The Kidney TRUST


Annette Eros, President & CEO

Annette Eros is President & CEO of The Kidney TRUST.  The TRUST’s purpose is to increase awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs so that progression of chronic kidney disease (“CKD”) to kidney failure can be delayed or prevented.  The TRUST is also developing innovative solutions to address the critical unmet needs of people with CKD.

Annette Eros, President & CEO of The Kidney TRUST. Photo by Jason Doiy.

Annette Eros

Prior to joining The Kidney TRUST, Annette had an extensive non-profit consulting practice, assisting community organizations in strategic planning, governance, and development matters.  In this role she frequently provided leadership support to her clients.  For example, she served as interim executive director of Escondido Children’s Museum, as well as the first executive director of Miracle League, a nonprofit organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league.

Annette developed a broad range of nonprofit management expertise during her 14-year tenure as executive director at Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego (RMHCSD). Prior to her position at RMHC-SD, she was the account manager for McDonald’s public relations and RMHC-SD business at one of San Diego’s largest marketing and public relations firms. Before that Annette was the public relations director at the San Diego Historical Society and an account executive at two other top-rated, local public relations agencies.

Annette earned her master’s degree in leadership and nonprofit management at University of San Diego and graduated from San Diego State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. As a private pilot she has earned her single-engine, multi-engine and instrument ratings.

Gary D. Thorud, Ph.D., Director of Development

Dr. Gary Thorud, Director of Development, comes to The Kidney TRUST with 30 years of national and international executive nonprofit experience.

Gary Thorud

Gary’s career emphasizes creative development of innovative initiatives based upon the strength and mission of the organization.  Gary’s approach is grounded in the understanding of how best to engage donors, volunteers, and those who will benefit from the TRUST’s services. To meet the challenges he “thinks outside the box”.

Over the years Gary has worked in large organizations like the Christian Broadcasting Network where as Vice President of Development he was responsible for 400 staff and over one hundred million dollars in income, as well as for non-profit start-ups.  He has held leadership positions in a number of prominent organizations, including United Way International, Hospice Caring, Inc., The Parkinson’s Institute, Children’s HeartLink, CARE, World Mercy Fund, and Project Concern International.

In 2000, working with the State Department,  Gary helped form the Multilateral Middle East Initiative, an international nonprofit organization that developed programs in support of the Middle East peace process. There he worked with Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres and Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, whom Gary recruited to chair his international board of trustees.

Gary is devoted to caring for people. His own experience has given him valuable insight into the urgent need to expand awareness of chronic kidney disease and develop programs to aid people already on dialysis.

Renee Thierry-Jones, Finance Manager

Renee Thierry-Jones is Finance Manager of The Kidney TRUST.  In this role she manages all fiscal aspects of the TRUST’s programs. She also has oversight of the financial systems that support the Kidney TRUST’s mission, values and programs.

Renee brings over 15 years of leadership and experience in financial analysis, reporting, accounting and financial operations.  She has worked for many years in the finance divisions of various retail and consumer products companies serving in progressively responsible management roles. Prior to joining The Kidney TRUST, Renee served as Corporate Finance Manager at Gap, Inc.

Renee earned her B.S. in Managerial Economics from University of California, Davis.  She is a Leadership San Francisco alumna and active in the community, serving as President of the San Francisco chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and as a board member of the Ivy AKAdemy Foundation of San Francisco.

Gloria Upchurch, Program Manager – Chronic Kidney Disease Screening

As Program Manager for Chronic Kidney Disease Screening at The Kidney TRUST, Gloria Upchurch develops and maintains partnerships with potential and existing screening partners promoting CKD awareness and education. She manages The TRUST’s CKD rapid-screening program.

Gloria Upchurch

Prior to joining The TRUST, Gloria worked as a contractor designing and producing conferences, trade shows and special events that focus on client needs assessments.  She also served as program development director for A Global Connection where she managed team building and incentive events and was responsible for operational and fiscal oversight of the annual budget, and volunteers both domestic and international.  She was also responsible for executing strategic plans that resulted in the construction of the Olmoti Women and Children’s Clinic, The Kids With Camera program, and Clean Delivery Kits program.

Gloria has more than 11 years of national and international experience in various healthcare, hi-tech, and business settings as a project manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a communication emphasis from Metro State College in Denver, Colorado, and is a member of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.