Who We Are

Our Foundation is a broad-based organization, big in heart and community spirit, dedicated to serving the needs of the greater Venice community. Its Board of Directors is composed of representatives of Venice’s diverse culture working with respected individuals from beyond the Venice community, sharing a great concern for historical preservation in Venice.

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

Elayne Alexander: A Venice historian and author, she served on the board of Venice Historical Society for 18 years and Los Angeles Genealogical Society for a decade. Elayne held the presidency of each society.  She has written six books on Venice history and a soon-to-be published biography of Abbot Kinney, founder of Venice.

Grant Francis: A retired woodshop teacher from Venice High School, Grant worked on Venice High’s 100th Anniversary and the Myrna Loy statue restoration project. He heads our Red Car renovation and is our Board President.

Maxine Lerel: A 30+ year Venice Canals resident, Maxine, together with her husband, Murray, spearheaded the massive 10 year restoration of the remaining historic Venice Canals. It included, design, hearings & permitting with LA City Engineering Department, new sidewalks, bridges, lofflestein block banks, and dredged canal bottoms. Maxine is a past-president of the Friends of the Venice Library, the Venice Canals Foundation and Venice Canals Association.

Nadine Parkos: With a long record of Venice volunteerism, she has served on the boards of the Venice Neighborhood Council, the Venice Canals Association, Friends of the Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Library, the Venice Canals Foundation, and the Venice Historical Society.

Stephen Pouliot: A writer / producer of television specials, including The Oscars and political events. Stephen restored one of the oldest homes in Venice, The Venice of America House.  The home is now a National Landmark and a Los Angeles Historic Monument.  Stephen is our Board Vice President.

Daniel Samakow: The well known restauranteur of Venice’s own Danny’s Deli, James Beach and Canal Club. Daniel serves on the Board of the Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Venice Boardwalk Association. He is a Venice historic preservationist and spearheaded the re-creation of the Venice Sign.

Sarah Schacht: Sarah has been an educator for 4 decades. Together with her husband John, Sarah acquires, archives, and preserves unique collections of Venice artifacts for future generations. Sarah is our Board Secretary.

Paul Tank: a graphic designer, historian, and poet, Paul wrote a column and book on Venice history, entitled “Venice Firsts.” Paul designs many VHF publications. Together, Stephen Pouliot and Paul Tanck create unique Venice historical community calendars and postcards, which have become collectors’ items.

Todd von Hoffman: A specialist in event programming, he was a lead organizer of the Venice Centennial celebration and served as Project Manager for the Venice Sign Restoration Project. His volunteer work includes one of the summer’s top events—the Venice Community Barbecue in support of the Venice Fire Department.

NEWER BOARD MEMBERS

Nika Dunne: Nika loves Venice, history, movies, dogs, and her husband Martin Meunier with whom she works on stop motion animation films. She is originally from New York’s Greenwich Village and when she came to Venice finally felt at home again.  Nika is our Board Treasurer.

Marty Schatz: Marty is a semi-retired Humanities teacher who has lived in the Venice
area for 17 years and is very interested in early Venice history. He conducts historical bicycle tours of Santa Monica and Venice.

Kristina von Hoffmann: Kristina is a born-and-bred Venetian who spent her adolescence navigating the beach by longboard and beach cruiser. Now she is a nonprofit professional working at the nexus of communications and climate policy. In her free time, Kristina teaches Hatha and Vinyasa yoga on the Westside. She is excited to be giving back to the community that raised her, while helping inspire a love of Venice history across generations.

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

David Hertz: The longtime, award winning, Venice based Architect, history buff, and surfer. David’s creative and sustainable designs are nationally acclaimed. He is leading the design and construction of the entire Venice Heritage Museum campus. www.davidhertzfaia.com

HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS

Our Honorary Board consists of Representative Jane Harman, Member of Congress, 36th District; Representative Ted Lieu, Assembly member, 53rd District; Orson & Alley Mills Bean; Tony Bill; Ray Bradbury (d.2012); Roy & Carol Doumani; Frank Gehry; Robert Graham (d.2008); Huell Howser; The Kendrick Kinney Family; Harlan Lee; Fred Machado; Elly Nesis; Earl Newman; George Pryce, Grandson of Irving Tabor; and Tom Schnabel.

EMERITUS MEMBERS

Del Hunter-White: Del is an award-winning filmmaker and veteran actor who has lived in
Venice for 20 years, volunteering in various organizations which served at-risk youths.

Sri Kesava: Sri is a longtime resident of Venice, a musician of various genres including classical Indian music, a DJ, and a real estate agent.

Antonio Martinez Garcia: Antonio has worked in film costuming in Spain, Italy, and California for many years, specializing in period fabrics.

Bonnie Poon: With credentials in History, Art History, and Arts Administration, Bonnie has worked in museums for 15 years, including the Fowler, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Bard Graduate Center.

In addition to the VHF’s Board members, many other excited Venetians are volunteering their time, talents, and financial support to help realize this exciting project.