The Community Foundation is guided by an engaged and invested board of directors. All are active members of the community who volunteer time and expertise to ensure the Community Foundation fulfills its mission.
The Community Foundation’s professional staff is dedicated to providing the highest quality service, and regularly receives ratings of “high satisfaction” and “strong likelihood to refer” from clients and their professional advisors.
IRCF Team Member Since: 2015
When he is not surfing, Jeffrey R. Pickering is President and CEO of Indian River Community Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida. Mr. Pickering has more than 25 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit leadership and fundraising, including five years as President and CEO of Kern Community Foundation in Bakersfield, California, and four years as Vice President at the Community Foundation of Central Florida. Prior to entering the community foundation field, Mr. Pickering served for 10 years in leadership roles at two nonprofit respite centers in Chicago, Illinois and Orlando, Florida that provided residential medical recovery for ill and injured homeless adults discharged from area hospitals.
Mr. Pickering holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in leadership studies from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego, a certificate in business administration from the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and attended Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (“d.school”). Mr. Pickering is an alumnus of the Vincentian Service Corps, where he served for one year after graduation from college as a lay missioner working among homeless men and women in New York City. In 2016, Mr. Pickering was honored to be selected for the CFLeads Executive Leadership Institute for Community Foundation CEOs, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indian River Estate Planning Council and is Chairman of the Community Foundations of Florida.
Mr. Pickering is married to Stephanie Brooks Pickering of Palm Springs, California. The Pickerings have three children, Colin, Olivia and Grant.
IRCF Team Member Since: 2022
Heather O’Shea has three decades of leadership experience, including stints in the for-profit sector with Baxter Healthcare Corporation and Robert Half International as well as 17 years as a teacher and administrator at the Bosque School, an independent, 6-12 school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most recently, she served as editor in chief of Vero Beach Magazine, where she developed a deep appreciation for her new “hometown” and its abundant nonprofit community.
Heather graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a triple major in English, Economics, and Theology, and completed both an Executive MBA and a PhD in literature at the University of New Mexico. A Pittsburgh native, Heather and her husband Fred Gordon moved to Vero Beach in 2018 and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.
IRCF Team Member Since: 2015
Yamilet Cendejas is the Director of Development and Donor Services at Indian River Community Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida. Previously, Ms. Cendejas’ experience includes fine dining server at Oak Harbor Country Club and customer service representative in her family’s business, Yami’s Ice Cream Shop. Ms. Cendejas holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Indian River State College. She is a member of the international honor society Sigma Beta Delta. She serves on the Board of Association of Fundraising Professionals FL, Indian River Chapter.
IRCF Team Member Since: 2019
Chiaka J. Nwosu is Director of Data, Information, and Analysis at Indian River Community Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida. She is a Vero Beach native and graduate of Sebastian River High School’s International Baccalaureate Program. Chiaka previously attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design & Development from Champlain College in Burlington, VT. She also holds current professional certifications in data science, Google Analytics, and web programming. Chiaka currently serves on the board of Junior League Indian River.
IRCF Team Member Since: 2021
Brooke Sauserman is the Director of Grants and Nonprofit Services at Indian River Community Foundation in Vero Beach, Florida. Brooke is originally from Maryland but moved to Vero Beach in 2021 with her husband, Hunter Sauserman. Brooke’s previous experience includes special education and office administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development from Liberty University. Brooke is a member of Junior League Indian River and serves on the IRC CSAC Grants subcommittee.
Robert has been a leader in professional fundraising for more than 30 years, helping over 140 organizations raise more than $600 million. He has led 16 campaigns personally, supervised 100+ campaigns for three national campaign firms, and was the first to codify campaign procedures for investment-based and professionally-solicited campaigns in 1996.
In addition to a strong background working with economic development and chamber of commerce organizations, Robert also offers extensive experience in a wide array of nonprofit arenas. Social and human services, museums, hospitals, cultural institutions, education, and humanitarian aid are all fields that have benefitted from his fundraising acumen. He has served as a consultant and on staff in his career, so he understands the challenges and opportunities offered by both roles.
Robert is skilled at cultivating and securing major gifts, but he may have an even better record in hiring and training others to succeed in the same endeavor. There are over 100 campaign and major gift professionals in the country who were selected and prepared for success by Robert. While with the Central Territory of The Salvation Army, Robert built the Midwest major gifts team from 12 to 42 major gift professionals.