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Randy Lia Weil believed in beauty, fairness, the human heart, and the wisdom of Nature in all things. She was a dancer, teacher, Feldenkrais practitioner, and artistic spirit. Gracious, graceful, and exceedingly generous, she was the catalyst for many people to create new possibilities for their lives and their dreams.
Prior to her passing in 2006, she created a trust and named a number of friends and colleagues from diverse disciplines with experience in nonprofit organizations to act as advisors to help identify potential grantees. This group has created a small private foundation, The Lia Fund, to carry on her values and help realize them in the world.
The Foundation made its first set of grants in 2008, and operated until the end of 2013.
Listed below are our Board of Directors, Advisors, and Consultants. Immediately after their bios, you will see a photo gallery of the Foundation’s Legacy celebration held with grantees at Point Reyes, California, on April 5, 2014.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SHARON WEIL, President
Sharon is an award-winning Writers Guild of America screenwriter, producer and director, a novelist, and a Continuum movement educator. Sister of Randy Lia Weil, she brought her creative leadership skills to help guide the direction and activities of the Foundation. Her dedication to the arts, holistic healing, and the natural world is expressed through her recent novel, Donny and Ursula Save the World (www.donnyandursula.com), “the funniest book about love, sex and GMO’s you’ll ever read.” the considers the book and its cautionary message to be her own unique form of activism, and a personal reflection of her time spent with The Lia Fund and its grantees.
CHELA BLITT, Vice-President
Chela is a video maker, writer, and donor activist. Her documentary “Sisters and Daughters Betrayed,” which looks at the root causes of international sex trafficking, is used widely in colleges and universities. Chela recently served on the Board of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, and is active in progressive philanthropic circles. She serves as an advisor at the Data Center in Oakland, California.
ELEANORE DESPINA, Secretary
Eleanore practiced law for 35 years in the areas of retirement and estate planning, and non-profit work. She’s investing her retirement years in studying and making functional ceramics, and in helping to build a resilient community in Point Reyes Station, California, where she lives with her husband, Bing Gong.
BING GONG, Treasurer
Bing is a community activist engaged in the Transition Movement to build resilient communities, active in protesting corporate globalization, and co-host of Post Carbon Radio on KWMR – Community Radio for West Marin. He is the editor of the Planet Earth Salon column in the West Marin Citizen, recently writing a series of articles on Fukushima Ocean Radiation. He is Board Treasurer of the International Forum on Globalization.
ANGELA JOHNSON PETERS
Angela has dedicated her professional and personal career to the support of the independent sector including community organizations, cultural institutions, artists, and social change agents. She founded ALJ Consulting in 1999, which specializes in developing resources, effectively planning and successfully implementing programs. Over the last 30 years, she has worked with close to 300 organizations. Angela is a Wilder Foundation Shannon Leadership Fellow, and completed certificates from the Grassroots Institute of Fundraising Training (GIFT), the National Community Development Institute’s Community Builders Leadership Program, and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She lives in Los Angeles next to her 90-year-old mother, with her husband Santosh, college-aged stepson Justin, and their cat Raj.
Cornelia worked for many years for Greenpeace International and now advises an independent film producer on story development. She lives in Point Reyes Station, California.
Claire has worked in leadership and project coordination roles with over four dozen NGOs, electoral campaigns, media projects, women’s and youth organizations. Since 2006, she has focused her work on global climate change through projects with the International Forum on Globalization, Women in Europe for a Common Future, and the international multi-media exhibit, Conversations with the Earth - Indigenous Voices on Climate Change (CWE). As Coordinator for CWE she facilitated a 6-month installation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. She was a co-producer of an Academy Award nominated documentary and serves on the 13th District Advisory Committee for California Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Her passions include hiking, painting, cooking for friends and family, and growing garlic.
Jacques is a father, community organizer and teacher. In 2011 he founded Insight-Out which organizes initiatives for prisoners and challenged youth that create the personal and systemic change to transform violence and suffering into opportunities for learning and healing. The principal initiative is the GRIP (Guiding Rage Into Power) Program which represents a best-practices methodology from years of working with thousands of prisoners that is being replicated in the US and abroad. He is a subject-matter expert on mindfulness, restorative justice, emotional intelligence and transforming violence. He has worked in prisons for 17 years and serves as a catalyst for statewide prison reform in California.
James is the co-director of the Regenerative Design Institute at Commonweal (RDI). He co-founded and currently co-directs the Ecology of Leadership and the Ecology of Awakening programs which prepare community leaders for the “Great Turning” of our era. James’ years working with visioning and community development service led him to an interest in exploring how a healthy inner ecology can impact one’s work in the world. He earned a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica and, like the natural systems and patterns that guide permaculture, his work now is focused on helping others to lead from the inside out and source their lives from deep Nature connection.
Penny is internationally recognized as a prominent permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker. She has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the land management, regenerative design, and permaculture development field for 25 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials. She specializes in site planning and the design of resource-rich landscapes integrating rainwater collection, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration. With her husband, James Stark, and in collaboration with Commonweal — a cancer health research and retreat center — Penny co-manages Commonweal Garden, a 17-acre organic farm in Bolinas, California.
Michael is the founding director of Ocean Conservation Research, a scientific research and policy development organization focused on understanding the impacts of, and finding technical and policy solutions to the growing problem of humangenerated ocean noise pollution. He is a technical generalist conversant in physics, acoustics, biology, electronics, and cultural history, with a gift for conveying complex scientific and technical issues in clear, understandable terms. His book titled “Hear Where We Are: Sound, Ecology, and Sense of Place” (Springer, 2013) reveals how humans and other animals use sound and sound perception to establish their placement in their environment, and communicate that placement to others. Occasionally you can catch Michael in the Bay Area playing jazz piano, bass, vibraphone, or winds in his own ensembles, or backing others.
RENEE LAUREN HAYES
Renee Hayes has served as the Associate Director of Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) for 18 years. Prior to her current position at the City and County of San Francisco, Renee worked as a Career Counselor/Job Developer at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as in private practice, specializing in creative careers. She has served on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Nonprofit Finance Fund, as Co-Chair of the City of Berkeley’s Art Commission, and as a grant panelist for the City of Oakland’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council. Renee has a diverse musical performance and recording background and is currently working on a solo CD.
ADAM WOLPERT, Facilitator
Adam is a consultant, facilitator, teacher, painter (www.adamwolpert.com) and one of the founders of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (www.oaec.org). A lifelong communitarian, Adam has lectured widely on sustainable community and consulted with many community groups and projects. Adam is especially interested in consensus process and participatory decisionmaking and offers consensus and facilitation trainings to many of his clients.
BETH ROSALES, Senior Philanthropic Adviser
Beth has worked in philanthropy for more than 35 years in various capacities at progressive foundations including Vanguard Public Foundation, Funding Exchange, Tides, Women’s Foundation of California and Marguerite Casey Foundation. Over the years, Beth has made a priority to “move money” toward strengthening social justice movements across the nation. She serves on the Board of Asian Health Services, a community clinic that serves low-income families in Oakland. Beth enjoys spending time with 20 nieces and nephews who are all hapa (mixed) Filipino-Americans, signaling the changing demographics in our country.
ELLY RABBEN, Program Associate
Elly has been with the Foundation since its second year, recording its annual gatherings, taking notes and minutes at meetings, providing administrative support in the early years, and editing reports. In her other work life, she is an editor with experience at newspapers and in educational publishing.
GEOFFREY DALWIN, Senior IT Consultant
Geoff has over 30 years of experience in business analysis, project management and technology planning. He has worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors and brings well-rounded experience to the table. Previous to joining Fusion Consultants Geoffrey, was the Information Technologies Director at the Community Technology Foundation of California (now, “Zero Divide”). Geoffrey also has volunteered as an Account Director with the Taproot Foundation.
KIM WOLFE, Program Associate
Kim has been with the Foundation since 2009. She supports the administration functions of the Foundation and liaison with the grantees. She has over 20 years in business administration and has worked for various high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Kim is married with three children, and in her spare time loves to train dogs and is an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty.