Who We Are.
The Sacramento Literacy Foundation, formerly the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, has raised more than $11 million for the Sacramento Public Library and recently has changed its name and broadened its focus on Literacy. The Literacy Foundation remains a community literacy convener and will direct all future fundraising toward accelerating language literacy rates in the Sacramento Region. Through donor support we have been able to make strategic investments in children’s literacy with positive results.
Revenue is generated by the Foundation through an annual giving program supported by more than 5,000 donors; major gifts from individuals including donor-named and donor-advised funds; foundation grants and corporate sponsorships; direct mail; and many planned giving opportunities including outright gifts of securities and gifts of life insurance, bequests, Revocable Living Trusts, Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Remainder Trusts as well as gifts of property.
The Foundation is an independent charitable organization.
Meet The Board President
As an estate planning attorney, Jim also brings expertise in planned giving and has a special interest in endowment growth. He says, “I’m excited about the Foundation’s children’s literacy mission and look forward to helping the organization expand its service to this community and particularly to children of less advantaged families.”
Meet The Board Officers
Meet The Board At Large Members
Mary Ellen Shay
Education Advisory Committee
The Education Advisory Committee is a formal group of educators and experts that inform the Foundation as we fund and support literacy programs.
- Julius Austin, SHRA Promise Zone
- Dr. JaNay Brown-Wood, CSUS
- Todd Collins, California Reading Coalition
- Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
- Elise Spang, Zaner-Bloser
- Becky Sullivan, Sacramento County Office of Education
- Tami Wilson, Sacramento County Office of Education
- April L. Javist, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Vice President, Anthem Blue Cross of California
Robert Honaker has worked for Anthem Blue Cross for over thirty years, with a focus on improving the well-being of the members he serves through creating programs designed to improve healthcare delivery, increase long-term stability, and support transformational ideas around individual’s engagement in their own health and the systems that provide their care. The importance of literacy started for Robert at an early age, with his parents both being educators. Their commitment to education, irrespective a child’s situation, extended beyond their jobs and was foundational for him. He believes that reading and providing support to those in need are fundamental to our society. Every child has the right to pursue happiness, which can only be available if they can read. This can only happen through the support of the underserved, and Sacramento Literacy Foundation’s dedication to raising funds in support of public efforts matched these values.
VP, Wealth Management Specialist, JP Morgan
Sean has been a resident of Sacramento since 2006 after graduating from Chico State University with degrees in Finance and Economics. He serves as Vice President and Wealth Management Specialist for JP Morgan. A founding member of the Council for Giving in Sacramento, an organization of 100 men that mobilize their talents and resources to enhance and improve local nonprofits, Sean’s first introduction to the Sacramento Literacy Foundation came in 2017. He has since served as a member of the Sacramento Literacy Foundation’s Finance Committee.
Denise moved to Sacramento more than 50 years ago with her family. She spent most of her 25-year career with Wells Fargo here in Sacramento, except for a 5-year period when she managed three different branches on the Monterey Peninsula. She would eventually move back to Sacramento when she married her husband Donald Timmons. After leaving her Wells Fargo career, Denise felt a strong desire to be more involved in the Sacramento community and sought out volunteer opportunities aligned with her philanthropic interest to help children, whether that involved the arts, homelessness, education, health care, foster programs and hunger. Together Denise and her husband started Restoration House in 2003, a transitional living facility for male parolees. Denise has served on the Crocker Art Museum Board, Crocker Foundation Board, as well as the Verge Center for the Arts Board. When asked to join Sacramento Literacy Foundation’s Board, she felt it would be a good fit for her personally and that the Foundation’s strategic focus on children’s literacy aligned with her long-term charitable contribution plan.
Ahamadou Bocar first began volunteering for the Foundation’s annual audit committee in 2012. Ahamadou, an audit partner at CohnReznick, received his education in both America and Europe and holds degrees from San Jose State University and the University of Nancy in France. He has more than 28 years of audit, finance, tax, and accounting experience with public accounting and investment banking organizations. A native of Mali, West Africa, he has traveled the world through his educational and career engagements. Ahamadou is “very interested in literacy and improving early child education and learning.”
Randy Getz is an investment broker with CBRE, Inc. He is married to the artist Pat Mahony and together they are the parents of Camille, a film editor in Los Angeles. Randy is also on the boards of LAI-Sacramento, an international invitation-only land economics society, as well as the American River Natural History Association. Randy believes that “one’s ability to read deeply and well and to think critically have never been more important. The Sacramento Literacy Foundation is an important source of support for the development of important learning skills that will lead to a better informed, more knowledgeable and perceptive community now and into the future.”
Abby Lunardini is a Sacramento native and life-long reader. She believes that early access in reading and the arts can change the trajectory of a child’s life – and transform our communities along the way. Abby brings an accomplished background in marketing — she is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of Truity. Prior to Truity, she served as the Chief Communications and Brand Officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Vice President for Brand Marketing and Communications at Virgin America. Abby is also a volunteer for TurnAround Arts: California, the nonprofit organization co-founded by renowned architect Frank Gehry and arts education advocate Malissa Shriver.
Mary Ellen Shay
Neill SooHoo is a hair stylist and owner of SooHoo Style. Neill has a passion for education, and has served as a board member for Attendance Institute. Neill is excited to get involved with the Foundation and get more kids reading.
Jeannie Wong oversees University-wide communications and marketing, including media relations, crisis communications, social media, multimedia, brand and visual identity at Sacramento State University. In 2018, she was appointed by President Robert S. Nelsen to his Cabinet, where she continues to serve as a member of his senior leadership team.