Who We Are

Contact Us

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation
302 W. 5th Street, Suite 300
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 997-7116

Staff

 

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Ben Schirmer, MBA, JD
Executive Director
ben@hcbf.org

Ben serves as the Executive Director of Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. Shortly after graduating from law school, Ben began working for the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office.  First, he handled dependency cases and civil prosecution of parents who were accused of abuse, abandonment or neglect of their children.  Next, he handled termination of parental rights trials and finally was promoted to the position of Managing Attorney for that division of the Attorney Generals’ office. Ben was then recruited to run a non-profit agency in Florida that focused primarily on services to abused, abandoned and neglected children including emergency shelter and foster care.

Eventually moving to San Pedro, he became the Executive Director for Rainbow Services in 2003. While at Rainbow, Ben was active with the Los Angeles City DV Task Force and the LA County DV Council.  At the state level, he was re-elected to serve a third term as LA’s Regional Representative for the California Partnership to end Domestic Violence where he also served as the Board President.  Ben was also appointed by the Speaker of the House to sit on the Domestic Violence Advisory Council and was recently elected to serve as its Chair. Ben currently lives in San Pedro.

 


Meghan Reese
Program Manager
meghan@hcbf.org

Meghan has a passion for anything hands-on or creative and brings this experience to HCBF’s grants management and development. As an Executive Assistant/HR Coordinator at Harbor Community Clinic, she organized a holiday toy drive for San Pedro children and led efforts to organize the First Annual Family Food Fest in San Pedro. Her professional background includes technical recruiting, event planning, and marketing. Meghan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resource Management.

Board of Directors

 

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David Sloane
Chair

David Sloane is a professor in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Dr. Sloane received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MA and Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He researches and teaches about community health planning, food security, public safety, and commemoration from historical and contemporary perspectives. Much of his work explores issues of collaboration and change, looking at how community advocates can mobilize to affect their environments, and thus their well-being.He has publishing widely, including the recent edited volume, Planning Los Angeles (2012), an examination of urban planning and policy issues about Southern California. His first two books examined the history of commemorative and medical urban cultural landscapes. Dr. Sloane also has conducted collaborative research on contemporary health care, community health, and health/planning topics.He is currently working with the Community Health Councils on a continuation of two earlier REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) grants funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These grants, along with other funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association aim at reducing health disparities around diabetes and cardiovascular disease.Professor Sloane currently serves as an associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association, as well as on the boards of the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group and the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. He is a past director of the Vernacular Architectural Forum and of the Community Health Councils, Inc. He was co-moderator for four years of the work group on medicine and public health in the Huntington-USC Institute for the Study of California and the West.

 

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Gisele Fong
Vice Chair

Gisele L. Fong, Ph.D. is Executive Director of EndOil / Communities for Clean Ports, an environmental health community based non-profit agency in Long Beach, California, and a TraPac appellant   Ms. Fong worked as an educator of Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies and U.S. History for many years at UCLA, Cal State University and community college campuses.  For over twenty-five years, she has organized and advocated for racial, educational and environmental equity. 

Gisele is chair of the Environmental Health Work Group of Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach, a collaborative initiative to reduce health disparities and improve community health through systemic changes fueled by adult and youth resident engagement. She is a City of Long Beach Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services.   Gisele was appointed by the California Air Resources Board to the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to advise on the State of California’s AB32 Scoping Plan to reduce its greenhouse gases, and is particularly interested in how low-income and communities of color will equitably share in the progression to a clean energy society and economy.

Ms. Fong is a Long Beach resident, and mother to two school age children.

 

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David Thornburg
Treasurer

David Thornburg is Director of Public Affairs for SA Recycling, a corporation that owns and operates over 60 recycling facilities throughout Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona, and recently in Texas. SA Recycling is the largest metal recycler on the West Coast and part of Sims Metal Management, the largest metal recycler in the world. David’s responsibilities are focused on the San Pedro Bay’s port complexes, primarily at SA Recycling’s Terminal Island facility established in 1962. David is no stranger to the port, after graduating from California State University Long Beach in Political Science and International Relations; he went directly to work in the San Pedro Bay Port complex. He has worked since 1988 for various positions all with port tenants of the POLA and/or the POLB. His experience includes operations and logistics positions dealing with commodities in containers, bulk, break bulk, and ro-ro (autos) operations with K-Line, NYK, Toyota, and SA Recycling. David has also devoted his time to various non-profits boards and committees in the San Pedro Bay. Presently he sits as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Trade Education Program (ITEP), Vice Chair of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Economic Policy Committee, and Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce and the board member of the LA/LB Propeller Club. He has held previous roles as the President of the Board of Trustees for the Port of Los Angeles High School, LB Chamber’s Board of Directors Leadership Council, and President of the International Businesses Association (IBA). He also serves as VP of his homeowner’s association board, serving for over 16 years. Lastly, David was appointed by Mayor Foster to serve as a Marine Advisory Commissioner in early 2012 and currently serves as Vice Chair.

 

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Kathleen Woodfield
Secretary

Kathleen Woodfield has lived in San Pedro for 26 years and has one school-aged child. She is Vice President of the San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowner’s Coalition and served for two years on the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council executive board. Kathleen is an executive committee member of the TraPac Appellants Group and is an original signatory to the TraPac MOU.Kathleen has served on the Port of Los Angeles Community Advisory Committee (PCAC) since 2003 and is co-chair of the Air Quality subcommittee. The goal of the Air Quality subcommittee is to explore and recommend ways to reduce emissions associated with the port’s goods movement industry. Kathleen is also a member of the PCAC’s Environmental Impact and Aesthetic Mitigation subcommittee and served as acting chair during phase three of the China Shipping Aesthetic Mitigation Fund selection process. The fund was created as part of the China Shipping Settlement Agreement to provided mitigation benefits to the communities of San Pedro and Wilmington. The subcommittee’s other charge is to review port environmental impact reports and provide comments and recommendations. Kathleen Woodfield graduated Summa Cum Laude from CSUDH with a BS degree in quantitative economics. She has worked in the industries of insurance and real estate development, providing service in accounting, lease administration and asset management.

 

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Michele Prichard
Director

Michele Prichard, Director of Common Agenda at the Liberty Hill Foundation in Los Angeles, began her involvement with philanthropy in 1982. As Liberty Hill’s Executive Director from 1989 to 1997, she helped create new grant programs addressing poverty, racial justice and environmental health. Liberty Hill is now considered one of the most innovative public foundations in the country for its grantmaking, leadership training and alliance-building programs.Michele currently serves on the steering committees of the California Health and Environmental Funders Network and the GREEN LA Coalition. She is also the former President of the Board of Directors of the Venice Community Housing Corporation.Michele has previously served on the boards of numerous philanthropic efforts including the LA Urban Funders, the Southern California Association for Philanthropy, the Funding Exchange and is a founder of a funders’ network, the Working Group on Labor and Community. She has also served as an advisor and board member to many community-based organizations, including El Rescate, the Human Services Alliance and the Labor and Community Services Program of the LA County Federation of Labor.Michele is the recipient of several awards, including the Green City Award from the GREEN LA Coalition; Best Friend in Hard Times award from the LA Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness; the Monsegnor Oscar Romero Award from El Rescate; the Founders Award from Strategic Actions for a Just Economy; and the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Council on Foundations.Michele has served as a Senior Fellow in the UCLA School of Public Affairs since 2007. She earned her M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA in 1989 and her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

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Cristin Mondy
Director

Cristin Mondy, M.S.N., M.P.H. is an Area Health Officer for Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, serving San Gabriel Valley and Metropolitan Los Angeles areas. In this capacity, she develops, administers and directs the delivery of core public health functions, including assessment and assurance activities related to communicable and chronic disease prevention, public health nursing, public health investigation, and health surveillance. She is responsible for the operation of 4 public health centers. She has a broad range of experience, including background in critical care and emergency room nursing, public health nursing, healthcare for the homeless, and creating partnerships in communities to address a wide array of public health issues such as communicable disease control, chronic disease prevention, and emergency preparedness. Ms. Mondy has experience in the academic setting as a Clinical Instructor and Part-time Lecturer for California State University. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master in Public Health.

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Ed Avol
Director

Ed Avol is Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, with expertise in exposure assessment and health effects research.

He was recruited to USC in 1992 by the late Dr. John Peters to help develop and perform the USC Children’s Health Study and has been involved in air pollution research for 45 years.

Ed studied mathematics and chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of California San Diego and Environmental Engineering Sciences in graduate school at Caltech. His research has focused on understanding the short and long-term effects of air pollution on humans, and on documenting human exposure. He was the Deputy Director of the Children’s Health Study, is a key investigator in multiple studies on the long-term effects of air pollution, and has co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed research publications. He has served on USEPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) expert panel reviews for PM, NOx, SOx, and ozone. He is active in community outreach and education, particularly with regard to children’s health, to the health and air quality impacts of the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaports-related cargo movement industry, and to the proposed expansion of the I-710 Freeway. He leads and teaches in the undergraduate environmental health program through the USC Health Promotion Program, mentors new Environmental Health faculty, and continues to research the impacts of respiratory irritants on human health.

Legal Counsel

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Michael Jenkins
General Counsel

Mr. Jenkins currently serves as City Attorney for the cities of Diamond Bar, Hermosa Beach, Rolling Hills and West Hollywood, as General Counsel to the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District and the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, as General Counsel to the South Bay Cities Council of Governments, and as special counsel for numerous municipalities around the State, including Torrance, Oceanside, Fresno and Palo Alto. Mr. Jenkins has previously served as city attorney for the cities of Avalon, Hidden Hills, La Habra Heights, Malibu, Solvang and Westlake Village.Prior to establishing the firm with Ms. Hogin, Mr. Jenkins was a senior shareholder at Richards, Watson & Gershon, where he specialized in the practice of municipal law since joining the firm in 1978. During his tenure at the firm, he served for many years on its Management Committee and as Chair of its Public Law Department.In the course of his career, Mr. Jenkins has developed expertise in many facets of public law, including municipal incorporation, constitutional law, land use regulation, public works construction, open meetings law, elections law and municipal litigation. Mr. Jenkins has been responsible for the legal affairs of a diverse array of Southern California municipalities.

Mr. Jenkins’ statewide stature in the field of municipal law is evidenced by his service as President of the City Attorneys Department of the League of California Cities (1993), his leadership in co-authoring the original version of the League’s Municipal Law Handbook and chairing the League’s Brown Act Committee, in which capacity he negotiated on behalf of California cities major changes to the State’s open meeting laws, which took effect in 1994. Most recently, he served as Editor for Open & Public III, the League’s manual on the Brown Act. Mr. Jenkins also served as President of the City Attorneys Association of Los Angeles County and Member of the Executive Committee of the Public Law Section of the State Bar (and Editor of the Section Newsletter).

Mr. Jenkins is also a devoted educator in his field. For the past sixteen years he has taught local government law at the University of Southern California Law Center. He is a frequent lecturer on municipal law subjects and has authored numerous published articles in the field. During 1994-1996, he advised the California Constitutional Revision Commission on behalf of the League of Cities with respect to home rule issues affecting both charter and general law cities. Mr. Jenkins is the author of numerous training programs and exercises for lawyers in his field.