Meet the San Joaquin Valley Funders’ Collaborative
The SJV Funders’ Collaborative works to support funder learning and collaboration to promote healthy, equitable communities and sustainable natural systems in the San Joaquin Valley.
- Kathryn Gilje (Co-chair)
- Adriana Saldivar (Co-chair)
Latino Community Foundation
- Elliott Balch
Central Valley Community Foundation
- Kevin Boyer
Regenerative Agriculture Foundation
- Sergio Cuellar
Sierra Health Foundation/San Joaquin Valley Health Fund
- Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith
- Hector Gutierrez
First 5 Kern
- Kaying Hang
Sierra Health Foundation
- Masika Henson
11th Hour Project
- Amanda Hughes
Stanislaus Community Foundation
- Janaki Jagannath
11th Hour Project
- Craig Martinez
The California Endowment
- Marie Sanchez
- Harkiran (Kiran) Sandhu
- Jazmin Segura
Common Counsel Foundation
- Mark Valentine
ReFrame It Consulting
- Kristine Williams
Enterprise Community Partners
Kathryn Gilje (Co-chair)
Kat Gilje is Executive Director of Ceres Trust. Ceres Trust, whose name honors the ancient goddess of agriculture, provides grants that support healthy and resilient farms, forests and communities; and the ecosystems upon which we all depend. Ceres Trust focuses on grassroots leadership and organizing, equity, and movement building toward systemic and transformational change. An agronomist and community organizer trained by Voices for Racial Justice in Minnesota, Kat previously was co–director of Pesticide Action Network North America; co–founder/director of Centro Campesino; and senior associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She serves on the steering committees of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network and the Health and Environmental Network.
Adriana Saldivar (Co-chair)
As Program Manager, Adriana Saldivar leads Latino Community Foundation’s grantmaking and programming in the Central Valley. She supports local leaders in efforts to build power, increase civic engagement, and strengthen grassroots organizations in the Valley. She is passionate about immigrant and refugee rights, community-driven grantmaking, and cross-movement building.
Adriana has over ten years of experience in philanthropy, community organizing, and education. Prior to joining LCF, she spent five years at Open Society Foundations where she served as a Senior Program Specialist for the Immigrant and Refugee Rights portfolio, coordinating a $10 million grant-making initiative. In 2015, she was the program coordinator for the Emma Lazarus II fund, a $20 million rapid response initiative aimed at maximizing the impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Before that, she worked with undocumented and migrant students in the Central Valley helping them navigate higher education regardless of their immigration status. Concurrently she was an activist and community organizer focused on lifting up the voices of undocumented youth and farmworkers.
Adriana holds a BAs in Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Spanish Literature and a MA in International Relations from Fresno State University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, dancing, organizing food/art tours, and hosting friends.
A Fresno native, Elliott Balch has served since late 2016 as Chief Operating Officer at the Central Valley Community Foundation, where he supports the Foundation’s programmatic growth, new investment practices, and staff talent recruitment. Previously, as the City of Fresno’s Downtown Revitalization Manager for five years, Elliott played a lead role in key downtown infrastructure, capacity-building, policy reform, and real estate development initiatives. During short transitional periods he also served simultaneously as Interim Executive Director of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, and as the City’s Interim Government Affairs Manager.
Prior to joining the City, Elliott held staff positions in the Fresno and Sacramento offices of State Assembly Member Juan Arambula. Elliott holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s in physics from Harvard, and was named the 2018 Advocate of the Year by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Fresno and Madera Counties.
Kevin Boyer is the Founding Director of the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation. Before starting RAF, he spent 5 years managing the Regenerative Rangelands and Composting programs at The 11th Hour Project of The Schmidt Family Foundation. Kevin has worked for several food and farm-related nonprofits, and he grew up in Tulare County, California (one of the agriculture capitals of the world) surrounded by conventional agriculture. He maintains an active role in a California citrus farm that is transitioning to regenerative practices.
Sergio is a Senior Program Officer at Sierra Health Foundation and manages the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund portfolio. Born and raised in Patterson and an alumnus of California State University, Fresno, he is a son of the San Joaquin Valley. His deep commitment to the region and its communities makes him the perfect leader to take this work to the next level.
Sergio leads the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund team in strengthening community-centered work in the region through policy and advocacy. He also worked on the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color portfolio, leading the network to align investments and philanthropic leadership to address barriers to opportunity for boys and men of color.
Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith
Juliet Christian-Smith brings more than a decade of scientific research and policy analysis experience to her role as Senior Program Officer at the Water Foundation, with expertise in water, climate and sustainability issues.
Juliet came to the Water Foundation from the Union of Concerned Scientists where she helped lead water and climate work as a Senior Climate Scientist. She also brings a comparative perspective, having received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive in Portugal and having been a Murray Darling Basin Futures Fellow in Australia. Juliet has a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley.
As Strategic Initiatives Specialist and Director, Hector Gutierrez oversees all of First 5 Kerns early childhood systems change work in Kern County and the greater San Joaquin Valley. He supports robust partnerships with public, private, and philanthropic partners to advance the healthy development children prenatal to five. He is an experienced policy strategist with a demonstrated history of working to advance policy and system change efforts that catalyze the health and economic vitality of families across California. Over the last decade, he has supported and advanced policies that increase access to safe and affordable food for low-income Californians. He also supported research and initiatives to improve safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities. As a former Program Officer for First 5 Los Angeles, Hector’s key area of responsibility included coordination and management of multi-million-dollar investments that advance First 5 LA’s systems change and nonprofit capacity building work across Los Angeles County. He also worked to advance the First 5 LA’s built environment portfolio which catalyzed key advocacy efforts that support community investments and active transportation for under-resourced communities across its place-based investment, Best Start.
Hector received his Master in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. In his spare time, he serves as a national board member for Kaiser Permanente Research Bank. Hector also enjoys cooking and working to develop the next generation of youth advocates to help engage them in the political process.
Kaying serves on the senior management team for Sierra Health Foundation and the Center for Health Program Management as the director of health programs. 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). Mark currently serves as co-chair of Smart Growth California.
Masika Henson joined the 11th Hour Project in 2020 and is a program manager for the Food & Agriculture team. She has an interdisciplinary background that touches many sectors, including public, private, academic and government. Previously, she managed projects and communications for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Soil Science Program.
Additional experience includes grantmaking at the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to support projects to improve California freshwater resources, and restoring and mapping the health of New York City waterways at NYC Parks. As part of the Rockefeller Foundation for six years, she helped manage the endowment and developed initiatives around oceans and fisheries as well as organizational sustainability. She is a craft beer enthusiast and has over 10 years of experience in marketing and promotion of craft breweries.
Masika received her Bachelor’s in biological sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Science in sustainability management from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Amanda is the Chief Strategy Officer for Stanislaus Community Foundation where she maintains knowledge and nurture relationships with Stanislaus County charitable organizations, community groups, and public agencies. Amanda helps to educate and connect local donors to the nonprofit sector, convene local stakeholders around regional issues and initiatives, such as the Stanislaus Cradle to Career Partnership, and manage all grantmaking and scholarship processes in coordination with the Foundation’s Grants/Program committee.
Amanda’s professional background is primarily in the nonprofit sector, with experience as a grant writer for a social service agency providing direct support for survivors of domestic violence and marketing/PR support for a healthcare organization providing end of life care. She have deep empathy for our nonprofit partners and the role they play to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations in our county.
Janaki Jagannath is a program manager at The 11th Hour Project’s Food & Agriculture program. Previously she worked in legal and policy advocacy in the San Joaquin Valley of California advancing environmental justice for the state’s unincorporated farmworker communities and has farmed in diversified and orchard crops across the state. Janaki holds a J.D. from University of California (UC), Davis School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural development from UC Davis. She is a co-founder of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative.
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. 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 currently serves as co-chair of Smart Growth California.
Marie Sanchez is the Community Benefit Manager for Kaiser Permanente’s Central Valley service areas. As the Community Benefit manager, Marie is responsible for investments in communities served by the Kaiser Health Plan and Hospitals, focusing on improving the health and well-being of underserved populations and creating healthier communities in the Central Valley communities within San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.
Marie has lived in the central valley for over 25 years. She has worked for Kaiser Permanente for over 16 years. Prior to working at Kaiser Permanente, she worked as the health education manager for Federally Qualified Health Center – Community Medical Centers, Inc. located in Stockton, CA.
Harkiran (Kiran) Sandhu
Kiran Sandhu is the Community Health Manager for the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Service Area. She is responsible for the development, implementation, and management of local Community Health investments and initiatives. She has partnered with local nonprofit, public health, and human service organizations to address the critical health and social needs of vulnerable and underserved residents in the communities of Fresno, Madera, Kings, and Tulare Counties.
Kiran has extensive experience providing safety net and protective services for children, families, older adults, and those with disabilities. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, she served as a Deputy Director with the Madera County Department of Social Services for public assistance programs where she helped to implement Home Visiting and Housing Support services for CalWORKs families. Additionally, she spent over 15 years with the Fresno County Department of Social Services as a Program Manager on the expansion of CalWORKs, CalFresh and Medi-Cal programs and as a Senior Staff Analyst focusing on grant and contract management, community partnerships, and fiscal oversight.
Jazmin Segura brings over twelve years of experience in immigrant rights and social justice movements in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. She has a passion for racial and social justice and a deep commitment to grassroots organizing, advocacy, and movement building to bring about systemic change for low-income, immigrants and communities of color. Most recently, Jazmin worked at The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) where she developed and launched the foundation’s first Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building, providing timely resources to grassroots organizations that are on the front lines of organizing around issues of racial and economic justice in the Bay Area. Jazmin worked across the Foundation’s departments including the Development and Donor Services team to increase resources for immigrant and youth-led grassroots organizations.
Prior to her work at the Foundation, Jazmin was the Policy Manager at Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC). Under her direction, E4FC developed its first advocacy platform and created a leadership team of undocumented youth who led a successful statewide policy campaign to make career licenses accessible to all Californians regardless of immigration status. She also worked as a Policy Advocate at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) where she co-led a diverse coalition of immigrant rights, criminal justice, and faith-based groups to pass one of the most progressive immigration detainer policies in the nation which later became a catalyst for the California Trust Act.
Jazmin’s commitment to building community power is inspired by her family’s immigration journey to the United States. She was born in Mexico City and migrated to the United States at the age of nine to be reunited with her father. She grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Political Economy. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and is a former commissioner for the Human Relations Commission of Santa Clara County.
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 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.
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.
Kristine is a Program Officer with Enterprise Community Partners. Enterprise is a nationwide nonprofit organization focused on connecting low-income residents to opportunity through supporting and expanding affordable housing. Based in Stockton, Kristine works at the intersection of land-use and climate change. She delivers technical assistance to San Joaquin Valley communities working to secure funds under California’s landmark Cap and Trade programs. To date, Kristine has helped secure over $100 million for sustainable housing and transportation development in the region since 2017. In addition to her regional work, she is the current chair of the Stockton Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable and Workforce Housing.