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Meet the Staff
Stanford's Planned Giving staff has extensive expertise in charitable gift planning and can help you design your gift to best meet your charitable objectives at Stanford, as well as your financial and tax goals. And when you decide to include Stanford in your plans, we’d like to welcome you into Stanford’s Founding Grant Society.
Kara D. Wertheimer
Assistant Vice President, Development and Senior Director of Planned Giving
Kara Wertheimer earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987 and her JD from Cornell University in 1990. She practiced corporate law at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison before joining her mother in their estate planning, probate, and trust firm of Wertheimer & Wertheimer. She was a principal of Fotenos & Suttle, P.C. after its merger with W & W and before joining Stanford in 1999. Kara is a past board member of the Northern California Planned Giving Council.
Senior Associate Director
Jonrie Dávila, '81, earned her JD from Hastings College of the Law in 1984. She practiced law at firms in Nevada and California, including Holtzmann, Wise & Shepard in Palo Alto, then served as a fundraiser at Stanford and other universities. She returned to Stanford to join its Office of Planned Giving in 2001. Jonrie is a member of the board of the Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council.
Senior Associate Director
Philip Golden, '81, joined the Office of Planned Giving in 2011 after practicing trusts and estates law for over 25 years. Early in his career, Phil was an associate at Carr, McClellan, Ingersoll, Thompson and Horn. He then moved to Merced, California and established a well respected solo practice. Phil began his migration back to the Bay Area with an of counsel position at Berliner Cohen for four years before coming to Stanford. Phil received a JD from Santa Clara University in 1984 and a LLM in estate planning from the University of Miami in 1985, and still maintains his certification as a specialist in estate planning, probate and trust law.
Jamie Downes earned her bachelor's degree in finance from Michigan State University and her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Prior to joining Stanford in 2018, Jamie practiced as a trusts and estates attorney in Michigan at Varnum LLP. Jamie is a current member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the Northern California Planned Giving Council.
Blake Grossman received his BA from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2003, his JD from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2007, and his LLM from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2012. Blake practiced as a trust and estate planning attorney at Springs & Associates, P.C., in San Francisco for more than five years before joining Stanford in 2013.
Jeff Underwood joined the Office of Planned Giving in 2019 after working at TIAA Kaspick as a gift planning consultant and Relationship Manager for over 10 years. Prior to that, Jeff was a charitable gift planner at UC Berkeley from 2006–2008, and Director of Planned Giving at The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston. Jeff earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1984 and his MBA from Northeastern University in 1995.
Director of Planned Giving for Stanford Medicine
Wendy Chou joined the Office of Planned Giving in 2019 after helping donors create funds at The Oregon Community Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Prior to working in the community foundation field for eight years, she was a Relationship Manager at TIAA Kaspick and also held positions at the gift planning offices of Boston College and Santa Clara University. Wendy earned her bachelor's degree from Tufts University and her JD from Santa Clara University.
Philanthropic Advisor, Medical Center Development
Carol Kersten, JD '82, earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1978 and her law degree from Stanford. She has been a part of the development operation for Stanford University Medical Center since 1983. Carol is part of the Northern California Planned Giving Council's ethics committee and served as a youth and family volunteer and vice president of Kara, a grief support nonprofit in Palo Alto. Carol served on the board of the American Council on Gift Annuities from 2006 to 2012.