A Letter From The Team

The Partnership for the Bay’s Future was launched in 2019 with the objective of creating a more livable Bay Area where diverse people of all walks of life can afford to live and thrive.

Created in collaboration with the community and in response to their needs, the public-private Partnership is working with community and faith-based leaders, housing experts, elected officials, and residents with the goal of protecting people already living in affordable homes, and preserving and producing affordable homes to meet the region’s housing needs.

This effort is centered on the understanding that a two-pronged approach is the best way to move the needle on affordable housing – addressing policy change and investing in affordable housing at the same time. That’s why the Partnership is composed of a policy fund that supports the creation and implementation of policies to stem the tide of displacement, and a family of loan funds focused on increasing the supply of affordable homes.

We start with housing, but the Partnership’s strategy and work is envisioned to expand to eventually address the region’s interconnected transportation and economic opportunity challenges.

The Bay Area is famous for being home to people who don’t shy away from tackling tough problems; we know that when we all come together to focus our analytical, creative, and financial resources, there’s no limit to what’s possible. We invite you to join our movement to create a thriving, livable region.

 

 

Our Team

Evita Chávez

Evita Chávez

Associate Initiative Officer, SFF

Evita Chávez

Evita Chávez

Associate Initiative Officer, SFF

Why do you do what you do?

The opportunities in the lower-income, Latino neighborhood in which I grew up were vastly different from the opportunities available for residents of the adjacent, predominately white, and affluent neighborhood. I’ve spent a lot of my life learning about why and how these differences came to be and how we can collectively achieve a different reality. I believe a world where everyone has the same access to opportunity, regardless of their zip code, is possible and I want to work to make that a reality.

What drew you to the foundation?

I was drawn to the foundation’s commitment to integrate the values of equity, inclusion and diversity, internally and externally, which has resulted in inspiring and creative work to reimagine and reshape long-standing systems.

How would you describe your role?

I support the Policy Fund of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, which is part of a collaborative effort to build a prosperous, inclusive and livable Bay Area by addressing the interconnected challenges of housing, transportation and economic opportunity. Never has importance of accessibility to safe, reliable housing been more salient than in 2020, where we’re forced to reckon with the systemic injustices that have created racial inequities in health, wealth and opportunity in our neighborhoods. The Policy Fund’s multi-faceted, collaborative approach works to address these systems and move the Bay toward a more just, equitable reality.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

I’m an active volunteer for my alma mater, Occidental College, as both a volunteer for the college’s Admissions Office and a member of the Board of Governors.

Contact Evita Chavez

Wendy Guzman

Wendy Guzman

Program Assistant, SFF

Wendy Guzman

Wendy Guzman

Program Assistant, SFF

Why do you do what you do? 

I am a first generation San Franciscan, and a descendant of immigrant parents who fled their war-torn native land, El Salvador. A passion for community service and organizing was a gift passed on to me by a remarkable, warrior woman, my mother, who lost everything due to tyranny and violence. Since the age of 16, I have been fighting oppression and working at the forefront of intersectionality. Throughout my career, I’ve focused on access to education, housing, and opportunities. As a rare San Francisco native, I’m working passionately toward a day when this city will welcome back the children that it’s displaced.

What drew you to the foundation?

Throughout my grassroots and non-profit career, I was able to impact lives through the resources the foundation has provided for all of the amazing organizations that are working in the trenches. Philanthropy creates incredible opportunities for individuals from impoverished backgrounds.

How would you describe your role?

I provide critical support for the Partnership for the Bay’s Future.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

I’m currently on the board of a local, semi-pro, supporter-owned soccer team, the San Francisco City Football Club.

Contact Wendy Guzman

Aysha Pamukcu

Aysha Pamukcu

Policy Fund Initiative Officer, SFF

Aysha Pamukcu

Aysha Pamukcu

Policy Fund Initiative Officer, SFF

Why do you do what you do?

I’m the proud daughter of immigrants: my mom is from the Philippines and my dad is from Turkey. Growing up in the Bay Area with my family, I saw firsthand how where we live and who we are affects our access to opportunity. And because I call this amazing region home, it’s a personal as well as professional priority to work toward a Bay Area where everyone can thrive.

What drew you to the foundation?

To work at the intersection of policy and philanthropy with a team of equity champions.

How would you describe your role?

I lead the Policy Fund of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, where we’re addressing the interconnected challenges of housing, transportation, and economic opportunity in the Bay Area. Every day in the Bay Area, rising income inequality means that people have to choose between housing and other basic necessities. But it doesn’t have to be this way — we can build a Bay Area of shared prosperity with the right mix of investment, collaboration, and policy change. I work with our partners across the region to make this vision a reality.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

I currently serve on the board of Baby-Friendly USA to improve maternal and child health, especially for the most marginalized families. And I recently served the founding boards of the Climate & Gender Justice Fund and the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety & Dignity. I also volunteer as a movement attorney, whether it’s showing up at SFO to help those affected by the Muslim travel ban or providing pro bono representation for people seeking asylum in the US.

Contact Aysha Pamukcu

Khanh Russo

Khanh Russo

Senior Director, SFF

Khanh Russo

Khanh Russo

Senior Director, SFF

Why do you do what you do?

In a place increasingly divided by income and wealth, and on a planet where geopolitical, economic, and technological forces deepen our already-substantial disparities, I believe that we can do better. This should not be our reality. We are a community strengthened by our diversity, compassion, innovation, technology, social justice and incredible wealth, and with that I know we can solve the housing crisis and ensure that everyone can participate in and benefit from the community’s prosperity.

What drew you to the foundation?

My family immigrated to America as political refugees and were supported by the nonprofits that the foundation funded. I was also inspired by the foundation’s commitment to social justice, racial equity and economic inclusion.

How would you describe your role?

My work will give power to communities that are working toward housing equity, improving transportation, building climate resilience and support communities looking to transform their government through policy change.

Are you involved in any volunteer activities?

I volunteer for SPUR, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, and Cristo Rey San Jose High School. I am also a lay minister with my church providing religious formation.

Contact Khanh Russo

Cindy Wu

Cindy Wu

Executive Director, LISC Bay Area

Cindy Wu

Cindy Wu

Executive Director, LISC Bay Area

Cindy brings 15 years of community leadership, affordable housing knowledge and public policy experience to LISC Bay Area at this critical moment. She is also not a stranger to LISC, having been one of the inaugural Rubinger Fellows!

Cindy was most recently the Deputy Director for Chinatown Community Development Center, a place-based nonprofit developer in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In this role she oversaw affordable housing development, property management, human resources and internal administration and operations. She guided the organization through rapid growth from 1,700 to 3,000 units of housing over five years. Prior to this, Cindy led Chinatown CDC’s Community Planning Team from 2007-2015, empowering residents to advocate for their neighborhood and attracting more than $45 million in neighborhood capital improvements.

Cindy is equal parts grassroots activist and pragmatic problem-solver. The common thread, though all her years of work has been a deep commitment to community engagement and decision-making by Chinatown’s residents to determine their own fate for their neighborhood.

Cindy has also been a vital member of the San Francisco Planning Commission, including a term serving as its president, working to develop strategies that protect neighborhood businesses and streamline affordable housing construction. She holds a Masters in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Outside of work, Cindy enjoys exploring Oakland with her husband and two-year old child.

Asha Rao

Asha Rao

Senior Director of Investments, LISC Bay Area

Asha Rao

Asha Rao

Senior Director of Investments, LISC Bay Area

Asha Rao has recently joined BALISC as Director of Investments. She has several years of working in the CDFI industry as an investment manager with Wells Fargo previously, lending to and investing in CDFIs  nationwide. Prior to WF Asha worked at Standard and Poor’s in New York and at the Nasscom Foundation in New Delhi, India. She graduated with a BA from Emory University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Sasha Werblin

Sasha Werblin

Program Officer, LISC Bay Area

Sasha Werblin

Sasha Werblin

Program Officer, LISC Bay Area

Prior to joining LISC, Sasha was a Special Project Manager at Self-Help Federal Credit Union where she most recently helped start and manage real estate project in California. During her time at SHFCU, Sasha executed projects related to the core operations of the credit union, managed community and corporate partnerships, and lead key projects that enhanced organizational development and culture.

Prior to SHFCU, Sasha was the Economic Equity Director at the Greenlining Institute where she advocated for increased wealth, assets, and financial sustainability in communities of color. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She serves on the Board of the Greenlining Academy Alumni Association and the Oakland Community Land Trust.

Sasha is a proud Oakland native and longtime resident who wants to live in a world where love is abundant, siestas are the status quo, and race is not a barrier to prosperity.

Sally Smyth

Sally Smyth

Community Development Underwriter, LISC Bay Area

Sally Smyth

Sally Smyth

Community Development Underwriter, LISC Bay Area

As a Community Development underwriter, Sally Smyth is responsible for structuring, underwriting, and closing loans as well as providing technical assistance to borrowers. Sally believes deeply in LISC’s mission to work with residents and partners to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity. Her background in systems change, nonprofit organizational effectiveness, and public policy shape her approach to lending as one critical tool to advance this mission.

Prior to joining LISC, Sally was a Senior Loan Officer with Community Vision Capital & Consulting (formerly NCCLF), where she underwrote deals in Northern California ranging from large NMTC allocations for community facilities to small, working capital loans for fishermen and famers. Sally also helped to lead an ongoing process to review and revise Community Vision’s lending products, policies, and processes to more directly address racial and economic equity.

Sally’s additional professional experience includes four years with the Center for Effective Philanthropy providing rigorous, comparative stakeholder feedback to grantmaking foundations and two years as a Presidential Management Fellow with the US Department of Agriculture and the National Economic Council. In addition, Sally helped to found and structure two nonprofits focused on policy and systems change: The Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley and Opportunity@Work based in Washington, DC. Sally’s academic training includes a BA at Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Robin Halsband

Robin Halsband

Senior Director of Operations, LISC

Robin Halsband

Robin Halsband

Senior Director of Operations, LISC

Robin manages business development for the lending team. Robin has twenty years of experience dedicated to community economic development and finance. She has a BA from Brown University in the very practical subject of French Literature and an MBA from Yale School of Management. When she’s not working, Robin is most likely to be hanging out with her husband and son at a Nationals game, or taking long walks with her beloved beagle, Desi (named after former Nats player Ian Desmond.)

Andrea Morgan

Andrea Morgan

Senior Community Investment Officer, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Andrea Morgan

Andrea Morgan

Senior Community Investment Officer, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Andrea focuses on real estate development finance and project management, particularly for supportive, workforce, and affordable housing; experience in property acquisition, lending, and syndicated offerings; LIHTC housing development; community planning and economic development; affordable housing advocacy and legislation; and for-profit and nonprofit business creation, expansion and management.

She has a Master of Science in Real Estate and the Built Environment from the University of Denver, specializing in real estate development finance; Master of City Planning from University of California – Berkeley, specializing in regional economic development.

Jordan Shapiro

Jordan Shapiro

Senior Communications Officer, SFF

Jordan Shapiro

Jordan Shapiro

Senior Communications Officer, SFF

Why do you do what you do?

Over the last twenty years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, I have watched my home region become more and more exclusionary as people are being pushed from the homes, neighborhoods and cities they’ve spent their entire lives in. And at my previous job, I developed a desire to create a more meaningful social impact while creating communication campaigns for a program that partnered with food banks, organized drives for getting essentials to people experiencing homelessness, and led urban gardening in underserved communities. Working on these campaigns at the same time as I witnessed homeless encampments pop up at an alarming rate led me to understand that I needed to dedicate my career to help find solutions for the housing crisis in the Bay Area.  

What drew you to the foundation?

I found SFF’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion to be incredibly compelling. When I learned of all SFF’s incredible work focused on advancing housing solutions, I decided to volunteer with the organization. A position at SFF opened in my field while volunteering and I knew it was meant to be.  

How would you describe your role?

I support the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, a collaborative effort to ensure that Bay Area families of all races and backgrounds have access to quality, affordable homes by addressing policy change while investing in affordable housing. I help tell the story of our programs and successes while creating a connection to the people whose lives are directly impacted by our work. It is through these stories that we hope to inspire others to invest in preserving the diversity of our communities. 

Jorge Rivas

Jorge Rivas

Deputy Director, LISC Bay Area

Jorge Rivas

Jorge Rivas

Deputy Director, LISC Bay Area

Jorge brings over 15 years of economic and community development experience to LISC. He was most recently the Director of the Neighborhood Economic Development at the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. In this role, he led an interagency, cross-sector division responsible for the advancement and implementation of critical programs and projects to support and strengthen San Francisco’s most vulnerable commercial districts. Most recently he directly oversaw the deployment of over $24M in COVID small business relief and outlined a plan for an additional $62M. As part of these efforts, he created the first African American Revolving Loan Fund and the Latino Small Business Fund to address the acute needs of these communities.

Jorge was an inaugural member of the San Francisco Soda Tax Implementation Committee, helped institutionalize San Francisco’s healthy corner store program, and oversaw the deployment of federal funding supporting San Francisco’s economic development efforts. In addition to this, Jorge previously worked as an Associate Transportation Planner at Caltrans, supported the Business Team at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Housing and Economic Development, and started as a LISC AmeriCorps Intern at the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation.

Partnership Timeline

Here are some of the milestones since the Partnership’s January 2019 launch:

 

2021

Breakthrough Grant awards

December 2020

Community Housing Fund launched

 
 

October 2020

1st $100 million in loans closed

October 2020

1st 1,000 homes financed

 
 

September 2020

Launch of shift the narrative work

June 2020

10th loan closed -12th Avenue Cooperative

 
 

May 2020

1st 500 homes financed

February 2020

Challenge Grant awards

 
 

January 2020

1st 100 homes financed

December 2019

First supportive housing project closed – The Depot, Allied

 
 

November 2019

First new homes construction project closed – 1717 University Avenue

September 2019

First homes preservation project closed – Stuart Street Apartments, BACLT and McGee Avenue Baptist Church

 

Partners

William and Flora Hewlett FoundationSilicon Valley Community Foundation Logo