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Carquinez Village is a 501(c)3 (EIN: 47-4133336) charitable nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Led by a Governing Board
Carquinez Village is guided by a Governing Board of 13 community leaders each of whom serves for a minimum of one two-year term. The Board is responsible for: 1) overseeing and implementing the activities and services of the Village; 2) establishing the policies that guide the Village; 3) assuming financial oversight; and 4) ensuring that the Village operates according to the standards and requirements of 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

With occasional exceptions, the Board meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Heritage Presbyterian Church Community Hall, 1400 East Second Street, Benicia.  Visitors are encouraged and welcomed.  

Guided by Working Committees
Carquinez Village is a volunteer organization that depends on the commitment, talents, and spirit of volunteers who manage the planning, organization, and delivery of the administrative work of the Village. (Many other volunteers deliver the supportive services that the Village offers.) The working committees are as follows:

  • Communications: Promotes awareness and understanding of Carquinez Village.
  • Finance: Oversees sound fiscal management of Carquinez Village.
  • Governance: Ensures strong leadership and legal compliance of Carquinez Village.
  • Member Services:  Promotes services that produce high-quality member experiences.
  • Outreach: Conducts outreach with organizations and individuals to advance the Village.
  • Programs/Activities: Delivers programs and activities that connect and stimulate members.
  • Services and Volunteers: Attracts, trains, and supports volunteers to meet Village needs.
  • Virtual Office Services: Manages the technology-driven systems of Carquinez Village.

If you would like to learn about volunteering on a committee, call 707-297-2472. It’s a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with others to make a difference in people’s lives.

Carquinez Village wishes to express ongoing gratitude to our co-founders, Judie Donaldson and Lois Requist, whose vision, enthusiasm, and leadership for several years were vital to our Village becoming a reality in April of 2016

Click here to email us at: or call us at 707.297.2472

Susan Neuhuas photo

Susan Neuhaus, President
Susan Neuhaus, who is a nurse by training, spent over 30 years in healthcare management and leadership, primarily with Kaiser. Her roles included nursing administration, working to advance healthcare policy, and serving as a Continuing Care Leader with oversight for four medical centers. A key to Susan’s success is her passion for learning and change. Despite her workplace demands, she found time to walk three marathons––in Chicago, Alaska, and Hawaii––and complete innumerable half-marathons. Her volunteer service includes commitments to Sustainable Solano, Benicia Public Library, League of Women Voters, AAUW and Carquinez Village. She also finds time to provide tax preparation assistance and Medicare counseling. Susan and her husband, Mark, moved to Benicia in 2012.

Helen Hughes, Vice President
Helen Hughes has had a rich experience living and learning around the world. She lived and taught English in Australia, India, and Spain. She holds a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate. In India, Helen established a preschool for children of ex-pats. When she returned to the United States, she operated an Airbnb.

Diane Choquette photo Diane Choquette, Secretary
Since retiring from a career as a librarian in academic and public libraries, Diane Choquette has enjoyed a variety of activities involving community service. Working with Carquinez Village since its inception has been most rewarding to her. She helps recruit and train the volunteers and is thrilled to see how much our volunteers do for older adults in our community. She loves being part of such a committed and caring group of volunteers cooperatively working to bring joy and comfort to the lives of others.
Gerald Forcier photo

Gerry Forcier, Treasurer and Director
Gerry worked as the executive director of The Arc-Solano, an organization that serves people with developmental/intellectual disabilities, for thirty-nine years. During this time, he was also an active volunteer with a number of organizations. Gerry was a board member of the Affordable Housing Affiliation in Benicia, serving Housing Coalition (NBHC), also in the position of Treasurer. (NBHC serves people with developmental/intellectual disabilities by accessing affordable housing in the Napa, Sonoma and Solano county catchment area.) Additionally, Gerry served as the financial secretary of the church council of Benicia’s Community Congregational Church.

Linda Chandler photo Linda Chandler, Outreach Director
Linda Chandler began her career as an educator following completion of her degree and credentialing at UC Irvine. She holds an MBA from JFK University and provided consulting for the Small Business Centers (SBDC) in Contra Costa and Solano counties while also teaching as an adjunct professor for Golden Gate University, Saint Mary’s and the California Maritime Academy. Employed by Contra Costa County, she served as a strategic planner for Contra Costa’s Workforce Investment Board, she headed up development of EASTBAY Works, a partnership that services all the East Bay. Linda spearheaded design and technology delivery linkage for fourteen centers, acknowledged for national innovation. She led aggressive grant development, and expanded partnerships with industry resulting in millions of new dollars targeted retrain youth and adults. Her present interest is building partnerships and ongoing support for the goals of Carquinez Village.
Jeanne Elkdahl photo Jeanne Ekdahl, Virtual Village Director
Jeanne Ekdahl taught critical thinking and writing at CSU East Bay and served as Director of Testing and the University Writing Assessment Program. In addition, she developed a mentoring program for graduate students and worked with the Online Teaching and Learning Program.  She was on the Board of the Contra Costa County Office of Education and worked with local high schools to develop articulation agreements with colleges. Jeanne also taught business college and was a management trainer and volunteer coordinator for Planned Parenthood. Currently, she serves on the board of Families in Transition of Benicia.
Lars Ekdahl photo

Lars Ekdahl, Governance Director
Lars Ekdahl taught advanced U.S. History and other social studies classes in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District for 38 years. During his last ten years, he team-taught with an English teacher to incorporate history with writing and literature. He was the chief negotiation chair for the teacher association, a delegate to CTA and NEA conventions, and holder of other leadership roles. Lars is a hospice volunteer, treasurer of Benicia Sangha, and founder of Benicia Yacht Club. He has pursued interests in mountaineering, sailing/racing, traveling and home exchanges, RVing, and learning about people and why they do what they do!

Cynthia Hellmuth

Cynthia Hellmuth, Program Director
A University in San Francisco R.N. in Nursing degree formed the foundation for a 40-year career for Cynthia Hellmuth. Cynthia began as a Labor and Delivery nurse, moved on to Newborn and Nursery nursing, and finally shifted into increasingly responsible management positions. Cynthia worked in both public and private hospitals in three counties: San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Solano.  She ended her career in 2016 at Contra Costa Medical Center in Martinez.

Janice Manger photo

Janice Magner, Member Services Director
Janice Magner is a woman who knew what she wanted at an early age.  She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University and two graduate degrees­, one in Psychology and another in Transpersonal Psychology, from John F. Kennedy University. She obtained her credential in Marriage and Family Therapy in 1986, has had a private practice since that time, and has served as a part-time counselor at Contra Costa Medical Center. Janice continues to lead a women’s group that has been meeting for 43 years.  In her spare time, she is an Arabic drummer.


Kathy Monroe Photo Kathy Monroe, Volunteer, and Services Co-Director
Kathy Monroe is a native New Englander who moved to Benicia after 30 years in New Jersey. She decided in junior high school that she wanted a career understanding and helping others, and that shaped her educational decisions to get a B.A. in Social Psychology from Boston University, a M.Ed. in Counseling from Harvard, and a M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work from Rutgers University. Although she worked with all age groups in a number of mental health settings, her two specialties were teenagers and older adults, whom she finds have a lot in common. Since retiring as a clinical therapist from Carrier Foundation in New Jersey, she keeps busy mentoring girls at Liberty High, serving on the Board at her church, where she is active in the Bell Choir and Mission Outreach, volunteering and playing at Benicia Yacht Club, walking her dog all over town, and writing poetry, for which she has won several prizes. She is continuously impressed by the sense of mission and the positive attitudes of both our members and volunteers.
Judith Donaldson photo

Judie Donaldson, Founder, and Past President
Judie Donaldson spent her career as an academic, trainer, and nonprofit leader. She taught and directed undergraduate and graduate programs at New York University, the University of San Francisco, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has established and directed a women’s program for returning adults, a graduate program for nonprofit managers, and an educational program for grant-makers and philanthropists. She has served on innumerable boards, was executive director of two organizations, and was a member of a team that started a Women’s Foundation. She is the recipient of Pittsburgh, PA’s Athena Award for Women’s Leadership. Judie has lived in Benicia since 2009.