Nonprofit Leaders Holding Things Together

Xouhoa Bowen, Christine Chilcott, Mimi Ho, John Lipp, Anne Marks, and Keith Wattley are making big differences in the nonprofit sector.


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Wow. That word that sums up the work done by executive directors, chief executive officers, and founders of many East Bay nonprofit organizations. These people helm entities whose efforts fill in huge community gaps.

“Giving Back: Six Local Nonprofit Leaders Making a Big Difference” introduces a half dozen committed, hardworking, dedicated professionals with big ideas in the nonprofit sector. To find them, I asked influencers — friends, colleagues, contributors, community leaders, for instance — for leads on remarkable nonprofit pioneers in the East Bay and wound up with a list of about 40 people.

Many names were well known to me, such as Regina Jackson of East Oakland Youth Development Center, Rosemary Riley of Alameda Meals on Wheels, andDoug Biggs of Alameda Point Collaborative, who have appeared in the magazine. I have twice compiled our annual social datebook of charitable organizations fundraisers, and as editor on the receiving end of many press releases from such groups about their work and needs, I am exposed to a lot of nonprofits. I was delighted with how robust the list turned out, and I thoroughly enjoyed researching the nonprofits new to me and learning about their person at the top.

Narrowing the list was not easy. The good news is my idea file has gotten huge, so many of the other names and stories will appear another time, with homelessness, the environment, and social justice leading the way.

In the end, I chose six people whose work takes on some equally pressing contemporary issues of our time: immigration, empowerment, political change, animal welfare, violence prevention, and incarceration.

 These leaders include Xouhoa Bowen of Community Impact LAB, Christine Chilcott of Girls Inc. of the Island City, Mimi Ho of the Movement Strategy Center, John Lipp of FAAS, Anne Marks of Youth ALIVE!, and Keith Wattley of UnCommon Law. Their stories, the important work they do, and their achievements are amazing and inspiring in the truest sense of the words.

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