Who We Are

Who We Are

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) is a unique non-profit organization that was established in 2011 to respond to community concern about the cumulative environmental exposures in the harbor area – including increased air emissions, water pollution, traffic safety issues, noise impacts, land-use challenges, and general quality-of-life concerns. As an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HCBF manages and exclusively administers the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund (PCMTF) in the original amount of $9.8 million.

HCBF also exclusively administers the Air Quality Mitigation Fund, which originally had $5 million for the demonstration and implementation of emission reduction technologies to reduce air emissions in the San Pedro Bay area. 

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation(HCBF) supports the communities adjacent to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach through research, education, and grant funding. HCBF Staff and its seven-member volunteer Board work with local partners and expert consultants to address critical needs of the community, as well as assess land use and noise impacts from goods movement in the area to inform our work in grantmaking and ensuring community benefits.

The most important aspects of HCBF’s work include:

  • Administering funds to community organizations to address port-related impacts.
  • Making a positive difference in quality of life through research, grant making, and service to community organizations and other partners.
  • Being a trusted steward of community funds to address the cumulative impacts faced by
    port-adjacent communities.
  • Reflecting community knowledge of disparities and supporting their initiatives and
    solutions to the problem.

Harbor Community Benefit Foundation invests in the quality of life for communities impacted by port-serving industries.

Meet Our Staff!


Meghan Reese

Interim Executive Director

Meghan’s tenure with HCBF spans more than a decade, beginning in 2013 with contributions to the development and support of the organization’s core programs. Transitioning to the role of Executive Director from 2017 to 2023, she played a crucial role in shaping HCBF’s strategic direction and operations.

Currently serving as interim Executive Director, Meghan remains committed to guiding HCBF through its current phase and into the future. Her leadership continues to ensure that the organization stays aligned with its mission and values.

In her interim capacity, Meghan focuses on fostering a collaborative environment, enhancing organizational effectiveness, and strengthening partnerships to propel HCBF towards continued growth and impact in the Harbor area.

Finance Director

Debra Lewis-Mahon, IRS EA, CA, CPP

Finance Director

With over 17 years of experience in accounting, taxation, and business services, Debra brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to the finance director position. Her career spans prestigious “Big Five” firms to boutique agencies across Canada and the US and includes leading financial departments in the private sector.

Debra is driven by a passion to leverage her financial expertise to transform nonprofit financial departments, enabling them to better fulfill their missions. She is excited by the prospect of working with a dynamic team of professionals who share a common goal of effecting positive change. Her diverse cross-industry and international experience allows her to view challenges from multiple perspectives and think outside the box. Debra enjoys coordinating with program managers and stakeholders to facilitate transparent communication on financial performance and recommended adjustments to improve operational efficiency.

In addition to her professional roles, Debra serves on the board of a California 501(c)(6) organization, which deepens her understanding of the nonprofit sector and enhances her strategic planning capabilities.

Air Quality & Technology


Kat Janowicz
Technical Consultant

Kat Janowicz, MSME, MBA, CEM, ENV SP, LEED GA is a leader and strategist with expertise in business strategy, transformative technologies, and stakeholder engagement. She has more than twenty-three years of international experience in energy, transportation, freight, and logistics real estate. 

Kat was a key team member in the development of HCBF’s Air Quality Mitigation Fund (AQMF) program, and has since been an integral part of RFP development, application review and selection, providing technical guidance, and oversight of monitoring and reporting.

Meet Our Board of Directors!

Ed Avol, USC Professor Emeritus


Ed Avol is a retired Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences 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. He retired from USC in late 2022 after 31 years of service to USC and almost 50 years in air pollution research and teaching.


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.

Richard Havenick

Vice Chair

Richard’s 33 years in engineering technology and decades of public service focused on environmental and public health issues expand the Board’s broad expertise. From open-ocean construction operations through 31 years at Boeing Commercial Aircraft in a variety of management and staff positions, Richard brings practical engineering and business experience to the Board. Richard previously served as a member on the Port of Los Angeles Community Advisory Committee (PCAC), City of Los Angeles No Net Increase Task Force, Caltrans I-710 Environmental Impact Review Air Quality Committee, and on the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. He chaired the Air Quality Committee of the PCAC, helping to identify top contributing sources of damaging air pollutants, evaluating the most effective reduction strategies, and helping to achieve public health benefits. Richard continues his environmental issues analysis as a Board member on the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, encouraging effective regulatory and industry responsiveness to benefit public health in the harbor area.

Hannah Bentley


Hannah Bentley is an environmental attorney who has years of experience representing environmental and neighborhood groups in cases under the California Environmental Quality Act. Her first big environmental case resulted in designation of critical habitat for the Desert Tortoise in the Mojave Desert and stopped the location of a radioactive waste facility in that habitat. She has since focused on the impacts of diesel particulate matter on disadvantaged neighborhoods. She got her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Charlene Contreras


Charlene Contreras joined the HCBF Board of Directors in June 2021. Charlene currently serves as the Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Toxicology and Environmental Assessment Branch. Since first being hired with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Charlene has been working to protect and improve health and well-being in the largest county in the United States. Her strong commitment to health equity and health protection guides current efforts to reduce health disparities and serve County residents most in need. In her current role, she directs Public Health’s efforts which aims to reduce toxic risk and foster healthy, sustainable communities disproportionality burdened with environmental pollution. Charlene leads work focused on policy reform and changing systems that have created the unfair distribution of environmental health threats across communities. One of her top priorities is to support policies, practices, and programs that lead to healthier environments. 

Jayme Wilson


Jayme Wilson serves as LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s economic development deputy, working to create economic opportunities which benefit people from all walks of life within the Fourth District.  Beyond his vital role with LA County, Jayme continues to actively encourage positive change in the region’s communities in numerous roles, serving as an Adjunct Professor of Business at Fullerton College, and he is a partner in the historic Ports O’ Call Restaurant and Spirit Cruises.  He has served in various executive roles at organizations such as Los Angeles Harbor Boys & Girls Club, San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, Community Redevelopment Agency Pacific Corridor and more, and remains a longtime community leader in San Pedro.  Jayme holds various degrees from CSU-Long Beach, USC, and Pacific Coast University in the fields of Law and Public Administration.

Ashley Hernandez



Ashley Hernandez (she/her) first began working with Communities for a Better Environment as a member of Youth For Environmental Justice (Youth EJ), Youth Action at Phineas Banning High School in Wilmington, Ca. from 2010- 2011. Kicking off her first local grassroots campaign at age 17 (Clean Up, Green Up LA) in 2011 only to be signed in 2016, Ashley knew there was still more to be done. Learning about the cumulative impact issues during her junior year of High School was more than set her mind to a newfound passion; fighting for Environmental Justice. She began a Youth for Environmental Justice internship in 2012 juggling both college and a part-time job. Ashley transitioned into Wilmington Youth Organizer later that same year. Since then Ashley has been able to build, resist, and organize with local youth from LA Harbor Community College, Phineas Banning High School, and  Port of Los Angeles High School with much hope to continue to expand the Harbor Area. In what’s been over a decade locally Communities for a Better Environment has been leading the Heart of the Harbor to a Better future in the LA Basin by influencing policy change like, shutting the bad projects down, and building the good in. In order to gain environmental justice on the frontline the discussions, and movement must be led by those on the ground. As a youth organizer in the Heart of the Harbor Ashley has been able to support the growth and development of local youth fighting for clean land, air and water.

On her spare time Ashley spends her time cruising the Harbor Area, walking her husky, and attending music concerts.

Meet Our Legal Counsel!

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.