Shannon M. Mora, Founder & President
A native of Spokane, WA, Shannon attended the University of Washington in Seattle and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration; double concentrating in Finance and Marketing. Always present was her exposure to Special Olympics as she cheered for her older sister, Whittney, and her teammates at the local, regional and state games.
Having moved 7 times throughout her life so far, Shannon has enjoyed exploring each new community and has embraced giving back within each area as there are underserved children everywhere. With four active children of her own, she has continually been involved with their interests and outreaches.
She has sat on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Georgia and Washington as well as CASA Georgia and sat on the Board of Advisors for Eagle Ranch. As Shannon moved she served as President for the non-profit New Orleans Saints Wives Charities, the Atlanta Falcons Women’s Association & the Seattle Seahawks Women’s Association.
As President of the Count on Me Family Foundation, she oversees the Foundation’s activities, orchestrates the Foundation’s annual fundraisers, events and outreaches. Not only does she thoroughly enjoy seeing the big smiles on each deserving child’s face, she also enjoys closely working with each partner, sponsor and donor.
Kara Rooney, Executive Director
Kara always knew her path would lead her to making a positive impact in kids’ lives.
As the daughter of a local high school football coach and athletic director, Kara witnessed from a young age the positive impact that one can have in a community. A Los Angeles native, she volunteered on and off the field, assisting with team events, fundraising and community programs. Meanwhile, a passion for helping children led her to pursue a career in education, earning her K-6 California Teaching Credential.
After working as a teacher for a period of time, she realized she would be able to affect more lives by supporting children on a larger scale and ventured into the business world. For several years, she served as a recruiter in the financial market, sourcing and vetting candidates for roles in Private Equity and Hedge Funds. During this time, she honed her communication, strategic planning, and marketing skills to best leverage her candidates and the company.
Kara's love for children, sports philanthropy, and fundraising for a good cause ultimately led her to the Count On Me Family Foundation. Prior to accepting the role of Executive Director, Kara served as the Program Director, overseeing all Count On Me programs including Bus 2 the Bowl, Youth Football Extravaganza, and Holiday Shops. She was also heavily involved in planning and securing sponsorship for fundraising events, including the Jim Mora Celebrity Golf Classic and Girls Night Out, as well as managing Count On Me's social media platforms and online giving campaigns.
In addition to her work for Count On Me, Kara has assisted several other nonprofits as a fundraising, education, and/or event consultant, including the Chris Long Foundation and the Sports Academy Foundation. She continues to collaborate with like-minded sports philanthropists across the country in hopes of continuing to spread the utilization of sports for social impact.
Kara holds a George Washington University Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate, a CA K-6 Teaching Credential, and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Irvine.
Shari Ammon Mills, Special Advisor
With her background in music, Sharí always expected she'd find a place in the creative world. A summer job at SeaWorld San Diego turned into two decades of living dreams while creating memories for millions. During her twenty one year tenure at SeaWorld, Sharí not only produced dozens of shows and events, she honed her skills as an agile leader, strategic planner and innovative product manager. As Director of Entertainment at SeaWorld San Diego for nearly ten years, Sharí thrived on the balance between the development and creation of new and innovative park product, shows and events with the daily operations of a large, multi-million dollar department with business-driven strategic and financial objectives.
In her final summer at SeaWorld San Diego, "Riptide", a nighttime spectacular developed, produced and directed by Sharí and her team received the honor of an International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 2007 Big "E" Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the attractions industry.
Sharí's unique combination of talents proved beneficial when she moved to Colorado in 2007. She spent her time in Denver immersed in the nonprofit arts and culture world, providing leadership and influencing significant change in business operations while at The Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities and Ballet Nouveau Colorado.
Her time at The Arvada Center - which boasts three theaters, multiple art galleries and extensive art and education studios - was devoted to marketing, guest services and managing the box office. The diverse activities at the center provided Sharí significant insight into the operations of nonprofit arts and culture organizations.
As she moved on to Ballet Nouveau Colorado - a professional dance company and ballet school with comprehensive community outreach programs - Sharí focused on re-engineering the management, administration and financial structure of the organization to more closely align operations with artistic programming. While Executive Director at Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Sharí was recognized as the Industry Leader in Nonprofits & Foundations in the 2010 Denver Business Journal Power Book. (Ballet Nouveau Colorado now operates as two nonprofit organizations – Wonderbound A New American Dance Company and Colorado Conservatory of Dance.)
After a wonderful few years in Colorado, Brian and Sharí returned to San Diego in 2011 and Sharí quickly immersed herself back into Southern California as an entertainment and event producer. Highlights include UCLA's Grand Re-Opening of Pauley Pavilion (2012), Kareem Abdul Jabbar's Celebrity Roast (2012), more than a dozen waterfront public events (2012/2013 Port of San Diego) as well as a number of privately held events across the western United States.
Sharí is thrilled to be part of the Jim Mora Count On Me Family Foundation team, one of the most passionate, spirited and committed groups of supporters she's ever had the privilege to be around.
Gretchen Pingree, Special Advisor
Since 2008, Gretchen has contributed to the foundation on many levels. As a Business Manager her scope includes developing the foundation infrastructure, managing internal processes, financial reporting, bookkeeping & contact data management.
"As a Business Manager for the foundation my job is clear, to help things run more smoothly. That could mean almost anything on any particular day. As a team, we are all willing to roll up our sleeves and dig into any task, we are all here for the same reason, to help kids in need."
Gretchen's focus for nearly half the year is the Jim Mora Celebrity Golf Classic, our largest fundraising effort. Her primary job is to manage the silent and live auctions, a large team effort for an auction that averages 180 offerings and nets over $150K annually. While working with volunteers, procurement teams, donors, sponsors, vendors, celebrities, golfers and guests; Gretchen has helped to turn out a successful Golf Classic year after year. As the daughter of a PGA Golf Professional, Gretchen spent her young life working and playing around the golf course which is why she so enjoys being a part of the annual Golf Classic.
"Playing golf draws people together and creates a connection, and in this case we are gathering for a greater good. In the midst of a fun day of golf and a great after-party, everyone involved is giving their time, effort and money to help others. I'm very proud to be a part of this event."
Since the foundation headquarters has moved to Los Angeles Gretchen also now oversees the Seattle Holiday Shop, an outreach program offered annually to the Child Life Department Multi-Care Health System division at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, WA.
A Minnetonka, Minnesota native with an Art History degree from the University of St. Thomas, Gretchen's career background includes corporate art sales and computer software training. After spending 10 years in San Diego working and starting a family, she moved back to her husband's home town of Seattle. She currently resides in Medina, WA with her husband David and three daughters.
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Greg Duriez Dan MacMillan Mark Shaken Starla Knapp
Shari Ammon Mills
Jill Becket Nancy Cho
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Cole Mora Lilia Mora Ryder Mora Trey Mora
Molly Webber Tracy Welzel June Zampino
Greg Turk, Photographer Forever Young Foundation Paul Vollmer, UCLA Alumni VP & Philanthropy Chair