Our Board

Jessica Sandgren
Board President
City of Thornton Council Mayor Pro Tem

Jessica Sandgren is a Colorado native who has lived in Thornton for more than twenty years. She is a former K-12 science teacher and small business owner and is currently employed with Lumen Technologies working on broadband expansion. Jessica has been a strong advocate for issues involving opioid addiction, training programs and resources for individuals coming out of jail, homelessness, and mental health, as well as ensuring health care services are available to children. She has worked hard to create and maintain strong partnerships throughout the region to invest in opportunities that increase options in housing affordability, transportation, and mobility. Jessica has always believed in supporting her community and was elected to Thornton City Council in 2017, where she currently serves as the Mayor Pro Tem. In addition to City Council, she serves on several non-profit boards and committees, including, Maiker Housing Partners, the Colorado Attorney General’s Substance Abuse Trend & Response Task Force, Smart Commute, the Northglenn-Thornton Rotary Club, and the Thornton Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

William Patterson
Board Secretary
Via Mobility Services, CFO

Bill Patterson is the CFO of Via Mobility Services, a 40-year-old nonprofit transportation agency serving the elderly, people with disabilities, and others with limited mobility options. The agency is based in Boulder and provides services throughout the Denver metro region. Prior to working at Via, Bill spent over 30 years as an owner and operator of successful manufacturing and distribution businesses. His nonprofit experience also includes many years on the Board of the Colorado Chautauqua Association, a National Historic Landmark. Bill believes financial sustainability is critical for nonprofits to fulfill their long-term mission.

Dale Mingilton
Board Treasurer
Executive Director, Adams 14 Education Foundation

A native of Denver, Dale previously served as the President/CEO of the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the BBB Foundation’s Executive Director.  Prior to the BBB, Dale enjoyed a successful career of nearly 23 years at FirstBank Holding Company. Since 1985, Dale has served on advisory committees and boards for more than 50 philanthropic, community-oriented organizations including multiple Chambers of Commerce, educational institutions, Mile High United Way, the Aurora Public Schools Bond Accountability Committee, and Hispanic Annual Salute. Dale completed the Pacific Coast Banking School graduate banking program at the University of Washington and the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He and his wife Teri have two children: Addison and Ticen.


Akshay Pradhan, JD, LLM
The Law Firm of Pradhan & Backus, Partner

Akshay is a Colorado-licensed attorney with a Master of Laws in taxation.  Akshay has been in legal practice for over 12 years, providing guidance in a multitude of areas including the Fortune 500, small to medium sized businesses, families, religious organizations, and non-profit organizations.  In addition to sitting on the board of directors for Kids First Health Care, Akshay is on the board of directors for ICON and Chief Operations Officer of Join the Journey, organizations that assist the indigent in areas such as education, entrepreneurship, and finance.

Dr. Tonia Lopez
Director, Professional Learning Jeffco Public Schools

Dr. Tonia Lopez is an accomplished educator who has spent her career serving school districts throughout the Denver Metropolitan area. She is energized by connecting ideas and people. Her desire is to solve the biggest issues in our communities by empowering all members of the community. Dr. Lopez grew up in Commerce City and is a Colorado Native. She earned her BA in secondary education and MAE in Linguistically Diverse Learners from Regis University. She earned her PhD from Colorado State University; her research focused on the levers needed in schools to support Teacher Leadership in turn-around schools.

She has served as an English Language Development teacher, high school instructional coach, teacher leader coordinator, middle school leader, and as the Director of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE). While the Director of (CLDE), she worked with the Office for Civil Rights to craft a language plan that honored the culture and values of the community and resulted in the district launching a two-way dual language program. She currently serves as Director of Professional Learning in Jeffco Public Schools.

Dr. Lopez is married and has three children. Her family also includes 2 fainting goats, squints and smalls, and a flock of chickens that keeps growing.

Alexander Rosado
Business & Revenue Development

Former Revenue Development Director for the Denver Metro and the Metro North chambers, Alex currently focuses his energies consulting nonprofits on membership retention, sales, strategic partnerships, non-dues revenue strategies, capital campaigns, direct budget line reduction opportunities, corporate social responsibility, and process efficiency improvement. Alex is a Colorado native with over 25 years of sales and marketing experience with a deep passion for his community. He attended Metro State College of Denver and graduated with BS degrees in Urban Sociology and Political Science.


Julie Schilz BSN, MBA
Senior Director, Clinical & Quality Partners Primary Care Development Corporation

Julie Schilz holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Master of Business Administration from Regis University. Julie is a Senior Director at Primary Care Development Corporation. She focuses on technical assistance in the areas of Health Care strategy, Care Delivery Transformation and Community engagement and Integrated Care. Julie held several executive leadership roles with community, provider and payer organizations developing and implementing strategy focused on equity, value, delivery system reform and primary care transformation. Julie has dedicated her career to working on innovative solutions within health care and communities that are person and family centered with a focus on equity. She currently serves as an Executive Member Liaison for Primary Care Collaborative, on the Advisory Board of The Center for Professionalism and the Board of Colorado Center for Primary Care Innovation.

Gabriela Chavez
Chair of Rocky Mountain Partnership’s Civic Influencers

Gabriela Chavez currently serves as Chair of Rocky Mountain Partnership’s Civic Influencers. Civic Influencers are young people who address challenges that directly impact them alongside decision-makers and practitioners, and drive education and awareness efforts across the community. Through this role, she was an instrumental part of helping 27J Schools, her alma mater, secure a $17.7+ million dollar in additional funding in 2022, and now serves on the Mill Levy Oversight Committee for these funds.

Gabriela was born and raised in Colorado, and attended 27J Schools from first grade through her senior year of high school. She is a proud Latina who is in her third year at the University of Denver studying Sociology and Languages, Literatures, and Culture with a concentration in Italian. She is bilingual in Spanish and currently learning Italian as her third language.

Gabriela is very passionate about advocating for others and herself, and making a difference wherever and wherever she can. This is illuminated by her leadership within RMP’s Civic Influencer network and through her engagement on the Board of Directors for Kids First Health Care.

Matt Backus, JD, LLM
Corporate Counsel at Authentix

Matt is the father of 7 children and has a passion for helping youth find their way in life including helping them gain access to health care. Having 2 children of his own with special needs that require many doctor visits and ample medical care, he understands first-hand the need for children to have access to health care so that they can be healthy and thrive in their childhood. Matt has also spent the last 20-plus years serving youth in his community in various capacities to help them develop life skills and to become strong future members of their communities when they become adults.

As a professional, Matt is a corporate attorney and holds an LL.M. in taxation. He has more than 12 years of experience helping large and small companies with corporate legal and tax needs. As a member of the board, he is excited to be able combine his professional experience and expertise and his passion to help children to further the mission of Kids First Health Care to help young people gain access to health care.


Lori Young-Hayes
Owner, Principal Consultant Cultivate Consulting Group

Lori Young is a professional speaker, Certified Enneagram and Working Genius team training facilitator. She received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Colorado State University. Lori has an extensive background working with people; from sitting with dying patients and their families in hospice care to counseling women who left abusive relationships to starting a nonprofit providing home furnishings for women finding independence from domestic violence. Lori has had a front-row seat to how people react in crisis, how they interact in relationships and how they communicate when life is hard. She uses her experience and expertise to facilitate team training using practical tools and advice for improving their relationships and communication.

Lori has lived in Commerce City for over 19 years where she has been involved in many local organizations. She worked for Community Uplift Partnership as the Development Director, opening the Reunion Coffee House in 2018. During her time with CUP, she attended the inaugural Leadership Commerce City class nine years ago. She was nominated to be class president and subsequently invited to the Leadership Commerce City planning committee. In 2020, Lori was invited to the Adams 14 Education Foundation board of directors and currently serves as the board president.

If you are interested in becoming a Board member, please contact Executive Director Whitney Gustin Connor at wconnor@kidsfirstco.org.