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Announcing The 2022 Silicon Valley Community Foundation Fellows

By November 8, 2022November 17th, 2022No Comments


Rockwood is proud to announce our 2022 Art of Leadership for Silicon Valley Community Foundation grantee leaders! The week-long training will bring together 25 social change leaders working on a broad range of issues and represent a diverse set of backgrounds with the purpose of increasing the individual leadership development of these leaders and providing opportunities for relationship building for leaders working across Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.


Jennifer Adams | Environmental Justice Program Coordinator, Nuestra Casa

Jennifer is a Bay Area Native who is passionate about connecting diverse communities to conservation, stewardship, and outdoor recreation. She currently works for Nuestra Casa, a non-profit organization based out of East Palo Alto. At Nuestra Casa, She continues to amplify the community’s voices for local long-term sustainability, native land restoration, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Jennifer uses her Environmental Education background and California Naturalist training to engage the community on important environmental topics in a hands-on learning approach. She works closely with community partners and members to build strong, lasting, and mutual support to develop healthy and sustainable communities. Jennifer holds a bachelors of science degree in Ecology Evolutionary Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz. She enjoys spending time out in nature for her mental and physical health, with friends and her dogs.  


Ana Avendano | Executive Director, El Concilio of San Mateo County

Ana is a first generation Chicana/Latina born in the Bay Area and raised between borders. Her childhood experiences with her grandmother in Michoacán, Mexico, not only shaped her identity but her everyday work as a community leader, activist and mama scholar. Ana has worked both in the public and non-profit sector with youth and community development programs in leadership, advocacy, and cultural awareness. Ana is the new Executive Director for El Concilio of San Mateo County. She is excited to continue working directly with the community to address the needs of our most underserved and vulnerable populations. Her community leadership includes serving in a steering committee for New Voices for Youth, seating in an Art Advisory Board for the Chan Zuckerberg Community Space, and organizing an annual Latinx Youth Conference


Monica Berumen | Program associate, Healthier Kids Foundation

Monica is a program associate at Healthier Kids Foundation. She enjoys working alongside her colleagues in helping educate families in Santa Clara County on the importance of healthy habits. Monica loves working with, and giving back to, the community she grew up in. She is a graduate from San Jose State University where she earned a B.A. in political science, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in public administration at San Jose State. When she is not working or studying, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as trying new foods!



Allison Book-Arango | Director of Grants, Partnerships, & Operations, Santa Clara County Office of Education

Allison is committed to student success with a demonstrated history working in the education sector. She currently is the Director of Grants, Partnerships, & Operations at Santa Clara County Office of Education, overseeing a department tasked with fund development, stakeholder engagement, and strategic operations. For almost two decades, Allison has worked in the private, public, and philanthropic sectors, providing strategic input in $8M to $200M dollar organizations. She currently serves as Board Secretary of The Chrysalis Initiative, a nonprofit counteracting breast cancer disparities and breast health inequities. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and Spanish with a minor in Anthropology from Eastern University and an M.P.A. from University of Pennsylvania. Allison grew up internationally, spending her formative years in Bogotá, Colombia; she is bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her lively family. 


Sonia Escobedo | Food Recovery Program Coordinator, Nuestra Casa

Sonia is an outgoing, energetic individual always seeking to utilize her exceptional communication and technical skills to support her organization’s mission. By making positive contributions towards its success.  As Nuestra Casas Food Recovery Program Coordinator, Her focus is on reducing food insecurity and waste in East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks. She oversees the boots on the ground to run a biweekly Food Distribution program that helps 1,000s of community members by rescuing 20,000 pounds of food from local landfills. Sonia is looking to continue her career by playing a role in assisting underserved communities in East Palo Alto where she was also raised. Being raised in a low income household has helped understand her community and their needs.  In her free time, Sonia loves spending time with her family.


Raul L. Garcia Director of Development | Director of Development, Pie Ranch

Since 2005, Raul has focused on educational, environmental, and economic issues impacting the well-being and future of society. Therefore, Raul has chosen to work towards creating positive social impact throughout his nonprofit career. For nearly 9 years, Raul served youth as the Community Partnerships Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston. Raul has always been involved with nonprofits, education, policy, government, and corporations in creating beneficial partnerships to advance social change and equity. As of June 1, 2020, Raul became Pie Ranch’s Director of Development. He directs Pie Ranch’s fundraising efforts and strategies to fulfill capital campaign goals and enhance the organization’s food education and farming programs. Some of Raul’s accomplishments are achieving over 2,000 volunteer mentors for children wanting a positive influence, contributing to over $8 million dollars in benefiting at-risk children, and partnering with over 75 corporations and organizations to do social good.


Rodrigo García | Co Founder and Director of Colectivo Acción Latina de Ambiente

Rodrigo is a theater artist, educator, and activist originally from Mexico City. He combines his passion for theater arts and his desire to help reduce racial and health disparities among communities of color, particularly the Latinx community. His work is informed by el conocimiento compartido, the shared knowledge that emanates from the community’s creative wealth. His participatory approach aims to empower individuals so they can achieve self-sufficiency and change the narratives that have been created for them by the dominant culture, and transform them into something more powerful and more dignifying. He is also the Artistic Director of Teatro Visión, a 38 years old Chicanx/Latinx theater company in San Jose, and works during the day as a Program Analyst for the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.


Darcie Green | Executive Director, Latinas Contra Cancer

Darcie is the Executive Director of Latinas Contra Cancer (LCC) and brings with her 20 years of community activism and public policy experience. Latinas Contra Cancer works to ensure just and equitable access to health and healthcare for the Latino community around issues of cancer. While working for a nonprofit health insurance and hospital system, Darcie led local efforts on health policy, often bringing together unlikely allies and resources in order to support improved health outcomes for uninsured or underinsured populations. Prior to entering the nonprofit and healthcare sectors, Darcie worked as a field representative in the CA State Legislature. Darcie served four years in appointed in public office and six years in elected public office serving on her local school board, County Board of Education, and County Commission on the Status of Women. Darcie currently serves as Chair of the Santa Clara County Race and Health Disparities Board.


Julie Hutcheson | Director of Impact, Green Foothills

Julie is the Director of Impact at Green Foothills leading the evaluation of the organization’s programs and systems to ensure alignment with strategic objectives as well as providing guidance and leadership to the marketing staff. During her more than ten years at Green Foothills, she has been committed to protecting natural landscapes for local climate resilience, championing community engagement, and supporting the growth of emerging community leaders. Julie’s deep interest in preserving farmland resulted in her co-authoring two publications on agriculture in the Santa Clara Valley and advocating for numerous programs and policies that support a more robust and equitable food system. Serving on the Friends of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency, Julie helps oversee the Agency’s endowment to manage endangered species habitats in perpetuity. Julie holds an M.A. in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Virginia. She enjoys traveling, art, hiking, and peaceful moments with her husband.


Lovepreet Kaur | Operations Director, Valley Verde

Lovepreet is the Interim Executive Director of Valley Verde, a non-profit organization focused on increasing food access for underserved communities. She is responsible for overseeing the operations and fundraising. She is passionate about helping others, encouraging everyone to learn to grow their own food, promoting equity, food justice and sustainability. Lovepreet enjoys learning and being outdoors.



Annabel Leyva, MAT | Program Director, San Jose Bridge Communities

Annabel is San Jose Bridge Communities’s Program Director. Annabel started her career as a community worker with the City of San Jose’s PRNS Department Rent Control Program. Later, Annabel joined Mayfair Initiative’s Education Department where she reviewed proposals and assisted local nonprofits serving the Mayfair neighborhood. As funding ended, she then served through MACSA as the Social Services and Youth Services Coordinator where she assisted youth and families with resources and after school/summer programs. During this time, First Five Santa Clara County kicked off and Annabel assisted in the initial planning process. Annabel decided to serve the first five populations becoming a Home Visitor with Gardner where she served for seven years. Annabel left Gardner to pursue her Master Degree in Theology. She returned to Gardner and served as a Developmental Specialist for three years. Annabel brings her heart and experience to her East San Jose community.


Angela Maldonado | Program Manager, Healthier Kids Foundation

Angela is the program manager for the 10 Steps team at Healthier Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization striving to remove barriers that impact the health, learning and life success of Silicon Valley youth. She is passionate about health education and believes all should be empowered with knowledge and skills and access to resources to improving their health. Through her position she helps to connect the community to educational workshops and resources to better their health and wellbeing. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Public Health from San Jose State University. During her free time, she enjoys photography, hiking and cooking.


Maria Marroquin | Executive Director, Day Worker Center of Mountain View

Maria was born in Mexico and immigrated to the US with her son over two decades ago. Maria is known for her contagious passion and dedication to helping others pursue their own dreams. She is an alliance builder advocating for reforms at the national, state and local level. In 2003, Maria Marroquin was named “Woman of the Year” by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber; the “Mexico Award” from the Mexican Consulate in 2006. In 2013 Maria was named “Local Hero” by KQED. In 2015, she received an award from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors “for promoting kindness and supporting human rights.” In 2016, she received the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce Athena International award for leadership. She received the “Covid-19 Outstanding Service Award” from Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Currently, Maria serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON). She sits on the Board of Directors at the Community Service Agency, and is a member of the Board of directors of Self Development of People Presbyterian Church (SDOP). Maria is part of the executive committee and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Manzanita Works.


José Martínez-Saldaña, M.E.P. | Deputy Director, Hollister Youth Alliance

An immigrant and first-generation college graduate, for 35+ years Jose has worked in the education and nonprofit sectors advancing equity and support for marginalized communities. Education and community power building are both central to his life’s work, since both have been important in opening doors of opportunity and served as vehicles for him to impact those systems in a direct way.  Jose served as President of the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel, and Chair of the Board for the Council for Opportunity in Education, leading national advocacy for federal TRIO programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Programs and the Ronald S. McNair Scholars). Jose has served as a consultant, helping generate over $200M for clients through grant writing, training teams, and evaluating programs. Currently he serves as Deputy Director at Youth Alliance, a BIOPC led organization in California’s Central Coast.  


Araceli Espinoza Mead | Program Manager, Partnership for Children & Youth

Araceli Espinoza Mead has 15 years of experience in the expanded learning field, directly serving children and youth from Los Angeles and Oakland. She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an AA in Sociology from Fullerton College. This combined education taught her the importance of social storytelling as it relates to social equity and expanded learning. She brings these skills to Partnership for Children & Youth to creatively advocate for youth services through technical assistance and advocacy with PCY. Prior to joining PCY, Araceli provided fun and informative professional development at Girls Inc. of Alameda County and at the Santa Fe Springs City Library. Araceli is a first-generation Chicana, with lineage from Mexico’s Purepecha people. Her ancestors’ immigration shows resilience and a drive to provide a better life, like many of the families she has served throughout her career.


Yvonne Murray | Community Engagement Director, The Changemaker Initiative

Yvonne is from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her deep involvement in social justice and community activism is grounded in her faith and desire for a world where all people have the equal opportunity to achieve their dreams. She has been actively involved in community activism working to solve critical social problems.  Her strong sense of purpose, along with a talent for collaboration, and her ability to get things done are a powerful combination both in her work in the community.  Yvonne is known for balancing a practical, pragmatic approach to problem solving, with a deep and compassionate understanding of the personal impact.  By looking at both hard data and personal impact, she is able to find common ground for collaborative problem solving on difficult topics. Yvonne currently focuses on changemaking – teaching and empowering others to become activists for the common good in their local communities.


Jodie T. Pulliam | Corporate Partnerships Manager, The San José Public Library Foundation 

Jodie is a dynamic relationship builder with nearly a decade’s worth of experience in the nonprofit sector growing community partners and designing engaging experiences for clients. As Corporate Partnerships Manager for the San José Public Library Foundation, she is responsible for cultivating and stewarding relationships by creating customized engagement plans for partners based on their business needs and philanthropic goals, designing meaningful volunteer opportunities to engage employees, and showing partners the impact of their contributions. Born and raised in Southern California, Jodie originally moved north to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, earning her degrees in Psychology and Theater Arts. Shortly afterwards, she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when she completed a post-grad internship with the Walt Disney Company. But even that could not keep her away as she was soon drawn back to the Bay Area, where she currently resides with her husband and French Bulldog.


Shaila Ramos | Program Coordinator, Undocumented Student Programs

Shaila Ramos is the program coordinator for HEFAS, and co-founder of HEFAS. As a community organizer, artist, and Creative Director of Chingona Movement an organization focused on the resistance of undocumented and LGBTQ+ youth through using art as healing while providing leadership development and political education. As an undocumented queer Chingona born in Guerrero, Mexico, Shaila has been working with immigrant communities for the last 10 years in the Bay Area with a focus on access to higher education for undocumented students.



Minnie Sage | Program Director, Tax-Aid

Minnie manages teams within the non-profit tax sector. She is currently the Program Director at Tax-Aid which offers free income tax service assistance to those who need it most. During Minnie’s tenure, Tax-Ad has continued to implement programs that better serve the communities ongoing, and challenging needs. She has a knack for pulling all resources together to implement innovative programs that offer financial assistance to individuals with low income. Minnie has a positive outlook on work and life that is rooted in her desire to improve the lives of others. Integrity, inclusion and growth are the foundations to her approach. She has a proven record of generating fresh business ideas and collaborating with core executive team members to refine and execute those ideas in ways that enhance the services offered. Minnie’s prior experience in retail management taught her the values of adaptability and openness to change.


Olivia Santillan | Coordinator History-Social Science and Civic Engagement, Santa Clara County Office of Education

Olivia is Bay Area born and raised. She is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and immigrant rights activist and a retired school administrator of German heritage. Olivia considers her mixed heritage a gift that shaped her interest in race, ethnicity, culture, language, and identity and the social issues that surround them. She started her teaching career in 1997, teaching Spanish and then History-Social Science at Kennedy High School in Fremont and was an Assistant Principal at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo before working at the Santa ClaraCounty Office of Education in 2017. She is passionate about working in community with others on projects that center empowerment, voice, and working in solidarity. Her areas of expertise in education include discipline specific literacy in History-Social Science, instructional and systemic support for multilingual learners, civic education/engagement, and equity. She is currently working on her Doctorate in the Educational Leadership for Social Justice Program at Cal State University East Bay where her research is focused on Family Engagement, specifically with Immigrant Origin families at the high school level. Her greatest source of joy in life are her 2 sons who are 19 and 16.


Melica Sapon | Operations Coordinator, Healthier Kids Foundation Operations Coordinator, Healthier Kids Foundation

Melica is a Filipino-American from Santa Clara, California. Melica currently works as the Operations and HR Coordinator for Healthier Kids Foundation, an organization that that strives to remove barriers impacting the health, learning and life success of Silicon Valley youth. Her desire to give back to the community started at a young age. She was a part of Magsingal Organization of America, a small non-profit that raised funds to provide medical supplies to her home town in the Philippines. During her time in college, she volunteered at an afterschool program and tutored kids between the ages of 5 and 10. Before joining Healthier Kids Foundation, she worked for Choices for Children as a professional provider that provide free supervised visitations for families going through the court system. Melica, received her bachelors in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and in her free time, you can find her at the beach or trying out a new restaurant with her daughter.  


Charlotte Theodore | Grants Specialist, Sacred Heart Community Service

Charlotte grew up in San Bernardino County and now resides in San Jose. Her journey into leadership and advocacy comes from her background growing up in an economically depressed region and seeing firsthand the difference between those with resources and those without, as children and adults in affluent neighborhoods of her small community received greater resources and far more liberty from policing than those in the neighborhoods where she worked and went to school. As a second generation Greek immigrant, she has always been a fierce advocate for the indispensable value of community leadership in any political or personal action. She is now an artist, cat-parent, and grants specialist working to further these values in everything she does.


John Zhao | Co-Director, South Bay Youth Changemakers

John is a second generation Chinese American born and raised in the South Bay Area on unceded Ohlone land. John’s journey as an organizer began in high school, where he became politically activated over climate change. In college, they got involved with student organizing, engaging in issues of environmental justice, affordable housing, and transportation justice. In 2016, John was a Seeding Change Fellow, connected with young Asian American organizers nationally and deepened his commitment to social justice. John’s passion for Asian American youth organizing is intimately tied to their experience growing up, feeling isolated and disconnected from community, and witnessing the rise of Asian American conservatism critically influence local politics. He came back to the South Bay as Co-Director of South Bay Youth Changemakers, working to build Asian American youth power in the South Bay suburbs.

Rockwood Community Call

Kris Mereigh,  MPH, CWP.

public health and wellness strategist

June 27 | 12 PT / 3 ET