Board of Directors

Dr. Chi-Chao Chang, Product & Technology Executive, Facebook

Dr. Chi-Chao Chang is an experienced global executive in online consumer and advertising businesses powered by tech. He has a strong track record in assembling and leading world-class teams in engineering, product management, and business operations. He also has a strong track record in developing and delivering large-scale, high-quality advertising products and platforms on the cloud. Dr. Chang joined the BFN Board in March 2016 with a passion for education and helping students achieve their dreams.


Sister Georgi Coonis, SVDdN – Educator

Sister Georgi Coonis has spent over 50 years in education as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, serving as teacher as well as Principal of a number of elementary schools. She also co-founded the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at the University of San Diego. Sister Georgi was the Director of the “I Have a Dream” program in East Palo Alto for 13 years, working to bring 72 students through elementary school, high school and college. The past few years Sister Georgi has served in Leadership for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California. Sister sits on the Board of Directors for Building Futures Now as well as volunteers as a mentor; she also is on the Board for Notre Dame Elementary, Belmont.


Peter Dumanian, Founder

Peter Dumanian is a founding member of Building Futures Now (BFN) that started in 1992 with the “I Have A Dream” – East Palo Alto program. Peter serves as Vice President of BFN. Peter does business development for San Francisco based CloudFlare.


Melvin Gaines, Management Analyst, City of East Palo Alto

Melvin E. Gaines is one of the original “Dreamers” from the first cohort of the “I Have A Dream – East Palo Alto” program. Melvin has worked in leadership roles in both non-profit and local government fields. He is a resourceful problem-solver who is passionate about improving communities and peoples’ lives. After completing graduate studies and working for an economic research agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Melvin returned to work in his hometown of East Palo Alto in 2011. He currently works as management analyst for the City of East Palo Alto, where he manages public safety, economic development, and capital planning projects.


Penny Gallo, Attorney

Penny Gallo serves as President of the Board at Building Futures Now. She is an attorney at DLA Piper, LLP and concentrates on ERISA, employee benefits and executive compensation.


Alison Leupold, Community Activist

Alison Leupold has been a long time activist in the peninsula area and had been involved for many year in helping students achieve success through education. She rejoined the BFN Board in July 2015.


Leilani Lipa, Associate Attorney

Leilani Lipa is an attorney at DLA Piper and focuses her practice in the area of corporate and securities. She works on a broad range of transactions including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financing, public offerings and general business planning. She has served as a volunteer teacher in South Africa and has taught legal rights at Alameda County Juvenile Hall. She joined the BFN board in March 2016.


John Morgridge, Philanthropist

John P. Morgridge is Chairman Emeritus of Cisco. He joined Cisco in 1988 as President and CEO, and grew the company from $5 million to more than $1 billion in sales and from 34 to more than 2,250 employees. In 1990 he took Cisco public, in 1995 was appointed chairman, and in 2006 became chairman emeritus. John actively supports a range of education, conservation, and human services initiatives. He is co-chair of the Asia/Pacific Council of The Nature Conservancy, co-chair of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, and serves on the boards of Business Executives for National Security, CARE, the Cisco Foundation, the Cisco Learning Institute, Morgridge Institute for Research, Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, TOSA Foundation, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation


Tashia Morgridge, Philanthropist

Tashia Morgridge is Co-founder of the TOSA Foundation, a private family foundation that awards gifts to charitable and educational causes. In addition to being on the board of the TOSA Foundation, She and her husband, John, have been long time supporters of BNF. Tashia serves on the boards of the Science Center, the Stanford Schools Corporation, The Morgridge Institute for Research, the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, and the board of visitors for the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin. She also is emeritus member of the boards of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and of the Stanford Schools Corporation.


Garrett Perez, Accountant

Garrett Perez is a Senior Manager at Seiler LLP, an accounting and advisory firm with offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Mr. Perez’s background includes more than nine years of experience providing tax and advisory services to high-net-worth individuals, families and their privately-held entities. He specializes in matters related to income tax, estate planning and wealth preservation and has an extensive background in stock option and compensation planning.


Diane Russell, SVP, Charles Schwab Corporation

Diane Russell is responsible for managing the primary websites, the mobile channel and the desktop applications used by customer service representatives. She joined Schwab in 1995 as part of a management training program, and since that time, she has held numerous positions at Schwab. Prior to Schwab, Diane worked in government, serving as a staff member for a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee and then as a policy aide for the Governor of New Jersey.


Lisa Schiavenza, Education

Lisa Schiavenza was former Director of Middle School Admissions and Director of Financial Aid at Menlo School. She served in many different capacities during her twenty four year career at the School: IT Director, Registrar, WASC self study coordinator, student Advocate, Financial Aid Director, and Middle School Admissions Director.


Theanne Thomson, Principal, Thomson Consulting

Theanne Thomson is a strategy consultant who helps Boards and executives address their most pressing business issues in the high technology, consumer products, education and youth development sectors. Theanne is actively involved with educational organizations, having served as President and Board member of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, member of Oak Knoll Elementary Site Council, and Board member of the Ravenswood Education Foundation.