Advisory Board

Joan Almon

Director, Alliance for Childhood

Joan is the Founding Director of the Alliance for Childhood and currently serves as its Director of Programs. She is a former co-chair of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America and a consultant on early childhood education. Joan believes that one of the best ways to support children is to support their play time, “for in play, children address all the situations in their lives and find solutions for them.”

Jay Beckwith

Playground Designer & Author

Considered one of the “fathers of the modern playground,” Jay began designing unique play environments in 1970. As new materials came into use early in the 1980s, he designed one of the earliest “post and deck” play structures, which quickly became a trend that he later decried as resulting in more and more playgrounds looking alike. Jay has written several books on designing and building children’s play equipment and has been involved with safety commissions. He has consulted with several playground manufacturers in their design processes and pushed towards new directions in play environments.  Jay has been a Fellow of The Association for the Study of Play for over twenty years, and his insightful observations of children at play have influenced his views of the changes needed for the future.

Dan Burden

Director, Blue Zones

As the Director of Inspiration and Innovation at Blue Zones, Dan leads the company in reinventing streets, neighborhoods and towns with walkability and bikeability solutions. He is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability, bicycle and pedestrian programs, street corridor and intersection design, traffic flow & calming, road diets, and other city planning elements. The White House recognized Dan as one of the top ten Champions of Change in Transportation, TIME magazine called him “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world,” and his peers at Planetizen list him as one of the 100 most significant urban thinkers of all time.

Andrew Butt

VP & Director, Interactive Resources

As lead architect and principal in the Bay Area firm Interactive Resources, Andrew has amassed a wealth of experience designing projects within a cultural and historical context.  Andrew has served as planning commissioner for the cities of El Cerrito and Richmond, chaired the Richmond Design Review Board and El Cerrito Planning Commission, and is involved in the local community through his volunteer work as board president of Point Richmond Music, which he co-founded.

Ron Holthuysen

Founder, Scientific Art Studio

Ron is a world renowned designer and builder of children’s play environments and the founder and creative director of Scientific Art Studio, a local business that has operated in the Iron Triangle for 40 years. This state-of-the-art and highly celebrated shop has completed world-class projects such as the new play area at the San Francisco Zoo, play features for the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the iconic mitt at the Giant’s baseball stadium, The Children’s Museum in Sonoma and numerous other notable projects.

Daniel Iacofano

Founding Principal, MIG

Daniel is nationally recognized as an expert and innovator in design, community participation, consensus building, and facilitation, and a founding principal of MIG, a multi-disciplinary firm of strategic planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and communications and media professionals. Founded in 1981, MIG is known nationally and internationally for its creative projects that get results as well as its many innovative research and development initiatives. Daniel’s work encompasses a wide range of projects including downtown design and development plans (e.g., Denver, Dallas, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Spokane), environmental plans (e.g., Napa River, San Gabriel River) and strategic plans (e.g., National Park Service, California Community College System, Bay Area Rapid Transit).

Carla Javits

President & CEO, REDF

Carla is President and CEO of REDF (The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund), a pioneering venture philanthropy that helps people striving to overcome employment barriers get good jobs, keep those jobs, and build better lives. Through her stewardship, REDF has invested in more than 100 social enterprises in 21 states. These businesses have generated $392 million in revenue and employed 24,000 people—and counting. Carla is called on frequently to share her expertise at a variety of domestic and international conferences and speaking engagements, including the Social Enterprise World Forum in Milan, Italy, the Social Traders Master Conference in Melbourne, Australia, and as part of the American Enterprise Institute “Disruptor” Series in Washington, DC.

Chris Kelly

Director, The Conservation Fund

Chris serves as the California State Director at The Conservation Fund. Since joining the Fund in 2003, he has led the development of the North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative, which has pioneered the nonprofit ownership of working forests in California, the use of low-interest public financing and participation in the voluntary and compliance carbon markets to generate significant capital for forest conservation. Prior to joining the Fund, Chris served as Director of Conservation Programs for The Nature Conservancy of California. He previously practiced land use, real estate and corporate law in San Francisco.

Fred Lambright

VP of Community Development, Mechanics Bank

Fred is Vice President of Community Development Manager/CRA Officer at Mechanics Bank where he supports community-based projects. Prior to joining Mechanics Bank, he was the Principal at F. Lambright Consulting, supporting community based organizations and banks with developing and funding of affordable housing projects. Fred also has experience as a Senior Community Investment Consultant at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. He lives in Oakland and has a son.

Josh Meyer

Director, LGC

As the Director of Community Planning Programs at LGC (Local Government Commission), Josh is a distinguished expert in creating livable and walkable communities. He has years of experience directing numerous transportation projects that enliven neighborhoods, including designing streets for increased energy efficiency, livability, land efficiency and walkability. Josh has presented at national and state conferences and has a vast range of experience and knowledge to help empower communities to create pedestrian-friendly, green streets that are designed alongside community residents.  

Gina Moreland

Founder & Executive Director, Habitot

Gina founded the award-winning Habitot Museum in 1992, a museum with a mission to help parents from all walks of life raise curious creative and confident children. The award-winning museum, which has welcomed over a million people, was founded as a place where all Bay Area children can experience the joy of play and become 21st century learners. Gina has a wealth of experience in nonprofit management, including membership development, board development, strategic planning, financial management, marketing and public affairs.

Gus Newport

Former Mayor of Berkeley, CA

From his early days as a civil rights activist alongside Malcolm X to his current role as a community economic-development consultant, Gus Newport has always been a champion of the people, helping to frame the nature of grassroots community organizing to benefit the underserved. Among his many notable distinctions are his roots in the civil rights movement, where he befriended Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell and helped found the Organization of African American Unity in 1964 before Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. After serving as mayor of the city of Berkeley for seven years, Gus became director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) project in Boston, the very first example of an impoverished community taking back their neighborhood. Under Gus’s direction the DSNI was able to purchase large properties using eminent domain, allowing local residents to buy homes at affordable costs. The program—which has been ongoing in Boston since 1984—laid the groundwork for what is possible when a neighborhood is run “by and for the people.” Gus has continued to serve on numerous governmental and nonprofit agencies including the advisory board to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; as faculty of higher education institutions such as Yale, M.I.T., and the University of California; and as a member of U.N. delegations advocating peace and justice. A father of two and resident of Berkeley, most recently Gus has been on the leadership committee of the National Council of Elders, an organization comprised solely of people over 65—each of whom played pivotal roles in the social justice movements of the 20th century—including civil rights, women’s rights, environmental rights, farm workers’ rights, and gay and lesbian rights.

Tony Thurmond

State of California Superintendent of Public Instruction

As a member of the California State Assembly for over a decade, Tony worked to pass legislation supporting public education, foster youth, and improvements in health and mental health programs for students. He has a wealth of experience at the intersection of policy and actualization and a background as an executive leader for nonprofits that serve youth. A former member of the Richmond City Council and the West Contra Costa School Board, Tony is a tireless advocate for improving the ability of students to learn by removing barriers that impede their efforts. He became the 28th State of California Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2019, after being endorsed by all five 2018 California Teachers of the Year.

Julie Turrini

Director, Resources Legacy Fund

In her role as Director/Attorney for Lands, Rivers and Communities at Resources Legacy Fund, Julie focuses on conservation financing, real estate transactions, and conservation philanthropy, with particular emphasis on providing strategic advice for program-related projects. Before joining Resources Legacy Fund, Julie served as senior attorney for The Nature Conservancy’s California Program where she provided legal support for real estate acquisitions, government and private grant and loan financings, and stewardship matters for the Cosumnes River, Delta, and Northern Sierra projects. Previously, Julie was a partner with various Sacramento law firms, focusing on commercial real estate, land conservation, low-income housing, and general corporate matters.

Sarita Waite

Developer & Partner, Temescal Alleys

Sarita is an artist, an expert in urban revitalization and development, and a lawyer who practiced family law in Berkeley for 17 years before she turned to sculpture. She is co-owner and founder of the iconic Temescal Alleys, a vibrant pair of retail alleys in historic downtown Oakland. Temescal Alleys is a successful experiment in urban placemaking which features curated shops from clothing to collectibles to coffee. Sarita’s artwork is featured throughout the Bay Area including in the War Memorial Opera House and the Grizzly Bears Marin Circle Fountain Restoration project.  Sarita is also founder of Sui Generis, a private grantmaking foundation.