Salem, Oregon. – Bridges Oregon is pleased to announce the addition of three new board members: Andrea Thornberry, Mat Genuser, and Whitney Hill. All of these new appointees bring extensive knowledge of advocacy, case management, grant writing, policy development, and fundraising to the organization’s leadership, and we look forward to their advisors as we continue our work to expand the much-needed service to Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Oregonians.
Andrea Thornberry attended Virginia Tech, where she received an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Creative Writing, and Philosophy and later an MBA with a concentration in Investments Finance. After moving to Corvallis, OR, Andrea volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis and did some freelance grantwriting. Eventually, her volunteering led to a position in Resource Development and she soon became the Resource Development Director.
In 2007, with a strong desire to remain in non-profit community service work, Andrea accepted a position as Executive Director at Heartland Humane Society. Andrea utilized all of her undergraduate and graduate learning experiences in the day-to-day management of a growing organization, particularly in the areas of Board Development, Resource Development, Staff Development, and Financial Policy and Procedure. Andrea is also a Past-President of Soroptimist International of Corvallis, a member of Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis, and serves on various committees throughout the community.
In the winter of 2019, Andrea began a new business, Luca Financial Organizing, as a Daily Money Manager. As such, she performs the personal financial tasks clients require, from paying bills to working with a client’s CPA, financial advisor, lawyers, and realtors. Finances are extremely personal and emotional. Professional guidance is essential for people to comfortably reach their lifelong goals. As a former non-profit professional, these services are seen through the lens of direct community service and she is excited to enter this new means of service delivery.
Mat Genuser originally hails from Orange County, California where he began his education in Sign Language Interpreting, became a certified interpreter and job placement specialist for Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults entering the work force upon completion of their degree programs.He also performed with Quiet Zone Theater and Silent Productions. In 1998 Mat moved to Salem Oregon furthered his education with a degree in American Sign Language from Western Oregon University and worked as an interpreter for many years following.. He has served on several boards in the Willamette Valley including: Keizer Chamber of Commerce, Salem Association of Realtors Community Fund, Albany Civic Theater, Pentacle Theater and Enlightened Theatrics. Mat’s most notable accomplishment in service to the community is the creation of an event called AmeriTitle Idol which has raised over the years more than $100,000 benefitting many local non profit organizations in the Salem area. Mat currently works as a real estate agent and is excited to working alongside Bridges as an active board member.
Whitney Hill, JD
Whitney has been an advocate for education access for over a decade. She was admitted to the Washington Bar in 2018 and received her JD from Seattle University. She also has a BA from Western Oregon University in American Sign Language/English Interpreting. She has been heavily involved in the Deaf and DeafBlind community since she was a small child and she started signing at the age of four.
Prior to her career as an attorney, she spent sixteen years as a certified sign language interpreter working in a variety of settings including interpreting in schools for students, parents, and educators. During that time, she helped to lead the effort in the legislature to establish a minimum standard for sign language interpreters in public schools. She also played a leading role in winning a living wage for interpreters in schools, the result of an organizing campaign uniting the Deaf community and interpreters. Because of her advocacy, in 2014 Whitney became the first person to receive the Theresa B. Smith Distinguished Service Award from Washington State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf for being an ally, advocate, and visionary.
Before joining Cedar Law in 2019, Whitney worked as a public defense attorney in Pierce County. This experience further cemented her commitment to underserved and marginalized populations.
Whitney is excited to unite her experience and education as an attorney with her experience, reputation, and cultural understanding of the Deaf and DeafBlind community. She brings to Cedar Law a commitment to justice and her belief that everyone has a right to a quality education.
“We are excited about these individuals agreeing to work with our Board to further the mission of Bridges Oregon,” said Chad A. Ludwig, Executive Director. Each brings unique experiences, skills, and perspectives to help our Board grow as we, collectively, expand strategic growth in response to the need in our Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities.
About Bridges Oregon:
Bridges Oregon is a nonprofit for Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing or face other communication barriers. It is in our mission to facilitate equity, inclusiveness, and to provide a bridge to opportunities through advocacy, education, and communication.