2014 Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative Conference

Presenters and Moderators

Fred Ali
President & CEO, Weingart Foundation

Fred Ali has more than 35 years of senior management experience with nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government. He received his undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University, and his graduate degree in education from the University of Michigan.

Fred began his career in 1972 as a volunteer teacher and counselor in a small western Alaskan village. Over the next 19 years, he held a number of key positions in Alaska including Deputy Director of the State Employment and Training Agency; President of Kuskokwim Community College; and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage. In 1991, Fred became the Executive Director of Covenant House in Los Angeles. Under his leadership, Covenant House California developed into a large, multi-service program working with homeless and at-risk youth in Los Angeles and Oakland. Fred was elected President of the Weingart Foundation in June 1999 and named Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation in 2006. He serves on the Board of Advisors for The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, University of Southern California (Chairman); Office of Strategic Partnerships Advisory Board, City of Los Angeles, Office of the Mayor (Chairman); and Senior Fellow, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Fred also served as the immediate past chair of Southern California Grantmakers. He speaks regularly on issues pertaining to the nonprofit sector including sustainability, organizational effectiveness, capacity building and the impact of the recent economic downturn.

Jo DeBolt
Partner, La Piana Consulting

Jo is passionate about helping clients think beyond the obvious to develop solutions that drive lasting results. Her ability to work with organizations in a truly collaborative fashion to achieve their goals makes her a valued partner to national, regional, and local nonprofits and foundations. Jo balances process expertise with the business acumen required to navigate a dynamic environment and effect meaningful change. Her deep wisdom and knowledge of best practices were gained through experience as a leader in the field. She is a well-regarded and engaging speaker on social sector effectiveness. Prior to joining La Piana Consulting, Jo served as the director of the Tides Center in Pittsburgh and D.C. and was the founding Executive Director of a regional coalition of community economic development organizations. She has also served as a public school trustee and chaired a Congressional Commission working with the National Park Service. Jo has an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Business from Duquesne University.

Wendy Garen
President & CEO, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

Wendy has played an integral role in the life of the Parsons Foundation, assuming the title of President & CEO in 2008 after working for the Foundation in increasing levels of responsibility for more than twenty years. She was a founding staff member of the children’s nonprofit Crystal Stairs and headed the Los Angeles Child Care and Development Council. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has a master’s in urban planning from UCLA. She was on the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and joined delegations visiting South Africa and Egypt. She is currently the chair of Southern California Grantmakers and is a member of the Philanthropy Leadership Group, The Trusteeship and serves on the California advisory board of the Milken Institute. She was a Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy at UCLA in 2004. Wendy is frequently a speaker and panelist at local and national meetings for philanthropy.

Nike Irvin
Vice President of Programs, California Community Foundation

Nike Irvin leads CCF’s Programs Team responsible for $20+ million in annual grants that provide core operating support to priority program areas such as arts, education, and health care. She also leads teams on three special initiatives: Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM), the El Monte Community Building Initiative, and Preparing Achievers for Tomorrow. Her areas of expertise include capacity building, branding, and program development and implementation. Before joining CCF, Irvin served as president of The Riordan Foundation for seven years and as a consultant/coach for nonprofits and foundations. She has 20+ years of experience in both nonprofit leadership and consulting to numerous nonprofit organizations, foundations and charitable arms of for-profit companies. Irvin also has extensive marketing experience in the private sector for Nestlé USA and Pepsi Cola Company. A native of Los Angeles, Irvin serves on several boards of directors and is a trustee for The Riordan Foundation, UCLA Alumni Association and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Irvin received a BA in Economics & Political Science from Yale University and was also named one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she earned an MBA. She is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute, a Marshall Memorial Fellow, and a Next Generation Fellow of the American Assembly.

Joanna S. Jackson
Director, Grant Operations, Weingart Foundation

As Director, Grant Operations, Joanna is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Weingart Foundation’s responsive grantmaking program and staff. Since joining the Foundation in 2008, Joanna has held the position of Program Associate, Program Director, and, most recently, Director of Special Projects. Prior to joining the Foundation, she accumulated more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit, philanthropic and public sectors, most recently serving at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Joanna holds a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College, The City University of New York, where she was a National Urban Fellow, and received her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jennifer Price-Letscher
Program Officer, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

Jennifer Price-Letscher is a program officer at the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a consulting program officer with the Sterling Foundation, where she designed programs to promote college access practices in community-based organizations. She was also Executive Management Academy coordinator at the Whitecap Foundation, where she created and evaluated cohort-based training programs for nonprofit executives and board members. Price-Letscher has worked with a wide variety of organizations, including Shakespeare Center/LA, the Archdiocese of Cleveland, CARS, Diavolo, and Grand Performances. Currently Board president at Hill & Dale Family Learning Center, Price-Letscher also serves on the Board of Westside Neighborhood School. She holds an MSc in positive organizational development and change management with highest honors from Case Western Reserve, and professional certifications in college counseling, leading/coaching with emotional intelligence, building sustainable enterprises, and appreciative inquiry.

Nonprofit Panel

Varina Bleil
Executive Director, American Youth Symphony

Varina served as Executive Director of Inside Out Community Arts for over four years, and in March 2014 became the Executive Director of American Youth Symphony. Varina previously served as the Development Executive at The Help Group and has over a decade of experience as a Teaching Artist with various arts organizations in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Inside Out, Varina worked in the film and television industry where she served as a development executive, producer and writer. Her experience includes Senior Vice President at Weed Road Pictures, staff writer on the television series “Eureka”, and Associate Producer on the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Varina received a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and a M.Ed. (Arts in Education) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she worked closely with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. She is also on the Board of Directors of Elemental Strings and Band, an after-school music ensemble program for elementary school-age children in Santa Monica, CA.

Patricia Costales
Executive Director, The Guidance Center

Patricia Costales, LCSW, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Occidental College, where she was a member of the Psi Chi Honors Society, and completed her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Southern California in 1992. She began her career in mental health as a clinician, developing a particular expertise in the areas of child sexual abuse treatment and in-crisis assessment and intervention of children and families post-abduction. She served for many years as the lead clinician on the Los Angeles County Child Abduction Task Force, and retains an active interest today in teaching and presenting on issues related to child trauma, clinical ethics and political advocacy as it relates to mental health. In addition to her leadership role with The Guidance Center, Patricia served for four years as an adjunct professor at the School of Social Welfare at UCLA, where she taught a graduate course on public policy and mental health. Prior to joining The Guidance Center, Patricia served as the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, where she was responsible for the oversight of services to more than 44,000 clients. She also chaired the Compliance Committee and the Quality Improvement Committee, reinforcing her experience in providing quality services that are ethical, effective and community-based. Patricia is on the Board of Directors of both the Association of Community Human Services Agencies and the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, as well as a member of the National Association of Social Workers. She is also a mother of young twin sons, and volunteers at their school and in the community.

David Pilon
President & CEO, Mental Health America of Los Angeles

David Pilon received his doctorate in Social Psychology from Harvard University in 1981. He is a licensed psychologist and is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer and President for Mental Health America of Los Angeles. In 1989, he was the lead writer for the grantwriting team that produced the successful bid to design and implement the Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, California. He has consulted in the design and transformation of mental health programs and systems throughout the United States, New Zealand, and Japan. He is a past president for the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies and currently serves on the Evaluation Committee of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Advisory Commission. Dr. Pilon has presented numerous workshops on ethics and leadership issues in psychosocial rehabilitation as well as on the development of outcome measures for social rehabilitation programs. From 1999 through 2007, he served as the lead evaluator coordinating the collection and analysis of data documenting the effectiveness of the Integrated Services for the Homeless (AB34) program serving nearly 5000 people who are mentally ill and had been incarcerated and/or homeless. He is the co-creator of the Milestones of Recovery Scale and has served on the Performance Measurement Advisory Committee (PMAC) for the California State Department of Mental Health. He is the Principal Writer for the California Institute of Mental Health’s Full Service Partnership Performance Measurement Toolkit. In 2004, he received United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s (USPRA) Armin Loeb Award for outstanding research in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation.

Amy Shapiro
Executive Director, Advancement & Operations, P.S. ARTS

Ms. Amy Shapiro provides professional fundraising leadership by overseeing and taking an active role in the activities of the advancement team in coordinating continued development of a diverse base of contributors, thus enabling the organization to meet programming and financial goals. Ms. Shapiro is also responsible for overseeing all administrative, financial, and human resources functions, and enhancing the internal organization processes and infrastructure to allow for effective and efficient fulfillment of the organization’s mission, which is to improve the lives of children by providing arts education to underserved public schools and communities. Ms. Shapiro, who has a background in special education, joined P.S. ARTS in September of 2001. Prior to P.S. ARTS, she was a High School Program Manager for Best Buddies of California, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with developmental disabilities. During her tenure at P.S. ARTS, Ms. Shapiro has served as the Development Assistant, Associate Director of Foundation and Government Grants, Director of Special Events, Director of Communications & Advancement, and currently as Executive Director, Advancement and Operations. Ms. Shapiro graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. of Science in 2000. In 2006, she earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management, from the University of Southern California. Ms. Shapiro currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Westside Food Bank, an organization that annually distributes more than a million pounds of food to social services agencies, shelters, and food pantries across West Los Angeles.

Consultant Panel

Susan Green
Principal, Green Management Consulting Group

Sue has developed a thriving national consulting firm focused on strategic planning, strategic restructuring, and operations improvement. Recently, GMCG expanded its size and range of expertise beyond healthcare with the addition of specialists in Human Resources and Arts & Cultural Planning. Sue has over 30 years of strategic planning and operations improvement consulting experience. She began her career post-graduate education in Ergonomics, with Kaiser Permanente as a Management Engineer, eventually assuming a number of key positions, such as Assistant Administrator of two medical centers and Director of KP Consulting, the in-house consulting service for the state. In this role, Sue oversaw all consulting projects, including optimization, quality improvement, workflow optimization, and planning for the state through management of over 50 staff in NCAL and SCAL departments. This past year, GMCG led the strategic restructuring project for the Long Beach collaborative as a part of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative. The largest of all participating collaboratives with seven engaged entities - the two Primary Care agencies, four mental health agencies and one housing agency are moving forward with the implementation of an Organized Healthcare Arrangement (OHCA), a mechanism which will allow for ease of sharing patient specific data. Identifying unique solutions such as the OCHA and working closely with clients to make it a reality is what continues to excite Sue in her consulting work.

Roth Herrlinger
Founder and CEO, Herrlinger Consulting and CourageousCapitalism.com

Roth Herrlinger has worked with businesses and nonprofits for more than two decades to identify their enduring purpose and align it with their people and processes in engaged, sustainable business models that deliver remarkable results. He assists his clients (including both million- and billion-dollar organizations) to develop enduring operational frameworks, cultivate leadership, and engage favorable strategic restructuring initiatives. He has also been involved in the start-up of numerous companies that address major social issues through innovative business models in the fields of lending and financial wellness, strategic investment, technology, education, and consumer packaged goods. From his classrooms (Dartmouth College and Stanford Graduate School of Business) to many boardrooms, he has had the honor to work with countless dynamic, thoughtful, committed leaders who consistently demonstrate what happens when financial and human capital converge with big vision and big determination.

Paul Hudson
Managing Director, Hudson & Holland Advisors, LLC

Paul is the co-founder and Managing Director of Hudson & Holland Advisors, LLC, a financial advisory firm that assists nonprofit organizations with planning, negotiating, structuring, financing, and implementing strategic restructures, including strategic collaborations, mergers, partnerships, cooperatives, and other organizational alliances. He is the immediate past Chairman and CEO of Broadway Federal Bank, a certified Community Development Financial Institution that has operated in the underserved ethnic markets of South Los Angeles since 1947. In 2012, Paul decided to combine his interest in sustainability strategies for nonprofits and his experience with for-profit mergers, collaborations, and consolidations and formed Hudson & Holland to bring best business practices, strategies, and systems to the nonprofit sector with the goal of enhancing nonprofit sustainability, improving organizational efficiency, and increasing social impact. His practice includes conducting workshops for nonprofit executives on “Understanding Financial Statements” and “Strategic Restructuring”. He currently serves as Chairman of the Center for Social Inclusion and Ebony Repertory Theatre. He also serves on the Board of Commissioners of the Los Angeles City Housing Authority, Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation, and the African American Board Leadership Institute. Paul received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley and his JD from Boalt Hall School of Law. He is a member of the State of California and District of Columbia bars.

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