Melinda Higgs
Melinda Higgs President & CEO
Melinda joined CNDC in September 1999 as the first president of the organization. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, she has served on a number of boards and committees across the state, including the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service and the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors Steering Committee. Prior to leading CNDC, Melinda served as the executive director of Partners, Inc., an association of Colorado mentoring programs for at-risk youth. She has also served as the coordinator of the Center for Service Learning at Regis University. Melinda is a 2001 graduate of Leadership Denver and El Pomar Foundation’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program. She is also a 2006 recipient of a Johnston R. Livingston Fellowship, an initiative of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Melinda received her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Kevin Van Vleet
Kevin Van VleetChief Financial Officer
Kevin brings 15 years of experience in banking, finance and accounting to his role as CNDC’s Chief Financial Officer. He is a licensed CPA and CGMA with a background in auditing and consulting in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Additionally, Kevin has an extensive background volunteering with and serving on boards and committees for non-profit organizations, including serving most recently as the President of the Board of Trustees for Holy Names Music Center, a non-profit community music school in Spokane, Wash. Kevin considers himself a lifelong Kiwanian and has held various leadership positions within the broader K-Family since his initial involvement in the Key Club at his high school in Montana. His affiliation with Kiwanis has allowed him to touch a number of nonprofit organizations and helps to fulfill his desire to give back to the community. A graduate of Gonzaga University, Kevin has also completed Comer & Associates’ ADVANCE management and leadership effectiveness program.
Angela Schreffler
Angela Schreffler Vice President
Angela has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years, most recently as the executive director of the Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council (DRMAC), a Project of CNDC. During her four years at DRMAC, Angela helped grow the organization from one to five employees, created new programs, and more than doubled the Project’s budget. Prior to DRMAC, Angela was the Heartland Tree Alliance Manager at Bridging the Gap in Kansas City, Mo. She has served on a number of board and committees throughout her career, and now volunteers with several local organizations, including the Whittier Neighborhood Association, where she resides. Angela has also completed the Mountain States Employers Council Executive Leadership program, and has a master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management.
Patricia Baca
Patricia BacaAccounts Payable Clerk
Pat came to CNDC with nearly 20 years of experience in accounting and office support, including work for the city of Lakewood, the City and County of Denver, and a number of other companies in an accounting capacity. In her current role, Pat works with CNDC Projects to process all accounts payables. She plays an important role in making sure our Projects’ expenses and employees are paid on time every time. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and going on adventures with her grandkids.
Lisa Cordova
Lisa CordovaHuman Resources Manager
After 18 years in Marketing, including work in education, and business-to-business sales for healthcare, banking, and hospitality, Lisa earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Human Resource Management from Regis University. She has also earned her Professional Human Resources (PHR) certification and began work with CNDC in 2016. In her current role, Lisa leverages her extensive business background and HR experience to the benefit of our Projects. Outside the office, Lisa loves taking advantage of all that our beautiful state has to offer. 
Adrianna Edwards
Adrianna EdwardsOffice Assistant
Adrianna joined CNDC in order to make a difference in her community. Prior to accepting her current role with CNDC, Adrianna worked for a CPA firm. As CNDC’s office assistant, Adrianna keeps the office running smoothly, driving operational efficiencies and serving as the first friendly face visitors to the CNDC office see. She is a graduate of Whittier College in California and holds a Business Administration degree. Outside the office, she enjoys anything outdoors – from hiking, biking, fly-fishing, and camping to snowboarding, snowshoeing, and running with her dog, Beaty.
Emily Fitzsimmons
Emily FitzsimmonsProgram Manager
Emily Fitzsimmons joined CNDC in August 2016, bringing over 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and administration, capacity building and civil society development. Emily has engaged with organizations in all stages of their lifecycles and growth, having worked with nonprofits abroad as well as here in the United States. She has held a variety of senior leadership positions, including Executive Director for a Colorado-based nonprofit, leading the Membership Marketing department of a large trade association, and serving as a co-director of a nonprofit in a developing country. Emily thoroughly enjoys working with nonprofits to improve their day-to-day functioning and encourages leadership development at all levels of the organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Creighton University, and a master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.
Robyn Flemming
Robyn FlemmingAccounting Clerk
Robyn started working at CNDC in June 2016 as an Accounting clerk. Her background encompasses areas as diverse as business analytics, human resources and benefits administration, and accounting. Her most recent role was as a bookkeeper for Stratagem CPAs. She also spent a year in Bologna, Italy, three years in Washington, DC, and a year in Brooklyn, NY before returning to her native Colorado. Robyn received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. When she is not at the office, Robyn enjoys hiking and travelling to different countries around the world.
Monica Frimml
Monica FrimmlOperational Accounting Manager
Monica has served CNDC since 2002 and considers the organization like an extended family. Her role includes overseeing payroll, accounts payable and cash receipts. Additionally, Monica always makes herself available to answer any questions a Project might have about their finances. Her previous experience includes work for small and large corporations as well as running her own bookkeeping business for many years. Outside the office, you can find Monica riding her motorcycle, going to the movies and spending time with friends and family.
Linda Hayashi
Linda HayashiCash Receipts Clerk
Linda comes to the CNDC team bringing significant accounting experience working with both for profit and nonprofit organizations. Since joining CNDC in 2014, Linda has enjoyed using her talents to help CNDC and its Projects contribute to Colorado communities. Her passions outside of work include bicycling (she has participated in a number of bicycle tours, both international and domestic), travel and theater. Linda is a native of Washington and a graduate of the University of Washington.
Nicki Leszman
Nicki LeszmanProgram Manager
Nicki, a Colorado native and University of Colorado Denver graduate, joined the Colorado Collaborative for Nonprofits in 2012 with an internship at the Colorado Nonprofit Association. In 2013, she accepted a full-time position with CNDC eventually being promoted to the Program Manager position in 2015. As the Program Manager, Nicki works closely with Project on board development, fundraising, nonprofit best practices, risk management, and manages the Project Selection process. The unique structure of CNDC enables Nicki to be involved in several diverse charitable efforts across the state, which is a huge reason why she loves her job. Additionally, Nicki is an alumni of the Elevate Denver leadership program through the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
Will Lewis
Will LewisOffice Assistant
Will Lewis recently joined CNDC as an Office Assistant to help the administrative and finance teams. He works closely with Adrianna to ensure everyday operations run smoothly for our staff and partnering projects. Prior to working for CNDC, Will was a substitute teacher for Denver Public Schools and an expedition leader with an adventure travel company. Originally from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Will graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Away from the office, he enjoys snowboarding, honing his golf game and following the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Peregin Naylor
Peregin NaylorStaff Accountant
Peregin has worked in accounting/finance roles for over a decade, including time with Denver Public Schools and work as an underwriter. In her role with CNDC, Peregin works with a number of our Projects to provide feedback and guidance on questions surrounding Project financials and grants. She finds the altruistic nature of the work CNDC does to support nonprofits particularly gratifying, as it aligns with her own beliefs and values. Peregin has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She is originally from Erie, Penn. and is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. In her spare time she enjoys reading historical fiction and staring at the stars. She is also the proud mother of two daughters and two cats, Jabba The Hut and Lulu.
Elizabeth Orare
Elizabeth OrareSenior Staff Accountant
Liz began as a staff accountant at CNDC in 2014 and was named senior staff accountant in 2016. She holds a degree in Accounting from Strathmore College in Nairobi, Kenya, and has nearly a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. Liz was previously the Business Manager at Royal Pal Academy in Naples, FL. In addition to her business background, Liz brings a passion for volunteering to her role at CNDC, including mentoring with the Boys and Girls Club as well as time spent volunteering with Rural Community Development Program where she worked with disadvantaged children in Southeast Asia. Aside from keeping in touch with her large family in the United States, Kenya, and Europe, Liz also enjoys reading, watching sports, and enjoying the outdoors. She was drawn to work at CNDC because of her interest in making a positive change in the community by providing Projects with the support they need to develop their individual communities.
Jay Shih
Jay ShihVISTA Leader
Jay Shih began serving as the VISTA Leader at Colorado Nonprofit Development Center in May 2016. In this role, he works to expand and build the capacity of CNDC VISTA members and their respective Project sites. After graduating from Drexel University with a degree in Finance and Economics, Jay joined Hamilton Lane, a global private markets investment management firm in Philadelphia, as part of their analyst development program. After several years in the program, Jay decided to redirect his career in order to dedicate himself to a higher purpose. He moved to Telluride, Colo. where he completed his first year of the AmeriCorps VISTA program as a Program Analyst for Tri-County Health Network. He subsequently accepted the role of VISTA Leader with CNDC. Jay strongly believes in the mission of CNDC to foster the nonprofit sector in Colorado and enjoys supporting, guiding, and mentoring the CNDC VISTA team, as well as the exposure CNDC Projects provide to the wider Colorado nonprofit universe. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, bouldering, road tripping, eating tacos, live music, strong coffee, and the occasional libation.
Tammy Schairer
Tammy SchairerStaff Accountant
Tammy has enjoyed a long career in Finance. Prior to joining CNDC, she served as a financial analyst at companies including Fluor and Kiewit Corporations, Level3 Communications, and American Truck Business Services. Tammy deeply values her role in the nonprofit sector and particularly appreciates CNDC’s role in positively impacting children, schools and communities here in Colorado. Outside the office, she enjoys walking and hiking with her dogs, going hunting and fly fishing, and is an avid Steelers fan.
Olivia St Denis
Olivia St DenisProgram Coordinator
Olivia has been a part of CNDC since July 2013, when she moved from Rochester, NY to Denver in order to serve as CNDC’s Nonprofit Management AmeriCorps VISTA Member. She continued VISTA service at CNDC from 2014 – 2015 as a co-VISTA Leader. In September 2015, she was promoted from VISTA Leader to Program Coordinator. Since moving to Denver, in addition to her work with the VISTA program and CNDC, Olivia has become active in the greater nonprofit community in Denver, most recently completing the Elevate Denver leadership program through the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Olivia graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a bachelor’s degree in Magazine Journalism. She enjoys hiking, and reading long-form articles and nonfiction books.
Cheryl Travison
Cheryl TravisonSystems and Evaluation VISTA
Cheryl is the Systems and Evaluation VISTA with CNDC. She brings a passion for service and a talent for organization to her role with CNDC. In her role, Cheryl works closely with CNDC’s staff to examine our business processes and identify opportunities for improved efficiency and streamlining. Prior to beginning her work at CNDC, Cheryl worked in the service industry, and was an avid volunteer with a local equine riding therapy center. She is originally from Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Outside the office, her hobbies include reading, hiking and watching movies.
Dale Wright
Dale WrightBookkeeper
Dale works exclusively with CNDC’s Nonprofit Support Services clients. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Iowa State University. Dale previously worked as a staff accountant in the skincare industry. As bookkeeper with CNDC, Dale’s role involves working with our Accounting clients to provide services including maintenance of accounts, payroll, and preparation of annual financial statements and tax documents. He says that his work, as well as the people and positive culture in the CNDC office, have him looking forward to coming to work each day. Outside the office, Dale is an active volunteer with Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue and is also a certified Massage Therapist.