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.

j o e @ 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,, 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.

j e n n y @ 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.

t o o d y @ 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!

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