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Foothill-De Anza Foundation Welcomes Six New Board Members

The foundation's Board of Directors, whose mission it is to raise and invest funds to support the two community colleges, also elected new officers June 27.

The Foothill-De Anza Foundation has added six new members to its 30-member Board of Directors.

They come from divergent backgrounds and geographies, reflecting what Sheryl Alexander, the foundation's executive director, calls the schools' diverse student population. 

The new board members are:

  • Swati Advani of Atherton, a philanthropist, fundraiser and longtime education advocate
  • Don Aoki of Mountain View, an Internet executive and community board member 
  • Elaine S. Andersen of Palo Alto, a researcher and professor emerita at the University of Southern California 
  • Lisa Elliot of Los Altos, a community volunteer and charter member of the 100 Women Charitable Foundation
  • Alexis Ringwald of Palo Alto, a software entrepreneur and founder of the education startup LearnUp
  • Kavita Tankha of Los Altos Hills, a political activist and fundraiser who also plays an active role in the South Asian community

According to Alexander, the foundation's mission is to raise and invest funds to support the educational excellence of both Foothill and De Anza colleges. The board is comprised of influential community members who raise awareness and philanthropic support for the schools.

"We wanted people who were willing to connect to those who are willing to support our schools, who are comfortable talking about the needs of community colleges and who have an incredible amount of integrity," Alexander said of why the six new directors were invited to join the board.

Money is the biggest issue facing Foothill and De Anza colleges right now, she explained, making it all the more important that the board members are committed to maintaining the quality, reputation and excellence of these schools.

Newly minted board member Alexis Ringwald, an entrepreneur and founder of the educational startup LearnUp, said she's prepared to take on the budget issues facing the colleges, hoping she and her fellow directors can come up with creative solutions to preserving what have been traditional stepping stones towards employment.

"It's like President Obama said in his state of the union," she said. "Community colleges are the career centers of the United States."

With the foundation's board set, members also voted in new officers June 27. They are:

  • President: Ben Dubin of Saratoga, a venture capitalist
  • Vice President: Holly Wong Agbayani of Atherton, a financial services company partner
  • Treasurer: Martin Neiman of Los Altos, a technology investor
  • Secretary: Kathy Torgersen of Palo Alto, a writer and community volunteer

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