When Carol Brice talks about her lifelong commitment to the health and wellbeing of the children of Alaska, her effusive love of people is evident in every anecdote; and there are many. As she talks about her experiences, her blue eyes flash, and her guileless devotion to families she’s met along the way belies her vast understanding of the sociopolitical workings of a frontier town turned third largest city in Alaska. She expresses nearly giddy disbelief that a program started in her basement has blossomed into several expansive agencies that serve families and children throughout the Interior and beyond.
A public health nurse who came to Alaska “for the adventure,” Mrs. Brice found her calling in public service, and became a champion for children. She earned her Master’s Degree in counseling and education, and was a founding member of numerous organizations, including the Fairbanks Child Protection Task Force, Inc. and the Alaska Children’s Trust. Carol is quick to credit the contributions of countless other folks who also worked tirelessly to help establish what are now the Resource Center for Parents and Children, Head Start, and The Carol H. Brice Family Center.
The Carol H. Brice Family Center, or CBFC, was created from Carol’s own experiences trying to launch and maintain non-profit agencies in Fairbanks that “bring the most needed services to a central location where families could get to them.” She remembers lean days, when the operating budget covered the lights and heat, and not much else. In that spirit, the CBFC houses agencies at below-market cost to alleviate the stresses of building operation and maintenance, so organizations can concentrate on their missions to help families and children in the Fairbanks area.
The modern incarnation of the Carol H. Brice Family Center is a far cry from the days when the women visiting from rural areas used to cut parka patterns from one end of her basement floor to the other, but the valuable parenting lessons Carol learned from those wise women is an indelible part of her work. Those families and friendships formed the foundation of Carol’s vision, which remains clearly focused on the mission of the CBFC even today: “All I had to do was open the door,” she says, “they just needed a warm place to work, and they made such beautiful things.”
Pam Wentz joined the Board September, 2010. She is a Vice President and Branch Manager at First National Bank Alaska, where she has been employed for over thirty years. Pam is also a member of the Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary Club and serves on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Investment Advisory Committee. She has previously served as treasurer for Lathrop High School Baseball, Little League Baseball and American Legion Baseball teams.
Ben Roth has been on the CBFC Board of Directors since 2008. He holds degrees in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is a principal in SBS Retirement Consultants, LLC. Ben is very active in the community, with a particular interest in whole family health and wellness. To that end, he is a member of the UAF alumni Hockey Association, a founding member and current President of Hockey Club Fairbanks, and serves as a Foundation Health Partners trustee. In his spare time, Ben likes to spend time with his family and friends, travel, and enjoy the Alaskan outdoors.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education from Iowa State University, Jim Baird taught vocational auto mechanics in Fairbanks area schools for 17 years. In 2001 he founded Industrial Art’s Learning Labs, Inc., (named for a favorite shop teacher he had growing up) to offer hands on training to a broader spectrum of students. He is also involved in the arts in Fairbanks, building sets for the North Star Ballet, FLOT, and Opera Fairbanks. He joined the Board in August 2014.
Patty Mongold joined the Board in the spring of 2009. She is currently the President and CEO of Mt. McKinley Bank, where she has been employed since 1976. She is a member of Sunrisers Rotary Club, the City of Fairbanks Permanent Fund Committee and the Fairbanks Pioneers Home Foundation. She is a past co-chair of the Fairbanks United Way campaign.
Mr. Henderson has served on the board in excess of 15 years and previously held the position of Treasurer and President. Mr. Henderson comes from a financial services background having worked in the banking industry for 10 years. He moved to construction and business management for the Brice Companies in 2001 and is currently Chief Financial Officer of Brice Companies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Calista Corporation.
Monte Lynn Jordan has been a board member since February of 2002. A retired State of Alaska, Department of Labor, Labor Standards and Safety, Wage and Hour Investigator, she has occasionally worked as a consultant for local attorneys regarding Alaska Wage and Hour Law. Monte has been a member of Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary over 27 years. Other past and/or present volunteer community affiliations include: FNSB Animal Control Commission; FNSB Salaries and Emollients Commission; North Star Youth Mediation Corps; Alaska State/Fairbanks Small Claims Court Mediator; Equinox Marathon Committee; Running Club North Volunteer; Mush for Kids; Hospice of Tanana Valley Volunteer; Gals Read, and Unitarian Universalist Fairbanks Fellowship - Conflict Management Team, and she is the 2017 recipient of the Alaska Children’s Trust “Champion for Kids” award. Monte is not a “snowbird” but she enjoys the warm hearts of Fairbanks more the below zero winters.
Jim Cerney joined the Carol H. Brice Family Center Board of Directors in September of 2019. Jim’s first but very short career was teaching high school chemistry and physics. He arrived at Eielson AFB after graduating from the University of Iowa School of Dentistry and, after 2 years of military service, started private dental practice in 1976 and maintained his own practice from 1978-2010. Professional associations include the American Dental Association, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Academy of General Dentistry and the International College of Dentists. He served as the dental advisor for Denali Center for 26 years and chaired committees each time the Alaska Mission of Mercy was in Fairbanks.
Jim’s community activities still include National Ski Patrol, Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor, Rotary International, volunteering with Alaskans Aging at Home, and limited flight instruction. Past involvements included Catholic Schools PTA copresident, Interior Youth Softball assistant coach, US Ski Association race official, Boy Scout advisor, and American Red Cross Instructor.
Mary Cerney joined the Carol H. Brice Family Center Board of Directors in September of 2019. Mary migrated to Alaska after earning a Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene at the University of Iowa and working a year in Colorado. Professional affiliations have included membership and officer positions in local and state components and as a three term delegate to the American Dental Hygienists Association, state liaison for the ADHA Institute of Oral Health, 2 terms on the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners, over 10 years on the Western Regional Examining Board, and as a committee lead for the two Alaska Mission of Mercy events held in Fairbanks. Other affiliations are Call to Action, PTA and school booster club officer positions, US Ski Association, assistant Girl Scout troop leader, and National Ski Patrol. She and her husband have hosted several exchange students.
Mary enjoys multiple outdoor activities- especially those including family, friends, and most importantly grandchildren- and a modest dose of travel.
Beth Grey joined the Carol H. Brice Family Center Board of Directors in June of 2021 of 2021. A lifelong Alaskan, Beth is a UAF alum, and has enjoyed careers in the visitor industry, public education, and most recently the non-profit sector.
Karl Greer originally came to Alaska in 1986 as the manager for Kinko’s. After a 20-year career in printing and travel that took him to the far reaches of the globe, he joined the Carol H. Brice Family Center in 2003. Karl has a passion for travel and cultivating lasting friendships.