Executive Leadership Team
Michelle Basham, Executive Director
Prior to coming to The Bridge, Michelle was the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Delaware. In 1993, she founded Avenues for Homeless Youth, serving as Executive Director for eight years. Michelle later accepted a role with the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services where she led high-level policy initiatives as Manager of Strategic Planning and Special Projects. She served as Executive Director for FamilyWise, an organization providing comprehensive family strengthening and support services, and served as Vice President at CommonBond Communities, the largest provider of affordable housing in the Upper Midwest.
Michelle has a Master’s in Public Administration from Hamline University School of Business, a Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from Augsburg College.
Jennifer Harding, Director of Development
Jenny brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit development and fundraising to The Bridge for Youth. Her experience includes having served as the Development Director at the Children’s Law Center, MELD and WATCH. In addition, she has served as a Gift Officer for Augustana Care, the Associate Director of Corporate Giving for the Guthrie Theater and Development Manager at the Page Education Foundation among other positions. Her wide-ranging experience includes consulting with and working for organizations committed to legal services, human services and education. Jenny also has volunteered in various capacities in the nonprofit sector. Jenny holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College. When she is not at work, Jenny enjoys hanging out with friends and family including her rescue dog Jackson.
Dawn Germscheid, Director of Finance and Operations
Dawn Germscheid joined The Bridge for Youth in 2013 and is responsible for managing the agency’s finance and operations areas. Prior to joining The Bridge, Dawn worked as a Director of Finance and Operations Consultant for MAP for Non-Profits. Her experience also includes serving as Director of Finance and Administration for Wayside House, a St. Louis Park-based non-profit organization.
Joan Countryman, Program Director
Since joining The Bridge in 2013, Joan has held significant roles in the organization including Emergency Shelter Manager and Manager of Outreach and Innovation. Joan recently led The Bridge’s successful roll out of (612) 400-SAFE and YSMN.org.In addition to a successful 14-year tenure managing programs for Episcopal Community Services, Joan founded the youth program at Cornerstone Advocacy. Joan has led several nonprofit programs in areas including domestic violence, sexual assault and youth homelessness. Her accomplishments include developing a statewide model mobilizing volunteers to lend assistance to homeless families and those living in poverty.
Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology and a Master level degree in counseling.
The Bridge for Youth’s Board of Directors
Scott Thomas-Forss, Board Chair
Minneapolis Federal Reserve, Assistant Vice President
Jon Fletcher, Board Vice-Chair
Lennar Multifamily, Development Manager
John Weidner, Board Secretary
U.S. Bank, Vice President
Timothy Bechtold, Board Treasurer
Anna Waters, Board Development Committee Chair
Korn Ferry, Principal
Mark Ostlund, Board Governance Committee Chair
Gavin, Winters, Thiemann and Long, Attorney
General Mills, Business Unit Director
Temple Israel, Executive Director
Free the Children, Executive Director
UPS, Sales Training Manager
Enterprise Technologies, Executive Vice-President
Xcel Energy, Assistant General Counsel
Thomson Reuters, Vice President