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Since 1973 Linda Jacobs Davis has worked and volunteered for numerous local and national nonprofit organizations on a diversity of issues.
Born in Coral Gables, Florida after her parents left Philadelphia to start their life together, Linda was raised in a family where both parents worked and volunteered; her mother active in the Jewish congregation and her father with youth sports.
As a teenager, Linda grew increasingly interested in social issues, beginning with the green party, civil rights, and the women’s movement.
Fiercely independent from an early age, Linda rebelled against establishment, rules and gender bias; refusing to stand for the national anthem during high school, questioning why boys couldn’t have hair longer than their ears, arguing over rules set on clothing restrictions and wondering why women were not paid equal to men and were not represented in leadership positions – business and political.
At the University of South Florida, Linda studied dance, art history and women’s studies earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts. It was there that Linda began studying the subject of transformation and leadership and where she met her husband. They moved to San Francisco in 1978 to work for Werner Erhard and the EST organization, a program that inspires its participants to make a difference for people in all walks of life, bringing to the forefront the ideas of transformation, personal responsibility, accountability and possibility.
While traveling the U.S. as a volunteer seminar leader she learned of an organization dedicated to changing the lives of youth at risk. The Breakthrough Foundation was a nonprofit that produced breakthroughs in communities and more importantly in the lives of young people age 10-20, all of whom either had a history of violence, drugs and crime or were headed in that direction. During her seven-year tenure there she created a funding stream to scholarship all youth who participated, transforming and saving the lives of many by breaking their gang attachment.
In 1987 Linda’s husband died suddenly. Struggling to find herself, Linda left her job and opened an art gallery in San Francisco, incorporating her education and love of art. However, being out of the nonprofit sector didn’t last long. In 1989-1990 Linda married again, delivered two sons (one two days before the Loma Preieta Earthquake) closed the gallery, and spent a year fulfilling the ‘bucket list’ of her best friend who died of a brain tumor.
Having lost both a spouse and best friend forced her to think about life, death, and what happens in between. This painful time turned into an empowering experience that re-focused and directed her to a life of service.
Realizing that nonprofit work was a worthy and righteous profession, Linda moved her career to Marin, serving as the development director for Marin Child Care Council and then Development/Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino. In 1996, Linda was hired as the CEO of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce where she completed a six-year program and earned a certificate from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management and was recognized as an Accredited Chamber Executive by the Western Association of Chamber Executives.
In 2002, Linda became the CEO of the Center of Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership. The mission of the Center is to develop a vital and engaged community dedicated to building and sustaining quality of life by enriching and strengthening volunteerism and nonprofit organizations, enhancing community leadership and involvement and promoting the impact and value of the nonprofit sector.
Besides raising two sons, Linda says that her most inspiring work comes through volunteering, whether with youth sports, education, advocacy, environmental restoration, disaster relief, or social services. Her favorite was when her family went to New Orleans along with 28 youth and adults from their Congregation to demolish and rebuild homes after hurricane Katrina. Linda said, “I saw how our labor impacted the lives of the devastated home owners, neighbors and the community while enriching the lives of the volunteers and most importantly opening the eyes and ears of our sons to the world while teaching and modeling for them the importance of giving to those in need”.
Linda has served on committees with Points of Light Foundation, Hands-On Network, California Volunteers and Volunteer Centers of California. She is on the board for the Marin Economic Forum, California Association of Nonprofits, Marin Interagency Disaster Coalition, Marin School to Career Partnership, American Red Cross Leadership Council and a member of the Marin Forum, California Association of Nonprofits Policy Council, and California Management Assistance Partnership.
Past participation includes the Community Media Center of Marin, Novato Lacrosse Club, Marin Football Club, Marin Independent Journal Editorial Board, Mill Valley Rotary, Rancho Elementary School Leadership Team, Marin Women's Services Coalition, Commission on the Status of Women, National Organization for Women, Marin Medical Society Task Force on Domestic Violence, and Campaign Committee for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.
JEAN A. TAYLOR
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For the better part of 30-years Jean has voraciously tackled mounting social crisis that many find too daunting to even acknowledge. The courage and tenacity she has shown confronting homelessness, suicides & court corruption in Marin has had rippling and lasting effects.
In 1989 Jean began to take notice that Homelessness was on a fast rise, its evidence being seen in more places with more frequency. She began talking publicly about what she was seeing and was approached by a Marin County Supervisor to serve on the newly formed Commission on Homelessness.
Jean went on a quest to understand the reasons for homelessness and to develop long term solutions.
Over the next 6-years, Jean’s passion to educate our community would lead her to Chair the Commission on Homelessness; head both the San Rafael and Novato Task Forces; serve on the board of St. Vincent DePaul’s dining room and ultimately found the New Beginnings Fund for Homeless and serve as it’s president. She took a look at other major city approaches to homelessness and attended national conventions on the issue, applying what she learned here in Marin.
In 1996, Jean co-chaired a capital campaign raising $3.3 million for an 80-bed residential/job training center, a project providing permanent solutions.
She convinced the IJ to become a media partner in the campaign leading to 60-articles on homelessness. As a result, readers contributed approximately half a million dollars toward the new center. On opening day more than 2-thousand people visited the New Beginnings Center. It was the first homeless facility built on a decommissioned military base and now serves as a national model.
In 2001 Jean co-chaired The Next Key capital campaign, an addition to New Beginnings campus. 32-units of affordable housing, a large culinary academy and a public venue room designed to make the entire facility financially self-sufficient. The facility went up in 2008 with the full support of the police chief, city council and bordering residents.
Jean’s 30-years of reforming Marin’s approach to social issues are of lasting significance. She is recognized throughout Marin as a leading advocate, the one to turn to for sweeping change, even dubbed a “Tipping Point” because of her ability to bring consensus and to motivate others.
Prior to the aforementioned, she used those attributes in the area of suicide prevention, volunteering on the 24/7 crisis hotline and becoming a member of the Coroner’s Psychological Autopsy Team and still serves on the Suicide Prevention Advisory Board.
For 7-years she served as board member for Senior Access, helping restructure and increase programs and facilities to provide safe, clean and fulfilling day care services for frail and ill older adults.
Jean also spent 5-years on the board of the Marin Political Action Committee. In the initial stages of the AIDS epidemic, she helped develop a “Report Card” for local and state politicians making their voting records on such matters public.
Currently, the Board President of the Helen Vine Detox Center, she first raised $250,000 to remodel the center, increasing public beds from 12 to 26. This board has encouraged the development of compassionate and successful programs designed to aid in their permanent recovery.
An appreciation and love of the arts led to her involvement on the boards of the Marin Arts Council and Alter Theater and she put emphasized putting the spotlight on the diversity, variety and talent of the artists in our midst.
Jean’s current focus is on encouraging judicial excellence in the court systems throughout California. She is the president and co-founder of the Center for Judicial Excellence. CJE is working with state, local and national leaders to facilitate necessary changes.
In all the above commitments, Jean stressed educating the public and/or the clients. Developing an awareness, an acceptance and a compassionate response for those dealing with the aforementioned critical problems has been her goal.
Jean , her husband Ray, son Jeff, and daughter Stephanie moved to Marin in 1963. Their lives have been enriched by the addition of daughter-in-law, Amy, son-in-law, Bill Boland, and four grandsons, Dominic, Cameron, Scott, and Joshua.
Jean’s education includes a B.A. in History, Magna Cum Laude, a B.E. in Education, University of Cincinnati, and a M.A. in Psychology, Dominican University.