Meet Our People

Like you, we love the Black Hills. That is why we came to work for the Black Hills Area Community Foundation and serve on its Board. Our staff and Board of Directors is dedicated to making an impact in the Black Hills area.



A Black Hills native, Chris's journey began at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he earned a Mass Communications degree. His professional career started at The Daily Republic newspaper in Mitchell, SD, followed by a return to his roots in the Black Hills when he joined the Rapid City Journal in 2012. Rising through the ranks, Chris assumed the role of Editor in 2017 and later spearheaded the launch of the Black Hills Business magazine in collaboration with Elevate Rapid City in 2019.

After over a decade in journalism, Chris transitioned to philanthropy to make a profound impact on the community he holds dear. During his tenure at the Monument Health Foundation, he spearheaded a capital campaign for the expansion of the Cancer Care Institute and earned recognition as a Leadership South Dakota graduate. In 2021, Chris embraced a new role at the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, bringing with him a wealth of leadership experience, including graduating from Leadership South Dakota, the John T. Vucurevich Foundation Emerging Leaders Program, and obtaining an MBA from Dakota Wesleyan University.

Named CEO of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation in 2024, Chris now leads with a vision centered around securing a vibrant and prosperous future for the entire Black Hills area. Outside of his professional pursuits, Chris cherishes moments in the great outdoors with his wife and two children. They love for hiking, trail running, snow skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.

BARB KEENE, Operations Manager

Barb is a vital part of the BHACF team! As Operations Manager, she works closely with the CEO and oversees the internal and external daily operations for the Foundation. She brings over 20 years experience in banking and administration. Barb keeps our work moving forward with her attention to detail and thorough organization - all with high-energy and enthusiasm!

Barb moved to the beautiful Black Hills from Murdo, SD several years ago. She and her family love living here and being able to explore the outdoors!

CARRIE ROBLEY, Director of Community Impact

Carrie was born and raised in the Northern Black Hills and graduated from Lead High School.  After graduation she attended the University of South Dakota where she earned her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Drug and Alcohol Studies followed by a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling.

Carrie got her first job at the age of 10 where she was a pin setter in the bowling alley in the historic Homestake Opera House. During her undergraduate studies she was a Resident Assistant and came home each summer and worked at the YMCA summer camp in Lead. In between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Carrie worked for a year at the Springfield Correctional Facility. It was during her time working in corrections that she realized that she wanted to devote her time to working in the field of prevention to help young people get and stay on the right path.  During Graduate School she oversaw the USD Prevention Education Program where she was able to work with incoming undergraduate students on various life skills and prevention programming.

Carrie returned to the Black Hills to start her professional career. She started her work as a case manager for the Youth & Family Services Girls Incorporated program, helping at-risk girls get connected to health care and mental health services.  In 2006, she became the Director of Girls Incorporated were she had the opportunity to impact the lives of 1,000s of girls over the years by assisting them to become Strong, Smart and Bold for 13 years.


GREG LITTON, Director of Strategic Housing 

Greg was born in North Dakota and raised throughout the upper Midwest.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND and a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN.  He spent over 13 years in the Financial Services industry specializing in the areas of Trust and Estate Administration along with Private Wealth Management.  During his Financial Services career, he held several officer positions along with managing several bank Trust Divisions.  Before joining the BHACF team, for the prior two years, he was the President of the Rapid City market for SoDak Title, an Abstract, Title Insurance, and Closing company facilitating real estate transactions in the Black Hills region.

During the past 8 years he has also been an owner, investor, and employee of several closely held, privately owned, businesses including a brewery, real estate company, hotel, bar and restaurant.  When not working, he enjoys reading, attending concerts, working on and riding motorcycles.


ERIC ZIMMER, Director of Philanthropy

Eric Zimmer was born and raised in Rapid City, graduated from Black Hills State University, and earned his doctorate at the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the BHACF, he was a visiting professor at the University of Montana where he taught the history of the American West.

Before that, Eric spent six years at Vantage Point Historical Services, a Rapid City-based consulting firm, where he worked for donors like the Legler Benbough Foundation and global philanthropic organizations like the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

These experiences helped him understand the power of giving to enact transformative, positive change, and Zimmer brings those perspectives to help serve the Black Hills community.

Eric has also raised substantial funding to support community-led initiatives in the Black Hills and brings experience working with municipal, state, and tribal governments. His scholarship and work have earned numerous state and national awards

He serves on the Cultural Advisory Committee for the Sanford Underground Research Facility, is a former board member of the Journey Museum and Learning Center, and has been a longtime volunteer for the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands Project. 


NICOLE SCHLABACH, Operations and Communications Specialist

Nicole brings three years of experience in growth operations, including CRM management and email marketing, along with experience in journalism, SEO writing, and technical editing.

Nicole works closely with the Director of Operations on financial processes and CRM management and supports the staff with content creation.

When she isn't working, you'll find her reading a book or outdoors enjoying the Black Hills.


Board of Directors

2024 Board Officers

Terry Hermann, Chair

Elizabeth Zieglmeier, Vice-Chair

Kelly Buntrock, Treasurer

Steve Flanery, Secretary

Steve Helmers, Past Chair


2024 Board Members

Kassie McKie Shiffermiller

Joseph Lux

Dr. Roger Knutsen

Priscilla Romkema, PhD

Mike Tennyson

RC Scull 

Urla Marcus, EdD

Willie Hustead

Brad Benham

Richard Wahlstrom

Marie High Bear

Justin DiBona