Staff keeps community foundation on the right track

Published 2:09 pm Friday, January 28, 2022

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The Davie Community Foundation staff – Jane Simpson, Melissa O’Connor, Nikki Christensen, Amy Backus and Tami Daniel – work together as a team to make sure the foundation is accomplishing its mission of “inspiring philanthropy to strengthen Davie County for present and future generations” by “investing in our future now.”
“As the president and CEO of the doundation, I have been the face of the organization over the last 19 years,” said Jane Simpson. “It has been an extremely rewarding honor to serve Davie County in this capacity, but the community needs to know that I do not do it by myself. We have put together a capable team who all do the important work of Davie Community Foundation. You should meet each of them.”
Melissa O’Connor
O’Connor grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. and received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SUNY Buffalo. Possessing excellent computer skills, she co-founded a computer consulting business that ran for 10 years.
This is her sixth year with the foundation. She is excited to continue to build relationships with donors, to work closely with non-profits to better understand the needs in the community and to grow in her new role as senior program officer.
O’Connor and her husband Mike moved to Davie County in 2007 with their two children, Ryan (17) and Lauren (15). Most weekends this time of year, you will find her at a volleyball tournament cheering for Lauren.
Nikki Christensen
Christensen is about to celebrate a year with the foundation. After relocating to Davie County from Southwest Florida, she was excited to find a position that allowed her to get to know and connect with the community in a meaningful way. She is thrilled to be putting her bachelor’s degree in English to good use as the administrative assistant.
Christensen and her husband, Jordan, have two boys that attend Davie County Schools. In their free time, the family enjoys playing games, riding ATVs and finding new roads that lead to new adventures.
Amy Backus
Backus serves as the finance officer for the foundation.She started helping last year as a weekly volunteer and after spending time learning about the foundation, she decided to come on board as a permanent employee. Her career has been spent in the accounting and tax preparation fields. She loves working for an organization that strives to make a difference on a local level. “It’s amazing how generous our community is and I’m so proud to be a part of Davie County.”
She and her husband moved to the area after he retired from the military. Backus enjoys spending free time playing tennis, traveling and cooking. Originally hailing from Alaska, she loves being able to call North Carolina home.
Tami Daniel
Daniel has been serving as the SURF Board advisor since 2013. She loves working with teens and getting to do so while also focusing on philanthropy is a double bonus. One of the most rewarding things about her job is seeing the teens come on to the board as quiet, shy freshmen, and getting to watch them as they grow and mature into confident leaders as seniors, who guide the board to accomplish great things for the community. She feels that working alongside the SURF Board serving the youth of the county is time well spent.
Daniel also enjoys cooking, baking, and preparing food that makes a difference to others. She helps her husband in his performing business and directs two conferences each year for children’s entertainer’s around the world. In her free time, she enjoys basketmaking, creating art with gourds, reading, and adventuring with her husband Mark, and their twin sons Robert and Stephen.
The foundation is working to the a spirit of giving in our community and build a permanent endowment invested forever. Earnings will benefit Davie organizations and projects. The foundation accepts gifts in any amount, at any time: for an existing fund, the Community Scholarship Fund, or the Davie Community Impact Fund. Options for establishment of named funds in honor or memory are also available.
To learn more, contact Simpson at (336) 753-6903 or or visit