At The Greenlining Institute, we don’t just talk about diversity, we practice it every day. Our talented staff and Academy participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and bring a diverse range of life experiences to the work of advancing justice and equity for all of America’s communities.
Orson Aguilar is the President of the Greenlining Institute, one of the nation’s largest and most successful multi-ethnic, advocacy and leadership development nonprofits. Greenlining envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. Because people of color will be the majority of our nation’s population by 2040, Greenlining believes that America will prosper only if communities of color prosper.
Under Orson’s leadership, Greenlining has become a leading voice in the movement to fight redlining by advocating for greenlining policies, particularly in the areas of the economy, the environment, health, energy, voting, and telecommunications.
Orson’s leadership has been featured in major media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Univision, La Opinion, NPR, Politico, The Huffington Post and many others news outlets. He meets regularly with major Fortune 100 CEOs and with many of our nation’s economic leaders. His op-eds on diverse topics impacting communities are regularly featured in small and large newspapers throughout the country.
Orson’s work has been recognized by the New Leaders Council, Latino Leaders Magazine, La Opinion, The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and several other prominent organizations. He is a board member at the California Women’s Foundation and also sits on Bank of America’s Community Advisory Committee. He is also a past member of important local boards and committees, including the Mission Economic Development Agency and the City of Oakland’s Budget Advisory Committee.
Orson received a BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MPA from The University of Texas at Austin. Orson is a product of Greenlining’s leadership academy. He was also a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow.
Orson’s passion is fueled on his experiences growing up in the working class neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Orson lives in Oakland, CA with his wife Claudia, and their three children, Emilio, Nayeli, and Danilo.
Anthony Reese was most recently the Director of Finance and Administration at the California Youth Connection, a statewide foster youth advocacy organization, where he oversaw finance, strategic planning and organizational development — the latest incarnation of a life spent building capacity in the nonprofit sector. A graduate of UCLA and the Coro Foundation’s Public Affairs Program in Los Angeles, Anthony holds a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he specialized in urban economic development. It was there that Anthony was first introduced to the work of nonprofits, joining a group of friends from Harvard’s business and law schools to create City Year, an urban youth corps that grew to international prominence and became a model for the national service movement.
Anthony’s deep interest in the nonprofit sector drew him to New York City’s Robin Hood Foundation, where he served as Chief Financial Officer and Director of Management Assistance. The satisfying experience of helping community leaders build institutions under their ideas led him to serve in a variety of management service organizations, from L.A.’s Center for Nonprofit Management to Oakland’s National Community Development Institute. He created his own nonprofit consulting firm, Mananson Consulting, in 1992.
This is Anthony’s second stint at The Greenlining Institute. He joined Greenlining’s founding staff in 1995 as Associate Director and helped managed finance while creating corporate/community partnerships to implement community-based economic development and technology projects. Anthony’s proudest moments at Greenlining were leading protests, mentoring Academy students, building internal infrastructure, and helping to negotiate the nation’s first non-bank CRA agreement with Merrill Lynch.
Mr. Reese also served as Associate Director to the National Community Development Institute (NCDI), an intermediary created to provide culturally-based capacity building services to communities of color, and as the Principal Financial Analyst of the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where he helpied develop and monitor a $30 million annual budget.
As Vice President of Operations, Janine is responsible for enhancing the organization’s internal processes and infrastructure. She works closely with the organization’s development, communications, and administrative teams, and leads organizational development, evaluation, and budgeting. Prior to this role, Janine fundraised for Greenlining for over six years, serving as Development Director for three. In this capacity, she built Greenlining’s fundraising infrastructure, streamlined internal development processes, and engaged philanthropic partners. In her tenure, Janine worked closely with the Executive Director and policy teams to double the organization’s philanthropic foundation revenue.
Janine has worked for racial justice nonprofit organizations, including the Applied Research Center (now Race Forward), ColorLines Magazine, and Children’s Book Press, since 2002. In her off hours, she writes and illustrates children’s books, and runs Blood Orange Press & First Voice Publishing Project, endeavors that correct the invisibility of people of color in children’s literature. As mama to two boys, her experiences as the lone femme in a house of men (well, one man and two mancubs) was the inspiration for her first children’s book – Oh, Oh, Baby Boy!
Find her on twitter: @j9macbeth @BloodOrangePres
Rosa María Martinez is The Greenlining Institute’s Operations Director, overseeing the management of our office and building. Previously, she worked with the Bridges to Health Team managing Greenlining’s Diversity in the Health Workforce initiative, looking at current representation of people of color at all levels within the health field. She also worked on ensuring that information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was reaching limited-English communities throughout California, conducting presentations across the state. Rosa María co-authored an issue brief designed to help ethnic small businesses understand key elements of the ACA affecting them.
Rosa María served on the Advisory Council to the San Francisco Mexican Consulate (2012-2014) and was the secretary for the Council’s Committee on Health and Sports. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature with a minor in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.
Originally from Zacatecas, México, Rosa grew up the Bay Area where she currently lives with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she loves to go horseback riding.
As Operations Manager at The Greenlining Institute, Ana assists the Operations Director with overseeing the management of the office and building. Previously, she worked at Mayer’s Laboratories, Inc. and Briones International, LLC as an Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper.
Since 2010, Ana has volunteered at SEIU Local 1877, advocating for human rights. Ana supports the union by translating, participating in protests and helping write letters of support for workers. Additionally, Ana has volunteered with various organizations that support foreign students learn English and achieve a higher education.
Ana will be earning her Human Development/Early Childhood Development degree from Cal State East Bay oi Spring 2016. After graduating, her biggest goal is to give back to her community by working/volunteering for non-profit organizations. Ana is excited to continue growing and expanding her professional knowledge at Greenlining.
Ana was born in Michoacán, Mexico but raised in the Bay Area and currently lives in Oakland with her family. In her free time, Ana loves to go shopping, dancing, watch movies and spend quality time with her family.
As the Diversity and Inclusion Director, Danielle works to promote job creation for people of color. She leads Greenlining’s workforce and supplier diversity advocacy in the banking, environmental, health, technology, insurance, and utility industries. Danielle views diversity as the antidote to redlining in the job market, and works to ensure that anchor institutions and their regulators fully reflect and benefit communities of color. She serves as Vice Chair of the California Department of Insurance’s Diversity Task Force and is also a member of the California Utilities Diversity Council, Wells Fargo’s Supplier Diversity Advisory Group, and the Small Business Administration’s Los Angeles PLUM (Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets) Market Research Action Group. She first came to Greenlining as the 2012 Community Reinvestment Fellow and received her B.A. from Stanford University in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with Honors.
When not elbows deep in spreadsheets, Danielle loves watching bad reality TV and spoiling her dog, Otis.
Joe is dedicated to advancing racial equity and social justice so that people of color have every opportunity to heal and thrive. As Greenlining’s Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Joe advocates for racially equitable recruitment, contracting and retention of employees of color and minority-owned businesses. He approaches this work from an intersectional lens and always stays mindful of the compounded vulnerabilities of dis/ability, economic status, gender, immigration, and/or race. Joe brings more than 10 years of experience in education (both direct service and policy-driven) and workforce development serving transgender job-seekers. He studied Gender Studies at U.C. Davis. Joe’s lifelong commitment to social justice is informed by his own experiences as an African American transgender man with a learning “disability”, who navigated juvenile justice and foster-care systems in his youth.
In his free time, Joe loves watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead – and he tries to get some Civilization IV gaming in from time to time. Backyard BBQs are a thing in the summer – as Joe loves to get his grill on for family and friends.
Jimmy became increasingly invested in racial justice work while seeking to understand and address college retention and graduation rates for students who were queer and trans, low income and of color. These efforts, as well as his own experiences growing up in the semi-rural Ark-La-Tex region and urban Houston, reinforced his belief that issues of racial equity are intrinsically tied to capital. As the Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Jimmy is committed to bringing sustainable economic opportunities to communities of color.
Jimmy received his B.A. in American Studies from Carleton College with a concentration in Africana Studies. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Jimmy worked at the intersection of quare studies, critical race theory, and history. He most recently completed research on the historical and cultural production of the New York City Pride Parade. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, grilling, and seeking out the best shrimp dishes the Bay has to offer.
As Greenlining’s Economic Equity Director , Teddy leads our efforts to build wealth in communities of color through a variety of strategies, including housing policy, financial empowerment, bank accountability, and investing in people of color-owned businesses and nonprofits. He has over a decade of experience working at the intersections of housing, financial reform, and equitable economic policy. Prior to Greenlining, Teddy worked at national nonprofits and in the U.S. Congress, where he served his hometown district in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, handling transportation and infrastructure, voting rights, foreign affairs, defense, intelligence, and judicial issues. He served as Student Body President at U.C. Hastings College of the law, where he was a founding editor of the Race and Poverty Legal Journal. He received his Masters from the London School of Economics, and graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, where he competed on the national champion rugby and heavyweight rowing varsity teams.
Teddy serves on the Language Access Advisory Committee for the California Secretary of State, a body charged with developing best practices to ensure that the 2.6 million Californians who are Limited English Proficient have equitable access to civic participation. Teddy has a top-secret clearance and has passed into the Foreign Service as a candidate to become a political officer. He lives with his wife and two kids in beautiful, diverse, and delicious Oakland, California, and spends his free time playing with his children, jogging, and listening to NPR podcasts.
As the Economic Equity Program Manager, Vedika works to build wealth and improve financial services in communities of color. Prior to joining The Greenlining Institute, Vedika spent two years at an economic consulting firm analyzing the impact of antitrust actions and anticompetitive practices on consumers. She graduated with a B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Vedika conducted economic development research about the long term impacts of health and education interventions on Kenyan youth.
Vedika has been in the Bay for almost 10 years, and now calls it home. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, and has made it her mission to find the best tacos in the Bay.
Sharon Velasquez is an advocate for economic equity currently exploring the nexus between racial justice, nonprofits, and policy. As the Economic Equity Manager, in addition to providing logistical support to the Economic Equity Team, Sharon works to leverage the voice and clout of The Greenlining Coalition to successfully advocate for wealthier and healthier communities of color. Sharon believes every decision is political and she works towards the day in which race and zip code will not determine one’s life opportunities. In the past, Sharon has worked with nonprofits to measure and track their social and political impact on low to moderate income communities, in the labor movement to elevate the stories of workers of color, and with policy advocacy and community organizing campaigns in Los Angeles and Riverside County.
A UCLA alumna, Sharon graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Public Affairs. She is a native of southern California and currently lives in San Francisco. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, exploring, and attempting to cook.
Stephanie Chen directs Greenlining’s advocacy in energy policy. She oversees Greenlining’s legal counsel at the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, who advocate on a wide range of issues impacting underserved consumers and small businesses. Stephanie has litigated several high-profile cases impacting billions of dollars in utility rates, winning broad statewide protections for communities of color, low income ratepayers and small business owners.
Outside of Greenlining, Stephanie is a member of the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel, the specialty bar association of attorneys and regulatory personnel who practice before the CPUC. Additionally, Stephanie serves on the Advisory Board for the California Consumer Protection Foundation, and for Skyline College’s Paralegal Studies Program. Stephanie has a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She loves eating, cooking, gardening, eating, cheering loudly for the Oakland A’s, eating, and sporadically blogging about food.
Growing up in Metro Detroit, Madeline first became passionate about environmental justice
while witnessing and organizing against discriminatory water shutoffs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan Honors College and her JD from the George Washington University Law School. Madeline started her legal career as an attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, where she worked with residents impacted by oil and gas pollution in the San Joaquin Valley through litigation, administrative advocacy, state policy work, organizing and storytelling. Her litigation and work experience includes anti-discrimination, land use, climate change, extreme energy extraction, and the intersection of environmental and racial justice. She comes to Greenlining committed to ensuring that low income Americans and communities of color benefit from a just transition away from fossil fuels.
Madeline is admitted to practice law in California, has been published in the Vermont Journal of
Environmental Law with a piece on her former clients in the Native Village of Kivalina entitled Fighting for Home in the Melting Arctic, and has appeared as a fracking legal expert on Al Jazeera America numerous times. In her leisure time, Madeline enjoys riding her bike, playing outside, cooking and eating beans of all kinds.
Carmelita Miller was born in the Philippines and grew up in South San Francisco, California. She graduated from Sacramento State University where she became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and earned a B.A. in History with a minor in Greek studies. After a graduating from UC Hastings College of the Law, she became a Greenlining Legal Fellow in 2013-14, focusing on telecommunications policy.
While at UC Hastings, she served as the President of the Pilipino American Law Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. Inspired by her personal experiences living in low-income, immigrant, and working class communities, she dedicated her free time in law school to providing legal assistance to the low-income population by interning and volunteering at various pro bono organizations such as Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, UC Hastings Civil Justice Clinic, Legal Aid of San Francisco’s Workers Rights Clinic, the Veterans Equity Center, and the Filipino Community Center.
When she is not studying or fighting for justice, Carmelita enjoys lounging, hiking, and playing with her two black labrador retrievers named Maximus and Athena.
Paul Goodman’s work is grounded in the belief that all telecommunications policy has racial equity impacts. He represents Greenlining at the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, advocating for underserved communities’ access to affordable and reliable telephone, video, and Internet services. While at Greenlining, Paul has successfully opposed the highly anti-consumer proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, fought to preserve critical consumer protections for telephone service, and helped shape the evolution of state and federal Universal Service Programs. Paul currently represents the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) as a member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, ensuring that communities of color have a voice in proceedings before the Commission.
Paul received his Juris Doctor degree from John F. Kennedy University School of Law, and his Legum Magister degree in Intellectual Property from Santa Clara University School of Law. While at Santa Clara University, Paul worked as a Research Fellow at the Broadband Institute of California, working on issues including net neutrality, deceptive Internet service provider terms and conditions, and the regulation of broadcast television and radio. Paul’s previous experience includes work on criminal defense and Constitutional law issues as a private attorney.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys cooking and creating welded, forged, and cast metal sculpture and kinetic art. He lives in Oakland with his wife, who is a registered nurse and published author of urban fantasy novels.
Vinhcent Le grew up in California and graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in political science before receiving his Juris Doctor from the UC Irvine School of Law. As a law student, Vinhcent advocated for disadvantaged communities on a variety of fronts, including criminal defense, appellate litigation and immigration law. Vinhcent brings a diverse set of experiences to Greenlining. He advocated for clients as a law clerk at both the Orange County and Federal Public Defender’s offices. He later clerked with the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals as well as the Small Business Administration. Vinhcent also co-authored an award-winning paper for the Oxford Journal of International Law analyzing the effectiveness of informal legal policies in reducing overconsumption of fossil fuels and overfishing of the world’s oceans.
As a volunteer, Vinhcent mentored and encouraged at-risk high school students to attend college and law school as part of UC Irvine’s “Street Law” program. Other experiences include helping Orange County immigrants obtain a pathway to citizenship and assisting the overlooked Vietnamese and African American communities in Mississippi in obtaining government assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Outside of the office, Vinhcent enjoys wilderness backpacking, fantasy football and cooking.
Alvaro S. Sanchez is an urban planner with extensive experience crafting, implementing, and evaluating strategies that leverage private and public investments to deliver community benefits to impacted communities. Alvaro leads our work on SB 535 (de León) which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to disadvantaged communities. He also leads our neighborhood-scale sustainability initiative, a comprehensive and scalable approach to greenhouse gas reduction that leverages private and public investment while improving underserved communities throughout California.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Alvaro led Green For All’s stormwater infrastructure strategy. As a member of the State and Local Initiatives team, he led the organization’s strategies for connecting impacted communities to economic opportunity related to national stormwater infrastructure investments. He wrote several reports detailing the untapped opportunity of using green infrastructure as a cost-effective stormwater management tool that creates job and business opportunities for underserved communities. Several leading water and stormwater utilities throughout the country have used the framework he presented to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits.
Alvaro has over nine years of experience working on economic development and land use issues throughout California and nationally. In 2011 he received a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California, where he focused on affordable housing and economic development. He is the President of the Board of Directors at Dolores Street Community Services, an immigration and community development organization in San Francisco. He also created the Triple Bottom Line Hub, a social media platform that celebrates projects that deliver triple-bottom-line benefits. Alvaro, who believes you can never be too wonky, lives in North Oakland, grew up in Los Angeles, and was born in Mexico City.
Joel works to reduce poverty and pollution in communities of color by advocating for accessible, affordable, and clean transportation choices and a diverse clean energy economy. He leads Greenlining’s transportation equity work advocating to increase racial equity in transportation planning and investments; implementing the Charge Ahead California Initiative–a law that works to make electric vehicles (EV) accessible to low- and moderate-income Californians; and advocating for equitable EV charging infrastructure investments at the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and within the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement. He is author of “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit;” lead author of “Electric Carsharing in Underserved Communities: Considerations for Program Success;” and co-author of “Delivering Opportunity: How Electric Buses and Trucks Can Create Jobs and Improve Public Health in California.” Joel is always thinking of ways to make new mobility services and transportation investments more equitable and sustainable.
Prior to joining Greenlining, Joel attended law school where he worked on consumer protection issues for the Federal Trade Commission, on civil rights cases for the Office of Staff Attorneys at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and death penalty cases for the California Appellate Project.
Joel was born in Gallup, New Mexico and split time growing up between Gallup and Phoenix, Arizona, where his family lives now. He graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Philosophy, a minor in Justice Studies, and a certificate in Ethics. Joel earned his J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law where he served as the Academic Chair of the La Raza Law Students Association and Acquisitions Editor of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal.
After work hours, Joel likes to spend time with friends and family, eating, and dropping dimes on the basketball court.
Emi helps lead the Environmental Equity team’s work tracking state implementation of SB 535, which directs at least one quarter of California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments to disadvantaged communities. Emi works to engage stakeholders and advocates around opportunities to access climate investments in communities of color and low-income communities, where the impacts of climate change and pollution hit the hardest. Prior to joining Greenlining, Emi supported grassroots community improvement initiatives, primarily in low-income neighborhoods across New York City. She oversaw over 60 micro-grants yearly, facilitated capacity-building workshops focused on community organizing skills, and engaged in outreach efforts. Emi has also worked as an ESL teacher in northeastern Thailand, living amidst lush rice fields in a small village community, and fell in love with the mountains while living on the South Island of New Zealand.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Emi moved to the Bay Area to pursue her commitments to social and racial justice, as well as to soak up the sunny skies of California. She graduated from Vassar College in 2011 with a B.A. in History, focusing on modern American social and political history, and a minor in Japanese. When not diving deep into justice work, she enjoys slow travel, hiking, and scouring out the cheapest eats.
Sona comes to us from New Orleans, and recently moved to the Bay Area to work on environmental equity issues. She became interested in environmental equity after witnessing the disproportionate environmental burdens that communities of color face in New Orleans, especially after Hurricane Katrina and the B.P. oil spill. Sona interned at several environmental nonprofits throughout law school and realized that she wanted to pursue a career in public interest environmental law. As Environmental Equity Manager, she looks forward to advocating for environmental equity and learning how to effectively empower communities of color.
In her spare time, Sona enjoys running, cooking delicious vegan food and listening to probably too much 90’s music.
As Environmental Equity Coordinator, Hana works on the development and implementation of policies leading to transportation investments that will benefit low-income communities of color in California. She graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University with a degree in Sustainability, and has a particular interest in environmental justice and equity. Hana has worked as a community organizer, advocating for climate change action and public transit policies in San Diego. She was a Climate Corps Fellow, a leadership development program that partners fellows with local organizations developing and implementing projects addressing climate change resiliency. Prior to Greenlining, Hana implemented innovative campaigns for Alameda County’s Clean Commute Program, to promote long-term sustainable behavior changes.
Outside of work, Hana enjoys spending time with family and friends, biking, cooking, and traveling. She spent four months backpacking through South America, volunteering and researching ecotourism as a form of sustainable development. She periodically records her observations of environmental destruction and climate change in a travel blog. On any sunny day, she is sure to be hiking, camping, or walking her dog.
Jordyn is a Bay Area native and California State University, East Bay alumna. She worked in food safety and quality assurance before returning to school and earning her Juris Doctor with a certificate in Social Justice Lawyering. Jordyn used her time in law school to study the laws and policies impacting the indigenous and the environment. She interned at The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, The Lakota People’s Law Project, the Environment and Land Use Section of the California Department of Justice, and at a mid-sized law firm specializing in government and environmental law. In her third year, Jordyn relocated to Washington, D.C. to participate in the UCDC Law Program where she gained academic credit for working full-time at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Jordyn is a proud graduate of the American Indian Graduate Center’s Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) program. Arriving next at UC Hastings, she then reestablished the Native American Law Student Association and volunteered as Chair for the Women of Color Initiative. Jordyn also served as Treasurer of the Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation, and as Senior Editor of the Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal. In her down time, Jordyn enjoys listening to live music, watching Bay Area sports, and exploring the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
As an Environmental Equity Policy Fellow, Victoria supports programs that empower low-income communities and communities of color by working on projects that lead to equitable environmental solutions and an equitable green economy in the face of climate change. Prior to Greenlining, Victoria worked as a Clean Transportation Equity Associate for the Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and International Relations from the University of California, Irvine and her M.A. in Environmental Policy from the University of California, San Diego.
Anthony’s passion for advocacy lies at the nexus of public policy, health equity, and racial justice. As the child of Filipino immigrants, his desire to advocate for underserved communities was shaped by the struggles his extended family faced while coming to the United States. Anthony leads Greenlining’s health advocacy to promote access to health care and health workforce opportunities for historically underserved populations, such as young people of color, immigrants, and the re-entry community. Additionally, Anthony advances Greenlining’s advocacy to ensure health employers across California, such as hospitals and health plans, address racial and ethnic health disparities by increasing investments in upstream, preventive health resources for communities of color. Anthony has authored a number of reports highlighting barriers to employment for marginalized groups, such as young men and women of color, and offering policy solutions to improve racial and health equity.
Anthony also serves as the Chair of the Alameda County Public Health Commission and on the Board of Filipino Advocates for Justice, a community-based organization dedicated to empowering the Filipino community and other disadvantaged communities across the Bay Area.
Apart from Greenlining, Anthony is an avid sushi connoisseur, aspiring chef, and the self-proclaimed “Greatest Laker Fan of All Time.”
Anthony is from Chula Vista, California, and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013, with a degree in Integrative Biology.
Denzel originally hails from Oakland, California. He recently returned from Occidental College where he received his B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Public Health. Denzel’s personal experiences with family loss bring him to health equity work. His interests lie at the intersection of health, criminal justice, and public policy. He is extremely passionate about improving quality of care and access to preventative health services for low income communities of color. Denzel has prior experience in public health work, student activism, and diversity & inclusion initiatives.
In his free time Denzel loves playing video games on his XBOX, trying new beers, and having lively political debates with his friends.
Patrick Brown joined Greenlining’s team in 2012 as the Manager of the Leadership Academy. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, he comes from a lineage of community and labor organizers. While completing his B.A. at DePaul University in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Science, he served as training coordinator for DePaul’s Labor Education Program.
Committed to economic and community development, Patrick worked with OAI, Inc. for the next 10 years developing and implementing training programs for a national network of workforce re-entry programs. As manager of an EPA Brownfields job training grant, Patrick partnered with and developed the Greencorps Chicago program as a model for green jobs training programs. As a Green for All Fellow, he continues to provide trainings and workshops to engage disenfranchised communities in the green economy workforce.
Patrick is deeply connected to social justice artists / activists across the country and travels often. He loves ‘deep house’ music and enjoys spending time on crowded dance floors. He practices Vipassana meditation at the East Bay Meditation Center and is an active member in the East Bay Church of Religious Science. He lifts his voice with his church choir and is constantly considering how to achieve his dream of becoming a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.
Chagan Sanathu has a long history of engagement with the youth leadership programs — first as a 2010 Young People For (YP4) Fellow and later as a Center for Progressive Leadership Fellow. For 3 years, Chagan worked at the Young People For offices in Washington, DC, where she worked with the 12-person alumni board to help support the YP4 program. Chagan graduated in 2012 from Goshen College with a degree in business and public relations. During her time as an undergraduate, Chagan interned at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities where she researched the effects of child tax credit and earned income tax credit of low-income communities, with an emphasis on women who survived domestic violence.
Chagan is a former board member for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum-DC Chapter, focusing on fundraising to support the chapter’s work on immigration reform, reproductive justice, and other issues impacting the API community.
Since her relocation to the Bay area, Chagan likes to explore the nearby region, cook, ride her electric blue bike and organizing with the local Desi (South Asian) community.
Joshua started his nonprofit career at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, working in the Community and Leadership Department. From there, he spent close to five years supporting the legal and project team at the National Center for Lesbian Rights as the Senior Legal and Project Assistant. Joshua was lucky to support the filing of the 2008 marriage cases, assist the Youth Project on issues pertaining to foster care and juvenile justice, and work with an amazing team of attorneys and advocates. Joshua was the 2012-2014 Education Fellow at The San Francisco Foundation, assisting in grantmaking for Early Childhood Education, Community Schools, and Equity program areas. While at The San Francisco Foundation, Joshua oversaw the LGBT fund grantmaking to LGBT organizations in the Bay Area.
Joshua is currently the co-chair of the Pride Law Fund (PLF), which funds new leaders and civil rights lawyers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and HIV/AIDS communities. Joshua also currently sits on the Leadership Council and Fundraising committee of Somos Familia, which supports Latino families with children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ*) and conducts education to create family and community acceptance. Joshua also provides social media assistance to the Chicana/Latina Foundation.
Originally from southern California, Joshua has called the Bay Area home for the past 8 years. Joshua enjoys reading nonfiction by authors of color, staying in and watching television, and cocktail hour with friends.
Braelan Murray, a Bay Area native, is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he received his B.F.A. in Film and Video Production. An award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of experience using media as a tool for advancing social change, his portfolio includes work for local unions, progressive nonprofits and cutting-edge media design firms —notably as editor and videographer on Annie Leonard’s world-renowned animated short, The Story of Stuff. As Communications Director at The Greenlining Institute, Braelan has expanded and transformed Greenlining’s use of all forms of media to tell the stories of the issues and communities we advocate for, greatly expanding the organization’s presence in all forms of new media.
When Braelan isn’t working, you can find him in the lab searching for the perfect blend of arts and activism, attempting to recreate the simple brilliance of his Nanna’s Italian recipes, or on the golf course blaming his clubs for his inability to shoot par.
Bruce Mirken brings two decades of journalism and communications experience as well as a long history of activism to his position as Media Relations Director. An award-winning writer who serves as Greenlining’s resident editor and all-purpose wordsmith, Bruce’s work has appeared in wide range of publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Men’s Health, and The Advocate. From 2001 through 2009, he served as Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. In that capacity, he appeared frequently on radio and television, including ABC World News, Anderson Cooper 360, and The Rachel Maddow Show, and was quoted in newspapers and magazines worldwide. His activist career began in the LGBT community (starting just out of college with the campaign against Proposition 6, which would have fired gay or lesbian schoolteachers in California) and quickly branched out to a wide array of social justice issues.
In his spare time, Bruce enjoys hiking, cooking and gardening – hoping that the San Francisco fog will burn off enough to permit a decent tomato crop each summer. He claims to make the world’s best spaghetti sauce, though our Research department considers this claim unverified.
Conrad Contreras brings his strategic communications experience to Greenlining after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015. Conrad leads Greenlining’s online marketing strategies and manages Greenlining’s digital portfolio: web, email, social media, paid media, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). He also leads the content management system and promotion of our online products. Prior to Greenlining, he was a Fellow at Fenton, an agency that supports organizations and corporations accelerate social progress through communications. His work on multiple accounts in Fenton include crafting ad copies for Philanthropy University’s launch and securing media coverage for a national report on youth poverty by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Conrad worked for the Ben Allen for Senate campaign in 2014 and after the election, worked in the senator’s office by providing media monitoring and advising on issues he worked on.
Conrad complements his creative vision and passion for issue amplification through storytelling with skills in graphic design and video editing.
While he’s not writing taglines in his spare time, you may find Conrad on competitive hip hop dance teams or photoblogging local restaurants.
With a track record of successful team and project management, Leonna Spilman brings her expertise to Greenlining as the Communications Strategy Manager. She formalizes the implementation of Greenlining’s strategic communications vision and special projects such as executive thought leadership, research publications, campaigns and event promotion. Prior to Greenlining, Leonna led a staff of 26 and successfully presided over UC Davis’ Educational Opportunity Program as the Student Director. She then went on to supervise a 60-person team as an Operations Manager in Supply Chain Management. Most recently, she served as a Diversity Fellow with FleishmanHillard’s Corporate Communications practice, where she specialized in internal communications, issues management and executive thought leadership supporting clients such as SAP, Levi Strauss, and Kaiser Permanente. Leonna is a trained project management professional (PMP) and graduate of University of California Davis’ University Honors Program in Literary Criticism and Theory.
In her spare time, Leonna enjoys playing with her cat, watching ‘90’s cartoons, and exploring Bay Area coffee shops.
Jane Duong is the Development Director at The Greenlining Institute, where she leads a team responsible for engaging foundations, corporations, individuals and other supporters to raise resources for the organization and its mission. Jane brings 15 years of experience working with communities of color to advance economic opportunity. Previously, she worked at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), a social justice organization improving the lives of low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country through a coalition of grassroots organizations. She played many roles, including Director of Programs and Advocacy, where she developed the first national network of AAPI-serving housing counseling agencies in the country. She also supported the growth of asset-building and financial capability programs in the AAPI community and contributed to groundbreaking research on how AAPI communities access financial services and products. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships, leading efforts to centralize fundraising efforts and grow the organization’s influence.
Jane’s perspective is grounded in her experience working in grassroots , community-based organizations at the frontlines of building community. She worked as the Housing Program Manager for the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), supporting existing and aspiring homeowners in the Latino community. She also spent time working with the East River Development Agency (ERDA) in Long Island City, New York, and at the Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Jane is the daughter of immigrant parents from Vietnam and enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her husband and daughter.
As Development Senior Manager, Rachel leads grant fundraising and relationship management across Greenlining’s policy issue areas. She worked closely with executive leadership and policy teams to grow the organization’s grant revenue by 25 percent. Prior to this role, Rachel served as Development Manager and Coordinator at Greenlining for two years. In these positions, she spearheaded event fundraising to secure $1 million annually in sponsorships, administered the individual giving program, conducted reporting, evaluation, and data analysis, and customized and managed the Salesforce database.
Rachel has spent her career dedicated to economic empowerment and racial justice. Before coming to Greenlining, she coordinated a comprehensive asset-building initiative consisting of seven non-profits with the Mission Economic Development Agency, an asset-building non-\profit working to strengthen low-and moderate-income Latino families in San Francisco’s Mission district. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan.
Mariah coordinates Greenlining’s Annual Economic Summit, Academy Graduation and various events throughout the year. Prior to joining the Greenlining team, she helped to start-up Insight Garden Program, a nonprofit that builds gardens and offers job training in prisons across California. After receiving a degree in Food Systems, Ethnic Studies and Political Economy from UC Berkeley, her love of traditional foods and non-profit life led her to La Cocina, a food business incubator in San Francisco. It was there that she fell in love with the adrenaline rollercoaster that is event management — helping pull off the San Francisco Street Food Festival, an event that attracts 60,000 attendees to highlight La Cocina’s women-of-color-owned businesses. Mariah is committed to work that helps provide good jobs, meaningful work and economic opportunity to low-income communities.
When she’s not in the office, she likes to incessantly listen to podcasts, experiment with taco recipes, and browse pinterest for her next DIY home-design project.
Revé has over eight years of fundraising and operations experience for local and international NGOs and academic institutions. She is excited to apply her background to the equity and racial justice work of The Greenlining Institute. Having worked most recently at Code2040 and previously The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund, she has long utilized her passion for conservation and diversity in her career but had been frustrated by the ways in which they did not seem to overlap. Being from South Los Angeles, Revé has viewed the inequity of resources and development in communities of color first hand. While studying Politics and Ethnic Studies at the University of San Francisco, she received an education steeped in social justice making her more committed to pursuing opportunities for service and intervention where possible.
Revé serves on the board of the Oakland based nonprofit, Her Footprints, which takes middle school girls of color on outdoor excursions and provides exposure to nature. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she supports young women of color in their personal and professional development. She is the proud mother of a Chihuahua mix, Giselle, and lover of all most animals. An avid traveler, she has been to South Africa and Mozambique and plans to visit every country in Africa.
Sonia leverages strategy and relationship-building to grow Greenlining’s capacity to drive investments into communities of color as Development Manager. For Sonia, justice lies at the intersection of asset building, gender equity, and uplifting youth of color. Sonia manages event sponsorships and employs creative and strategic planning for Greenlining’s Annual Economic Summit and various events throughout the year. She also works closely with the Leadership Academy team, pursuing grant funding to empower the vital work of leadership development. Prior to joining Greenlining, Sonia coordinated youth programs and served as an educator for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In her time in nonprofit spaces, Sonia has intentionally developed her relationship to fundraising as a tool to empower liberation and self-determination for the communities most impacted by structural inequity.
Sonia has begun to study Kingian Nonviolence and feels passionately about building Dr. King’s Beloved Community, which maximizes compassion and empathy and also leads to health and well-being for all people. When she is away from the office, Sonia enjoys camping and spending time with her nieces. Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in Society and the Environment from UC Berkeley.