Meet The Staff
Program Director: Kristun Grondal
Kristrun was born and raised in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, Iceland. Since immigrating to the United States, she has worked on behalf of vulnerable adults: in international outreach to migrant workers in Mexico, in aging services, for caregivers caring for chronically ill adults, and on behalf of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Kristrun received a master’s degree in Public Affairs from Washington State University.
“It’s an extraordinary privilege to have the opportunity to work at the Macdonald Center. The needs are great, but so are the blessings that flow from the people who live and work in this community.”
Director of Development and Marketing: Lynn Allmeyer
Lynn has spent most of his professional life raising money for non-profit organizations. He has worked for an alcohol and drug rehab center, a homeless center, an affordable housing organization and a grieving center for children to name just a few. He holds a Master of Science degree in community development from the University of Missouri. He is a past president of Willamette Valley Development Officers and is currently on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Oregon and SW Washington Chapter.
“The Macdonald Center is a beacon of hope and light in Old Town Chinatown. It is a place where real people with real needs find that there is a place where care and compassion come first. It is proof positive that much good can be accomplished by simply beginning the work of helping those in need”
Independent Living Services Coordinator: Laurie Davis
Laurie Davis grew up in the Portland area, and received a BA in Psychology from Lewis and Clark College. She spent a year in Detroit, MI with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working in AIDS ministry. When she returned to Portland in 1994, she joined the staff at Outreach Ministry in Burnside. In 2000 she began coordinating the Independent Living Services Program, and continued in this role when Outreach became part of the Macdonald Center in 2008.
“I love the work we do in the [Independent Living] Services program. We get to be deeply involved in our Members lives, and walk with them in their hard times and their good times as well. The journeys take us to amazing and varied places many of them hard, but also many filled with joy, laughter, and love.”
Outreach Coordinator: Sarah Knuth
Sarah Knuth received a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology in May, 2004 from the University of Arizona in Tucson. She then joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and spent a year in southeastern Montana, working with students on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations. Next she was placed in Portland and worked at JOIN, a homeless outreach organization, where she managed the day center. She joined the Macdonald Center in August of 2006.
“These are friends who in many ways are most different from me. They are living on the margins, their pasts riddled with pain, suffering and sadness. In other ways though, they are most like me. We share our raw humanity – no pretense, no expectation, no fear. Just love. After all, all you need is love.”
Independent Living Services Associate: Catherine 'Cat' Poole
Cat Poole first came to the Macdonald Center in 2005, when she spent six months working at the Macdonald Residence. She moved over to Outreach in 2006, which led her back to the Macdonald Center when the agencies joined forces in 2008. Cat graduated with a BA in English from the University of Montevallo in Alabama, and moved to Portland because she wanted to work with a nonprofit helping people.
“We are a makeshift family, and our members are seen as 2nd class citizens in our society. I know I can't change that, but I hope that I can at least make a dent in how they perceive themselves. I wish to show them that they are welcome and wonderful people. We meet them on their level and learn from them, so its more like working in solidarity and building lasting relationships with our guys.”
Pastoral Coordintor: Theresa Lamkin, OSF
Theresa Lamkin grew up in southwest Portland and earned a MA degree in Education from University of Portland. Being a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, she has been rooted in Franciscanism. Theresa spent the last 8 years working as the Operations Coordinator at Transitions Women’s Hearth in Spokane, WA.
“Coming to Macdonald Center has been a coming home experience for me. I am once again in my hometown and have immediately felt welcomed by those in Old Town. It is my desire to be a faithful companion on this journey of life for all who are part of the Center. I hope together we can touch into the quiet stillness within and find what matters most to us. Then, and only then, can we make what we most hunger for a reality…a coming home to ourselves.”
Independent Living Services Program Assistant: Valerie Wen
Valerie Wen received a BA in Sociology and Psychology at the University of Portland. In 2007, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was placed in Anchorage, Alaska where she worked at Bean’s Café, a homeless day shelter and soup kitchen. She returned to Portland in fall of 2008 and began working for the Independent Living Services Program at the Macdonald Center.
“Working with our members is a humbling and wonderful experience. These are beautiful people with stories to share, hope in their hearts, and a willingness to reveal some of the most troubled times in their lives. I hope more people find the chance to get to know their neighbors and build community with them.”
Independent Living Services Personal Care Provider: Jesus 'Jesse' Nava
Jesse Nava has been working with our Members for more than 20 years! He was born and raised in Texas, where he worked as a CNA before moving to Portland. He began working at Outreach Ministry in Burnside in 1987. In addition to his work with the Macdonald Center Members, he contracts with the Department of Human Services as a Personal Care Provider.
“The Members have become family to me. I have done things for these people I would not have done for myself. They have taught me to live in the moment and enjoy life as it is. So many things have changed since I began working here, but one thing that has not changed is the Members’ need for love and care.”
Development Associate: Margot Edmiston
Margot joined us as a Development Associate in 2011. Before coming to Macdonald Center, Margot spent two years with the AmeriCorps VISTA program; her first assignment was at Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, an affordable housing non-profit organization in North Portland, and her second was at Oregon Microenterprise Network. She is a native of Fairbanks, Alaska, and attended Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Management.
“Every day I'm humbled by the kindness and respect that is shared between our staff, the individuals we serve, and our faithful community supporters. It is a joy to work in an environment where authentic community relationships are thriving”
Community Liaison, Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Americorp Member: Nick Dominique
Nick Dominique grew up in Northwest Ohio and graduated in 2011 from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Comparative Studies of Religion and a minor in Organizational Communication. After serving one year as Youth Minister in Aberdeen, Washington, Nick is currently serving in his second year of Jesuit Volunteer Corp Northwest here at the Macdonald Center as our Jesuit Volunteer Northwest Americorp Member.
“There is something so authentic and real about working with the marginalized who live here Old-Town Portland. Through the sharing of their life stories and experiences, they act as witnesses to the strength of the human spirit, sacredness of life, and the love that resides in us all.”