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Potlatch Fund Announces New Executive Director

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Dana Arviso (Diné) beat out a national field of candidates for the executive director position at Potlatch Fund, a grant-making and leadership development organization serving Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana.

“I am humbled by the faith placed in me by the Potlatch Fund Board and by the support that has been offered as I transition into this role," Arviso said. "I look forward to continuing to build upon the success of Potlatch Fund, as we work to expand philanthropy in Indian Country."

Arviso will replace outgoing executive director Ken Gordon in August. During the transition, Gordon will serve in an advisory and consultative role to Arviso, who was previously Potlatch Fund's finance and evaluation manager.

“The Potlatch organization has been working diligently toward this vital leadership transition for a long time," Board President Kirby Jock said in a statement. "We developed a plan with a definitive date where Mr. Gordon was going to step aside, and overlap his tenure with a new Executive Director for a three-month period. Our Board and Staff have consistently risen to meet the challenges posed by this kind of transition, and I am very proud of their work in making Potlatch Fund solid throughout this time of change.”

A grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation enabled Potlatch to carry out a national search for candidates, while investing in the existing staff to allow them to competitively apply for the role.

Arviso was raised on the Bishop Paiute-Shoshone Indian Reservation in California and earned her bachelor's degree from California State University, Sacramento, in child development. She taught early childhood education within her Tribe's family literacy program.

Arviso initially worked at Potlatch as a volunteer, while taking postgraduate classes at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. Since then, she has become an alumnus of the First Nations Development Institutes LEAD Program, which works to restore American Indian control and stewardship of their land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources. Arviso has completed non-profit Executive Training programs at the UW Cascade Center, and is a current participant in Leadership Tomorrow, a selective program that examines critical issues affecting the Puget Sound region and develops leaders to benefit the community.

In addition to her non-profit work for Potlatch Fund, she is also a member of the Board of Native Americans in Philanthropy; co-chair of the Social Justice Fund Northwest, an organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental inequities; and an Ex-Officio Board Member for Longhouse Media, the Washington State non-profit organization that encourages indigenous people to use media for self-expression, cultural preservation and social change.