RVC is governed by a Board of Directors comprising of leaders from communities of color, funders, and other community activists:
Estevan Muñoz-Howard is a Program Officer at the Piper Fund, where he makes grants to support efforts to reduce the influence of money in state and municipal politics. Estevan is a tireless advocate for fair representation and racial equity in our political system. In 2015, he helped lead the successful Honest Elections Seattle campaign—the historic initiative to implement a democracy voucher program and create a floor for political voice in the city. Estevan previously worked as Development Director for Arts Corps and Social Justice Fund NW, and as Executive Director of the Youth Media Institute. He has also served on the board of the Washington Bus and on the Seattle Arts Commission. He is passionate about youth engagement, community organizing, and the diffusion of power. Estevan is thrilled to be joining the board of Rainier Valley Corps, as he is a longtime fan of RVC’s mission to increase the capacity of communities of color to effect systemic change.
Sarah L. Servin is a native of Seattle whose interests lie in community empowerment and equity. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College, she worked for Senator Maria Cantwell in Washington D.C. Sarah moved back to Seattle to work as the Washington State Field Director for the Hillary for America Campaign. She currently works for Congressman Adam Smith as a District Representative for healthcare, education, technology, and civil rights issues. Sarah is so excited to be joining the board of Rainier Valley Corps and as an alumna of Teens In Public Service and the Washington Bus, she sees the value of fellowship-type programs and the power that communities of color have to effect long-lasting change.
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Zeke Spier grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently resides in the Rainier Valley. In his leisure time, he can be found outdoors tending to his vegetable garden, hiking, or rock climbing. During work hours, he uses his red bike as a mode of transport in his role as the Executive Director of Social Justice Fund Northwest. Zeke‘s experience living and working in Seattle has made him ever more appreciative of how refugees and immigrants have contributed to making Seattle a great place to live. Zeke sees RVC as an important vehicle to build leadership and increase the power of our newest residents.
Tsegaye Gebru is passionate about serving kids and families and helping to change their environment for the better. He has worked in the nonprofit field for over 12 years and has been the E.D. of Horn of Africa Services since 2009. RVC gives Tsegaye a welcoming place to share his ideas while gaining new skills. It also allows small CBOs to come together to address common issues and work to improve and strengthen our communities.
Faisal Jama has been active in the East African community throughout his life and spent several years as an East African Community Services volunteer before becoming Executive Director. He graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and honed his management skills during two summers spent interning for the Bank of NY Mellon as a performance analyst, as well as an internship at Russell Investments. In 2011, he consulted at Grey Matters Capital Consulting in Hyderabad, India, primarily developing a public school rating system. Faisal serves on the Steering Committee for the South East Seattle Education Coalition and is also a member of the Youth Development Executives of King County.
Tony To is a first generation immigrant from Hong Kong and has been living in Seattle for more than two decades after relocating from New York. He enjoys birding in his spare time and notes that birds operate within a very distinctive community – just like people. Tony’s work as the Executive Director at HomeSight in the Rainier Valley gives him a unique perspective into the housing needs of immigrant and refugee families. He identifies with and understands their aspiration to continually strive for a better life, and notes how the Rainier Valley has become increasingly diverse. Tony believes that RVC’s three-year leadership development program can make a difference as most nonprofits serving these communities are still volunteer-run.
Issa Ulo was born and raised in Oromia, the largest regional state in Ethiopia. He moved to the U.S. in 1999 and lives with his wife and children in Seattle. Issa joined the nonprofit community in 2004 as President of the Oromo Community Organization and Cultural Center after over 20 years of work experience in the business arena. He has extensive experience in business, nonprofit organizations, and community services. His engagement in community service dates back to his early adulthood when he worked with people from different cultures, languages, history, and life experiences. He has rich experience and strong relationships with communities in Seattle that have been developed over years from the work and interactions with people in a multicultural setting.
Bob Hughes is Professor Emeritus at Seattle University. He was an Associate Professor of adult education at Seattle University from 2007 to 2017. From 2013 to 2017 he served as Associate Dean, and was the interim Dean of the College of Education during the 2012-’13 academic year. Prior to this, he held academic positions as a community college faculty member and dean at two colleges in the Seattle area. He taught secondary and college students for 38 years. Bob’s current research and evaluation projects focus on models of effective practices at community colleges – including college faculty development, effective instructional design practices, and equity issues. He has been the Principal Investigator of Bob Hughes and Associates, a consulting and evaluation firm, from 1997 to the present. He holds a doctorate in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments from Harvard University.Bob believes that RVC provides a model for how organizations can impact the communities they serve, and he appreciates being able to serve RVC as a board member.
Meron Kasahun is a first-generation Ethiopian-American and the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Community in Seattle. While Meron currently lives in north Seattle, she was born just a few blocks away from RVC and has strong connections with the south end and central district through her involvement with the Ethiopian community. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2016 and has been working at the Ethiopian Community in Seattle ever since. She is most passionate about immigrant/refugee rights, affordable housing, and public health.