The Foundation is guided by a volunteer board of directors appointed by the Gaston College board of trustees. Directors are invited to serve based upon their demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Gaston College.
Julia has served Gaston College since 2012 as the Executive Director of the Gaston College Foundation and the Chief Development Officer for the College. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive with over 20 years of experience serving in arts, human service and educational organizations as both a professional and a volunteer. Over the years she has leveraged her expertise in grant writing, strategic planning and fund development to support institutional needs for ongoing stability and growth.
Her volunteer service includes work with the Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center in Hickory, NC, the Hickory Public Schools Foundation in Hickory, NC, and the East Gastonia Rotary Club in Gastonia, NC.
Julia earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Philosophy from Lenoir-Rhyne University and is on track to earn her Master of Arts in Higher Education, Community College & University Leadership from Appalachian State University in 2019.
Julia and her husband, Tim Allen, have one son, Stephen, a rising college sophomore. They share their home with various furry and feathered friends. She is happiest when spending time with friends and family, kayaking regional lakes or rivers, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.
Ms. Brigitte McKee, the Foundation’s Manager of Development Operations, has over 15 years of database administration experience, much of which was gained in institutions of higher education including Bethune Cookman University and UNC Charlotte. While at Bethune Cookman University she received the institution’s most prestigious staff recognition, the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service. She has also worked in the corporate sector as a project manager responsible for significant data tracking and analysis.
Ms. McKee holds primary responsibility for gift entry, donor management, and stewardship processes, and is helping the Foundation expand its fundraising efforts by bringing prospect research capabilities to our team.
Ms. McKee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management Information Systems from UNC Charlotte. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world with her children.
Luke has served Gaston College as the Director of Grants & Special Projects since 2014 and is responsible for providing leadership, coordination, writing, and technical assistance for grant development and management throughout the College.
He has over ten years of volunteer and professional experience serving educational organizations in the United States as well as international non-governmental organizations. Before coming to Gaston College and the Foundation, Luke worked with Gaston County Schools as a Grant Coordinator and was responsible for the administration of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Grant as well as the L.E.A.P. Program. He has a unique background in non-profits holding positions at the Pattanarak Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand where helped to support rural development and micro-financing programs for communities along the Thai-Burma and Thai- Laos border. He earned an M.A. in Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Luke serves on the board of the Cherryville High School Education Foundation and has volunteered as a grant reviewer for the United Way of Gaston County. He also volunteers with the Catawba Farm and Food Coalition. As an accomplished organist, he has served as a substitute for many churches in the area.
Luke lives in Rock Hill, SC and enjoys traveling, brewing beer, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Jerome began serving Gaston College as the Administrative Assistant for the Foundation in March 2019.
He is an Alum of Gaston College, having graduated in 2015 with a Associate of Arts degree in General Education. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Educational Studies from Belmont Abbey College, having graduated magna cum laude in 2017.
Before coming back to the College to work with the Foundation, Jerome spent 8 years helping to support patients going through various mental health crises in his roles with Atrium Health in Davidson, NC and New Hope Treatment Center in Rock Hill, SC.
Jerome and his wife are residents of Gastonia, NC. When not working, he likes to run, travel, and workout. He also enjoys spending time with his four-legged family members which includes a dog and two cats.