The Education Funders Group invites you to join our next meeting focusing on the social and emotional wellbeing of K-12 students. This session will provide an overview of federal, state, and local funding sources with the district's perspective on how this infusion of resources addresses the social-emotional and mental health needs of students, teachers, and families. Panelists will provide the view from the ground up by sharing what resources are available at the school level, the demand for services, how school-based resources and community-based providers respond, and what life is like for students as they return to school. The session will conclude by discussing ways philanthropy can help ensure that these funds are well-allocated to fill gaps and sustain effective models.
Assistant Principal, UCLA Community School
As one of the founding teachers of the RFK UCLA Community School, Rebekah M. Kang helped start and develop signature learning programs such as the Seminar Program and Integration Program for students with disabilities. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher, a UCLA Writing Project Fellow, and Teacher-Powered Schools Ambassador.
Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director, The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health
Maryjane Puffer is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health. She claims this position as the nexus of all she has been committed to throughout her career, as a pediatric nurse, a community health program director and lead developer of youth health programs.
Prior to this position, Ms. Puffer served for twelve years as the Director of Clinical and Community Health Programs for the California Family Health Council, managing the largest federal family planning grant in the nation. Before this Ms. Puffer spent six years establishing and leading Mother Net LA, a community health program in Compton. In her early career, she developed international health programs in Mexico, Guatemala, Africa and Eastern Europe; and spent eleven years working as a nurse in pediatrics, adolescent health and hospice care. Ms. Puffer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Ms. Puffer currently serves on the state Steering Committee of the Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group, the School Health Coalition of Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles School Policy Roundtable and the Los Angeles Preconception Health Collaborative. She is also Co-Chair of the California Preconception Health Care Council and a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Advisory Board Member for the Fresno Regional Foundation.
President & CEO, Children's Institute
Martine, a veteran of Los Angeles’s social impact sector, joined CII in 2016 with a passionate commitment to improving the lives of children in LA’s most underserved communities. As President and CEO, she oversees one of the region’s oldest and largest child and family organizations, managing an annual operating budget of $75 million and more than 1,000 staff. She also guides the agency’s newest endeavor, a 20,000 square foot campus in Watts designed pro bono by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Martine previously served as President and CEO of Para Los Niños, and held executive positions with several global media companies, serving as the founder and publisher of the first foreign-language edition of The New York Times, and launching the Los Angeles Times’ award-winning online service in 1993. A native New Yorker, she holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management. She serves on the boards of Eisner Health, Partners for Children South LA, and Wise Readers to Leaders.
Chief Academic Officer
Alison Yoshimoto-Towery is Chief Academic Officer of Los Angeles Unified for more than 550,000 students in one of the nation’s largest and most diverse school districts. She oversees birth to adult education, including specialized programs for English learners, Standard English learners, Gifted learners, academic counseling, guiding post-secondary success, advanced placement programs, linked learning and career technical education. Most important to Alison is leading from an equity lens and rethinking how “business as usual” is done to meet the needs of those students and communities historically underserved by public education.
Alison has served Los Angeles Unified for more than 28 years as a teacher, principal, director and top administrator, and represents the Los Angeles community on a number of local, state and national working groups. She is a fierce advocate of high expectations for all students and believes it is up to educators to find a way to reach every child. She champions multi-tiered systems of support for the whole child and doing "whatever it takes" so students are ready to thrive in college, career, and life.
The great-granddaughter of Japanese-American migrant farmworkers, Alison learned the values of hard work and perseverance during her childhood in Boyle Heights and Monterey Park, California. Through her family’s experience, she understands the importance of ensuring all students feel proud of their heritage, and is dedicated to providing them with opportunities that celebrate biculturalism and bilingualism.
Alison has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine; a master’s degree in education and reading specialist credential from Cal State Los Angeles; and a master’s degree in education and an administrative credential from UCLA. In 2020, Alison was awarded the Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year for the Association of California Administrators, Region 16.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin sons who attend school in Los Angeles Unified.
Karen Hunter Quartz
Karen Hunter Quartz led the design team to create the RFK UCLA Community School. Her research, teaching, and service support new school development, teacher autonomy and retention, and educational reform. Karen oversees a portfolio of research-practice partnerships at the UCLA Community Schools designed to advance democracy, inquiry, and change.