Board of Directors & Staff

Kathie Eckman founded the Bend Sister City Foundation in 2011 for the purpose of serving the children of the City of Bend’s Sister Cities and is the current chair. Kathie has been on the Bend City Council for 20-plus years starting in 1980 until 2012.  She has served two terms as Mayor of Bend.

Kathie worked for the City of Burns, Oregon in many capacities including being the Municipal Judge, Treasurer and City Recorder.  In Bend she worked for the Bend-LaPine School District administration for 23 years until her retirement in 2001.  She has been a member and leader in many organizations in the community of Bend including Quota Club (an organization serving the deaf population), Saving Grace (a shelter for abused women and children), Housing Works, and Rotary International. Kathie has been to the dedication of the Sister City relationship with Fujioka, Japan and has traveled to Nicaragua five times.

Kathie Eckman, President

Rick Negus,


Rick Negas is one of the original members of the Bend Sister City Foundation and currently serves as Vice- President.  Since 1999 he has chaired the Trinity Episcopal Church Condega Project.   He has been to Condega on more than a dozen separate occasions and seen first hand the value of the Sister City relationship.

Rick came to the Bend Sister City Foundation after a career in social work.  He has a Masters degree in Social Work and a thirty year career in the field. He retired from the State of Oregon child welfare organization as the assistant regional administrator for Eastern Oregon.  He spent two years after retirement working for Bend's local community action agency as the supervisor for the housing stabilization program.  Since retirement he has volunteered for numerous community programs.  

Currently Rick is most involved with Family Kitchen, a program to provide free meals for the hungry, and the Trinity Condega Project.

Laura Becker, Board Member

Having taught German, grades 2-12, for thirty-seven years in Michigan, I made it a goal to travel with my students.  With ten trips to Europe and five to Chicago, our focus was to learn through discovery and activity.  Upon retiring, I continued that mantra by moving to Bend and becoming involved in two endeavors, Arts Central and the Bend-Belluno group.

I recently began serving on the Bend Sister City Foundation board, having come to the board via the new sister city relationship Bend has formed with Belluno, Italy.  When the sister city relationship became official, the Bend-Belluno group realized that it could benefit from coming under the umbrella of the foundation.  With non-profit status, the foundation can utilize its fund-raising powers and members’ commitment to underscore the foundation’s mission of creating world unity, in particular through projects it supports in Condega, NIcaragua and Belluno, Italy.

Jane Morrow, Secretary

Talie Wenick, Board Member


Ed Wenick,

Board Member


Jaime Garcia, Board Member


Mark Taylor,

Ex Officio

Victoria Wenick,

Ex Officio

Nola Nackerud, Project Coordinator

My name is Nola Nackerud, and I love Bend, Oregon, which is the sister city of where I live - Condega, Nicaragua. I came to Condega in 2001 as a Peace Corps volunteer. After my Spanish improved, our mayor asked me to help translate for some people who were visiting our town.  That was my first introduction to the good people of Bend, Oregon. I continued to help when they came back each year, forming a very meaningful and wonderful relationship.

When I left Peace Corps in 2007,  I went back to sell all my belongings in the US in order to return to Nicaragua. So here I am, many years later living in Condega and still helping Bend, but am involved much more in their projects here.I help as the person on the ground in Condega for Bend with various projects.

I am very committed to my work here and love the children.  I came to Nicaragua when I was 50 years old and found my home in this country! I am thankful every day to be here and am grateful to Bend for helping in so many ways here with their various projects. I see the help first hand and it is amazing to see the smiles that come from the help of others to others. I could go on and on, but I will end here and I wish you all a very happy year!!! May God bless you all!!!

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