Executive Director Jose Ramirez, is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He joined St. Francis Center’s team in 2010 and as chief operating officer and his leadership has been instrumental in getting many homeless and extremely low-income individuals on a healthier and more stable path. In 2012, he graduated from the Nonprofit Leadership Development Program through the Center for Nonprofit Management and completed a program through the Executive Director Leadership Institute with Executive Service Corps in 2015. He currently serves as a member of the LA Food Policy Council combating food injustice and addressing gaps in food policy and planning. November 2014 marks the beginning of Jose’s service as Executive Director of St. Francis Center and he has provided the leadership necessary to help the Center expand its services and continue serving more communities in need. In his free time he enjoys music, fitness and spending time with his family.
Marianne Reifer, development manager, has been with the Center since January 2011. Marianne develops strategy for implementation of the development plan, executes special events, develops and submits grant proposals, and works with the executive director to maintain, grow and cultivate relationships with donors, volunteers, and others to nurture their connection to St. Francis Center. She has a degree in Journalism from Chapman University, completed the Project Grantsmanship program through The Grantsmanship Center, and enjoys the challenge of using her writing skills to further St. Francis Center’s advancement. She loves anything beach-related and some of her favorite extracurricular activities include running, biking and paddle boarding.
Tiffany Vergara, Manager of Accounting and Human Capital, joined St. Francis center in January 2015. Tiffany is incredibly passionate about serving those in need and uses her extensive background in nonprofit finance, accounting, human capital, and process management to help the Center fulfill and move forward in its mission. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in Social Entrepreneurship and Change from Pepperdine University. She loves to learn, bake, dance, and travel and can usually be found singing at her desk.
Lucia Garcia joined us as Program Coordinator in September 2014, organizing and facilitating many of our services. Lucia has an extensive background in the nonprofit sector and is very excited to be working hands on with our low income families and homeless community.
Recently Lucia was promoted to Programs Manager, taking on more responsibilities in the day to day running of all St. Francis Center programs.
Brother Raul Diaz joined SFC’s staff in January 2016 as chaplain. He was born and raised in El Salvador and moved to the US at age 18. In his early 20s, he had an epiphany where he felt it was his calling to pursue religious life. During this time of discernment, he first became acquainted with the Franciscan order through the Oregon community. Br. Raul enjoys the sense of community at SFC and says his work here is a mutual learning experience. He will work closely with our resource specialist and continue outreach to our guests through SFC’s on-site programs and also to disadvantaged guests at our satellite pantry services at Immaculate Conception School. His presence during our programs allows for natural interaction with our guests, in which he has been able to build a rapport and provide for their material and spiritual needs.
Caitlin Powers joins SFC as Resource Specialist through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. A recent graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, Caitlin knew she wanted to find a service position and became more interested in JVC when she discovered their four pillars: Community, Spirituality, Simple Living, and Social Justice. An active volunteer since high school, Caitlin found the best part of the work was getting to know the names and faces of those she was serving. As SFC’s Resource Specialist she is looking forward to interacting with guests on a personal basis and making connections.
Xochitl Larios has been cooking up delicious soups at the Center since July 2005. Most of our guests have come to know her by name as she diligently serves the homeless every day with a humble smile. Several of our guests describe their meal experience as being in “Food Heaven.” Xochitl is from Jalisco, Mexico and is a mother of three boys. She first started coming to the Center over 15 years ago, receiving groceries for her family through our Pantry Service. She also served as a volunteer for a decade, because like many other guests she felt compelled to give something back.
Fernando Sanchez, one of our drivers since 2013, helps pick up and deliver in-kind donations of food and goods. Also, his family has participated as guests and volunteers in our Pantry Service and youth programming for several years.
St. Francis Center custodian Jose Orozco has been with the center since August 2014. A native of Los Angeles, he is a graduate of Abram Friedman Occupational school. Jose is a father of three boys and loves watching Netflix.
Jonathan Solis joined SFC in September 2016 as Programs Assistant, from the Public Allies program. Jonathan is looking forward to creating relationships with our guests and families and also gain important work experience for the future while supporting the Programs Manager in day to day activities.
“At my old high school, we had many projects that made us engage with our community to create relationships with them and work with people that are not as fortunate.”
Jonathan is inspired by the quote: “A ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for.”
He enjoys riding his bike around the city and exploring new places and is immune to caffeine.
Farit Alvarez joined SFC in 2016 as head security guard. Farit is from Lima, Peru and has 25 years of experience in security.
Sangwook joined St Francis Center as a Finance & Accounting Intern in January. Originally from South Korea, he came to the United States in 2007 and has loved it ever since. He currently studies Accounting at Cal State Fullerton and hopes to learn more about how the accounting and finance parts of an organization work. He loves camping and outdoor activities but also loves to stay home and relax. One of his favorite movies is Zootopia because it shows us that the world is messy, but if we all try, we can make it a better place.
Hannah joined St. Francis Center as a Finance & Accounting Intern in January. In her role, she assists the Manager of Accounting & Human Capital with her everyday duties. Hannah is currently pursuing her degree in Business Economics from UCLA while minoring in Accounting. She loves playing volleyball, traveling, and taking part in exciting new experiences (she recently went skydiving for the first time!).