Potlatch Fund Staff

Amadeo Cruz Guiao, Filipino
Program Manager

Benefiting from her own journey of decolonization and supporting and guiding many on their own journeys, Amadeo believes in the incredible value of reconnecting to ancestral culture and finding power in community.

Amadeo Cruz Guiao has over 20 years experience supporting progressive organizations to effect transformative social change. Amadeo, which means "lover of God" is the Program Manager for the Capacity Building cohorts program. She specializes in heart-centered and culturally appropriate training facilitation, technical assistance, and organizational development strategies. Her intersectional, anti-oppression approach is informed by her lived experience as a queer, gender-nonconforming Filipino-American and child of immigrants. Amadeo has worked closely with nonprofit organizations, mission-driven businesses, and government in the US and the Philippines and is especially skilled in intercultural competence, equity, and inclusion. A visionary leader, Amadeo co-founded and managed for many years Zenyu Healing, a Seattle-based, multicultural organization that cultivates the holistic well-being and leadership of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Inquiring (LGBTQI) People of Color through meditation classes, wilderness excursions, and spiritual retreats. She consults for and sits on the board of the Tao Foundation for Culture and Arts, a grassroots project focused on cultural regeneration for indigenous communities in the Philippines. She holds a BA in Business Management from Western Washington University, an MBA in Nonprofit Management and MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. Amadeo was raised in the Pacific Northwest, she loves to spend her time hiking and camping, playing guitar and singing, and traveling.

Tara Dowd, Inupiaq
Executive Director

Tara feels Potlatch Fund is the ideal driver for strengthening and expanding Indigenous systems across the Northwest.

Tara is an enrolled Inupiaq who carries the Traditional name Qallaq. Her family is from the Village of Kiana, though she was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. Tara is a systems change enthusiast, non-profit administrator, writer, and thought leader focused on building equity. Her advocacy debut occurred when she was 14 years old testifying at the school board on behalf of Indigenous students and Indian Education. She previously served as the Executive Director of Excelerate Success of Spokane County United Way. Tara has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Native American Studies from the University of Montana and she has an MBA in Healthcare Management. She has a reputation for her tenacious advocacy on behalf of all youth, particularly Indigenous youth. She has over 15 years experience in education, the child welfare system, and the juvenile justice system. Her identity as an Indigenous woman is deeply rooted in her knowledge of family and community. Her passion and fight for equity is informed by her and her partner's experience raising three Indigenous children in systems that were not made for them. Laughter, pow wows, horseback riding, and softball are just a few of the ways Tara and her family enjoy life.

Damara Jacobs-Morris, Squamish
Development and Communications Manager

Philanthropy as translated from its Greek origin and history means, “love of humanity.” The significance of this word is deeply rooted within Damara’s worldview. She truly believes that through philanthropy and education we can achieve positive and meaningful social change.

Damara Jacobs-Morris carries the Ancestral names Cha7awtenaat iy Siyamiya. She is proud of her Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and African American ancestry. She was born and raised in the villages of Xwemelch’stn and Esla7han (Capilano and Mission Indian Reserves) located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Damara grew up surrounded by educators and artists, an aspect of her identity that lead her to choose a career in creative fields. She received a B.A. in Communications from Simon Fraser University and a M.A. with honors in Art and Visual Culture Education from the University of Arizona. Her academic background reflects her two passions: people and art. Damara has worked extensively within her own community and with cultural and non-profit organizations in the United States and Canada. She successfully ran a small business offering public relations and project management services to Tribal governments, schools, museums, community centers and Native entrepreneurs. Damara is passionate and dedicated to community-building, cross-cultural dialogue and civic engagement. She is honored to be a part of the Potlatch Fund and looks forward to contributing to the exceptional work being done within Native communities.

Mary Kummer, Makah
Office Manager

Mary is witness to the success and collaborative atmosphere between Native urban, reservation and rural perspectives that demonstrate sustainability by positioning ourselves for opportunities, inviting people and forming relationships that create workable strategies that influence change.

Mary is the Office Manager at Potlatch Fund. She has explored a creative mix of work experience and leveraged the teachings from her more than two decades of work with Tribal, federal, and private entities that has taught her the importance of relationships as strategic and truly supportive workplaces. No matter where Native people live - on or off reservation, whether a federally or non-federally recognized individual, we talk and address change through adaptation, transformation and resilience. She additionally benefited from her own experience as a mother which has an added value dimension to her work by adding a certain conscientiousness, discipline and responsibility that all parents share and bring to the workplace. Her personal and cultural experiences from residing on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsula have taught her that women have a continuum of community networks that flow from reservation and urban relations that unites us to progress as academics and professionals, obtain access to quality healthcare, and improve and protect our lands and waters. “I hope to make everyone proud and to do my best to build on the amazing work that has already been completed.”

Lawrence Leake
Acting Executive Director

The excitement of our grantees is a vivid indicator of what personal empowerment brings to community.

Lawrence holds a Master in Teaching degree (Seattle University), a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (University of California – Santa Barbara), and extensive experience in a myriad of settings. Before joining Potlatch Fund he spent 10 years in Japan, beginning with a four-year stint in the sales and marketing department of Amita Machines. He was also Managing Director of Overseaz (sic) English Academy, in Toyohashi, Japan. Lawrence returned to Seattle with his three children in 2005 and joined Potlatch Fund in March 2006.

Tachini Pete, Salish/Diné
Program Director

Philanthropy and reciprocity are deeply rooted in Native American culture; Tachini is dedicated to contributing to society by using his education, experience and skills to enhance and strengthen community prosperity.

Tachini Pete was raised in both the Flathead Reservation and Navajo Reservation with strong cultural values in the Salish and Navajo traditions. His mother is Salish and his father Navajo. He is the father of four children, three sons and one daughter. He has been an avid learner and teacher of the Salish language since 1994. Tachini is a learner by nature. He has earned Certificate’s of Completion in Automotive Technology from Wyoming Technical Institute and Salish Cultural Leadership from Salish Kootenai College (SKC); Associate’s degrees in Native American Studies and Bilingual Education from SKC. In 2001 he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Montana Western and in 2010 he graduated from Gonzaga University with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. His work activities include a small business selling Native American drums online (Tachini Drums, www.tachinidrums.com), teaching, curriculum development, and most notable, in 2002 Tachini was the lead co-founder and served as executive director of the non-profit organization, Nkwusm, Salish Language Revitalization Institute until December 2011. His major accomplishments include publication of the first modern Salish language translation dictionary in 1998 followed up with a more comprehensive 816 page second edition (Medicine for the Salish Language, SKC Press) with thousands of entries published in 2010. Tachini is devoted to strengthening community and empowering youth through the wisdom of indigenous languages. His forte is second language acquisition, language revitalization and small business development.