Smart Growth California is led by an active steering committee comprised of representatives from 11 leading foundations and an anonymous funder including: S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, California Community Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, Energy Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, The San Diego Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Water Foundation.
The steering committee sets the overall strategic direction in order to facilitate aligned grantmaking and action for the Smart Growth California funder community. Members work together to identify and address priorities at the local, regional, and state levels.
- Joya Banerjee
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
- Corey Brown
Resources Legacy Fund
- Jose Carmona
- Ray Colmenar
The California Endowment
- Vinita Goyal
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
- Kaying Hang
Sierra Health Foundation
- Nicola Hedge
The San Diego Foundation
- Earl Lui
The California Wellness Foundation
Joya is a senior program officer at the Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. She leads the Foundation’s grant program that is designed to advance a more sustainable water system that meets the needs of people and nature with a primary focus on California and the American West. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was an attorney at Latham & Watkins and worked for the City of New York, first with the Mayor’s Office of Operations and later with the Economic Development Division of the Law Department. She currently serves on the board of 826 Valencia, an organization that works with San Francisco students to improve writing skills, develop confidence in their voice, and inspire wonder in the world around them.
Corey Brown serves as a strategic policy advisor and program officer on a diverse portfolio of issues, including climate change, land use, park protection, urban rivers, water policy, river restoration, and conservation funding at the Resources Legacy Fund.
Corey previously served as executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust, government affairs director for the Trust for Public Land (Western Region), general counsel for the Planning and Conservation League, legal counsel for Friends of the River, and Assembly Fellow with the California State Legislature. He also served as adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and as visiting lecturer at the University of California, Davis. He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Law.
Before joining the Energy Foundation as Program Director, California, Jose was the Chief of Staff for the Assembly Democratic Majority Leader V. Manuel Perez (56th AD) since 2008. In that role, he advanced energy-related legislation, including a three-year extension of the Self-Generation Incentive Program; expedited permitting and siting of projects within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan; and secured funding for renewable energy workforce training in low-income and high unemployment areas of California. From 2003 – 2008, Jose was the Advocacy Director for the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Clean Power Campaign, and V. John White & Associates, where he tracked, analyzed, and lobbied for clean energy and climate legislation on behalf of renewable energy affiliates and environmental nonprofit organizations.
Jose has extensive legislative advocacy experience in the California State Senate and Assembly where he advocated for the passage of California’s landmark climate change law, AB 32, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and the California Solar Initiative, in addition to regulatory implementation work at the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, California Independent System Operator, and the California Public Utilities Commission. Jose also served as the lead energy advocate for the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee from 2006 – 2008.
Jose holds a B.A. in Social and Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law from California State University, Chico.
Ray is a director on the California Endowment’s Healthy California statewide team. Ray is responsible for shaping and implementing The Endowment’s programmatic strategy to bring wellness and healthier school climate policies and practices to California schools, as well as establish health-promoting neighborhood policies across the state. He also co-leads the Heath Happens with all our Sons & Brothers efforts, which are aimed at improving the health of boys and young men of color—a key cross-cutting program priority of the 10-year Building Healthy Communities strategy.
Prior to joining The Endowment, Ray was an associate director at PolicyLink, where he conducted policy research, analysis, coalition building, communications, and advocacy on a range of issues including community health. Ray has also served as a senior research associate with The Rockefeller Foundation, executive director for the South of Market Problem Solving Council, and as a policy analyst for the San Francisco Department of Human Services.
Ray received a Bachelor of Science in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Ray is a resident of Albany, California, where he lives with his wife Fatima Angeles, daughter Isabela, and son Alessandro.
Vinita is the Housing and Transportation Program Officer at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). Vinita leads SVCF’s housing and transportation grantmaking strategy and brings to her work her research and practice experience in urban planning and policy, working to align place-based infrastructure improvements with community needs and aspirations, particularly for vulnerable populations that can be adversely affected by planning policies.
She most recently worked on the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (the model for Bay Area’s CASA—Committee to House the Bay Area—framework), which is advancing access to affordable housing opportunities for Seattle’s residents. In Seattle, Vinita also led a film project that elevated the lived experiences of Central Area residents who are grappling with the displacement challenges of the changing city and was coordinating efforts to implement community stabilization priorities of the Chinatown-International District community. Vinita has previously worked for the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and for the City of Oakland as well as in consulting and nonprofits. Throughout her career she has strived to advance equity in the built environment, whether it was pursuing pathways to advance an understanding of alternative social housing models in the region or more broadly prioritizing social and economic inclusion within the public sector.
Independently, Vinita pursues research and writing on social justice issues in U.S. cities and globally. She has a Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Lucknow, India.
Kaying serves on the senior management team for Sierra Health Foundation and the Center for Health Program Management as the director of health programs. In this role, Kaying oversees programs including the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership, the Healthy Sacramento Coalition, the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, and the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths. Kaying had served as the interim director of health programs since February, and previously was a senior program officer when she joined the foundation in 2013.
Before joining Sierra Health Foundation, Kaying served as associate director for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, where she worked with foundations, affinity groups, public policy groups and immigrant rights organizations. Previously, she served as senior program officer at the Otto Bremer Foundation in Minnesota and a program officer and senior consultant with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.
Before she began her career in philanthropy, Kaying worked in state government as the state coordinator of the Refugee Health Program for the Minnesota Department of Health, and as assistant regional coordinator for the Refugee and Immigrant Health Program for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She served as the first Co-Chair of the national board of National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) based in Washington DC, and served on the board of Asian Americans in Philanthropy (AAPIP).
A native Hmong speaker, Kaying received a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and a Master in Public Health from Boston University. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, she is the oldest of seven children and comes from a family dedicated to social justice. Kaying lives in Sacramento.
As director of The San Diego Foundation’s Environmental Initiatives, Nicola works with donors, nonprofits, business and government partners to lead two initiatives – Opening the Outdoors and Climate – aimed at advancing community efforts that protect, connect and make the outdoors accessible, as well as catalyze regional solutions to climate change. For the work she and colleagues have accomplished through the Climate Initiative, the Foundation was awarded the inaugural US Department of Housing and Urban Development-Council on Foundations Secretary’s Award for public-private partnerships by community foundations in 2012.
Nicola serves in leadership roles for several external partnerships on behalf of The Foundation, including the five-year National Science Foundation-funded Climate Education Partners project to help create a community of informed community leaders in the San Diego region, as well as being a co-founding member of the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and statewide Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation. Appointed by the then City Council President to the City of San Diego’s Environmental and Economic Sustainability Task Force, she worked with the Task Force to advise in development of the City’s Climate Action Plan, and also serves on the Port of San Diego’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
Before joining The Foundation in 2009, among other roles Nicola was a field office manager with a multi-year World Bank research project in Malawi, exploring connections between education, income, and health. Nicola earned her Master’s from the University of California, San Diego, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, and her Bachelor in International Business from Hawaii Pacific University. She became a certified LEED Green Associate in 2010.
Earl is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where he currently manages grantmaking related to strengthening community clinics and safety-net partners, and fostering healthy environments. His responsibilities include reviewing letters of interest, requesting and evaluating grant proposals, conducting site visits, making funding recommendations, and monitoring active grants.
Prior to joining The California Wellness Foundation in December 2006, Earl was senior attorney at Consumers Union’s West Coast office in San Francisco focusing on health care advocacy. He also worked for Consumers Union on financial services advocacy. Prior to that, he was an associate trainer for Coro Northern California, a leadership training program; a staff attorney for Public Advocates, Inc.; and an associate with the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. Earl is currently co-chair of the steering committee for the Health & Environmental Funders Network.
A member of the State Bar of California, he earned his law degree from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Craig Martinez joined The California Endowment in May 2012 as a program manager tasked with supporting policy and system change efforts to create healthier neighborhoods. He is based in The California Endowment’s Los Angeles office and began serving on the steering committee of Smart Growth California in 2013 and the board of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) in March of 2015.
Prior to joining The Endowment, Craig served as a health policy advisor in the Majority Health Policy Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, first under the Chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and subsequently under the Chairmanship of Senator Tom Harkin. His legislative portfolio on the HELP Committee included issues relating to public health, disease prevention, health disparities, mental health, HIV/AIDS, and public health preparedness.
Craig received his Bachelor of Science from Stanford University, and holds both a Master of Public Health and a Doctorate in Public Health in child and adolescent health and development from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has also worked in numerous community-based organizations addressing adolescent health concerns including HIV/AIDS, violence prevention, and environmental health.
Ann serves as vice president of the California Community Foundation’s Housing and Economic Opportunity Program, working to develop permanent, affordable housing to stabilize communities throughout Los Angeles County.
Before joining the California Community Foundation in June 2006, Ann was vice president and California director of Enterprise Community Partners; assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department; the executive director of the Los Angeles Community Design Center; and the housing director for the City of Santa Monica. She also worked with the Los Angeles offices of the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ann recently served on the board of directors of the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and is the immediate past chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. She has also chaired the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and served on the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Loan and Grant Committee and on the board of directors of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing.
Jen Sokolove is Director of Programs and Strategy at the Water Foundation. She has been working on sustainability issues for more than two decades, with a focus on community-based conservation. Prior to joining the Water Foundation, she led strategy and grantmaking at the Compton Foundation around movement-building and narrative in climate change, reproductive justice, and peace and security. She joined Compton initially to advance its environmental programs on fresh water, climate, and rural conservation in the western United States, as well as sustainable food systems and art for social change. Before Compton, Jen worked on a variety of community-led conservation projects in California, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest. She serves on the board of EcoAdapt and advisory boards for the Healthy Headwaters project of Carpe Diem West and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz. Jen received a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley.
REFRAME IT CONSULTING
Mark Valentine is the founder and principal of ReFrame It Consulting, which works with foundations and individual donors on grantmaking program design, implementation, and evaluation. In parallel, ReFrame It offers nonprofit organizations a range of services that include strategic planning, organizational development, and executive coaching. Mark and his colleagues have advised groups working across a diverse array of issues, including: smart growth and sustainable land use, environmental health, energy and climate, marine and coastal conservation, and conservation finance. Amongst his clients is a private donor advisory service for which he manages a portfolio of grants focused on advancing sustainable land use policy in key regions of California. Mark currently serves as co-chair of Smart Growth California.
Prior to founding ReFrame It, Mark was a program director with the Packard Foundation where he helped establish the nation’s largest conservation grantmaking program with initiatives across the western United States, Mexico, China, and the Western Pacific. In addition, he created an innovative interdisciplinary grantmaking initiative that highlighted the opportunities for strategic synergy between reproductive health, environment, and community development initiatives in select geographies within the Foundation’s global portfolio.
Mark has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) as well as on the Management Committee of the Environmental Grantmakers Association. He currently serves on the Boards of Director of the Center for the New American Dream, Resource Media, and EcoTrust Canada.
Ann Fowler Wallace
Ann is director of programs at the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN). Based in Boston, Ann leads TFN’s responsive service work in the Northeast, staffs the GREEN! working group and Partners for Places (P4P) grant program, advises TFN’s Northeast Funders’ Network and Stormwater Funders Group, and manages the Network’s team of field contractors.
Before coming to TFN, Ann facilitated the planning and design of smart growth collaboratives in Vermont and Massachusetts. She has worked as a program consultant to the John Merck Fund (JMF), and consulted with other foundations and funder networks focusing on environmental, sustainable agriculture, and smart growth issues. She is a former partner at GMA Foundations, a philanthropic consulting firm serving charitable foundations and individual donors, where for 15 years she headed up GMA’s environmental grantmaking and consulting practice. Among her past clients, Ann worked for the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, the Conservation, Food & Health Foundation, the Dolphin Trust, and The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation.
Ann is a past trustee of the Beldon Fund, and currently a trustee of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. She has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Duke University and has a Master’s degree with a concentration in environmental policy from Tufts University.
As Initiative Officer for the Great Communities Collaborative, Elizabeth leads the programmatic work of the collaborative, working with grantees and partners to build a more equitable and sustainable Bay Area. Before coming to TSFF, Elizabeth worked for Reconnecting America where she was deeply engaged in transit and TOD-focused technical assistance projects at the regional and the corridor scale in the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Los Angeles and Twin Cities.
Elizabeth co-authored several publications including Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America. Elizabeth created typologies as a tool for implementing TOD; developed strategies for housing preservation and production in transit-rich locations; and explored the connection between jobs, workforce development and transit.
Prior to Reconnecting America, Elizabeth worked on the southwest side of Chicago with local nonprofits on pressing community development issues. She attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, and received a Masters of City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.