Board consists of family descendants and two non-family member Galveston, Texas residents. Board members are elected to serve a three year term and are eligible to serve an additional term of five years.
Hetta (Peaches) Towler Kempner grew up in and lives in Galveston. A graduate of Ball High School she received her B A from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served for many years as a Life board member of the Fund.
Volunteering first at St. Mary’s Hospital, Peaches has a sixty year career as a volunteer on the island. She has mopped floors, taught CPR, served on many boards and committees, organized film festivals, raised funds, and asked for blood (donations.). Active in the community, she has been vocal about local issues and elections. Peaches is a co-founder of the Women’s Resource and Crisis Center and the Galveston Arts Center. Nationally, she served on the boards of the American Social Health Association and the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.
She has been honored to receive recognition from the Jefferson Awards and has been named a Steel Oleander.
San Antonio, Texas
Ceci moved to San Antonio eight years ago after living in Houston for more than twenty years. She grew up in Savannah, Georgia, but calls both Savannah and Houston home. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BS in Human Development and received a Masters from Rice University to teach Art.
Ceci is on the board of Planned Parenthood South Texas, serving on the Public Affairs Committee, acting as Board Development Chair and co-chairing the annual luncheon. She is currently on the board of Artpace, a local, regional and international residency program that supports artists and curators worldwide. She also serves as Advisor and Director for Kids 4 Kids With Cancer, a charitable foundation founded by her two sons that provides scholarships for childhood cancer survivors. She has served as a director for the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund since 2013.
Armin Cantini grew up in Galveston, Texas and lives on the island with his wife, Dr. Gail Ayers Cantini. He is retired from banking as Vice President and Trust officer at U.S. Trust and is a current member of the Galveston College Board of Regents, current board chairman of the Emerging Leaders Endowment of the Texas Annual Conference, United Methodist Church, member of the Community and Technical Leadership Council for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, member of the UTMB President’s Cabinet and Sealy Society, and current board member of Galveston County Food Bank. He has also served as Board Chairman for the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Galveston College Board of Regents, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston Historical Foundation, Rotary Club of Galveston, United Way of Galveston, Prevent Blindness of the Gulf Coast, Galveston Chamber of Commerce, The Edgewater Methodist Retirement Community Board, The Grand 1894 Opera House, and Galveston Artillery Club. He has also served on the boards of The Moody Gardens, Inc., Galveston College Foundation Universal Access, and the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council. He is also a former board member of The Texas Lyceum, and is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and a recipient of the Christie Mitchell Beachcomber Award. He is also an avid blood donor with 171 equivalent lifetime donations.
Andrew Mytelka is originally from New York and has lived in Galveston, Texas for over 30 years. His legal practice involves mostly securities litigation and other complex litigation matters as both plaintiff and defense counsel. He obtained degrees from Grinnell College (B.A. Chemistry), Tulane University (J.D.) and Boston University (LLM Taxation). He is admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States as well as numerous other Federal courts.
Andrew was involved in the formation of the Offshore Energy Center and helped in the original acquisition of the Ocean Star Rig. He has also been involved with numerous charitable organizations as a board member and legal counsel. He served as President of the Galveston Independent School District for several years. Andrew was named to the Best Lawyers in America 2014-2018 in commercial litigation.
Emily is a Galveston BOI (Born on the Island). Emily loves Galveston and all that it has to offer including being one of her major influences for pursuing a career in social work. Emily graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with a Masters of Science in Social Work and has been practicing in the field ever since. She has worked for non profits such as Communities in Schools and United Way as well as for the state of Texas at the Health and Human Services Commission.
Emily lives in Austin with her husband Keith Bray and identical twin daughters. She is very excited to be a part of the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund board and looks forward to giving back to the community where she grew up.
Stephanie Thompson was born and raised in Galveston but has spent most of her adult life in Chicago and Colorado. She is an entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker and has always devoted time, energy and passion to nonprofit work serving on Boards and volunteering. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with her 12 year old son and works with a business accelerator for women entrepreneurs while volunteering with Social Venture Partners.
Robert L. K. Lynch is the past president of the Harris & Eliza Kempner Fund. He has been very involved in the Galveston community, having been president of the Galveston Arts Center, the Galveston Historical Foundation, and The Grand 1894 Opera House. He served on the Galveston City Council for six years along with being on the Galveston Arts Commission, Planning Commission, Galveston Parks Board, and Galveston Port Facilities Commission.
Dr. Sasser was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. She received her BA from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where she now resides.
She is involved in community service in Galveston, having served as president of Congregation B”nai Israel, past president of the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund, board member of the Sasser Family Foundation, and Chairman of the Galveston County Recovery Fund which raised and distributed over $3 million in private funds after Hurricane Ike hit the area in 2008.
Without previous experience in film making, she established Frieder Films in 2011 to make “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust”, a documentary film about her maternal grandfather and his family who rescued 1300 Jews from Nazi occupied territory by resettling them in the Philippines.