Cupid Alexander is the reigning Dancing with the Stars Portland champion. He and Jessi Aillon, his professional dance partner from Fred Astaire Dance Studio, won the judges’ approval at the 2016 gala. Check out the video of their performance here.
Cupid has a deep history in the Portland area’s housing organizations. He is currently a Housing Policy Analyst for Portland Housing Bureau and the Vice President of Community Development for National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Cascade Chapter as well as serving as Secretary of the Pacific Northwest Regional Chapter. He serves as the Vice President of the Urban League’s Young Professionals, and is currently a board member of the ReBuilding Center. Prior to working for the Portland Housing Bureau, Cupid worked for the Washington County Department of Housing Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Cupid is a proud graduate of Wilson High School and attended Western Oregon University, Fisk University, and Warner Pacific College were he was a collegiate basketball player and earned a Business degree. He additionally attended Portland State University where he earned both a graduate degree in Real Estate Development, and a Masters in Public Administration.
A resident of the Northwest region for over 30 years, Nancy Hales leads Portland State University’s program First Stop Portland. As a transit user, farmer’s market patron, neighborhood volunteer, and citizen activist, Nancy lives one of Portland’s many stories. When not at work she and her family are either biking the Springwater Corridor or sailing the Columbia River.
A New Jersey native, Hales began her professional career in Yakima, WA. She worked as a grassroots community organizer for Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTA, addressing neighborhood and school issues. She moved to rural Carson, WA in the early 1980’s to develop a youth employment program for the Forest Service. She served as a founding member of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, adopting the country’s first ever National Scenic Area Management Plan. Hales’s efforts as a Commissioner focused on balancing resource protections with local economic vitality. She was the President/CEO of a major philanthropic foundation, the Community Foundation for SW Washington for over 15 years, developing community-based grant programs to strengthen neighborhoods and build community infrastructure. These initiatives became models shared across the country. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Vermont, and a Masters in Public Administration, with honors, from Lewis & Clark College.
Guests who attended the 2013 PCRI Gala will also remember the dramatic tango Nancy Hales and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales performed to open the evening. We’re thrilled to have Nancy Hales return for 2015 as a Gala Judge.
As Director of Public Affairs for Northwest Health Foundation, Jesse leads the Foundation’s work in communications, policy, government relations and partnership development.
Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Jesse served as Executive Director of Proud Ground, a nonprofit organization helping low-income families purchase their first home, from 2008 to 2013. Previously, Jesse served as Senior Policy Director of Housing, Culture and Planning for then-Commissioner, and former Portland Mayor Sam Adams. Prior to that, Jesse worked in public affairs at Metro. Jesse serves on the board of directors of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, National Community Land Trust Network, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Community Advisory Board and JustPortland. He is also a member of the Portland Housing Advisory Commission. Jesse moved from Denver, Colorado to Portland in 1999 to attend Lewis & Clark College where he completed his undergraduate studies, magna cum laude, in communications.
Jesse is a graduate of Neighborhood Partnerships’ Future Leaders Initiative, a Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and recognized by Portland Business Journal as a top 40 under 40 and Portland Monthly as a Rising Star. He is a 2014 cohort member of the African American Leadership Academy.
Jesse and his partner live in North Portland with a cat and 50,000 honeybees.
Karin Edwards, Ed.D., a native of the Bronx, New York, is Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus President. She’s worked at public and private four-year colleges and universities, as well as two-year community colleges. Karin earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Albany and her Doctorate from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Most recently, Karin served as the Chief Student Affairs Officer at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut where she was actively engaged in the Southeastern Connecticut community. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the William W. Backus Hospital, served as treasurer for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund, a mentor for the Southeastern Connecticut Debutante Program, active on the education committee of the Norwich Branch of the NAACP and a deaconess at Shiloh Baptist Church New London.
Karin is married to Raymond Edwards. Together, they have two adult children and a 6 -year old granddaughter. Karin and Ray moved to Portland in July 2014 and reside in the Bridgeton area of North Portland. She is delighted to attend and judge her first Dancing with the Stars gala.