Carl Anthony 

Founder and Former Executive Director, Urban Habitat
Co-founder, Breakthrough Communities Project

Carl is currently a co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project, and Visiting Professor at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Previously, he was Acting Director of the Community and Resource Unit of the Ford Foundation, supervising 6 Program Officers in the United States, and Program Officers in 13 countries abroad. From 1991 through 1997, Carl served as President of Earth Island Institute, an international environmental organization to protect and conserve the global biosphere. Congressman Ron Dellums appointed Carl Anthony Chair and Principal Administrative Officer of the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission in 1993. He taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and the UC Berkeley Colleges of Environmental Design and Natural Resources. Carl has a professional degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 1996, he was appointed Fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Joe Brooks

Board Chair, Urban Habitat
Senior Fellow, PolicyLink

Joe, a Senior Fellow for PolicyLink, is a senior advisor to the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color team and ACCESS to Financial Security for All, a project funded by the Ford Foundation’s Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime program. Prior to working for PolicyLink, Joe was a faculty member for inaugural Black studies departments at two universities: University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University. Joe has also served as President of the Emergency Land Fund in Atlanta, Georgia, and was editor of the Review of Black Political Economy, published by the Black Economic Research Center in New York City. He was formerly program executive for Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation, where he directed the foundation’s Workforce Development and Interfaith Initiative, FAITHS. Brooks also served as the national co-chair of the Neighborhood Funders Group and vice-chair of the Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Ben Choi

Account Manager, Marin Clean Energy
Richmond Planning Commissioner
Richmond City Councilmember

 

Ben is an account manager at Marin Clean Energy, a commissioner on the Richmond Planning Commission, and was elected to serve as a Councilmember on Richmond's City Council in November 2016. A graduate of Urban Habitat's BCLI program, he is the first alumni to serve on Urban Habitat's Board, and acts as an advisor to that program, nominating, interviewing, and selecting new cohort members and providing feedback on BCLI curriculum. At MCE, California's first and only currently operating Community Choice Aggregation energy provider, Ben has been passionately engaged in community outreach and customer care in Richmond surrounding the city's enrollment in the MCE program. He holds a BA in Fine Arts from Amherst College.

Tamar Dorfman

Board Treasurer, Urban Habitat
Chief Financial Officer, Public Health Institute

Chief Financial Officer Tamar Dorfman leads the Public Health Institute's finance & accounting, grants & contracts, and audit & compliance teams. For more than a decade she has directed finance and operations in non-profit and public sector organizations that promote community development, workforce development, and affordable housing. Her career has focused on developing strong financial strategies and efficient operations so that organizations can maximize impact while ensuring compliance with funder and regulatory requirements. Prior to joining PHI, Dorfman was the Chief Financial Officer for PolicyLink, and the Mayor's Offices of Community Investment and Housing in San Francisco. She also served as the Fiscal Manager for the Corporation for Supportive Housing and was a Principal Budget Analyst for the City of Chicago. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago  and a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University.

Dwayne S. Marsh

Deputy Director of Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE)

Prior to GARE/CSI, Dwayne was a senior advisor in the Office of Economic Resilience (OER) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for six years. He was OER’s principal coordinator for a $250 million grant program and led the development of capacity building resources that reinforced the work of pioneering grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, OER prioritized equity as a foundational principal for its planning and investment initiatives. Before HUD, Marsh spent a decade at PolicyLink. Prior to PolickLink, he directed the FAITHS Initiative for eight years at The San Francisco Foundation.

Guillermo Mayer

President & CEO of Public Advocates Inc

Guillermo Mayer (who also goes by the nickname “Memo”) became President & CEO of Public Advocates Inc. in November 2013, after serving for more than 9 years on the organization’s legal team. There, he specialized in litigation and advocacy to improve public transportation services in low‐income communities and communities of color. An expert in transportation equity matters, Guillermo played leading roles in state and national policy campaigns to enforce civil rights in transportation decision‐ making, improve equitable outcomes in regional transportation planning, and secure greater funding for local bus service for transit dependent populations. In 2009, he co‐led a groundbreaking civil rights challenge against the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) for its failure to evaluate the impact of the Oakland Airport Connector on low‐income and minority communities in East Oakland. The victory resulted in recapturing $70 million to preserve transit service throughout the Bay Area and catalyzed national Title VI reform in the public transportation industry. In education, Guillermo helped implement the settlement of a landmark education equity lawsuit, Williams v. California, by carrying out enforcement campaigns with farmworker parents in the Central Valley designed to improve facility conditions, teacher quality and the availability of instructional materials. He also led a statewide enforcement project to ensure that California school districts provided parents with legally required information on school learning conditions and educational resources. The grandson of a bracero who worked on California’s railroads in the 1940s, Guillermo immigrated to the United States from Mexico when he was 10 years old. His experience growing up on both sides of the Tijuana/San Diego border propelled him into political activism at an early age, organizing against propositions 187 and 209. Before joining Public Advocates, Guillermo worked in the California Senate as legislative director for former State Senator Tom Hayden and as a legislative aide for former State Senator Hilda Solis. There, he worked on an array of legislative matters, including higher education, immigrant rights, health care and gang violence prevention. Guillermo is a proud Mexican soccer fan and lives with his wife and son in Oakland, California.

Derecka Mehrens

Executive Director, Working Partnerships USA 

Derecka Mehrens was named executive director of Working Partnerships USA in August 2013. She brings almost fifteen years of community organizing, civicengagement, and public policy experience working in communities of color and with low and moderate-income families. As Working Partnerships USA’s organizing director beginning in 2008, she was instrumental in developing organizing and campaign strategies to win policies improvingthe lives of workers and their families, including the 2012 minimum wage increase in the City of San Jose. She led the organization’s non-partisan civic engagement programsbuilding an organized base of more than 40,000 low-income communities of color in Silicon Valley, registering more than 14,000 voters and working to increase civic participation rates of voters of color and low-income voters in Santa Clara County. Since becoming executive director, Mehrens led the organization through the development of its most recent strategic plan to improve the lives of 100,000 families by 2018. Recently, the organization has launched initiatives to support organizing and policy campaigns in support of workers in the food processing and tech industries, lowwage workers and transit riders, and immigrant communities organizing for equitable investment in our public schools, parks, and community infrastructure. Mehrens is the daughter of a union construction worker and a union community college teacher and is married with two young children. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, History and International Studies.

Rea Pañares

Senior Advisor, Prevention Institute

Rea is currently a Senior Advisor at Prevention Institute (PI), a national center dedicated to building momentum for community prevention, where she leads projects to advance community prevention in health reform implementation and health care settings. She works closely on advancing PI’s Community-Centered Health Homes Model through strengthening the practice of community health centers and other health care organizations, as well as policies that support better integration of community prevention. Previously as an independent consultant, where her primary clients included Prevention Institute and The California Endowment, Rea worked on projects related to program development and capacity building with a racial equity lens. Prior to this, Rea served as Director of Minority Health Initiatives at Families USA in Washington, D.C., a national policy advocacy organization and a leading voice in the health reform debate. She has also held positions at Grantmakers In Health (GIH), National Business Group on Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Rea serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum and was also recently appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Advisory Committee. Rea holds a master's degree in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in molecular and cellular biology.

Robert Phillips

Senior Director, Community Benefit and Strategy, Kaiser Permanente

At Kaiser Permanente, Robert leads internal and external communications for Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit and Research functions.  His work focuses on fostering partnerships, and developing campaigns to engage communities in achieving Kaiser Permanente's vision for total health. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Robert worked in philanthropy, including at The California Endowment, where he led the efforts around health care reform, health advocacy, community health, and improving the health of children and youth of color. He has also previously worked at PolicyLink, SEIU and the AFL-CIO. Robert received his BA from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, his MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, and is ABD from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

Carlos Romero

Carlos is a housing development and land use consultant for non-profit and community-based organizations. Over the past 25 years he has been involved in almost every aspect of developing and operating community housing and economic development organizations as a founder, board member, project manager, and executive director. From 2008 to 2012 Carlos was a City Councilman in East Palo Alto and served as Mayor in 2011. During that period he also served as chair and vice chair of the East Palo Alto Redevelopment Agency, and as vice-chair of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County. Carlos did his undergraduate studies in international relations and economics at Stanford University, was a Fannie Mae Fellow at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2001, and in 2004/2005 was a Harvard Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Chris Schildt

Senior Associate, PolicyLink

Chris is a Senior Associate at PolicyLink, conducting research on equitable economic growth strategies, including best practices for advancing equity in job creation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Chris worked with the UC Berkeley Labor Center on job creation strategies. She has also worked on community engagement campaigns in transportation and land use planning at TransForm. She holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.