Don Jen, President
Don serves as Program Director for Education Grantmaking at the Marin Community Foundation. He was first introduced to BANANAS through the collective efforts of local organizations working for social and economic justice in the 1970s and took advantage of the organization’s services as a new parent in 1982. Don views his long association with BANANAS as a privilege and is proud that the organization is so widely acknowledged as a leader in the field. With the many changes and advances in child care over the years, especially in the public policy and funding arenas, Don has a particular interest in how BANANAS’ history can help shape its future. Don has three children, each of whom was enrolled in infant-toddler family day care and later, preschool family day care, thanks to referrals from BANANAS. His children continue as lifelong learners today—each in pursuit of graduate degrees (and to their parents’ great pleasure—all in the Bay Area!).
Robin Phipps, Vice President
Robin is an active community volunteer and the parent of two teenagers. She had worn many hats at BANANAS over the years: staff member, volunteer, President of Friends of BANANAS, and now Board Member. She loves being part of BANANAS and is proud that the organization is always ready and willing to help everyone with any and all child care issues. Robin is interested in child development, especially cognitive function and the value of play. She’s proud that her two teenagers want to follow in her footsteps by volunteering at BANANAS!
Chris Murray, Treasurer
Chris is the Managing Partner of a Certified Public Accounting practice located in San Francisco specializing in work with closely held businesses and individual clients. Chris and his wife initially came to BANANAS for help in locating a child care provider for their first child. When he joined the Board, his wife had recently changed careers—moving from teaching to operating a home child care business—so his connections to the organization’s mission are both personal and deep. Chris is proud to help guide BANANAS, an organization that holds such an important position in the community. Now that his two children are grown, he enjoys cooking and entertaining with his wife and tries to make time for his hobby of photography. His wife now serves as the Executive Director of BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), which provides expanded learning academic programs to students in under-resourced districts—so his family’s commitment to enriching the lives of young people remains strong.
Loren Crippin, Secretary
Loren is a development, marketing, and communications specialist at First Graduate, a college access nonprofit in San Francisco. Loren and his wife first came to BANANAS looking for help figuring out what child care options were available to them before the birth of their first child. Having been a bewildered parent-to-be (and surviving), he is passionate about helping BANANAS grow and provide even more parents with the resources needed to raise happy, confident children. Loren has made a career of helping nonprofit organizations think strategically about how to use technology to improve their impact, fundraising, and reach. He is an avid soccer player, reader, and outdoorsman. Loren recently moved to the Bay Area from Washington, D.C. and currently lives in Walnut Creek with his wife, young son, and orange cat.
Katy Davis, Member
Katy is a pediatrician who believes that to best support children’s health, primary care providers should be giving back to the community in which they live or work. She knows that when children have strong family and community support, their mental and physical well-being is at its best. Katy received her Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley and completed her residency at UCSF’s Medical Center at Mount Zion. She first heard of BANANAS when she became a mother and was looking for child care. After moving across the country to New York—and then back after experiencing her first NY winter—Katy, her husband, and their three-year-old son settled in Berkeley. She and BANANAS were reunited when she attended one of our storytelling events. Katy’s thrilled to be back in the East Bay and to be raising her son in our beautifully diverse community. She joined our board in the summer of 2015 to give back to the community that has given her so much.
Lisa Jacobs, Member
Lisa is a Partner in the Litigation Department of Shartsis Friese LLP. She is a commercial litigator with a broad range of experience, including contract and partnership disputes, unfair competition, false advertising, and intellectual property litigation. She first discovered BANANAS when interviewing her child care provider, who enthusiastically talked about the many trainings she’d attended through BANANAS. Once Lisa was introduced to the organization, she discovered the vast amount of literature BANANAS offers on navigating the child care system, which she found invaluable. Lisa holds a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and received her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature also from U.C. Berkeley. She is thrilled to be part of the BANANAS community and to help in the important work being done to support families and in the field of early learning.
Sanam Jorjani, Member
Sanam is the Co-Director of the Oakland Literacy Coalition, a local organization working together with providers to see that all kids learn and love to read. Sanam first began collaborating with BANANAS through Oakland Reads, a city-wide campaign focused on dramatically improving third grade reading outcomes—and quickly saw how critical BANANAS services are in supporting families and giving young children a strong start. She received her Masters from Teachers College, Columbia University. Sanam serves on the Executive Board of the WriterCoach Connection Program and is a long-time volunteer with the Albany YMCA Youth & Government Program. Sanam grew up in the East Bay by way of Iran and lives in Oakland.
Paula Mathis, Member
Paula has worked as a community volunteer and advocate for young children and their families for more than 25 years. She and her husband recently moved to Alameda from Southern California and she has been searching for the perfect organization to continue her work in helping very young children get a great start in life. She is thrilled she and BANANAS found each other. BANANAS’ programs to help families and caregivers provide the highest quality care to all children is one of her top priorities. Paula enjoys live theatre, art museums, reading, walking, and being with her family.
Laura Schewel, Member
Laura is the Chief Executive Officer of StreetLight Data, which provides advanced analytics for sustainable urban design and transportation engineering. As an employer, Laura began to see how deeply child care (and the lack thereof) could affect success at work and economic equity for women especially. Every day BANANAS helps close this gap, and Laura is thrilled to be a part of such an impactful organization. Laura, originally from Virginia, now lives in downtown Oakland.
Kyle Schriner, Member
Kyle is an attorney and president of the Schriner Law Firm, PC. Before the birth of his first child, he and his wife came to BANANAS to attend a class about child care options. Prior to joining BANANAS, Kyle served as vice president of the board for APA Family Support Services, a family resource center in San Francisco. He is dedicated to assisting families in obtaining information and access to quality child care. Kyle lives in Berkeley with his wife and their two young children.
Nikole Wilson-Ripsom, Member
Nikole is an independent Fundraising and Administrative Consultant to various nonprofit organizations. She first came to BANANAS as a new parent, looking for a nanny-share for her son. Nikole believes that the work BANANAS does is vital to the wellbeing of the community, as access to quality child care is critical to the ability of parents to earn a living wage. She appreciates that BANANAS gives parents the tools to know what questions to ask and what to look for in a childcare provider—a service that goes far beyond simply learning there is a provider with openings in the area. Nikole is active in special needs education and in the field of complementary health. She is an avid knitter and reader. A native New Yorker, she has lived in Oakland for 30 years, currently in the Adams Point neighborhood with her husband, young son, a cat, and a fish.