Nebraska Community Foundation welcomes new board members

Three dedicated Nebraskans from across the state joined Nebraska Community Foundation’s Board of Directors last month, following a unanimous vote by existing board members.

“Our new board members each represent diverse geographies, life experiences and professional areas of expertise. They also share our passion for and devotion to NCF’s mission of building stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska,” said Jeff Yost, president and CEO of Nebraska Community Foundation. “We are so proud to welcome Kim, Karina, and Beth to NCF’s statewide board of directors and thank them for their willingness to serve their fellow Nebraskans.”

Kim Engel has served as health director for Panhandle Public Health District since 2003. The district covers 12 rural counties in the Nebraska Panhandle with approximately 87,000 residents over 15,000 square miles. Engel holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree from Chadron State College.

Prior to becoming health director, Engel was the Chief Operations Officer at Chadron Community Hospital. She managed CCH’s rural health clinic and supervised services for special needs children. She was also active in the work of their family farm.

Engel serves on the Executive Committee for the National Association of City and County Health Officials Board of Directors. She is also the current vice president and past treasurer of the Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors.

Engel is married and has three sons and daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren. Kim considers herself beyond lucky as all her children and grandchildren live within 15 miles of each other and are achieving their dreams.

Karina Perez was born in Los Angeles and she and her family migrated to Nebraska in 1999 seeking work opportunities in the Midwest. Her parents are immigrants from El Salvador who found Columbus to be their forever home. She attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, studying Communications and Spanish. Upon returning home to Columbus, Perez married her high school sweetheart, Aaron, and they have three children.

Perez is the executive director for Centro Hispano in Columbus. The organization’s mission is to foster intentional change for immigrant families, learners and entrepreneurs through direct services, programming, and advocacy. Karina focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in rural Nebraska through storytelling and shared experiences.

Perez serves as a board member to CASA Connections in Columbus, Center for Rural Affairs, Nonprofit Association of the Midlands and is an ex-officio member to the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. She was in the 2019 Class of Leadership Columbus and is in her fifth year as a TeamMates mentor. She also serves on her local NCF affiliated fund, the Columbus Area Future Fund, and Nebraska Community Foundation’s statewide People Attraction Committee.

Beth Roelfs and her husband Dean are lifelong Diller residents living in rural Jefferson County. They have raised their two sons to know pride in work and value in character. As a family they have raised hogs farrow to finish, built an Angus herd and produce soybeans, corn, and forage.

Roelfs received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a Special Education endorsement (K–12) and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College. Her teaching career began at Odell Schools in the second grade classroom.

Roelfs served as an AmeriCorps member for Blue Valley Community Action from 1996–1998 with a focus on conflict resolution and social emotional learning. She then served one year as the Disabilities Coordinator for the BVCA Headstart Program covering seven counties in Nebraska and two in Kansas.

Beth joined the staff of the newly consolidated Diller-Odell district in 2000, serving as the elementary Title I teacher for one year before assuming the role of elementary Special Education teacher until her retirement at the end of the 2020–2021 school year.

Among Roelfs’ greatest points of pride are the success of the Diller Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation, and the growth of its unrestricted endowment.

Our new board members each represent diverse geographies, life experiences and professional areas of expertise. They also share our passion for and devotion to NCF’s mission of building stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska

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