Board Members

Our board meetings are open to the public. We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Email us at for more information.

  • Nancy Fowler, president
  • Katherine Godin Mitchell, vice president
  • Justin Doyle, secretary
  • Shawna Shade, treasurer
  • Catherine (Cat) Anthony
  • Patrick PJ Fanning
  • Mary Martin
  • Scott Silvester
  • Larry Socha
  • Karen Thomas
  • Kevin Tobin
  • Greg Velzy
  • Nathan Burrell, Ex Officio


FOJRP committees are open to all members and include:

Membership -- Ensures there are sufficient members on the Board, plans for election of officers, coordinates the annual board retreat, and provides for or coordinates board education annually. A separate ad hoc Nominating Committee may be selected as needed. The Committee seeks members with knowledge of board development, strategic planning, and non-profit management.

Finance -- Develops the annual budget and meets periodically to address financial issues. May overlap with fundraising committee to ensure that the fundraising goals are in harmony with the needs of the organization. Any changes to the budget are made only with the recommendation of this committee. The committee is seeks members with bookkeeping experience, knowledge of financial software and experience with non-profit budgets

Fundraising -- Coordinates targeted fundraising events (in conjunction with the Events Committee), grant writing, and written solicitations to support general operating costs and special projects. The committee also identifies strategies for increasing membership, membership renewals and total giving. (The Committee also promotes the growth of the Preservation and Protection Fund, and coordinates the annual inspection of the James River Park System to ensure that the Conservation Easement is being honored.) The committee is seeks members with experience in fundraising, planned giving and grant writing, as well as those who have an interest in learning.

Events -- Plans and coordinates events with park staff, members and volunteers that promote awareness of Friends' and the James River Park System, including tables at regional events and annual Friends events, such as the Winter Solstice on Belle Isle. The Committee supports the work of the fundraising committee and also coordinates the annual River Heroes event that honors those individuals who are strong advocates, supporters, and friends of the JRPS.nThe Committee is seeks members who enjoy interacting with the public, who have organizational/planning skills and who have a talent for rallying people together.

Communication -- Coordinates external communications with our Membership and the general public to promote FOJRP and its initiatives via our website, Constant Contact, our monthly e-Newsletter, and social media. The Committee is responsible for the Friends' website content and development, coordinating and writing copy for our monthly e-newsletter, preparing promotional material for Friends events and projects, and keeping our members up to date via Constant Contact and social media. The Committee is seeks members with strong writing, editing, graphic design, advertising and/or marketing skills as well as an interest in, and familiarity with, the goings on of the James River Park System. This Committee offers a unique opportunity to exercise your writing skills to the benefit or our membership and the Park!

Advocacy – Coordinate activities of the Board and membership for the purpose of promoting the James River Park System and influencing decisions made by local and state government and/or any other political, environmental or economic organizations. The Committee is seeks members with a passion for the James River Park, connections to other environmental organizations and with an interest in state and local politics.

Email us at if you’d like to help the cause.

Eleanor Cox watercolor

Board members don't like to stand still long enough to be in a picture. Instead, please enjoy this Eleanor Cox watercolor of a James River boating scene, donated by John Hessian to the Friends in February 2011.

RIVER LOVERS interviews:

from James River News Hub

Matt Perry, Riverside Outfitters
WHY YOU LOVE THE JAMES: It’s incredible, natural beauty that changes with the seasons. Diversity of recreation options. Nature dictates the character of the river — not men and dam release schedules. It’s a collective backyard for us all in a time when “apart” seems to be more prevalent than “together.”

Molly Dellinger-Wray, Friends of the James River Park
WHY YOU LOVE THE JAMES: As a proud city dweller, I love living in a neighborhood where I can walk to my bank, job, grocery store and post office. Ralph White calls James River Park, “A little bit of wilderness in the heart of the city.”

Betsy Slade, Friends of the James River Park
WHY YOU LOVE THE JAMES: Peace, serenity, escape from daily hubbub, beauty of an eternal river that is always there and always different. (Note: She can often be found at the river with her canine companion, Baxter)