Laura Ridenour, Philanthropy Director
Laura M. Ridenour (she/her) comes from English, Polish, German and Irish ancestors and is a mother, aunt, sister, and daughter. She was born in Detroit Michigan and spent her early childhood between her parents, one living on 1,700 acres in rural Tennessee and one in urban Santa Cruz, California. Laura has expertise in community-centric fundraising, grant writing, capacity building, stakeholder engagement, nonprofit management, facilitation for inclusion, and centering equity. She has worked with and for farm and food focused nonprofit organizations in California, Colorado and Washington, as a consultant, program director, communications manager, events director, and development officer. She holds a Masters in Sociology from Colorado State University, a Bachelors of Arts in Food Systems and Social Change (incorporating environmental studies, community studies and sociology) from University of California at Santa Cruz and a certificate in ecological horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Laura is currently a beginning embodied healing practitioner through Somatic Experiencing International. She moved to Whatcom County in 2009 to manage the Food and Farming Program at Sustainable Connections where she founded the Eat Local First campaign as well as the Whatcom Food Network. She has served as board director for six organizations including the Community Food Co-op and the Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board. For fun and resilience, she prioritizes delighting in nature and learning paleontology and geology with her son (because dinosaurs rock), dancing, road biking, gardening with her dad, practicing kundalini yoga, and hosting personal retreats. She is learning to cold-water swim.