Founding Board and Staff

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JAY LEVIN

Jay is President and Executive Director of The Big EQ Campaign. Generally acknowledged as a media pioneer, he is founder and former CEO and Editor-in-Chief of multiple award-winning and greatly successful (broke advertising records in the industry) LA Weekly newspaper, which he sold some years ago. Since then he has focused on three areas of activity. 

(1)  Starting, growing or saving media properties that have social value. Mr. Levin is knowledgeable about most elements of media and marketing, including developing sponsorships from major companies, and has a wide network of business and institutional allies and talent.

(2) Non-profit organizations, of which he has launched or co-launched four, including Fix Our America (money out of politics), the Community Media Project (poverty and job development), The Committee of Concern for Central America (human rights), and now The Big EQ Campaign. He has also served on the advisory board of other non-profits, including the Liberty Hill Foundation (which earlier honored him as Man of the Year, as did the Office of the Americas) and the Green Business Network. 

(3) As a successful if not full-time life and executive coach for 16 years, this based on his life-long interest in, and study of, human development, in which he is trained as a practitioner, including via a Master’s Degree program in spiritual psychology. The same inner and outer world management skills that constitute adult social and emotional learning he believes are even more effective with – and more easily adopted by – children.

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DR. ROSLYN ELLISON BLAKE

Dr. Blake is CEO of MB Ellison, Inc., and COO of Bob Blake & Associates, which services the employee benefits programs of many government organizations in the Los Angeles region. Frequently honored as a leader in the African-American business and philanthropic communities, she has established her own program to elevate the lives of young people. Dr. Blake is also on the Board of Councilors at USC’s School of Pharmacy and the  board of Getty House Foundation, and is active in the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Impacting Political Policy, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. A graduate of University of Southern California, she is a trained pharmacist turned entrepreneur and C-suite executive. As a Big EQ board member, she will serve as Secretary and Treasurer.

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RICHARD FOOS

Best known as co-founder and former CEO of Rhino Records, which itself became famous twice over – once as the vanguard company that founded and reprised remarkable music (and later films) and packaged these in an elegant and intelligent manner; and secondly as one of the most socially conscious businesses in America, one that encouraged company employees to mentor disadvantaged youth and donated millions to various community-based charities. After selling Rhino, he founded the company Shout Factory and introduced to it the same social values and product focus, except with more attention to films and TV than music.

Widely respected as a philanthropist, he has served on numerous charity and non-profit social cause boards, among them the Chrysalis Foundation (homelessness and poverty) and Little Kids Rock, a national organization devoted to enriching children’s lives by providing musical instruments and training to schools across the country (more than 1,000 to date), a cause in which he is energetically active. Richard is also deeply committed to infusing SEL programs into all schools.

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ERIK OBERHOLTZER

Co-Founder & CEO of Tender Greens restaurant chain. A civic activist, Erik focuses on poverty youth, foster care, food justice and job training, economic empowerment and the environment. As a social entrepreneur, Erik works to change the cycle of poverty affecting at-risk youth, doing so in part with culinary training through Tender Greens’ Sustainable Life Project, which he founded. SLP enrolls economically-disadvantaged youth in a six-month farm-to-fork internship consisting of weekly farm visits, classic culinary arts classes and weekly on-the job training at Tender Greens. Graduates are eligible for full-time employment upon completion. Erik also is co-founder of P. Balistreri Salumi Company, the first of chef legacy companies incubated and brought to market through Tender Greens.

Erik simultaneously serves as a board member of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE LA), which focuses on economic development and runs eight Farmers Markets in under-served communities; and he is a board member of LA Kitchen, which aims to make an impact in food justice in LA with a focus on education and jobs training for disadvantaged youth. Organizations he supports include Covenant House, Sanctuary of Hope, The Boys and Girls Club, Inner-city Arts, and Food on Foot. Prior to co-founding Tender Greens, he spent more than over a decade working as a chef in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Bradley Ogden’s The Lark Creek Inn, Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, Aqua with Michael Mina, Roland Passot’s Left Bank, Campton Place Hotel, and the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hawaii.

OUR STAFF

Angela Benedetto – Staff Writer
Lisa Deal – Art Director
Harsh Gohil – Administrative Assistant
Lindsay Good – Corporate Outreach Adviser
Ivana Jevtic – Alliance Outreach Director
Sidney Lam – Business Outreach Director
Collin Pelton – Social Media Director
Will Pitts III – Webmaster
Sowmya Ramanathan – Researcher
Alex Shapiro – Public Relations Adviser
Ronnie Thomas – Funding Coordinator

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