Last week Governor Newsom appointed Heather Bernikoff, of Mariposa County, to fill a position on SNC’s Governing Board. Bernikoff will bring a wealth of relevant skills and experience that will be a great addition to the SNC.
Heather is a Program Officer with the James B. McClatchy Foundation. Her professional experience includes 18 years of working in philanthropy and over 10 years working in direct service programming, including leading multi-million-dollar initiatives. Through this work, she has advocated for and been a partner in making significant investments in rural, Tribal, and under-served communities.
Heather also brings extensive board experience. She served as Board Chair of the Humboldt State University Advancement Foundation where she helped steward and grow a multi-million-dollar endowment advancing the needs of students, faculty, and the institution. She served as the Community Giving Chair for the John C. Fremont Hospital Foundation and the District III Planning Commissioner in Mariposa County. She continues to serve as an Advisor to the Sierra Institute and provides volunteer support to the American Indian Council of Mariposa County.
In addition to work and volunteerism, Heather is working collaboratively with the American Indian Council, Sierra Foothill Charter School, and local agencies to expand monarch butterfly habitat on her cattle ranch and in other locations in Mariposa County.
Heather received her bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in Psychology and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in Health Education. She grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the outskirts of Groveland. In addition to civic and athletic clubs, as an Indigenous person (Yo’eme/Yaqui), she participated in her Title VII Indian Education Program, was a fancy dancer, and went to schools to educate on Native culture with others in the program.
Heather has expressed her excitement to work as a colleague with our Board and partner with staff in our shared passion to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural resources and communities of the Sierra Nevada while protecting them from wildfire and a changing climate.
She said, “Aman te tevote into chiokoe uttesia! Inepo allewame hu’u Boardta nau tekipanoa into intepo hu va’am into huya ania enchi nake. Ito te vitne!” (Greetings and thank you! I am happy to work together with the Board to care for the water and wilderness world. See you soon!)
SNC shares Heather’s excitement, and we look forward to introducing her to more of our partners when she is sworn in at our June board meeting.