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Meet the Planned Giving Team

Stanford’s planned giving staff has extensive experience in charitable gift planning and can help you consider the options to design your gift to best meet your charitable, financial, and tax goals. We would be happy to help you explore how a planned gift might work for you.

Planned giving team

Kara D. Wertheimer

Assistant Vice President, Development
Senior Director of Planned Giving

(650) 725-5565
kara.wertheimer@stanford.edu

Kara Wertheimer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987 and her JD from Cornell University in 1990. She practiced corporate law at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison before joining her mother in their estate planning, probate, and trust firm of Wertheimer & Wertheimer. She was a principal of Fotenos & Suttle, P.C., after its merger with W & W and before joining Stanford in 1999. Kara is a past board member of the Northern California Planned Giving Council.

Jonrie Dávila

Senior Associate Director

(650) 725-4363
jonried@stanford.edu

Jonrie Dávila, ’81, earned her JD from Hastings College of the Law in 1984. She practiced law at firms in Nevada and California, including Holtzmann, Wise & Shepard in Palo Alto, then served as a fundraiser at Stanford and other universities. She returned to Stanford to join its Office of Planned Giving in 2001. Jonrie is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and of the Northern California Planned Giving Council. She is a past president of the Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council.

Jamie Downes

Associate Director

(650) 497-3230
jadownes@stanford.edu

Jamie Downes earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University and her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Prior to joining Stanford in 2018, Jamie practiced as a trusts and estates attorney in Michigan at Varnum LLP. Jamie is a current member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and the Northern California Planned Giving Council.

Blake Grossman Stanford Planned Giving

Blake Grossman

Associate Director

(650) 723-4661
blakelg@stanford.edu

Blake Grossman received his BA from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2003, his JD from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2007, and his LLM from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2012. Blake practiced as a trust and estate planning attorney at Springs & Associates, P.C., in San Francisco for more than five years before joining Stanford in 2013.

Jeff Underwood

Associate Director

(650) 725-9019
jeff.underwood@stanford.edu

Jeff Underwood joined the Office of Planned Giving in 2019 after working at TIAA Kaspick as a gift planning consultant and relationship manager for over 10 years. Prior to that, Jeff was a charitable gift planner at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2006–2008, and a director of planned giving at The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston. Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1984 and his MBA from Northeastern University in 1995.

Abigail Thomas

Abigail Thomas

Assistant Director

(650) 736-3853
abigail.thomas@stanford.edu

Abigail earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in 2013. She also earned her JD with a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution and a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri in 2017. Abigail joined Stanford University in 2017 as a development officer at Stanford Law School and transitioned to the Office of Planned Giving in 2020. Abigail is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and of the Northern California Planned Giving Council and has served on the board of multiple nonprofit organizations.

Wendy Chou

Director of Planned Giving, Stanford Medicine

(650) 724-9447
wchou@stanford.edu

Wendy Chou joined the Office of Planned Giving in 2019 after helping donors create funds at the Oregon Community Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Prior to working in the community foundation field for eight years, she was a relationship manager at TIAA Kaspick and also held positions at the gift planning offices of Boston College and Santa Clara University. Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and her JD from Santa Clara University.

Carol Kersten

Philanthropic Advisor, Medical Center Development

(650) 725-5524
ckersten@stanford.edu

Carol Kersten, JD ’82, earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1978 and her law degree from Stanford. She has been a part of the development team for Stanford University Medical Center since 1983. Carol is part of the Northern California Planned Giving Council’s ethics committee and served as a youth and family volunteer and vice president of Kara, a grief support nonprofit in Palo Alto. Carol served on the board of the American Council on Gift Annuities from 2006 to 2012.