board of directors


thomas mills

Board Chair | Community & Economic Development (Retired) - City of Richmond

Thomas Mills, after 40+ years of professional service to residents, neighborhoods, businesses and developers in the Greater Bay Area, retired from the City of Richmond CA as its Economic Development Administrator. Prior to Richmond, Thomas—in various senior level positions—devised and fought for policies, programs and resources to maximize: community benefits, access to capital and living wage jobs (NEDLC); affordable housing and commercial finance (Local Initiatives Support Corporation); land acquisition and historic preservation (Trust for Public Land); cooperative ownership, asset building and resident-led business and economic development (TCMI).


Thomas was a co-founder of Mandela MarketPlace (MMP), and previously served on several boards, including Mercy Housing California, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), Building Opportunities For Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), Home Buyer Assistance Center, and the California Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA)


Thomas holds a JD in Law (University of California, Berkeley—Law Review); a MS in Education (University of Southern California, Los Angeles); and, a BA in Industrial Psychology (California State University, Los Angeles).


Charles mason

Board Vice Chair | Liason - Government & Community, CA Public Utilities Commission

Charles serves as liaison to local governments and community-based organization for the CA Public Utilities Commission. He also provides consulting for organizations and communities addressing land use and environmental justice issues. Charles was the founder of Ubuntu Green, an environmental justice non-profit in the Sacramento region. Charles founded the Sacramento Environmental Justice Working Group, was active in The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, a member of the Sacramento City Superintendents Healthy Foods Task Force and sat on the steering committee of the Sacramento Regional Food Systems Collaborative. Charles also sat on the Advisory Council for the Center for Regional Change at U.C. Davis and served on the steering committee for the Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE). Charles is a Class X graduate of the Sierra Health Foundation's Health Leadership Program. Charles is also a former staff member of the AARP, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, NAACP, U.S. Representative Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI).


cort gross

Board Treasurer | Senior Banker, JPMorgan Chase Community Development Bank

Cort Gross is a senior banker at JPMorgan Chase Community Development Bank, focusing on affordable housing finance. Mr. Gross has close to 30 years of experience in the field, working recently on business development with Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and for many years before consulted on community investment, assets, and the financing and development of real estate. He worked previously as CFO of nonprofit housing developer BRIDGE Housing Corporation, Vice President of Affordable Housing with mortgage banker TRI Capital Corporation, and Program Manager for Lending with nonprofit financial intermediary the Low Income Housing Fund. A former Coro Fellow in public affairs, Mr. Gross received his A.B. degree in history at Stanford University and his M.Div. Degree in liberation theology at Yale University.



Board Secretary | Regional Business Consultant, The Permanente Medical Group

Jose’s experience and expertise in strategy, performance improvement, and operations, stem from his deep roots in healthcare. As a consultant, Jose partners with physicians and clinicians to operationalize healthcare initiatives and improve the quality of care for their patients. Additionally, Jose also serves as an Executive Board Member of the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Latino Association (KPLA), a business resource group committed to professional development, multicultural collaboration, and community well-being. Outside of KP, Jose volunteers as a consultant and thought partner to non-profit organizations across the Bay Area, helping them accelerate their growth and increase their impact.


Since receiving his degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, Jose has continued to leveraged his knowledge and networks to uplift and empower underserved and underrepresented communities. Mandela’s hard work and leadership in the Oakland community both excites and inspires Jose. As an active board member, Jose is proud to support the Mandela team as they continue to push the organization’s mission and vision forward.



Board Member | Loan Programs Director, Capital Impact Partners

Olivia M. Rebanal is Director of Inclusive Food Systems at Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a CDFI that has deployed over $2.5 billion to serve 5 million people in our communities’ critical sectors: health care, education, elder communities, healthy food, cooperatives and affordable housing. Olivia manages the strategy, initiatives and partnerships related to CIP’s work in building equitable food systems. Through programs like the California FreshWorks Fund, Michigan Good Food Fund, and the National Cooperative Grocer Fund, CIP increases access to affordable healthy food, creates opportunities within the food economy, supports neighborhood retailers, and expands food distribution, processing and production, with a focus on racial and social equity. Olivia has nearly 20 years of experience in the CDFI industry and over a decade of underwriting experience, with emphasis on working with entrepreneurs of color. Olivia holds an AB in Bio-Medical Ethics from Brown University and an MPA in Public Finance from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.



Board Member | Vice President, Community Relations Senior Consultant, Wells Fargo Bank

Raminder is a Vice President/Community Relations Senior Consultant for Wells Fargo’s Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Group. In her role, Raminder supports Wells Fargo’s commitment to serving the underserved community in the East Bay by developing and strengthening relationships with nonprofits, community leaders and elected officials to achieve economic stability for low-to-moderate individuals and families. Specifically, Raminder creates opportunities to promote self-sufficiency by organizing financial education seminars and promoting Wells Fargo as an employer of choice. In addition, she works closely with nonprofits to leverage resources available to them within the Bank including grants, loans, and local team members to join their board.


Prior to this role, she has served in Audit & Security as a Senior Audit Leader, and was a member of its Diversity Council. Raminder has an MBA from Santa Clara University, where she was a pioneer in creating its Women In Business group and annual conference.


Raminder is also a member of Community Relations Diversity & Inclusion Council. Lastly, Raminder sits on the advisory board of Sanford Institute of Philanthropy and Working Solutions.

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