SEERS Fellows Bios
Lenore Anderson is co-founder and president of Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), a national organization that partners with governors, state legislators, and advocates to replace over-incarceration with policies that prioritize prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation to stop the cycles of crime. ASJ is an outgrowth of Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ), which Lenore founded in 2012 and is now the nation’s largest state-based criminal justice reform advocacy organization. Both ASJ and CSJ have won reforms in multiple states that are now reducing state prison populations by more than 40,000 people, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into crime prevention and treatment, and providing funding for trauma recovery centers to serve victims of crime. Previously, Lenore served as chief of policy and chief of the Alternative Programs Division at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; director of public safety for the Mayor of Oakland, CA; and director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. She holds a JD from NYU School of Law and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Olatunde Sobomehin, ’03, is the CEO and lead servant of StreetCode Academy, an innovation hub providing free tech classes to communities of color. StreetCode’s mission is to provide its students with the mindset, skills, and networks needed to thrive in the technology industry. Since 2014, StreetCode has more than doubled every year, growing from serving 20 students in 2014, to now serving 1,000 students annually and providing over 30,000 hours of free instruction. In addition to StreetCode Academy, Olatunde has co-founded Esface, a youth sports and culture brand and Trillicon Valley, a lifestyle brand with products in technology, fashion, and branding. He is a proud graduate of Stanford University, and he and his wife, Tamara, have four children: Olatayo, Temilola, Tatiola, and Olataiye.
Scott Warren is the CEO of Generation Citizen. He co-founded the organization at Brown University with fellow student Anna Ninan during their senior year, working with students in the local Providence community. From that starting point in 2008, Scott has grown Generation Citizen to become one of the preeminent civics education organizations in the country, promoting Action Civics across diverse geographies through best-in-class programming and concrete policy change. Scott was named an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010 and a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow in 2012. He published a book in 2019, Generation Citizen: The Power of Youth in Politics. He continues to write on subjects ranging from youth political engagement to African politics to sports, and has been published and featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Education Week, the New York Daily News, Huffington Post, San Diego Union Tribune, Sports Illustrated, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Providence Journal.
George McGraw is a human rights researcher and advocate specializing in the human right to water and sanitation in the United States. George currently serves as founder and CEO of DigDeep.org, the only WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) organization serving disadvantaged communities in the United States. Founded in Los Angeles in 2011, DigDeep develops education, research, and infrastructure programs aimed at universalizing access to clean, hot-and-cold running water and basic sanitation. Under George's leadership, DigDeep won the 2018 U.S. Water Prize for its Navajo Water Project, which has brought clean, running water to hundreds of Native families across New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Now George is leading an effort with Michigan State University, the U.S. Water Alliance, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the root causes of domestic water poverty, which still afflicts some 1.6 million Americans without access to running water or basic sanitation. George holds an MA in international law and conflict management from the United Nations University for Peace.
Tomiquia Moss joined Hamilton Families as the CEO in 2017. Hamilton Families offers emergency, transitional, and permanent housing services for families experiencing homelessness. With more than 20 years of leadership and management experience, Tomiquia is locally and nationally recognized as a dynamic nonprofit and public sector leader with expertise in public policy and community development. From 2014 to 2017, she served directly under the mayors of both San Francisco and Oakland, most recently as chief of staff for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Previously, she was the executive director of the HOPE SF initiative, a public housing and neighborhood revitalization effort with the late San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee’s Office. Known for innovating in the public sector, Tomiquia served as the founding project director of the San Francisco Community Justice Center of the Superior Court of California. As a social worker and advocate for social justice, she holds a master’s in public administration from Golden Gate University. Tomiquia and her family are proud to call Oakland home.
Damon Packwood has years of experience working with urban youth in academic development and college access. A former Upward Bound student, he graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and went back to his community to work for Upward Bound for several years. He has also designed the academic program for Juma Ventures and helped launch the Hack the Hood program. Damon has experience working in the tech, radio, film, and news media industries for companies KGO Radio, Disney Radio, and ABC 7; the mobile app Art Authority; and later as a tech journalist for Bitmob and New America Media. He is a 2016 Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow and the co-founder and executive director of Gameheads. Gameheads is a tech training program that uses video game design, development, and DevOps to train young people for the tech ecosystem, college, career, and civic life.
Doniece Sandoval is the founder of Lava Mae, a nonprofit that began by converting public transportation buses into bathrooms on wheels to deliver hygiene and reconnect people experiencing homelessness with their dignity. She began Lava Mae after learning there were 16 shower stalls and about as many toilets for San Francisco’s 7,500 houseless men, women, and children. Her odyssey with Lava Mae started in 2012, when gentrification hit her neighborhood. She witnessed three neighbors – all in their 80s – get evicted, take up residence in their cars only to have those repossessed and, because wait lists for shelters were – and still are – thousands-long, end up dying on the street before help was available.
Around the same time, she took a cab ride that changed her life. When the cab hit the district with the highest concentration of people experiencing homelessness, the cabbie turned over his shoulder and said, “Welcome to the land of broken dreams.” As she looked out the window, her first thought was that not a single person on the street, when they were little, dreamed of growing up to be houseless. Yet there they were. The thought of them as children, like her then 5-year-old daughter, pierced her. She vowed she would find a way to help.
In the four years since launching its service, Lava Mae has served 14,000 Californians and is scaling by sharing an open source toolkit to respond to the 2,000 requests for help from communities as far away as Zimbabwe and as close as New York. Born and raised in South Texas, Doniece has made San Francisco her home for the last two decades. Her accolades include being a Jefferson Award winner, 2017 CNN Hero, 2016 KIND Person Awardee, and a 2015 Toyota Mother of Invention. Doniece, however, is most proud of the honor bestowed upon her by her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her a Homeless Super Hero.
Denise Raquel Dunning
Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning is the Founder and Executive Director of Rise Up, which advances health, education, and equity globally. Since the organization’s founding in 2009, Rise Up’s global network of 500 leaders has improved health, education, and rights for 7 million girls, youth, and women, and advocated for over 100 laws and policies impacting 115 million people. Dr. Dunning teaches in the UCSF’s Masters of Global Health program, and is a Board Member of the Public Health Institute and Engender Health. She previously worked for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation and served as a Fulbright Scholar with the Inter-American Development Bank in Honduras. Dr. Dunning has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the UC Berkeley, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University. She has lived in Guatemala, Honduras, India, and South Africa, and speaks four languages. Dr. Dunning’s recent awards include selection by the Gates Institute’s 120 Under Forty Global Leaders and winner of the Powerful Women of the Bay Area Award.
Christa Gannon is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime, and incarceration of teens. FLY serves youth in three Bay Area counties with legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring, and engages in local system reform efforts to help youth get off probation, engaged in school, and back on track with their lives. Christa has received numerous awards for her work at FLY, including the James Irvine Leadership Award, Human Rights Award for the City of San Jose, Stanford Law School’s Inaugural Alumni Public Service Award, the Law Foundation’s, Youth Advocate of the Year Award, a Bay Area Women of Influence Award, and an induction as an Ashoka Fellow (one of the first in the field of Juvenile Justice in the United States). Christa has B.S. both in sociology and law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, she graduated with honors from Stanford Law School, and is a member of the California Bar.
Laura Weidman Powers
Laura Weidman Powers is the co-founder and CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latinxs. Code2040 aims to ensure that by the year 2040 -the start of the decade when the US will be majority people of color -we are proportionally represented in America’s innovation economy as technologists, investors, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. In summer 2016, Laura joined the Obama Administration for a six-month term as a senior advisor to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. Most recently before co-founding Code2040, Laura served as head of product at a consumer web startup. Prior to that, she co-founded two organizations in the education space, one nonprofit arts education organization in West Philadelphia that is currently celebrating its 12th year, and one for-profit tutoring company that gave rise to a book. Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University.
Christopher (Chris) Ategeka
Christopher Ategeka is a Ugandan Engineer and Social Entrepreneur who is working to ensure everyone on the African continent has access to timely, quality health care. He founded Health Access Corps (formerly Rides for Lives) to combat the dire shortage of healthcare personnel across the African continent. In an effort to curb the “brain drain” of talented healthcare professionals from African communities, Health Access Crops incentivizes trained healthcare professionals to stay and work within their local communities. Chris has won many awards for his work, most recently, TED Fellow and World Economic forum Young Global Leader. He is a 2014 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30, Ashoka fellow and Echoing Green fellow. Chris’ work has been featured in many major media publications both local and International such as BBC, Forbes and FastCompany. Chris holds a Bachelors of Science, and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Cristi Hegranes is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Press. A 2013 Ashoka Fellow, Cristi is an experienced social entrepreneur, a media innovation pioneer, and a renowned international journalism trainer.
Global Press exists to create a more just and informed world by employing local female journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage from the world’s least-covered places. Global Press operates a training program, Global Press Institute, an award-winning news publication, Global Press Journal, and an innovative syndication division, Global Press News Service. GPI has trained and employed 180 journalists across 26 developing countries, including Haiti, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Carolyn Laub is a non-profit strategy consultant and social entrepreneur based in San Francisco. She consults with social justice non-profits and foundations on strategy, policy, movement building, strategic communications, scaling and replication. She leverages deep content expertise in LGBTQ equality, education justice, youth leadership, and community organizing. Carolyn is a strategist with the Wonder: Strategies for Good network of communication strategists. Recently, she co-founded Springboard Partners, an incubator of both high impact social justice campaigns and startup companies. Previously, Carolyn founded Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, which organizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth advocating for safety and justice in schools. Over 16 years she grew the number of GSA clubs in California from 40 to 940, trained youth advocates who helped 12 statewide laws, replicated her California model in four other states, and created a network serving 3,000 GSA clubs in 39 states. Carolyn is an Echoing Green Fellow and Ashoka Fellow, as well as a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University.
Raj Jayadev is the co-founder of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a community organizing and advocacy organization based in San Jose, California. For nearly fifteen years, the organization has been a platform for the least heard of Silicon Valley – youth, immigrants, low-income workers, the incarcerated – to impact the political, cultural, and social landscape of the region.
Through De-Bug’s criminal justice community organizing program called the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project, they created “participatory defense” a methodology for families whose loved ones are facing the criminal court system to impact the outcome of the case of their loved one and change the landscape of power in the courts. De-Bug has incubated participatory defense hubs across the country and is building a national participatory defense network of community organizations to make ground up systemic change in the courts. Jayadev’s community organizing and writings have been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Time.com, and media outlets across the country. He is a 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Visionary of the Year. To expand and deepen his work, he is currently an Ashoka Fellow and Rosenberg Leading Edge Fellow.
Josefina Alvarado Mena
Josefina Alvarado Mena is an education rights attorney. For the past twelve years, she has been the Chief Executive Officer for Safe Passages, a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Oakland, California. Safe Passages works to disrupt the cycle of poverty by engaging youth and families to build and drive a continuum of services that supports student success and community development. Currently, Safe Passages serves over 4,000 children and youth across 21 school communities. A native of Oakland flatlands, Josefina has dedicated her professional life to issues of social equity. Prior to Safe Passages, she founded the Educational Empowerment Program to provide free legal education and services to low income students in Oakland. She was also the Director of the Oakland Unified School District Department of Student, Family, and Community Services. Josefina holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She is a recipient of: The Echoing Green Global Fellowship, California Latino Civil Rights Network, and James Irvine Foundation California Leadership Award.
Tomás Alvarez III is a social worker and social entrepreneur whose work focuses on developing culturally relevant mental health programs for youth, in particular boys and young men of color. At present, Tomás serves as CEO of Beats Rhymes and Life, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Oakland (California) that provides “Hip-Hop Therapy”, an innovative therapeutic approach that uses popular youth expression in combination with proven therapeutic techniques to engage trouble teens in services. As an early pioneer of Hip-Hop Therapy, Tomás’ work has inspired others in his field to follow in his footsteps giving birth to a new field of study and practice. In 2014 Tomás was awarded a lifetime fellowship through Ashoka, a global organization that supports social entrepreneurs whose bold ideas have the power to transform patterns in society. More recently CNN named Tomás among their 2015 CNN Heroes. Tomás completed a BA in social work from San Francisco State University (2004) and master of social work from Smith College School for Social Work (2006).
Rajasvini (Vini) Bhansali
Rajasvini Bhansali is the Executive Director of International Development Exchange (IDEX) and a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led social change and movement building. In a wide-ranging career devoted to social and economic justice, she has led a national social enterprise, managed a public telecommunications infrastructure fund addressing digital divide issues and worked as a researcher, planner, policy analyst and strategy consultant. Vini also worked alongside community leaders as a capacity builder for youth polytechnics in rural Kenya for over two years. Born and raised in India, Vini earned a Master′s in Public Affairs (MPA) with a focus on technology and telecommunications policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor′s degrees in Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences from UC Berkeley. Vini has been involved in community organizing and volunteer board roles for the last two decades. She is currently active on the Board of Directors for Greenpeace USA and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Inspired by the potential of social justice philanthropy to support movements and community based organizations, Vini has also served on the steering committee for the Bay Area Justice Funders Network (BAJFN) and on the advisory board for the Agroecology Fund. She currently serves on the Planning Committee for the 2016 Association of Women in Development (AWID) International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development on cross-movement dialogues, solidarity and strategies. Vini lectures in the University of California at Berkeley Master’s Program in Development Practice; the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources new Master’s Program in Ecological Sustainability as well as the Social Entrepreneurship program at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.This year she was honored with a Leaders in Action award by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Vini is also a published poet, essayist, storyteller and popular educator. When not engaged with community organizations, Vini can be found hiking, cooking and dancing with friends.
Jered is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Pie Ranch, which began in 2004 on a 14-acre pie-slice-shaped piece of land with the goal of providing nourishment and education for community level social change. The ranch is located on the southern coast of San Mateo County, California and now comprises 100 acres of production, has over 30 staff and a volunteer board of directors. Their three program areas include youth education, farmer training, and regional partnerships -- all with the goal of cultivating a more healthy, just, and climate-friendly food system. Pie Ranch’s core values include integrated crop and livestock rotations, building soil health to sequester carbon, social and agricultural justice, and producing high-quality organic produce. Jered recently helped initiate the development of a county-based Food & Farm Bill with the San Mateo Food Systems Alliance and is building committed procurement partnerships with large organization food service such as Google Food & Stanford Dining with the goal to scale this model with other companies, universities, hospitals, and public school cafeterias.
Kennedy Jawoko is a career journalist working to harness the power of new technology to create an online portal for East African journalists reporting on agriculture and food security journalism in the region.
Katie Albright is the executive director of the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, a community-based organization that works to support healthy families and promote children’s well being in the Bay Area.
Rob Gitin is the co-founder and executive director of At The Crossroads, a San Francisco-based organization working with underserved homeless youth and young adults to help them build healthy and fulfilling lives.
Lateefah Simon (not pictured) is an activist for at-risk youth and young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the director of the California Future’s Program at the Rosenberg Foundation and previously served as the executive director of the Center for Young Women’s Development in San Francisco.
Natalie Bridgeman Fields
Natalie Bridgeman Fields leads the Accountability Counsel, which defends vulnerable communities across the developing world from abusive practices committed by international institutions.
Michael Lombardo is the CEO of Reading Partners, a not-for-profit organization that provides literacy programs for elementary schools in low-income communities across the United States.
Gemma Bulos is a multi award-winning social entrepreneur and director of the Global Women’s Water Initiative, an organization building a cadre of women trainers in East Africa versed in a holistic set of water, sanitation, and hygiene strategies.
Lateefah Simon is an activist for at-risk youth and young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently the director of the California Future’s Program at the Rosenberg Foundation.
Simeon Koroma is the co-founder and director of Timap for Justice, a pioneering non-governmental organization in Sierra Leone, that provides free justice services through community-based paralegals employing mediation, advocacy, education, and organizing.
Gemma Bulos is a multi award-winning social entrepreneur and director of the Global Women’s Water Initiative, an organization building a cadre of women trainers in East Africa versed in a holistic set of water, sanitation, and hygiene strategies.
Maxwell Matewere is the executive director of Eye of the Child in Malawi, an organization which engages in child rights advocacy, training and strategic litigation to protect and promote child rights in Malawi.
Emily Arnold-Fernandez founded Asylum Access, an international organization dedicated to securing refugees’ rights by integrating individualized legal assistance, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy and strategic litigation.
Mazibuko Jara is the founder of the Ntinga Ntaba ka Ndoda organization that supports rural development in the eastern cape of South Africa. Jara is also active in advocating for the rights of women under traditional law, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Zainah Anwar is one of the founding members of Sisters in Islam, an NGO that works on women’s rights in Islam based in Malaysia. She also founded Musawah, a global movement of equality and justice within the Muslim family.
Taida Horozovic founded CURE, an organization committed to ending gender violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina through educational awareness, media tools, and global campaigns.
Ramzi Jaber launched Visualizing Palestine, an initiative that uses visual stories and graphics to build international awareness around past and present injustices in Palestine.
Steve Williams co-founded the San Francisco-based organization POWER, which works to defend the rights of low income workers, immigrant women, and advocates for housing justice in some of San Francisco’s poorer communities.