RYSE Board of Directors
A resident of Richmond, Sarita Ahuja is Director of Organizational Development at Neighborhood Funders Group. She is also an independent consultant with over 20 years of grantmaking, fundraising, and research experience. She works with organizations and projects that promote racial equity, immigrants’ rights, economic justice, and community organizing. Her professional background includes past positions with the San Francisco Foundation, Asian Law Caucus, the California Endowment, and the Ford Foundation. She has authored a number of publications aimed at educating funders about the needs of communities of color, including the recent report Widening the Lens on Boys and Men of Color: California AAPI and AMEMSA Perspectives.
In addition to serving on RYSE’s Board, Sarita is also a Trust member of the California Vipassana Center. A second generation Indian-American, she has served on the boards of Narika (a Bay Area-based domestic violence agency for South Asian women) and the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota.
As Executive Director of the Consortium, Alvaro Fuentes is responsible for ensuring that member clinics are recognized as key leaders and providers of quality health care services and resources throughout Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Alvaro has been with the Consortium since 2008 and has served as Fund Development Manager and Director of Community Affairs. Alvaro is also active in local community efforts, most notably the Healthy Richmond Initiative, which is an effort sponsored by The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Prior to joining the Consortium, Alvaro was employed by AltaMed Health Services Corporation in Los Angeles, one of the largest community health care organizations in the country. Over the last fifteen years, Alvaro has dedicated his career to nonprofit social service work, particularly in public housing, economic and community development, and health care.
Sonia Bustamante is the Chief of Staff for the Board of Supervisors, District 1 of Contra Costa County, and serves on the Contra Costa Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee. She has served as the Legislative Director for Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, working on constituent issues and policy areas including immigration, workforce development, and healthcare, working on neighborhood initiatives with CBOs and coalitions. Before her work in the public sector, Sonia worked in the labor movement organizing hotel workers for Unite Here 2850, and in the Central Valley as part of the California Labor Federation. Sonia grew up in Fresno, attended Santa Monica College and transferred to UC Berkeley where she earned her BA in Sociology.
Angela Clausen is a Hospital Services Manager at SightLife for the greater California area. Since 2015, she has served on the Board of Directors to generate additional funding in support of RYSE’s work creating systemic changes for youth empowerment. Prior to moving to Contra Costa County in 2011, Angela was the director of a private nonprofit foster care agency for more than eight years and fell in love working with children of all ages. She has worked in social services for 13 years with a focus on nonprofit management, and brings to RYSE her networking and fundraising skills, as well as her sense of humor. She received her Ph. D. in 2006 from Capella University in Human Services and will soon earn her Ph. D. in Public Service Leadership with a nonprofit emphasis. Angela enjoys spending time with her family, running, and hanging out with her dogs.
LaSaunda Tate is the Financial Education Coordinator for Brighter Beginnings/SparkPoint West Contra Costa where she is working to mitigate the “wealth-health gradient” through one-on-one coaching, community awareness, and policy work. Prior to her work at Brighter Beginnings, LaSaunda served as the Director of the Law and Justice Program for McCullum Youth Court where she worked to create Justice in Action—a youth court restorative justice program for Berkeley middle schools. Although LaSaunda is a Los Angeles County native, her advocacy for social justice began in the Bay Area more than ten years ago as a student at the University of California Berkeley, where she received her B.A. in Political Science. While LaSaunda’s resume spans law firms, political campaigns, high school college counseling, and nonprofit directorship, at the core of her professional experiences is a deep appreciation for social equality and the role it plays in providing opportunities for youth and improving the livelihood of low-income communities.
Tavae Samuelu serves as the Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), an organization that promotes social justice in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community through culturally-relevant research, advocacy, and leadership. She joined the RYSE Board in 2017, after almost five years as a staff member. In that time, she was inspired by the talent and brilliance of Richmond youth. Tavae is passionate about liberation work and dedicated to RYSE's mission to create safe healing-centered spaces for young people.
Michele Seville is the Arts & Culture Manager for the City of Richmond, where she has overseen the Public Art program and the Neighborhood Public Art mini-grant program. She brings to the Board of Directors knowledge about the arts, project management, affinity for youth, and a love for collaboration. Her hope for RYSE is that they continue to expand not only physically, but also as a shining example in the Richmond community and beyond of what integrity, diversity, and humanity is. Michele is passionate about the arts and culture, and their roles in healing. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, and is certified as a Paralegal.