Our Team

Meet our Team
About Us

Since January 2021, CommunityGrows has been in the process of restructuring our organization. We are currently working towards a collective leadership model. Our intention is to create a work environment where each member of our team has an equal voice in how we operate. We hope that this new structure will better reflect our values and vision for a just world. The process has been slow and intentional, and has grounded us in our values, excited us in the potential, and brought us closer together as a staff. We look forward to sharing more details on our new ways of operating in the coming months.

Looking to get in touch? For general inquiries, please email info@communitygrows.org. For more specific questions, please select the staff member that most closely matches your inquiry below.

Vanessa Williams

Director of Programs (she/her)

vanessa@communitygrows.org

Vanessa is an educator, advocate, and lover of the outdoors. She brings over five years of experience in environmental education, trail work, and conservation, which she cultivated during her time at the Student Conservation Association and Education Outside.

Contact Vanessa for: Garden education program and curriculum, program scheduling

B Freas

Organizational Strategist (they/them)

b@communitygrows.org

B is an educator, gardener, and climate organizer who has lived in the Bay Area since 2017. Before joining the CG team, they taught kids about birds in Vermont, and worked as a bilingual garden teacher with Education

Contact B for: Organizational strategy & sustainability, CommunityGrows' restructuring process

Perry Dorsey

Director of Finance and Development (he/him)

perry@communitygrows.org

Perry has a passion for creating resilient communities and ensuring a better future for our youth. With over a decade of experience in accounting, finance, community development and non-profit operations, Perry brings an eagerness to learn, grow, and a desire to make a positive impact in this world. After receiving his MA in Diverse Community Development Leadership from CSU Northridge in 2022, his focus on food security and creating sustainable food systems continues to influence his unwavering support of local farmers, producers, and educators. Perry is thrilled to join the CG team and looks forward to contributing to the ongoing success and longevity of CommunityGrows.

Contact Perry for: Financial inquiries

Kunal Palawat

BEETs Program Manager (they/them/she/her)

kunal@communitygrows.org

Kunal is a Desi gardener, critical environmental justice researcher, and cook. They bring several years of experiential education, community organizing, and scientific research experience to CommunityGrows.

Contact Kunal for: BEETs program inquiries

Oliv Brown

Garden and Nutrition Educator (she/her)

oliv@communitygrows.org

Oliv is an enthusiastic gardener and educator. She is a first generation UC Santa Cruz graduate with a B.A. in Agroecology and Dance. From her experiences working on a regenerative farm and interning with the LifeLab Garden Classroom, she discovered a passion for garden-based education. When she’s not planting veggies or engaging with youth, she enjoys singing, dancing, cooking, and arranging bouquets of flowers.

Contact Oliv for: General garden questions, garden and nutrition programming

Abigail Henriquez

Operations and Development Manager (she/her)

abigail@communitygrows.org

Abigail has always been a creatively driven person, expressing herself through art, food, and exploring ways of living an environmentally sustainable life. She has worked with CommunityGrows on the rebranding of the organization, which includes the new logo and marketing materials.

Contact Abigail for: Marketing and social media inquiries

Rene Revolorio Keith

Garden and Nutrition Educator (they/them)

rene@communitygrows.org

Rene is a third gender artist, activist, and educator raised in the East Bay. They have a passion for environmental justice and land based healing. Before working at Community Grows, Rene was an intern at Alemany Farm, a volunteer at Sankofa Gardens, and an employee at Mariposa Gardening and Design.

Contact Rene for: garden and nutrition programming

VISTAS
Brittney Mendez

Communications and Development Coordinator (she/her)

brittney@communitygrows.org

Brittney is a proud first-generation graduate, of the University of California, Merced with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Prior to joining CommunityGrows, Brittney worked in community organizing, mentored first-generation high school students, and communications. She is excited to be a part of CG and can’t wait to continue to help highlight the impactful work done by the team in low-income communities.

Contact Brittney for: Marketing and social media inquiries

Brittney Barron

Community Engagement Coordinator (she/her)

barron.b@communitygrows.org

Brittney has always been passionate about community service and building relationships within communities, having volunteered at organizations such as Planned Parenthood and FoodNotBombs. She believes that by building relationships with community members, organizations like CommunityGrows can better serve and address the needs of those communities. As Community Engagement Coordinator, Brittney hopes to continue to cultivate and nurture the relationships between the staff and volunteers at CommunityGrows and the communities that they serve and support.

Contact Brittney for: Volunteer Opportunities and other ways to get involved.

Advisory Board
Jaromy Schmidt

Jaromy Schmidt

District Manager, Starbucks

Caitlin McLaughlin

Caitlin McLaughlin

Manager, Clearway Energy Group

Christina Mathis

Christina Mathis

Corporate Vice President, CCS

Evan Zhang

Evan Zhang

Associate, Norwest Venture Partners

Mitali Avadhani

Mitali Avadhani

AI/ML Analyst, Noodle.ai

Roxie Bartholomew

Roxie Bartholomew

Senior Manager, Bain & Company

Erin Claybaugh

Erin Claybaugh

Home Economist/Homemaker with a background in sustainability programs management and nature interpretation

Click here for more information on how you can join our advisory board.