Capital Campaign Committee
John Gioia is Vice Chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. First elected in 1998, John has been overwhelmingly re-elected five times and represents 210,000 residents in the western most urban and diverse area of the county. He previously served for 10 years on the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board, serving as President in 1995 and 1996.
John is a recognized leader in Bay Area regional government and on air quality and climate change issues. He was appointed by Governor Brown in 2013 to the California Air Resources Board and has served on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board since 2006, serving as Chair in 2012.
John has served as President of the California State Association of Counties and the California Cities Counties Schools Partnership. He has been a leader on environmental issues and serves on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and as Vice-Chair of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority where he helped lead an effort to pass an historic measure to raise $500 million for S.F. Bay. John is also Co-Chair of Rise Together, a regional effort to reduce poverty in the Bay Area.
John grew up in Richmond, graduated from El Cerrito High School and the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science and also earned his law degree at U.C. Berkeley. He completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. John practiced law until his election to the Board of Supervisors.
John’s public service was inspired by his father, who was a popular civics and history teacher for 20 years at Kennedy High School in Richmond.
John has successfully built coalitions to address issues such as affordable housing, homelessness, violence prevention, environmental justice, access to healthcare and public transportation, air and water quality, San Francisco Bay restoration, and expanding opportunities for youth.
John helped found the RYSE Center, an innovative and popular youth center in Richmond, which is grounded on principles of social justice and youth development. He is currently working with non-profit Urban Tilth to develop an urban educational farm in North Richmond.
Lateefah Simon joined Akonadi Foundation as President in August 2016. As a nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, she brings over 20 years of executive experience in advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities in the Bay Area. Prior to joining Akonadi, which seeks to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States, Lateefah served as Program Director for the San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation, a statewide grantmaker focusing on systemic barriers to full access to equity and opportunity for Californians. Lateefah managed the Foundation’s portfolio of grants supporting groundbreaking advocacy in criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, low-wage workers’ rights, and civic engagement. In 2016, Lateefah helped launch the $2 million Leading Edge Fund, created to seed, incubate, and implement bold ideas from the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California.
Before joining Rosenberg, Lateefah was Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she revamped the 40-year-old organization’s structure and launched successful community-based initiatives, including the Second Chance Legal Services Clinic. Lateefah also initiated San Francisco’s first reentry services division and spearheaded the flagship program, Back on Track, under the leadership of then-District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. Back on Track, an advocacy program for young adults charged with low-level felony drug sales, brought recidivism for the population it serves below 10 percent. Lateefah’s passion for supporting low-income young women and girls, and her advocacy for juvenile and criminal justice reform, began at San Francisco’s Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD), now called the Young Women’s Freedom Center. Lateefah became Executive Director of that grassroots organization, run for and by young women who come through and are affected by these systems, at age 19; she remained in that role for 11 years.
Lateefah has received numerous awards for her work, including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Jefferson Award for extraordinary public service. She was named ‘Most Promising New Foundation President’ by Inside Philanthropy in 2017 and was one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 40 Under 40 in 2016. The California State Assembly named Lateefah Woman of the Year and she has also been recognized by the Ford Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Lifetime Television, and O Magazine. In 2016, Lateefah was elected to serve District 7 on the BART Board of Directors and was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California State University’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Tipping Point Community.
When not working, Lateefah spends her time enjoying Oakland’s many family-friendly spaces with her two daughters."
Lisa Villareal joined Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority, as the CEO in 2016. She is a native Californian of Mexican-American descent who has been a Bay Area resident for the past four decades. Her career spans from time as a front-line bilingual adolescent crisis counselor, with La Raza Consortium, to spearheading national think tank efforts in education equity and social justice on the boards of Grantmakers for Education, the National Equity Project, and the National Coalition for Community Schools.
Lisa has worked at the local, regional, state and national levels to convene both public and private sector groups. For more than a decade she served as the Education Program Officer at the San Francisco Foundation, and helped seed funding efforts such as the Oakland offices of African American Student Achievement, Latino Men and Boys, Restorative Justice, and Community Schools/ Thriving Students.
Lisa has an M.Ed from San Francisco State University and a K-12 Management and Administration Credential from CSU East Bay. She also holds degrees in Psychology and Counseling, is a trained facilitator, and earlier served on the American Federation of Teachers/AFLCIO executive board. Her long and diverse background in both the public and private sectors allow her to view the work of the JPA “from the balcony to the stage.”
William B. Walker, M.D.
William B. Walker is the Director of Legislative and Governmental Relations for Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), a comprehensive public health system in the San Francisco Bay Area with a 166-bed hospital (Contra Costa Regional Medical Center), 11 community health centers, 4,200 employees and a $1.6 billion annual budget. He has served with CCHS for 40 years, beginning as a staff physician in 1974, as the local Health Officer from 1983-2018, and as the Director of the Department from 1995-2018.
Under Dr. Walker’s leadership, CCHS has been widely recognized for developing an integrated health system that is at the forefront of implementing health reform. The system includes the divisions of Hospital and Health Centers, Contra Costa Health Plan, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials and Emergency Medical Services.
Dr. Walker has also nurtured the Family Medicine Residency Program at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center to make it one of the most popular and well- regarded programs in the nation. Dr. Walker is passionate about addressing disparities in health and health care and has championed many community efforts to address these issues. He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1971, is board-certified in Family Medicine, and maintained a family medical practice even as CCHS Director.
Dr. Walker also is the past chair of the Association of Bay Area Health Officials, is a member and former chair of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, past chair of the California Healthcare Safety Net Institute, and past chair of the board of directors of America’s Essential Hospitals (formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems).
Cornelia Acosta Sylvester
Cornelia Acosta Sylvester works with leaders and stakeholders, facilitating and stewarding teams to develop and employ equity-informed practices and policies.
“My passion is to ensure equity is a central tenet of organizational development and infuse social justice values and principles across all organizational efforts. Ultimately, my work is in service of building a world that values and improves the quality of life and livelihood for people of color.”
Cornelia serves on the Advisory Board of The Institute for Human and Social Development, helping to expand early childhood education supports and resources. She previously served as chair of Park Day School’s Social Justice Initiative, a member of the Children’s Support League of the East Bay and volunteer mentor for Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Cornelia grew up in the California East Bay and attended local public schools. While pursuing her BA in Ethnic Studies at Mills College, she worked for Upward Bound program, as residential director, teacher and mentor. It was then that she formed her life long commitment to supporting children and families. She holds a Master’s in Liberal Studies from St. Mary’s College of California and has worked in both the public and private sectors. Cornelia is a Certified Professional Coach through Leadership That Works and founder of Bay Area Coaching. She is a mother of 3 and resides in Oakland.