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Aleesha Towns Bain

Vice President Chief Operating Officer

Work experience

Jan 2016Present

Vice President Chief Operating Officer

Rasmuson Foundation
  • Lead four-member team responsible for events, external affairs, communications, functioning of President's Office and activities associated with projects of special importance to the President and Board;
  • Ensure that events are well planned and executed and act as a liaison between event staff and the President;
  • Manage external relationships in the philanthropic sector and maintain a system of communication between the Foundation and industry partners.
  • Oversee communications staff to increase understanding among stakeholders of the purpose and role of the Foundation - its mission, programs, issues and results;
  • Provide leadership and oversight in writing and editing copy for multi-platform distribution for internal and external audiences;
  • Manage external relationships with local, state and federal government partners, and oversee government affairs contractors;
  • Oversee planning, implementation and evaluation of the annual Educational Tour of Grant Makers and develop organizational mechanisms to maintain ongoing external relationships with them;
  • Oversee development and execution of an annual learning calendar for Board members, including skill building opportunities as well as site visits and learning trips;
  • Work closely with the CEO to identify and support a variety of channels for Board member engagement. 
  • Provide staff for the Board Governance Committee and ad hoc committees of the Board.
July 2014December 2015

Acting Executive Director

Recover Alaska Initiative
  • Responsible for implementation of statewide Recover Alaska initiative, which seeks to reduce harms associated with alcohol abuse in Alaska;
  • Facilitated  22-member collaborative stakeholder group and five-member executive team which included CEOs of Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, Southcentral Foundation and State of Alaska-Department of Health and Social Services;
  • Attracted and stewarded grant awards from primary partners and outside investors including Annie E Casey Foundation, John S & James L Knight Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
  • Oversaw process to establish 10-year vision for Recover Alaska, and selection of Year 1-3 strategic priorities;
  • Tracked and encouraged progress of five field-based subcommittees charged with strategic priority implementation;
  • Tracked and implemented long-term evaluation of the initiative to determine overall impact of funding collaborative;
  • Managed annual budget of approximately $2.3M;
Oct 2008June 2014

Program Officer, Program Associate

Rasmuson Foundation
  • Promoted to Program Officer in January 2013 after serving as Program Associate from Oct. 2008;
  • Served as Rasmuson Foundation's representative to the Recover Alaska initiative and track its current $1.85M investment;
  • Reviewed, analyzed, conducted site visits, and made recommendations on grant proposals, ranging from less than $25,000 to over $1 million;
  • Built and maintained active, positive relationships with grantseekers, recipients, as well as Foundation team;
  • Worked with individual grantees to identify places for organizational improvement in finance, operations and nonprofit governance;
  • Regularly represented Rasmuson Foundation in interaction with philanthropic partners, nonprofit organizations and the general public in activities and meetings;
  • Executed annual Sabbatical Program for Nonprofit Executives with volunteer committee, and oversaw small capacity building program partnership with Alaska Community Foundation; technology planning and initiative for nonprofit agencies statewide.
Jul 2011May 2012

Interim Executive Director

Alaska Children's Trust
  • Reported directly to multi-sector board of directors, including two state commissioners and special assistant to the governor to build a thriving Trust, which is targeted at eliminating child abuse and neglect in Alaska;
  • Communicated trends, successes, issues, developments and other necessary information as appropriate to the board for the purpose of sound decision making; assisted board members in preparing committee reports for each board meeting;
  • Oversaw successful transfer of state-directed trust to the new Alaska Children's Trust fund at the Alaska Community Foundation;
  • Established and maintained strategic partnerships with other organizations and key stakeholders both in Alaska and out of state that may provide venues or avenues to promote further awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect;
  • Oversaw outreach initiatives, as well as other communications activities, including websites and brochures, and social marketing;
  • Developed and maintained relationships with key donors, foundations and funding agencies; applied innovative techniques to increase funding for the program; supported Trust board members in making fundraising requests;
  • Oversaw first major public fundraiser in 2012, co-hosted by Alaska's First Lady;
  • Directed financial activities and made decisions based on plans and policies developed in concert with the Board of Directors;
  • Monitored and evaluated all aspects of the grants program including performance measures, reporting requirements, grant schedules and grant compliance, and reported results to Board of Directors; developed grants docket, and created and maintained auditable grant files;
  • Worked with Alaska Community Foundation staff on annual grant-making cycle from ACT’s fund.
Jun 2006Oct 2008


Crested Butte News
  • Edited more than 110 issues in two plus years on the job. 
  • Held astute understanding of Gunnison County and Colorado issues and politics, as well as excellent relationships with local officials. 
  • Lead 7-member team to receive 8 awards from the Colorado Press Association in 2007. 
Jan 2002Jun 2006

Associate Editor, Editorial Assistant, Reporter

Crested Butte News
  • Oversaw and wrote half of groundbreaking 2004 "Shatter the Model" series, which examined Gunnison County's future as it dealt with fast-paced development and change. 
  • Led writing team that won 2004 Editorial Sweepstakes award recognizing excellence in writing from the Colorado Press Association. 
  • Recognized repeatedly for quick, accurate, compelling work by newspaper management. 
  • Wrote an average of 4,000 words/ 100 column inches each week. Mastered Microsoft Office Suite, Quark Express, Photoshop and beginning In-Design.
Sep 1999Jan 2000

Assistant to the President

Liz Hill & Associates
  • On site liaison between Ms. Hill’s public relations firm and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, assisting with the coordination of media coverage for the permanent exhibit, African Voices.
  • Wrote press releases, briefed reporters, and arranged press conferences and tours.
June 1999Sep 1999

Account Executive

McCarthy Communications
  • Lead associate for boutique public relations firm which concentrated on representing Native American tribes and organizations to national media. 
  • Assisted in coordinating public relations efforts for The Native American College Fund, The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, The Makah Nation, the Native American Rights Fund and Eloise Cobell, the main litigant in the Indian Trust Fund Lawsuit. 
  • Wrote press releases, coordinated press conferences, arranged interviews between clients and reporters.


Sep 2006May 2012

Master of Arts in Journalism

University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Maintained 4.0 GPA toward Masters in Journalism from top 10 journalism school in the country.
  • Completed thesis titled: "The Real People Speak: Public Relations Practices of Alaska Native Corporations"