Who We Are

Our Mission

To make our community healthier, safer, and more just by fostering skilled volunteer service. We build relationships and bridge the gap so that nonprofits can succeed in delivering vital services with the help of a Companis worker.

Our Vision

That every nonprofit has the person-power they need to serve and succeed, and that every person moved to serve their neighbors has the opportunity to do so in a way that facilitates personal and professional growth, relationships, a sense of purpose and community. Our vision is a world where compassion meets action. 

Our Values

Compassion

Service

Inclusion

Relationships

Reflection

Diversity, equity, & inclusion

Gary Davis

Gary Davis

Executive Director

Gary’s background is in nonprofit management, public policy, civic affairs and communications, having worked in a variety of positions within public broadcasting and nonprofit agencies, and for political and policy organizations and causes. He is a former online news host and digital news editor. He holds a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University and a BA in communications from the University of Washington.

Email Gary

Karen Hundrieser

Karen Hundrieser

Associate Executive Director/Worker Engagement

Karen’s background includes pastoring five congregations, leadership in social service community programs and teaching at the college level. As pastor, she launched and re-invigorated critical social service community programs, including food and nutrition services, after-school programs and more. She holds a BA in Leadership Development and a Masters in Theological Study from Garrett Seminary at Northwestern University.

Email Karen

Cynthia Hunter

Cynthia Hunter

Companis Worker

Cynthia Hunter comes to Companis after successful careers in retail banking, residential real estate, and non-profit business management. It was through her work with American Baptist churches that she learned of Companis and the selfless work of its representatives. Cynthia’s partnership with Companis is a natural fit since she continues to serve as a volunteer at non-profit organizations throughout the greater Seattle area. During her time as a Companis Worker, Cynthia served at Byrd Barr Place and with Fabian’s Fund before joining the Companis leadership team. Being able to help multiple agencies serve their communities is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Email Cynthia

Phil Mervin

Phil Mervin

Office Manager, Companis Worker

Phil retired after 30 years in financial management both domestically and internationally. He was looking for ways to be involved in the community and give back to those communities in need of support. In Phil’s words “Companis seemed to be the ideal match for me. It allows me to feel relevant and useful in retirement utilizing my financial background while supporting the important mission of an organization like Companis and their much-needed work within vulnerable communities. For me, that is a win-win situation.” This is Phil’s second placement with Companis, the first was assisting Pride Foundation with the transition to a new data base system. Phil manages the day-to-day accounting and banking needs of Companis as well as coordinating outside audit functions.

Email Phil

Sarah Speck

Sarah Speck

President

Cardiologist in private practice
Founder of POTENTRx, a medical fitness company

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Constance Wilkinson

Constance Wilkinson

Vice President

Retired Health Care Executive Leadership

In my professional career I worked to serve this area’s most vulnerable populations in large – not for profit healthcare systems. I support Companis because Companis exists solely to serve others and by doing so makes the world a better place. Every moment of every day, Companis fosters and practices social justice, compassion, kindness, gratitude, and truth for all.

Sallie Neillie

Sallie Neillie

Treasurer

Retired Executive Director of Project Access Northwest

Sallie Neillie is the retired founder and former Executive Director of Project Access Northwest, a local non-profit committed to access to needed medical care without regard to income, insurance status or other socio-economic factors. She was introduced to Companis when the newly founded Project Access was a glimmer but didn’t have the depth or resources to make the impact the community needed. Through multiple Companis placements, her agency grew to be an important part of the health care safety net in the area. She is constantly excited about Companis’ ability to make a positive difference for our communities and in the lives of the Companis Workers who serve to make them stronger.

Anne Spangler

Anne Spangler, JD

Secretary

General Counsel Snohomish County Public Utilities

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Shawn Aronow

Shawn Aronow, JD

Board Member

Attorney Snohomish County Public Utilities

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Gary Davis

Gary Davis

Board Member

Executive Director Companis

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Jennifer Freimund

Jennifer Freimund

Board Member

Retired Nonprofit ED

I retired after 37 years working in the nonprofit sector in the Seattle/Tacoma area. My last position was as an executive director of a small non profit and its affiliated foundation. While there, I brought on a Companis Worker and learned the value of this terrific organization.

Brian Hawksford

Brian Hawksford

Immediate Past President

Strategic Advisor City of Seattle

Brian Hawksford joined the Board in 2015. I was elected as the board president for two terms in 2018 and 2019. Professionally, since 2004, I serve the residents of the city of Seattle: on the City Council staff; as Associate Deputy Mayor; and currently as strategic advisor for Seattle City Light. I believe and live the values of inclusion and equity.

Pinky Herrera

Pinky Herrera

Board Member

Program Manager, Community Health Investment Swedish Health Services

Pinky Herrera is the program manager for Community Health Investment and Community Benefit for Swedish. She has a passion for cultivating relationships and partnerships to elevate awareness and drive change to the most pressing health and social needs in our communities. Service, volunteerism, inclusivity, and fun are at her core. Being involved with Companis lends to these values. Being a part of the mission and helping bridge connections is why. Pinky loves dance and Zumba, exercise, wine and travel to balance her world, and to SparkOn!

Rita Hibbard

Rita Hibbard

Board Member

Retired Asst. Managing Editor, Seattle P-I

Rita Hibbard is a former journalist who came to Companis first as a volunteer and later as a staff member in management and communications roles. She served in a variety of staff roles at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer – from reporter to assistant managing editor for news, and as a co-founder and executive editor of InvestigateWest –a regional investigative reporting organization. Rita loves the way Companis supports a vital community safety net providing basic human services, as well as supporting and engaging volunteers as they commit to serving our neighbors.

Mitzi Johanknecht

The Hon, Mitzi Johanknecht

Board Member

Sheriff, King County

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Tesfa Melaku

Tesfa Melaku

Board Member

Case Manager City of Seattle

I’m currently a counselor at the city of Seattle’s Human Services Department. Prior to this, I’ve served as a case manager at St Vincent de Paul of Seattle & King County, a post served as placement of Companis. Before connecting with Companis, I’ve served as an attorney and worked in other nonprofits in my native Ethiopia. It’s an honor to serve on the Companis Board because Companis has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have received otherwise.

Don Weston

Don Weston

Board Member

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Our Founder

Founding Director Companis

President Emeritus

Craig R. J. Darling, Companis President Emeritus, founded Chicago’s Esther Davis Center after a decade as a national staff leader of the American Baptist Churches USA. His founding of Companis in 1994 was modeled upon the design he’d created in Chicago. Craig and his husband, John Darling, spend much of their time at their home on Harstine Island in Puget Sound, as well as in San Diego near family. They have two sons and four grandchildren who fill their life with joy.

Our Beginning

Companis was founded in 1994 as an outreach of the Seattle First Baptist Church, born of grassroots community action in the early days of the HIV crisis and churches helping Central American refugees seeking sanctuary. Founder Craig Darling modeled the organization after a Jesuit program he observed in Detroit, recognizing the power of harnessing skilled professional volunteers when government action and other existing resources were unable to meet the needs of the community. 

Craig saw the other half of service, too: the power to transform the lives of people giving back to their communities. Volunteers supported with connection and reflection could make a difference and experience personal growth at the same time. Craig calls this phenomenon “changing lives…lives changing.” and his vision continues to serve as a guiding light for our work today, as he holds the distinguished role of President Emeritus. 

In 1997 we gained our secular 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and over the past 25 years we have made more than 1,000 volunteer placements in over 160 nonprofit partner agencies, delivering much needed services to our neighbors in the Puget Sound region. 

We support these volunteers with placements that match their skills and passion, stipends to help them fulfill a year of service, and our cornerstone program of personal and professional development that engages and inspires while connecting them to other Companis volunteers. We believe it’s this aspect of our program that results in 96% of our volunteers completing their year of service. 

Companis Workers today are at the forefront of service to our neighbors experiencing homelessness, illness, hunger, and persecution. Companis volunteers are creating community for refugees, immigrants, seniors, youth and our LGBTQ neighbors. Together we create a healthier and more just Puget Sound by placing skilled community members where they’re needed most.

 

Annual Reports

Companis is funded by people like you! Individual contributions are the single largest source of revenue for our nonprofit. Your confidence and generosity have allowed Companis to serve the Seattle community since 1994 — and we’re here for the long haul.

We invest in Companis because it takes a holistic and loving approach to help our local nonprofit agencies solve some of their toughest challenges.

Angie Buysse & Cynthia Per-Lee

Companis donors

Companis is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, which means your gift is tax-deductible. We make our annual reports and annual tax forms available here on our website because we’re proud of our work, and believe you deserve transparency about how we use your investment. In fact, Guidestar has recognized us with their Gold Seal of Transparency because we meet a high standard of financial and program reporting to our supporters.

FOUNDATION PARTNERS

We are also grateful to these foundation partners for their financial support and belief in our work matching skilled people who want to serve with the nonprofits that need them:

Moccassin Lake

MJ Murdock

Logo for Seattle First Baptist Church

Seattle Baptist Union