Staff

James Anderson

Community Development Team

James leads Pogo Park’s Design/Build Team. An Iron Triangle native and grandfather, he joined the team in 2015 performing community outreach and assisting with park programs. James loves how designing and building taps his creativity and allows him to learn and experiment.

Contact:
j a m e s @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Rita Cerda

Community Development Team

An Iron Triangle resident and grandmother, Rita works with the children at Elm Playlot, cleans the park, and helps with community outreach. She has been a member of the Pogo Park team since 2013. Rita loves working with the children at Elm Playlot.

Contact:
r i t a @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Eddy Doss

Community Development Team

Eddy has been cleaning Elm Playlot to keep it spic and span since 2012. Born and raised in the Iron Triangle, he takes great pride in keeping the park clean and stewarding guests. He also has a special interest in planting and caring for the park’s trees.

Contact:
e d d i e @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Jose Luis Garcia

Design Build Team

Jose Luis brings 15 years of experience in landscaping and building to Pogo Park. In 2019, he joined Pogo Park’s Design/Build Team, where he both works to build the park and helps train other staff members to do that work. Jose Luis has a particular passion for design.

Contact:
joseluis @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Jorge Garcia

Design Build Team

Jorge has been a member of Pogo Park’s Design/Build Team since 2019. He loves working with the team and learning new building skills.

Contact:

j o r g e @ p o g o p a r k . org

Joe Griffin

Director of Research

 

Joe Griffin, Director of Research | Public Health Connector.  Joe is a PhD student in public health at UC Berkeley, who was born and raised in the heart of Richmond’s central core neighborhoods. Joe leads the research collaboration between the Iron Triangle community and researchers at UC Berkeley for Pogo Park. He also advises how to transform Pogo Park into a place that promotes healthy development of children and families. Passionate about Richmond, Joe has volunteered with Pogo Park since 2008 where he was critical in implementing a process called PhotoVoice that allowed local residents to convey their feelings about their neighborhood. His expertise in community violence prevention and intervention has earned him the distinction of becoming a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar. Joe lives in Vallejo and is a parent to a newborn daughter. He loves working with Pogo Park because it gives him the rare opportunity to give back to his community.

Contact:
j o e @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Rosa Gutierrez

Community Development Team

An Iron Triangle resident, Rosa has been a member of the Pogo Park team for over a decade. She works at Elm Playlot, cleans the park, and assists with events. Rosa loves working with the children and being involved in the park programs.

Contact:
r o s a @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Brandon Harris

Community Development Team

Brandon has been doing it all for Pogo Park for over a decade. He cleans and landscapes Elm Playlot, leads tours for visitors, assists with UC Berkeley’s research, cuts children’s hair every Friday, and performs community outreach. Brandon is an Iron Triangle native and father. He first joined Pogo Park because he lives across the street and wanted to participate in the Pogo Park vision. Now, he has a vision for every inner-city community in America to have its own Pogo Park.

Contact:
b r a n d o n @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Jenny Jedeikin

Grants Manager | Communications

Jenny has worked in the field of communications as both an editor and writer for a diverse range of organizations and publications for over 25 years. In addition to Pogo Park, she has written grants for environmentally focused nonprofits as well as served as Director of Communications for nonprofit Cool the Earth. As a freelance writer, her web content, feature articles, profiles, quizzes, infographics, op-eds, and personal essays, have appeared in national publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, In Style, The Advocate, Whole Life Times, and Spiral Bound, as well as in marketing collateral for clients LinkedIn, University of Phoenix, McGuire Real Estate, Salesforce.com, and VH-1. In 2013 her writing won three awards from MarCom, the annual marketing and communications awards, and in 2014 she received two awards from Hermes Creative awards. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Jenny lives in Greenbrae CA, has two college-aged daughters and in her spare time writes a comic strip called “JennyLive.” She loves working for Pogo Park, and the challenges of struggling to describe the work that everyone is doing. She feels her job is a very meaningful and necessary antidote to living in the current climate.

Contact:
j e n n y @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Jacob Hobson

Grants Manager

Jacob joined Pogo Park’s fundraising team in 2020, working especially with private foundations and government grants. He has previously been involved in college access and historic preservation nonprofits. Before he became a fundraiser, Jacob earned a Ph.D. in English and Medieval Studies at UC Berkeley and taught literature courses there.

Contact:
jacob @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Carmen Lee

Park Supervisor

Pogo Park’s first-ever hire, Carmen Lee was born and raised on the block where Elm Playlot is located. She played there as a child and attended the nearby Peres Elementary School. Carmen knows virtually every person who walks by the park and has been integral to building Pogo Park into what it is today.

Contact:
c a r m e n @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Tonie Lee

Park Director

Tonie Lee is 1 of the 3 original members of Pogo Park’s Community Team who planned, designed, and built Elm Playlot from the ground up. Tonie is a driving force to bring high-quality, enriched programs to Elm Playlot as a vehicle to help local children grow and thrive. Tonie Lee watches over Elm Playlot, directs the park staff, and oversees all the park programs. A grandmother born and raised in the Iron Triangle, Tonie leads Elm Playlot to be a trusted neighborhood for children to play and the entire community to come together.

Contact:
t o n i e @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Toody Maher

Executive Director

Toody Maher is an artist, inventor, and entrepreneur.

Born in Canada to British parents, Toody’s family emigrated to Los Angeles in the late ’60’s where she grew up surfing and playing volleyball on the beaches of Southern California. She followed her brother Adrian into sports, becoming one of the first girls in Los Angeles to play on a boys little league baseball team.

Later, Toody was among the first Title IX athletes, securing a scholarship to UC Berkeley to play volleyball, where she was named First Team All Conference for four consecutive years. After taking off her junior year to play professional volleyball in Switzerland, Toody graduated from UC Berkeley in 1983 with a degree in history.

After graduation, Toody secured the distribution rights to Swatch Watch in the 11 Western States. She set up the regional office, pioneered Swatch’s product launch, and helped to drive sales in her region from $0 in 1983 to $30 million in 1986.

After Swatch, she founded a new start-up, Fun Products, which created the world’s first clear telephone with lights (named one of Fortune Magazine’s “Product of the Year” in 1990). Toody was also named one of Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneurs of the Year.” in 1990

Later, she became the Business Director at Juma Ventures, a San Francisco nonprofit that operates businesses that provide jobs and job training to youth at-risk. At Juma, Toody created a series of “social enterprise” businesses, most notably a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream concession at the Giants and ’49ers ballparks that employed 200 at-risk youth each year, ages 14-21, from San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunter’s Point and Mission districts.

After Juma, Toody invented, developed, and patented a number of products that she either sold or licensed to other companies. She worked as a consultant on a project for a research institute at UCLA, helping to translate their scientific, evidence-based research into formats that people can actually use. It was during this project, when she was working on ways to improve the overall health and well-being of communities, that she realized that city parks – if brought to life – were a powerful vehicle to transform entire communities. This realization led her to found Pogo Park in 2007.

Toody is the recipient of a number of awards that include: the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the California State Assembly’s Woman of the Year Award, Comcast’s Local Hero Award and the Sui Generis Award.

Contact: 
t o o d y @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Doris Mason

Community Development Team

A long-time member of the Pogo Park team, Doris is known to all as “Ms. Mason” or “Mother Mason.” She is a community elder who knows virtually every family in the neighborhood. She previously served as a community liaison officer at Peres Elementary School for 15 years.

Contact:
d o r i s @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

 

Kirsten Negus

Yellow Brick Road, Urban Greening Project Support

Kirsten is a licensed landscape architect with over 15 years of experience in the design and construction of Bay Area landscape architecture projects, including urban parks, multi-family housing, and streetscapes. She holds a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, a certificate in urban horticulture from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and is a Rescape Qualified Professional. Kirsten enjoys managing projects that reflect, honor, and protect local cultural context and the surrounding natural landscape.

Contact:
kirsten @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Debbie Polito

Operations Manager

Operations Manager Debbie brings a tremendous talent for handling the behind-the-scenes details that make the myriad pieces of Pogo Park run. With more than 25 years of experience in multiple industries including retail, commercial paper, property inspections, and nonprofits, Debbie has proven expertise and skill in customer service, research and problem solving. She’s also a conscientious team player adept at working in a fast-paced environment and producing results. A resident of Kensington, CA for 23 years, Debbie has a son, a daughter and one step-daughter. A scholarship athlete who played volleyball, basketball and track while attending UC Berkeley, Debbie loves exercising, gardening, and volunteering at schools and animal shelters, but her favorite place to be is the beach! Debbie says she enjoys working at Pogo Park because it makes her feel needed. It also makes her happy to see transformation in the neighborhood and its people!

Contact:
d e b b i e @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Abigail Montejo

Community Development Team

An Iron Triangle resident and former Pogo All-Star, Abigail has been a member of the Community Development Team since receiving her degree in Human Development from CSU East Bay in 2019. In her Program Support role, Abigail works in all administrative aspects of Pogo Park: performing community outreach, implementing programs, and facilitating neighborhood meetings. She is proud of the change Pogo Park has made in the neighborhood and excited to continue making social change in her community.

Contact:
a b i g a i l @ p o g o p a r k . o r g

Alfredo Soria

Design Build Team

Alfredo has been a member of Pogo Park’s Design/Build Team since 2019. Before joining Pogo Park, he worked in landscaping. Through his work at Pogo Park, Alfredo has discovered a passion for welding and woodworking.

Contact:

a l f r e d o @ p o g o p a r k . org