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Board of Directors

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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).

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Cort Gross

Board Treasurer | Former 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.

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Jose Adonnis Jimenez

Board Secretary | Clinic Manager, Mission Neighborhood Health Center

Jose is a clinic manager and consultant whose expertise in health strategy and operations stem from his deep roots in public health. Since graduating with his degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, Jose's professional and entrepreneurial pursuits have allowed him to serve his community in several capacities, including as a Spanish medical interpreter. In addition to making quality healthcare accessible to under-resourced communities, Jose is also passionate about workforce development and has successfully acquired funding to expand economic and career opportunities for underrepresented students across the Salinas Valley and Central Coast.

Jose currently serves as the Mandela Partners Board of Directors Secretary and has been a board member since 2018. He has also served as a board member of the Kaiser Permanente Latinx Association and the Health Career Connection Alumni Association. Additionally, Jose has served as a pro bono consultant for other nonprofit organizations across the Bay Area, helping increase their reach and impact.

As an active board member, Jose is proud to contribute to Mandela Partners' mission to increase access to healthy foods for limited-resourced communities, support small farmers, and invest in BIPOC food entrepreneurs.

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Raminder K. Somal

Board Member | Community Relations & Employee Engagement Manager, Alaska Airlines

Raminder Somal is a Community Relations & Employee Engagement Manager for Alaska Airlines with extensive experience supporting underserved communities. Raminder has managed a number of projects ranging from designing local grant programs, developing strategic plans for community
colleges, to creating capacity building programs for BIPOC leaders.


Raminder’s unique strength is serving as a connector between community needs and identifying resources to serve these needs. She is passionate about creating solutions to community challenges in the areas of workforce development, housing, entrepreneurship, and food insecurity, especially in
communities of color.


Her work experience includes working in corporate social responsibility for Wells Fargo Bank where she developed and strengthened relationships with key community partners including nonprofits and elected officials. In addition, she worked as a Consulting Manager for RDA Consulting where she managed a variety of projects including serving as a regional organizer for workforce boards and providing technical assistance to housing nonprofits.

Raminder has an MBA from Santa Clara University, where she was a pioneer in creating its Women in Business group and annual conference.  She has an Undergraduate degree from Cal State East Bay. 

 

Raminder brings her passion for travel and deep connections to California community leaders to strengthen Alaska Airlines brand and connect company resources to the 16 stations within the state.

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Patti Chang

Board Member | CEO, Feed the Hunger Foundation

Patti Chang is currently the CEO of the Feed the Hunger Foundation. She is the former President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, which funded over 1100 organizations throughout California as well as in Mexico, China, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. She oversaw the merger of a southern and northern California foundation to create a statewide foundation for women.

 

Patti has served as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and the San Francisco Commission on the Environment. She was the President of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women where she chaired taskforces on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence. Patti has served as the board chair of the Women’s Funding Network (an association of 120 women’s funding organizations, 20 outside of the United States) and the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development working on human rights.

 

Patti was instrumental in passing the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women, making San Francisco the first city to adopt an international treaty. Both through her work at the Women’s Foundation and through numerous boards on which she has served, Patti has worked to end discrimination based on race, class, gender, national origin and sexual identity. Her passion lies in finding solutions to the economic, social and political barriers faced by low-income individuals, particularly women and girls. Patti received her B.A. and J.D. from Stanford. She is originally from Hawaii.

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Latoya Reed-Adjei

Board Member | Alameda County Workforce Development Board

Latoya Reed-Adjei is the Interim Assistant Director at the Alameda County Workforce Development Board within the Social Services Agency. She is a dedicated human services professional who currently leads in her department to ensure equitable access to federally-funded workforce development services for job seekers and employers.

 

With over 15 years of experience, she has served unhoused youth, the elderly, students with disabilities, and urban scholars. Latoya has developed programs and strategies to help marginally represented populations reach goals and unbridled potential.

 

Latoya earned a Master’s degree in Social Welfare with a concentration in Management and Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and has a knack for mixed-methods research. Research has helped Latoya understand the lived experiences of others, and she naturally recognizes the unique strengths, potential, and resilience in all people.

 

Proud of her pan-African diasporic roots (Liberian, Ghanaian, and Tennessean) and hailing from San Jose, Latoya believes in the beauty and transformative power of strong and resilient communities.

 

Latoya enjoys spending her free time with her husband, exploring beach communities, indulging in socially compelling and comedic movies, reading, and immersing herself in the arts. 

 

As a new Mandela Partners board member, Latoya hopes to connect the community meaningfully through the expression of culinary arts and food access. She believes that all people deserve to have access to nutritious food that helps them live optimally.

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Daniel Aderaw Yeshiwas

Board Member | Owner of Cafe Colucci + General Manager of Brundo Spice

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