HAF’s shifting allegiances: Community development out, political organizing in

THC was happy to hear from so many of our readers after our last post that detailed some of the schysty shenanigans going on over at the Humboldt Area Foundation. (In case you need a refresher, read about it here.)

Among the many messages we received were many instances which members of the public lend further weight to the fact that the HAF has abandoned their once benevolent roots to pursue a blatantly politicized agenda based on the will of some of HAF’s higher ups. Most specifically, we mean Pat Cleary.

One of the earliest inklings that THC had of the nefarious tactics being used around the HAF came from an article in none other than the North Coast Journal nearly 5 years ago. The article (read here) talks about Kathy Moxon’s departure from the HAF ranks. Moxon, who was a great asset to Humboldt’s economic and community development as director of community strategies for HAF, was a loss to the efforts of drumming up some form of economic viability for Humboldt. Rumors abounded that her departure was not voluntary – frankly, THC does not know the truth of that. But there are some things in the article that seem rather telling.

For example, then-Executive Director Peter Pennekamp acknowledged openly that Moxon’s dismissal was part of the HAF’s “shifting its focus away from Moxon’s area of expertise — namely, economic and community development.” Pennekamp went on to say that “”We’re probably becoming less focused on that as a core area.””

Also from that same article, Redwood Region Economic Economic Development Commission Director Gregg Foster said: “…he’d heard nothing about HAF’s plans to shift focus away from economic and community development. “Making that decision in the absence of talking to any of us in economic development is, I think, kind of ironic for a community foundation.”

Hmm…so HAF, without consulting the community or our area’s professionals in the field of economic and community development, decided that abandoning one of the issues that  most desperately needs the attention from such an organization just wasn’t a priority anymore? Weird, right? But, as we have seen, it’s allowed them more time to focus on the their new priorities.

Namely, pushing Cleary’s political agenda. It wasn’t long after Moxon’s departure that Cleary became Executive Director over at the HAF. It wasn’t long after that when Renee Saucedo (again, whom we discussed at length previously) began her her organizing antics throughout the county.

And there’s more to Saucedo’s actions, and more strings attaching politcally-motivated people to the work that HAF is funding in our communities. We talked about outright political organizing before – now let’s talk  about HAF and Saucedo infiltrating some religious organizations in Humboldt. Check this tid-bit, taken from the April 2014 newsletter of the United Methodist Church in Eureka:


Hmm…Ms. Saucedo actively contacting and seeking out members of religious congregations through her HAF-funded position as True North organizer? Fishy. (Also note, “future formation of Local Organizing Committee in Eureka.” You see, True North and Cleary are systematically expanding their web of behind the scenes political influence.)

Anyway, PICO is an organization that specializes in changing policy through faith-based action. Which is cool with us. (They are involved throughout the country supporting the Affordable Care Act, business and immigration reform, higher tax rates for the wealthy, and tons of other stuff.) You can read more about PICO here. Of particular note is this:

picochangePICO is an out-and-out political organization. They are up front about it. But the PICO model isn’t usually applied to congregations using funds from a community-agency like HAF, which are supposedly not to be used for political machinations. So why did HAF partner with PICO? THC is here to say it’s so they could influence politics from behind the scenes – and they’re doing it by praying on people’s religious beliefs.

A further indication of this is HAF’s work with the Church of the Joyful Healer in McKinleyville, which is lead by none other than Chris Lehman. Remember Chris? He’s the guy who ran for State Assembly, but dropped out in favor of supporting Mike McGuire. But while running, Lehman gained a lot of support from politicos in Humboldt. Naturally.

Let us say for the record, that we are sure Lehman is a pretty upstanding guy in his own right. He seems like a respected and important member of his church, and the community as whole.

What we do not agree with is that HAF is seeking out politically active and motivated individuals in our communities. It’s just not right for them to use the funds that Humboldt’s donors support their organization with to infiltrate religious bodies and push political agendas through PICO’s political organizing model.

It is a complete violation of HAF’s stated purpose to actively seek out those partnerships. It is a complete violation of HAF’s mission to use their donor’s funds to incite political involvement and attempts to affect public policy through any method whatsoever.

Now, don’t worry folks, there’s more. In “HAF Bullshit Part 3,” THC will get into some of the financial evidence that HAF has lost it’s way. We promise it will be a shorter post too – the numbers speak for themselves.


The Humboldt Consequential


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10 Responses to HAF’s shifting allegiances: Community development out, political organizing in

  1. vidrohan says:

    Also important to keep in mind that Gregg Foster worked for Pat Cleary for 2-3 years at LostCoastCommunications


  2. Milldoin says:

    May be it’s time for the DA to look into this.


  3. jmms says:

    Thank you so much for your investigative reporting. HAF truly has lost its way. We won’t be donating, as we had planned.


  4. Gail O. says:

    It is a shame that Pat Cleary has poisoned such a fine organization. We will immediately stop contributing to HAF, and stop recommending them to friends. I will be apologizing to those who I have referred to them in the past. I hope Cleary does the honorable thing, and leave.


  5. MOLA42 says:

    I would just like to point out that so far (at least to my knowledge) HAF has said nothing about any of this. Perhaps that point alone is also damning, but…

    I would like to hear their side of the story before closing judgement on the issue. We’ve heard only one side (which isn’t THC’s fault in the least).

    I think HAF should make an answer to what is being said. Perhaps not here in THC per se, but some response in the media is desperately called for.

    I believe it is a mistake on HAF’s part to “tough it out” until it all blows away.


  6. Arcatan says:

    I have contributed to funds run by HAF in the past but there is no way it will happen again until I hear a good explanation from them. I’m very open nto, or will at least try to be, hearing their side but until then forget it. If it turns out that HAF has really been sending this Saucedo person into our neighborhoods to encourage division then we should totally clean house at HAF. It would be time for more then a new Director, we’re talking a total Board house cleaning as well as shutting down whatever department is responsible for this fiasco. If true then a pox upon the whole house.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Azalea Mom says:

    After reading an earlier article I actually called Humboldt Area Foundation and told them I am a long time supporter and would like to know the facts surrounding their political involvement. The person I spoke to told me I would have to talk to someone named Jen Rice and that she was the person in charge of the “political organizing department”. Those were the exact words. I left a message for Ms. Rice and on one has returned the call. I didn’t want to believe the claims in the original article but after talking to HAF directly I’m convinced that there is something very wrong going on there. I also called my daughters high school and asked the Vice Principal what she knew about the political activities at HAF. She was shocked and said she would look into it and assured me that if the claims were true that it would be a violation of their rules to be actively involved with any political organization and might not be able to work on HAF scholarships in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sammy says:

      I am not at all surprised that Jen Rice’s name is attached, nor that she has not called you back. Expect others names to be included when all of the dust settles: Connie Stewart, Bonnie Neely, Dennis Rael, perhaps the Marky Monster Lovelace, Jennifer Kalt, Julie Fulkerson etc. etc. ad nausea. These folks have been deeply involved in this type of behavior for YEARS. Thank you THC for the article and for waking us up!


  8. AS says:

    omgomgomg people paid with public money organizing among church going people, the horror!

    those church going people are to be strictly reserved for law enforcement public relations /fund raising and to gain support for right wing issues!

    omg the audacity!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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