Kari Gies is the President of the Foundation. Born and raised in Downers Grove, Illinois, she is the second daughter of John and Nancy Schwemm. Kari graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a secondary teaching endorsement. After several years of teaching math and science in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she moved with her family to Ashland, Oregon. After completing a Master’s degree in environmental education from Southern Oregon University, she began a 17-year career with the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department where she co-founded and directed a nature center. Kari has also served as commissioner of the Ashland Conservation Commission, has authored a guidebook to the Klamath Basin, and co-founded the Southern Oregon Regional Environmental Education Leaders (SOREEL) networking association. Kari resides with her husband near Ashland where she is involved with several educational and historic preservation projects while also spending time gardening, enjoying her two granddaughters, and throwing endless tennis balls to her labradoodle Rusty.


Cathy Schwemm is the Vice-President and Secretary of the Foundation. The first of Nan and Jack’s two daughters, she grew up in Downers Grove then attended Colorado State University in Ft Collins, Colorado where she received a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. After moving to California in 1983, she obtained a Master’s degree in biology from California State University, Northridge. Cathy began working for the National Park Service in 1984, beginning a 25-year career with that agency. In 2008 she earned a PhD in ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she taught ecology and then spent two years working as an ecologist in Flagstaff, Arizona. Cathy has co-authored a book on the endangered island fox and was a board member of the Friends of the Island Fox and the Channel Islands Regional GIS Collaborative. Cathy is presently employed as an ecologist with the Institute for Wildlife Studies and lives in Tomales, California.


Jan Rieke is the Treasurer of the Foundation and is the daughter of Jack Rieke and Jacquie Prickett Rieke, Nan Schwemm’s only sister. Jan was born and raised in Barrington, Illinois and graduated from Carroll College in Wisconsin. Her 18-year career in finance with Marriott International resulted in several moves that ultimately led her to the Washington, DC area. Jan also worked as a residential realtor and as the start-up accountant for Rieke Office Interiors, her brother’s business located in the Chicago area. Currently Jan and her partner live in Damascus, Maryland where they run a commercial vineyard and Jan serves as treasurer of the Maryland Grape Growers Association. Jan is a Montgomery County Master Gardener and a past board member of the Barrington Historical Society.


Annie Swank is a Foundation Trustee. The daughter of Cathy Schwemm, Annie was born in California and was fortunate to spend a lot of time outdoors growing up. She moved to the midwest to attend The University of Chicago and has remained in Chicago ever since except for brief stints in Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand. She has worked on political campaigns and in software design. These days she works as a videographer, focusing on documentary-style videos for non profits and mission driven organizations. A longer bio (and one written in the first person) can be found at

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Joseph (“Joey”) Schwemm Tuck is a co-Vice President of the Foundation. Raised in Ashland, Oregon, he is the son of Kari Gies and the only grandson of Jack and Nan Schwemm. Joey attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in international relations in 2012. Subsequently, he obtained his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law in New York City, New York and his Master of Laws in European financial law from Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain. Joey began his career as an attorney after graduating from law school in 2015, and is presently admitted to practice in New York, Illinois and California. He lives in San Francisco, California and is currently employed with law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, where his practice focuses on private equity and debt finance.