Nichole Maher

Nichole Maher


Tlingit Tribe of Southeast Alaska, President/CEO of Northwest Health Foundation. Serves on governing boards for JustPortland, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, National Comcast/NBC Joint Council Board, Oregon Education Investment Board, Oregon Historical Society Levy Oversight committee as co-chair.

Nichole Maher joined Northwest Health Foundation as president and CEO in August 2012.  Nichole is the youngest President of a major foundation in the Northwest and has led the organization through a significant transformation.  Northwest Health Foundation has become a champion of advocacy, policy, and supporting vulnerable populations to be the leaders in creating healthy families and communities.  Under Nichole’s leadership as a trustee and later as the President- Northwest Health Foundation is proud to have a majority minority board, staff, and to give over 70% of its resources to communities of color.  Northwest Health Foundation has become a leader in equity nationally and a model for how a foundation can leverage all of their resources beyond grant making to influence long term positive health outcomes.

Previously, she served as the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon for over 11 years.  Under her leadership, the NAYA Family Center grew from a staff of five and a budget of $200,000 to over 100 employees and a $10 million annual budget. In 2010, NAYA served over 5,000 families as a wrap-around community service organization offering culturally specific education programs, a fully accredited high school, financial literacy and micro enterprise development, social services, domestic violence prevention and response programs, housing, and comprehensive poverty reduction programs. Under Nichole Maher’s leadership NAYA Family Center is widely recognized as one of the most effective and innovative wrap around family service models in the United States. 

Nichole holds a Masters in Public Health from the Mark Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and two Bachelors of Science, one in Public Health and one in American Indian Studies from Oregon State University. In 1999, she completed a fellowship at Harvard Medical School, as well as the Robert Wood Johnson Minority Medical Education program at Yale Medical School in 1998. She has received numerous leadership and industry honors, including Oregon’s 50 most powerful people, Oregon’s top 40 under 40, Portland’s 50 most influential people, as well Oregon Women of Distinction award. Some of her most proud accomplishments include co-founding the coalition of communities of color- one of the most powerful advocacy groups in the state of Oregon and regionally, and co-founding the National Urban Indian family Coalition a group representing over half of the Native Americans living in the Unities States today. Nichole is widely published, and her work has been influential in the fields of philanthropy, equity, and education. 

She serves on a number of governing boards, including Portland City Club, the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, the National Comcast/NBC Joint Council Board, Northwest Indian College Foundation Board, the Oregon Education Investment Board, The Future of Public Health Task Force, American Indian Alaska Native Oregon Education State Plan Advisory Panel, and the Oregon Historical Society Levy Oversight committee, where she serves as co-chair.

Born in Ketchikan, Alaska, Nichole attended school on the Siletz Indian Reservation in Oregon and is a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Southeast Alaska. She is a proud mother of three young children.