Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 4.28.19 PMKelly ErnstFriedman
Executive Director

Kelly has 10+ years experience in the non-profit and education fields. Prior to joining CommunityGrows in April 2014 as the Director of Programs, she was the Program Director for Food Shift, were she developed and oversaw a food recovery and donation program within the Oakland Unified School District and managed a staff of 36 interns and volunteers. Kelly has also served as a consultant for Bay Area non-profits, providing program development, strategic planning, and grant management leadership. In 2010, she completed her doctorate in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in Race, Gender, and Social Justice at American University.

141x179_IMG_1360Anna Luberoff
Garden Programs Manager

Anna has been working in farm and garden education since 2008, and is excited to share her love of growing and caring for living things with the students at Rosa Parks Elementary and Community Grows! Anna has worked as a production farmer and educator at many agriculture, garden, and food justice programs throughout New England and the Bay Area, including Hampshire College’s Farm Education Collaborative, The Food Project, and Urban Adamah. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from Smith College, and her favorite vegetable is delicata squash.

ThoraThora Olsen
Garden Educator

Thora grew up in the mountains of upstate New York, originally learning to farm in various rural communities in the northeast. She is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College, where she studied Environmental Studies and Native American Studies. Thora taught gardening at Willard Middle School in Berkeley last year, and she is interested in how food can be a pathway to building community as well as a source of healing. She is excited to bring this curiosity to her students at John Muir Elementary. In terms of favorite vegetables, she can’t decide between sweet potatoes and broccolini.

AmeriCorps VISTA logo   AmeriCorps VISTAS

Karen LallyKaren Lally
Volunteer Program Coordinator

Karen is a recent graduate of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota, with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in English. Since graduating, she has worked performing hands-on conservation efforts in Colorado, teaching at an outdoor science school in southern California, and is now happy to join the team at CommunityGrows. She enjoys theater, spontaneous storytelling, and exploring new places in her free time.

Laura Witzig, Communications & Outreach CoordinatorLaura Witzig
Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Laura was raised on the foggy beaches of the Oregon Coast. Having grown up among artists and musicians, Laura found the best way to get involved in the community was to make new opportunities through ‘zine editing, tour planning, web design, and social media, most recently leading toward a stint as a concert promoter and DJ based in Sacramento. Laura aims to become a more effective advocate for socioeconomic equity by boosting our presence and reach at CommunityGrows.

Volunteer Team

Rachel SeamanRachel Seaman
Graphic Designer


Advisory Board:

Abigail Blodgett, Attorney, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Maricel Guinto, Associate Public Affairs Representative, Kaiser Permanente
Liz Holm, Store Manager, Starbucks
Jessica Jauw, Project Coordinator, JS Sullivan Development, LLC
Casey Johnson, Sr. Associate, RSF Social Finance
Kevin Lee, Green Business Associate, San Francisco Department of the Environment
Catheline Leung, Director of Enterprise Client Solutions, Rocket Fuel
Christina Mathis, Assistant Vice President, CCS
Stuart Michler, Equity Research Analyst, Goldman Sachs
William Newsom, Associate, Cooley LLP
Sarah Penney, Case Team Leader, Bain & Co
Jaromy Schmidt, District Manager, Starbucks
Dina Sigal, Marketing and Communications Officer, The San Francisco Foundation
Krysti Specht, Senior Community Development Specialist, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, City and County of San Francisco

CommunityGrows requires all new and current employees, volunteers and contractors who work with children and youth to have a complete criminal background check on file with Tides Human Resources. Read more about our Criminal Background Check Policy here.

We want to thank the countless volunteers that help make CommunityGrows a thriving asset to the youth in our community.

Help us raise funds to get 1,300 youth from low-income communities away from violence and into programs that make them healthy, smart, environmentally educated and create pathways to jobs.