Executive Director – Heather A. Christopherson, CFRE, MPA
For over 20 years, Heather has been working with small to large nonprofits to advance their goals in fundraising, donor communications and volunteerism. She firmly believes all progress within organizations, for profit and nonprofit, is rooted in solid internal and external relationships. Heather earned her BA in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a Masters in Public Administration with a specialization in nonprofit management and fundraising. She has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive since 2003 and is a 2015 alum of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Heather is a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Minnesota Chapter, currently serving on their board. She also proudly serves on the Minneapolis Animal Care & Control Advisory Board. She joined Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest as VP of Advancement just as Breanna’s Gift was starting a program there. At RMH, she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising, volunteerism, strategic donor development/major gifts, corporate partnerships, events, planned giving and grant writing. She’s looking forward to leveraging her expertise to invest in the Breanna’s Gift infrastructure.
Founder and Program Director – Marsha Ovitz
Marsha Ovitz has been passionate about dance for as long as she can remember. Her formal training began at the age of 5 in Chicago, IL. Trained in classical ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance, she was drawn naturally to fusing these disciplines into becoming a contemporary dancer, teacher and principal performer during the early years of Loyce Houlton’s Minnesota Dance Theatre. Marsha also worked for over 35 years as an independent commercial interior designer and project manager for corporate relocations. In 2007, she founded Breanna’s Gift in honor and in memory of her granddaughter, served as the organization’s President from 2008-2009 and was then executive director until June, 2019. The disciplines of dance along with the creativity, detail and organizational skills required for interior design and project management work have created a smooth transition into her current position as program director. All of these experiences have brought her full circle as she shares her passion and love of dance and the creative process with Breanna’s Gift.
Program Coordinator – Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon is a fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator and teacher. She attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison where she received a BS in Art Education. She has received additional training at the University of Minnesota, The Center for Book Arts and Minnetonka Center for the Arts. She has participated in many group juried and one person shows throughout the Midwest. As principal of Open Cupboard Designs in Minneapolis, Kim has created a line of illustrated greeting cards and luminaria. She is particularly drawn to the bond between individuals and the landscape, and this interest in a sense of place is evident throughout her work. Kim has taught workshops in landscape painting, observational drawing for biology majors, and a wide range of children’s art classes, art classes for disabled adults and classes for specific populations. She is a member of PAN (Project Art for Nature), Outdoor Painters of Minnesota and Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota. She also studies Iyengar Yoga and Sogetsu Ikebana. Kim shares her love of all things art with the children.She joined Breanna’s Gift staff as a teacher in the fall of 2015 and in 2017 took on the added responsibilities of Program Coordinator.
Art Takeout Coordinator – Denise Crestik
Denise spent 20 years operating her own childcare business, where she cared for children of all ages. Seven years ago her career shifted and she began working in safety as an analyst and training coordinator. In April of 2019 Denise joined Breanna’s Gift as Art Takeout Coordinator. In this role she is in charge of project supplies, and with the help of volunteers, assembles Art Takeout projects and takes the lead in distributing them here in the Twin Cities and around the country. Denise believes that she has come full circle as her heart is still all about working with and for children.