDA she worked for more than seven years for Ventures (formerly Washington CASH), a community-based microenterprise development and peer lending organization in Western Washington. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching business in the Russian Far East. Kathy’s educational background includes an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago.
Ellie Vainker – Deputy Director
Ellie Vainker has been with Northwest Access Fund since 2017. Ellie first came to the Pacific Northwest as an international exchange student at the University of Washington (UW) in 2006 and loves getting to know more of Washington and Oregon through her work at Northwest Access Fund. Ellie has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Rice University and is an affiliate of UW’s Disability Studies Program. Her research brings together feminist scholarship on disability, NGOs and nonprofits, development and humanitarianism, and activism to highlight the complexities of funding and fundraising in relation to disability. She has also worked as a researcher on a number of documentary and film productions, and as a manuscript editor and communication consultant. She brings this passion for storytelling and community building to her work at Northwest Access Fund.
Monie Frost – Assistive Technology Loan Officer
Monie Frost joined Northwest Access Fund in February 2021. Monie previously worked for OneMain Financial for 10 years, helping community members with personal loans. Prior to OneMain, she worked in student accounts at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where she also studied Business, assisting students with payment plans to meet their education expenses. She is passionate about helping others improve their quality of life and excited to join a nonprofit where she can use her skills and experience to serve others.
Allison Falleur Barber – Financial Coach & Benefits Planner
Allison joined Northwest Access Fund in September 2020. Allison is our first Portland based financial coach. Allison holds a Bachelors of Arts from Willamette University and has been Certified as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator and a Certified Community Partner Work Incentives Coordinator through Virginia Commonwealth University. In her 15 year career, she has become a recognized expert in financial policies and programs that impact People with Disabilities and strives to help individuals navigate the financial policies and programs that impact their lives to gain a stronger, more equitable economic standing with a better, brighter financial future. Allison also serves as a local disability rights advocate and diversity consultant on a variety of nonprofit boards including as Secretary of Disability Rights Oregon.
Tim Vanden Bos – Office Associate
Tim Vanden Bos spent 25 years doing research in the biology field, both at private biotechnology firms and public research institutions. In 2014 he started taking some classes to learn bookkeeping skills. This eventually led him to an internship at Northwest Access Fund, which has turned into continued work in bookkeeping and general office work. Tim has a BS in Biology from the University of Washington and a Bookkeeping Certificate from North Seattle College.
Pam MacRae – Finance Manager
Pam MacRae joined Northwest Access Fund in 2008. She has worked in nonprofit accounting since 1997, including ten years as the bookkeeper for a Community Development Financial Institution that provided loans to small businesses. Pam splits her work week between NWAF and an organization advocating for equitable educational opportunities. Outside of work, she is a long-time volunteer with Outdoors for All, cross-country skiing with people with disabilities.
Jack Brummel – Senior Advisor
Former Executive Director of Northwest Access Fund, Jack Brummel spent 26 years with the Washington State Senate, primarily as lead staff for committees addressing economic development, financial institutions, commerce, labor, and workforce development issues. While with the Senate Jack developed legislation relating to the employment of people with disabilities, creating individual development accounts, and supporting micro-enterprise development. Prior to work with the Senate, Jack was the Administrator for the Northwest Intertribal Court System and the National Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council. Jack served as the Chair of the Board for Evergreen Business Capital, a nonprofit development company certified by the US Small Business Administration, for 20 years. He is currently the Chair of the National Disability Finance Coalition and the National Disability CDFI Coalition. He also serves on the Board of the Credit Builders Alliance. Jack’s education includes a BA in Political Science from Washington State University, a JD from the University of Washington, and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.