New director named to head up Rebuild North Bay Foundation

Jennifer Gray in her new temporary office on West Napa St. (Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune)


A former aide to a Sonoma County supervisor is the new executive director of the Rebuild North Bay, created after the devastating October wildfires in the North Bay.

Jennifer Gray Thompson, 48, left her job as aide to 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin in December.

Rebuild North Bay describes itself as a coalition of elected officials, business people, nonprofits and nongovernment agencies in North Bay counties affected by the firestorms.

Thompson said the nonprofit’s goal is to serve as a support hub and to raise as much money as possible to fill in the gaps left by insurance companies, government and charities.

The foundation’s founder, Darius Anderson, CEO of Kenwood Investments (and managing partner in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Index-Tribune, the Argus Courier, Press Democrat and the North Bay Business Journal) continues to serve as a board member.

Former national FEMA director James Lee Witt was named the foundation’s interim director in late October, and Gray Thompson said that he will continue to be involved, but in a different capacity.

“In the initial start-up of Rebuild, James was tremendously helpful with identifying areas of funding and need,” Gray Thompson said Monday. “But the foundation needed a long-term executive director to manage the daily aspects of the organization. This is where I come in. I’m diving into all aspects of Rebuild now, from setting up structures, systems, hiring, as well as working with the board as we focus the mission.”

She added that Witt will, however, be available to the foundation on a consulting basis going forward.

As to Gray Thompson coming board, Anderson said, “My objective all along was to put together an organization, to staff it properly, and then step back and do what I do well, while deferring to others who are experts in their fields do what they do well.”