Board of Directors
John Burton served in the California State Assembly from 1965 until 1974, in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974 until 1983, in the California State Assembly again from 1988 until 1996, and in the California State Senate from 1996 until 2004. His passionate advocacy on behalf of foster youth led to the founding of the nonprofit organization that bears his name, which has helped transform the child welfare system and improved the lives of foster youth all across the State of California.
A longtime Bay Area resident, Rick Mariano is sole proprietor of a regional real estate brokerage and development firm. His work includes the acquisition and development of 30 acres of land in Oakland in partnership with Holliday Development, acquisition/asset management of industrial properties in Signal Hill and Santa Fe Springs, and renovation and operation of several hotels in San Francisco. His nonprofit experience is wide ranging, including service for many years as vice-president and exclusive pro bono real estate broker and facilities developer for the Delancey Street Foundation.
As President of Blum, Inc. Melanie has founded and managed a successful national sales and marketing company to consult with the film industry and distribute products for a variety of well-known film and television properties to retail and promotional markets.
Kimiko Burton has a distinguished career as an attorney devoted to the public good for more than 20 years. She currently serves as the President of the California State Personnel Board and is chief of San Francisco’s Children and Family Services Team, which represents the interests of abused and neglected children.
Miles Cooley is a partner with Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and is a member of the firm‘s Media and Entertainment and Litigation groups in Los Angeles. Miles has an active pro-bono practice and serves on the National Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. He has been involved with various non-profit organizations, including LA-based Peace4Kids, which works to empower foster children and resolve state and federal foster care issues.
John Garcia is Vice President for Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. He oversees government relations activities for California, representing the interests of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group, and Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Mr. Garcia has been with Kaiser Permanente for 20 years.
Over her 30-year career, Donna has held senior executive positions in both the public and private sectors. Donna currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Public Policy Institute of California and serves on the Board of Directors for the California Chamber of Commerce, College Futures Foundation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation Foundation. She is routinely named one of Sacramento’s 100 most powerful people and is often listed as one of the state Capitol’s most influential people.
Mr. Ruch received a B.A. in Law and Society from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2001 and his J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2005. Mr. Ruch began his legal career at an environmental litigation boutique firm and also worked at a large plaintiff’s law firm representing injured victims in toxic torts. As a former Bay Area foster care child, Mr. Ruch remains committed to foster care and social justice issues.
Mrs. Tahbazof is a founding partner of SST Investments, a San Francisco-based real estate development and property management firm with over 30 years of experience in the greater Bay Area. Mrs. Tahbazof is a passionate advocate for homeless youth and during the past 20 years has been involved with many organizations that focus on giving a helping hand to vulnerable youth, including Latino Unidos, Shelter Network, Home Away from Homelessness and Mothers Against Poverty.
Bunny Taylor is a registered nurse, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing (BSN) from San Francisco State University in 2013. They are currently obtaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Family Nurse Practitioner license, concurrently. They are currently in my second year, half way through the program and am so proud to represent former foster youth in higher education. Originally from Mendocino County, Bunny Taylor was formerly in foster care and as an adult has been an active advocate to improve the quality of life for children and youth in California’s foster care system.
Over Tina Thomas’ accomplished 30-year career, Tina has been recognized as one of the State’s leading environmental and land use attorneys. Although she is a renowned attorney and author, Tina’s work extends beyond the traditional role of attorney, as she regularly performs pro bono, volunteer work and serves as a board member for a number of local nonprofits such as Loaves and Fishes, Cottage Housing, Serna Village, WIND Youth Center, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and several others groups that serve foster youth and other populations in need.