Staff

Jose Ramirez
Executive Director
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Jose Ramirez

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 Director
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Marianne Reifer

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.

Lucia Garcia
Programs Manager
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Lucia Garcia

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
Chaplain
Brother Raul Diaz

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
Resource Specialist
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Caitlin Powers

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.

“Everyone has a story and I hope as time goes on and people get to know me, they feel comfortable in sharing theirs.”
When she’s not Serving Hope at SFC, you will find Caitlin traveling, exploring new places and belting out Broadway tunes!
Mary Yuengert
Volunteer Coordinator
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Mary Yuengert
Mary Yuengert joins SFC as Volunteer Coordinator through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Mary is originally from Pennsylvania and a graduate of Boston College. Driven by the phrase “Be like those who inspire you,” Mary decided to become a JV because the most compassionate and inspiring people she knows have dedicated themselves to a life of service to the poor and marginalized.
“I was exposed to the realities of injustice and poverty during my years at Boston College, and fell in love with the people I met through various immersion experiences to El Salvador,  U.S./Mexico border, and in Boston. I want to use my education to fully immerse myself in order to help build peace, community, and love. I think that’s what I’m made for.”
Mary is looking forward to encouraging volunteers to reflect on their service work at SFC and how it impacts the community. She is also excited about building relationships with our guests, and empowering them to believe in themselves.
A state-level high school volleyball player, Mary still enjoys playing sports as well as singing and writing poetry in her spare time.
Xochitl Larios
Cook
Xochitl Larios

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
Driver
Fernando Sanchez

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.

Jose Orozco
Custodian
Jose Orozco

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
Programs Assistant
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Jonathan Solis

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
Security
Farit Alvarez

Farit Alvarez joined SFC in 2016 as head security guard. Farit is from Lima, Peru and has 25 years of experience in security.

Farit enjoys sports, going to the gym, and practicing Jiu Jitsu. He says, “I feel that these hobbies not only keep me in shape but help me in my job.”
Sangwook Ha
Accounting Intern
Sangwook Ha

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 Hunter
Accounting Intern
Hannah Hunter

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!).