Oscar Chavez, President
Oscar Chavez is the Assistant Director of Human Services for the County of Sonoma. Prior to joining the county, Oscar served as Executive Director of the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, one of the largest community benefit organizations in northern California. Prior to moving to Sonoma County he was Director of Business Support Services and Director of Engagement and Public Relations for a large community based organization in Bakersfield, CA.
In his current capacity Oscar oversees the County’s Upstream Investments Initiative; a policy framework designed to strengthen our community’s ability to implement evidence informed practices and shift funding towards prevention. He is also responsible for the Department’s planning, research and evaluation functions as well as community and client engagement.
Oscar serves on the board of the Community Foundation, Sonoma County; member of the California Stewardship Network, a statewide effort to promote regional economies and civic entrepreneurship; steering committee member for Rise Together, a nine-county Bay Area initiative to cut poverty in half by 2020. He is the past co-chair of the Sonoma County Health Action Council and Sonoma County Innovation Action Council; former trustee, Windsor Unified School District and former commissioner of First 5 Sonoma County.
In 2008 he was chosen as one of the North Bay’s “40 under 40” leaders by the North Bay Business Journal; the recipient of the 2012 Sonoma County Jefferson Award and the 2012 North Bay Business Journal non-profit leadership award. In 2016 his was recognized as a HipGiver by Hispanics in Philanthropy. Oscar lives in Windsor with his wife Christine and their four boys (Cooper, Fischer, Greyson and Harrison)
Bethany Facendini, Secretary
Bethany Facendini’s mission is to strive for social justice, environmental sustainability, and health equity. She currently works for Sonoma County Regional Parks as the Community Engagement Manager. She has over 25 years of professional experience specializing in program management, experiential education, youth development, grassroots organizing, and community engagement serving diverse populations in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Ms. Facendini is passionate about working alongside the community to develop strategies to build resiliency and overcome disparities.
She has a bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley, a master’s degree in Environmental & Social Justice from Sonoma State University, and an Urban Environmental Education certificate from Cornell University. Bethany is a fellow of the Sonoma County Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economy and a graduate of the Sonoma County Local Leaders Academy.
Ben Smith, At-Large
Ben Smith is an assistant professor in human development at Sonoma State University. He received a joint PhD in Comparative Human Development and Linguistics from the University of Chicago. He has been awarded grants from the Fulbright Hays International Education Program and the Spencer Education Foundation, among others. He has published on topics in childhood and adolescence, with a focus on the indigenous languages and cultures of Latin America.
Martha Saly, At-Large
Martha Saly retired in 2014 from the position of executive director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and soon began a successful career as a Sonoma County Realtor. Martha works in the Sebastopol office of Better Homes and Gardens Wine Country Group Real Estate.
NVHR is a national coalition of more than 200 diverse public, private and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of infection, morbidity and mortality from viral hepatitis in the United States. Martha oversaw NVHR’s national advocacy actions for increased awareness of viral hepatitis and an improved federal response to the viral hepatitis epidemic. During her tenure at NVHR, Martha was a guest speaker at Congressional hearings and at the White House on the viral hepatitis epidemic in the United States, as well as testifying before the National Institutes for Health and The Federal Drug Administration. In 2011 Martha worked with Gregg Allman to implement a grant program for hepatitis C focused organizations funded by a benefit concert by the Allman Brothers Band. In 2013, Martha was honored with a Circle of Excellence Award by the American Liver Foundation.
Martha earned a master’s degree in human resources and organization development from the University of San Francisco.
Luigi Valencia, At-Large
Luigi Valencia was born and raised in Sonoma County. He graduated from Windsor High School and then attended Sacramento State University where he was the 1st member in his entire family to graduate with a Bachelors. Following his time in Sacramento, Luigi chose to pursue his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from The University of San Francisco. Throughout his education and training, Luigi has worked with various populations such as; Juveniles and probation, level 14 group homes, and various community clinic settings. He ability to be fluid and understanding amongst different populations is what he accredits as one of his biggest strengths. “Having worked with so many people from all walks of life, the common thread is the level of care and attunement we can offer people; regardless of race, gender, religion, SES, etc. I’m afforded with such an opportunity to hear people’s story because it allows for a deepening of connection through understanding without judgment being placed.”
Luigi currently works for a non-profit organization, SOS Community Counseling, as a site manager and clinician for multiple sites. He spends most of his time in the northern part of Sonoma County reaching youth/adults and supporting families. A current recipient of the Health Care Foundation grant: “Young Bilingual Talented Therapists (Pipeline),” Luigi takes pride in serving those marginalized and underserved.
Manuel Tah-Pech, At-Large
Manuel Tah Pech
Manuel Tah Pech is a Senior at Piner High School and a student at the Santa Rosa Junior College. In his high school, he holds the position of Senior Class President and Vice-President of both Key Club and MEChA. He is also a Youth Promotor Lead in Latino Service Providers for the Testimonios Project. Manuel has and continues to be determined to be the next generation of advocates in the world. He wants to continue his advocating passion for children, adolescents, and student rights along with destigmatizing mental health. Manuel wants to pursue a future career by being a lawyer for immigration. He believes that children and their mental health are the most affected by immigration.